Jose Lucio, patriarch of family of Mexican converts, dies at age 96
In the remote mountain village of Aquiles, Mexico, Jose Lucio’s decision many years ago to become a Christian led to the conversions of countless souls.
The Christian Chronicle highlighted “The Story of the Valley” — and Lucio’s role in it — in a 2006 feature (and more recently in a May 2012 news story on violence curtailing many Mexico mission efforts):
Jose Lucio was the spiritual leader in the valley, patriarch of a religion that blended Indian mysticism with Catholic tradition. Lucio met (Mexican minister Humberto) Hernandez on a trip to another part of Mexico and — curious about “this Church of Christ and its book” — invited him to visit and study with him at his home.
Hernandez remembers accepting the offer noncommittally, but Lucio would have none of that. He insisted they set a date for a week-long visit, then met Hernandez at the fork in the road where necessity dictated that a visitor exchange a vehicle for a donkey to make the rest of the trip into the valley.
“That was a long, hard, wet trip,” Hernandez remembered. “Any part of it would have been difficult, but you combine the path, the distance and the weather and you can’t help but worry a little about making it.”
Hernandez made not only that journey, but two more. During the third one, Lucio asked Hernandez to come see the place where he wanted to be buried. The two men walked to Lucio’s property as Hernandez scanned the ground for a gravesite or tombstone. He saw only a deep hole that the elderly man had dug and filled with clear water from a mountain waterfall for his burial into Christ.
Hernandez baptized Lucio that day, and over the next few months, also immersed Lucio’s wife, Elena, and the couple’s 15 surviving children, their spouses, grandchildren, friends and neighbors.
Lucio died Friday, July 6, at age 96.
In an e-mail sharing the news of Lucio’s death, Kent Risley, a minister for the Edmond Church of Christ in Oklahoma, described Lucio as “a tremendous man of God who left a legacy of faith in his own immediate family of over 100 people as well as in the mountains of Mexico and the flat plains of Oklahoma.”