Archive for the ‘News’ Category

We’ve Moved!

October 5, 2012

Our blog has moved to the new Back2Back website. Continue following our story here.

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Dalia’s Dream, by Andrew Conrad, Back2Back Cancun Staff

July 27, 2012

Two years ago, when Back2Back Cancun started, Matt and Julie Cooper (B2B Cancun directors) were looking for someone to help clean the group house. The security guard recommended his cousin, Dalila. Since then Dalila has become a friend and an example to all of our staff. She is not a believer, yet, but gives glory to God for what is taking place in her life and we hope that she accepts Jesus as her savior soon!

Dalila is a widow and a mother of three. But more than that, this is a woman that had a great dream.

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This is the story of her dream:

One day, a lady from one of the groups asked Dalila, “Dalila, what is your dream?” Dalila answered, “To have my own house” (this conversation took place last December). “You don’t have a house?” the lady asked. “No, I rent a house and I don’t own any land to build my house on.” To this, the lady replied to Dalila, “You should pray and ask God to give you your dream.”

That day Dalila did what the lady told her to do. Not knowing what to expect, she asked God for her dream to come true.

One day, Dalila saw some land and she decided to ask for information. She just wanted to know if it was available. She left not only knowing that it was available but also knowing what she needed to do to get the land. She applied for a loan and she got approved. She was able to buy the land and start construction on the basic foundation of what would someday be a home for her and her children.

The next week Back2Back felt led to start partnering with her in the construction of her house. During this summer the groups that came to serve along side of us helped to make her dream a reality.

This week we finished her house and had a house warming-dedication party. Her face was priceless during the celebration.

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When it was her turn to speak, the words could barely come out of her mouth. She was so thankful to God because He had heard her prayer and answered it. She is moving in on Friday!

Dalila is an example for my life, because even after losing her husband and going through a tragedy, she never gave up. Most the kids from the children homes that we serve are there because it was easier for their parents to leave them then to fight for them, this could have been Dalila’s kids lives, but thanks to her perseverance, this family is still together.

Please keep Dalila’s family in your prayers. Pray that this will only be the beginning of a great relationship with God and that they will never forget that the giver of all good things is God.

Mission in Haiti

March 27, 2012

Join Brent & Anna Fudge at their upcoming fundraiser, March 31st, for their mission in Haiti.

What: Indoor Soccer Fundraiser for Back2Back Haiti

When: March 31st, 1-4pm

Where: Grace Chapel Indoor Soccer Field, 406 4th Avenue, Mason, OH 45040

RSVP to participate in a game here.

Schedule:

1pm: Adult & Child Soccer Games

3:15pm: Beth Guckenburger/Brent & Anna Fudge to share about our new ministry site in Haiti

4pm: Children’s Soccer Clinic, hosted by Jed Zayner, soccer player

Orphan Care Summit

February 17, 2012

The Christian Alliance for Orphans’ annual Summit has become the national hub for what Christianity Today recently called, “the burgeoning Christian orphan care movement.” Summit VIII on May 3-4, 2012 at Saddleback Church in Southern California is expected to draw 1,800 to 2,000 pastors, grassroots advocates, organizational and church ministry leaders. Alongside more than seventy workshops, the unforgettable plenary sessions will include Francis Chan, Rick and Kay Warren, Crawford Lorritts, Dennis Rainey, Steven Curtis Chapman, and other global leaders. Summit inspires, equips and connects for adoption, foster care and global orphan ministry.

Register here and join Back2Back staff at this important event.

David’s Journey, by Matt Cooper, Back2Back Cancun

January 27, 2012

David

Last December I wrote about a boy named David. Fifteen, no desire to work, or study, or follow rules…and you can guess where that got him. David had a lot of things going on – both inside and out. He has lived at the children’s home since before he could walk. The only family he has ever known is his older brother, and the directors of that home. For lots of reasons, it is no wonder that his life might look a little messy, yet even in the midst of all that, God was giving me just a glimpse of the potential that was inside this boy. I knew that God had a lot more up his sleeve for this young man.

What I didn’t know, but could have guessed is that life would get worse for David before it got better. I did have a few chances to hang out with David in the winter and spring. We invited him to join in with us a couple different days when we had visiting missions teams, and he came along as a volunteer for the day. He was pleasant, helpful, fairly quiet. One morning I grabbed him and sat down beside him while the visiting team was having their quiet time and I read Psalm 139 to him. I told him it was one of my favorite places to re-visit in the scriptures, and how I loved how full it was of truths about God…how He knit us together in our mothers wombs, how He knows us, how He is always with us…and the list goes on.
David was pretty quiet that morning. He grinned at me. Sort of chuckled to himself and said, “I don’t really believe all of that”. “You know what,” I told him, “It’s O.K. – God loves that you can even be honest and say that aloud. He (God) really is all of those things…all of those things are true of him, and He will show you. I know He will.”
About a month later David left the children’s home He lived the next six or seven months on his own, in a tiny cave-of-a-room with a mattress in it. He hit some real lows. And somewhere in the lowest of low places I think David started to believe that there just might be something to “this God” and what this God had for his life.

As the months went by we knew little of David. But thanks to the modern wonder that facebook is to all of us, from time to time I was able to shoot him a message, and let him know we were praying…but that was about it. But rarely would I hear anything back. And then, all of a sudden, in mid to late November David initiated chatting with me via Facebook one evening.

“I want out,” he said.
“Out of what,” I asked?
“Out of my life. I don’t want to live like this anymore, I want out,” he said.
“Let’s figure out when we can get together,” I replied. I suggested he meet us Sunday morning, come to church with us, and we can spend the afternoon together, but Sunday came and went. We didn’t hear anything from him, and then, well then we got busy with a visiting group of 20-some women here from Ohio bringing Christmas cheer to Cancun.
So, Wednesday, November 30th rolls around. It had been a long day. It was about 11:30 p.m. We had just begun to drift off to sleep when the security from our neighborhood called to say there was a teenage boy at the gate looking for me.
“It’s David,” I exclaimed to Julie.
“Well, have him come in and sleep on the couch and we can talk more tomorrow,” says my compassionate wife, Julie.
And so I walked to the gate, and escorted him to our house. I got the feeling he was already planning on staying as he immediately took off his shoes and socks.
“What do you need – what can I do for you?,” I asked him.
“I want to change. I want to be different. I want to go back to school. I don’t want my life to go on the way it is,” he replied.
“We can help you find a place to live, and we can help you get back in school, and we can help you get pointed in the right direction, but you have to understand that what you need more than anything right now is God. Do you understand that? Can you see that?,” I asked.
“Yes, I know. And I’m ready,” replied David.

In the morning I remember waking up and thinking. Yep, it’s true, it’s not a dream. David showed up at our house last night, and he’s sleeping on the couch. Why now God? We have 20-some women here for the rest of the week, don’t I have enough going on right now? How will I have the time necessary to devote to him today. Silly me, I should have known that God already had that all figured out.

As God’s schedule would have it, that morning had been carved out for the women to have their quiet times with the Lord, and their small groups at a local beach before we headed out to serve for the day.
So, arriving at the beach, David and I plopped down in the sand next to each other, and I began to talk. We talked more about where he’d just come from, and what he wanted to happen, and then I told him very clearly: “You already told me that you know you need God. It is time to decided where you stand with this. It is time to confront any doubts and any questions. Today is the day of salvation. It is time to make a decision. This is not about dipping your toes in the water, and dabbling into a little bit of who God is, and who Jesus is for you – this is about throwing your whole self into the ocean of God, David. Today is the day, are you ready?”
And David said, “Yes. Yes, I’m ready.”
Right there, and right then David and I prayed together, and he gave his life over to Jesus. It was one of those surreal moments, witnessing God do what He does, and yet being right there in the midst of the whole thing – what a gift. Our Cancun staff team, as well as the other visiting staff from Ohio and Monterrey then gathered around David, and spent the next moments bathing him in prayer, praying for his protection, praying for what is to follow – and entrusting the days that are to come into the hands of God.

Promoting Literacy, by Hope Maglich Garcia, Back2Back Mexico Staff

January 13, 2012

A few months ago, I was hanging out with a few girls in the Rio, an impoverished Mexican community that Back2Back serves. We serve these families, mostly single moms, because they are literally at the cusp of making the difficult decision of whether or not they will choose to place their child in one of the children’s homes.  Our goal is to help them to provide for their children’s basic needs, preventing them from reaching the point where they need to drop off their children at one of the homes.

 

At one point, my conversation with the girls turned to the topic of reading. I asked them if they ever get read to at home. They both said no.  I knew both the girls had several books in their home, because I had brought them out in a donation. I asked the girls where they books were and they said “on the shelf.” I praised them for this, because taking care of items in the Rio is not always a priority. We had a conversation when I first brought the books out about where to keep them and how to care for them. So I was pleased to see that they had done this. However, when I asked how many books the girls had read that week the answer was, zero. When I asked why, they reported that they weren’t allowed to take them down from the shelf because their grandmother knew I was going to come by and she didn’t want to take a chance that the books would be ruined before my next visit.

 

I sighed internally as I realized that this family didn’t understand the reason for the books. I remembered the library programs that I participated in as a child growing up in Oxford, Ohio. Almost every summer we would set reading goals and earn prizes for the books that we read… I wondered if Sara and Monse needed a little motivation like I did when I was little. I asked for a scrap of paper and scrawled out a one week reading chart for the girls. “Try to see if you can read one book a day or if your grandmother can read one book a day to you for the next week,” I said. For added motivation I let the girls borrow some of the children’s books I had with me in my car. “Next week when I come, show me what you have read and you can borrow some more books.” I then talked to their grandmother to make sure she understood that the books were for the girls to read, regardless of whether or not they got messed up.

 

The next week I drove up to Sara and Monse’s house and was greeted by the girls proudly standing outside holding up their reading charts. “We did it every day!” They shouted. Each girl got to pick a lollypop as a prize then we sat down to talk about the experience and to read a book out loud together. It was wonderful!

 

The next week even more kids showed up and the same thing happened the week after. I now have about six consistent students every week! I set up a very basic library system, where the kids can check out and return books. The best part is that the kids are reading or being read to and that there are books entering their homes. I’ve even noticed some of the teenage boys standing at a distance where they can hear the story I’m reading to the children yet still look cool! They were only given away when they too started laughing at the funny parts.

Children in the Rio are excited to be a part of Back2Back's new literacy program.

I have several Christian books and some children’s Bibles that I let the kids borrow. Sara told me one day that her grandmother loves the Children’s Bible best of all.She reads it everyday to her granddaughters. Yajiara borrowed a Max Lucado book one week that illustrated the story of our Heavenly Father’s love for us. She said that her mom started reading it and loved the story. Her mother read it over and over several times that week.

 

I’m excited to see where this literacy program goes! Two months later and the kids are still excited about reading.  I can already see that he kids are enjoying reading and that their parents are being influenced too. Compared to when we first started, the children are now very engaged in the stories I read aloud. They are making their own predictions and making connections to the text… two very important skills for readers to know. I also love to see them being responsible for the books they check out. We have only misplaced a few! They have read most of the books in my collection and I am in need of more!

The children select the books they want to borrow for the week.

Monse, Sarah and Alondra read together.

Yajaira reads to Daniel.

Please keep us in your prayers! Pray for the kids’ enthusiasm to continue to grow as they discover the joy of reading. Pray for the ones who struggle with reading to continue learning. Pray for parents to continue to be on my team with this. Pray for more children’s books in Spanish. Pray for me to have wisdom to know how to teach and encourage these kids.

Bringing Medical Care to those in Need, by Courtney Ewing, Back2Back Mexico Staff

December 19, 2011

As a medical team of forty-six people invaded our campus for three short days, we witnessed a new meaning for our mission of bringing “care for today, hope for tomorrow” or orphans and children in need.  These doctors and nurses met immediate needs, such as prescribing medicine for runny noses and sore throats, while also providing comfort and reassurance to those with fear of a future with diabetes. It was a marathon of a weekend, but it allowed many individuals who had never seen a doctor in their lifetime to receive answers and medicine, making tomorrow seem more hopeful. It was a blast to have an entire “medical army”! I loved witnessing them use their talents as they furthered the Kingdom – one runny nose at a time.

Checking-in at the Back2Back medical clinic


The waiting area quickly filled with families in need of medical care. Volunteers engaged with the children who were waiting.


Aaron, a nurse from Akron, checked vitals


Chrissy, a recent nursing graduate from Malone, was eager to use her nursing skills to give back to those in need.


Patients visited the make-shift pharmacy at the end of their visit.


Thank you to the medical team from Ohio and Florida, sponsored by tjhe Juniper Tree Foundation!

The Juniper Tree Foundation is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to assisting orphans and widows in need. In October 2008, through a grant from the Juniper Tree Foundation, the Juniper Tree Clinic was established on the campus of Back2Back Ministries in Monterrey, Mexico in order to meet the physical needs of the children served by Back2Back. Back2Back Ministries is an international Christian non-profit organization that provides care for orphan children and impoverished people across the globe, serving over 1,000 orphans and families in Monterrey alone.

The orphanages that Back2Back and the Juniper Tree Foundation serve lack funding to offer the children basic medical care, such as routine check-ups and dental visits. Most illnesses are left untreated unless they are extremely critical. For many of the children, their only access to medical care is through the Juniper Tree Clinic.

The Juniper Tree Foundation facilitates opportunities for American medical professionals to meet this practical need, by participating in short-term medical mission trips, providing vital services to orphans, as well as impoverished families in surrounding communities.

Happy Thanksgiving from your friends at Back2Back Ministries!

November 23, 2011

Two orphaned children in Mexico benefit from a nutritious snack thanks to the support of friends of the ministry.

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Back2Back Ministries!

We truly cannot praise God enough for the ways in which He has blessed and provided for our ministry this year. These successes would not be possible without your commitment to partner with us. As we look toward the future, we are excited about how God is working through Back2Back Ministries and thankful for your willingness to come alongside our work.  Please know that you are a part of our Back2Back family and we truly appreciate your love and support of the orphan child. Please keep the children we serve in your thoughts and prayers this holiday season.

A Day of Celebration for Milagros, by Cathy Huffer, Back2Back Mexico Staff

November 22, 2011

Recently, Milagros, a young woman in an impoverished community we serve, graduated from beauty school with help from many friends of the ministry who answered a leading of God’s voice.

Celebrating with Milagros at her graduation

This journey began about three years ago when an audiologist came to visit the Rio community where Milagros lives. He met her and her mom and was moved by God to help Milagros, who is deaf and has learned to use her own version of sign language. During the course of the three years, God provided her with hearing aids to help her hear sounds for safety. She attended school to learn sign language. After about 1 1/2 years in beauty school, she has graduated and got her degree. She very well may be the only one in her community who has graduated from anything.

Milagros with her mother on Graduation Day

Milagros means miracle in Spanish. I know Milagro’s mom has seen her name come true in many times throughout her life, especially so several weeks ago at her graduation. Graduation day was full of presenting her work, judges results, dinner, along with mingling with teachers, friends and family. Milagros was quiet, humble and yet exuded confidence as she presented her model who had makeup, hair, nails, etc. all done by Milagros. Her teacher spoke for her to explain to the judges all Milagros had done. You could see communication had not been a problem between her friends and teachers.

When she went up to accept her diploma, there was not a dry eye at our table. God clearly has a plan for this girl. Now, we are trusting that God will lead her to a trusting employer. Because of her unique style of communication Milagros needs to have a secure place to work, a place where someone won’t take advantage of her. Pray that God will lead her to this place.

Introducing Back2Back’s Newest Site: Mazatlan, Mexico, by J.J. Lail, Director of Back2Back Mazatlan

November 18, 2011

Mazatlan, Mexico - Back2Back's Newest Site

The ever-growing statistic of 163 million orphans in the world tells us that there is plenty of work to be done to serve “the least of these.” Back2Back desires to not only be a
voice for orphan children but to also go where God leads to serve them directly. In the last year, God has been leading Back2Back to launch a new site in Mazatlan, Mexico,“The Pearl of the Pacific.”

The opportunity to serve in Mazatlan has come through our ministry partnership with Riverview Church in Lansing, Michigan, who has been supporting and taking trips to children’s homes in Mazatlan for a number of years.  As Back2Back has expanded its ministry sites, we have created a process for new site development, which is a strategic approach to thoroughly researching the site and prayerfully considering our calling there. Back2Back has taken two exploratory trips to the area and we feel like God has orchestrated and ordained our visits there. We know of six children’s homes in the Mazatlan area and have visited and begun relationships with the directors and caretakers in five of the six homes. The directors and caretakers all share a deep love of God and a deep desire for the children in their care to experience a brighter future. We have also made a connection with a social worker from the DIF, Mexico’s Department of Children’s Services.

Executive Director, Todd Guckenberger, JJ Lail and a friend of the ministry with directors of one of the children's homes that Back2Back Mazatlan will serve

On our most recent visit, we spent time with three pastors of local churches in Mazatlan. We are confident that we will be able to partner with these churches to help meet
the needs of orphans in Mazatlan. This fall, two boys from one of the children’s homes there, Rancho de los Niños, will be coming to Monterrey to be a part of the Hope Education Program. This fall, Back2Back is making decisions about staffing for the new site, contacting possible partners to champion the ministry in Mazatlan, taking another trip to Mazatlan to look for staff and mission team housing, and continuing the relationships with the children’s homes. The goal is to have staff on the ground at Back2Back Mazatlan the beginning of 2012 and hosting mission teams of up to twenty-five individuals.

If you have questions or would like to know more about how you can partner with Back2Back Mazatlan, please contact J.J. Lail at jlail@back2backministries.org or 513-250-8296.

Back2Back Ministries Accredited by National Financial Accountability Organization

November 7, 2011

MASON, OH  – The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) announced today the accreditation of Back2Back Ministries of Mason, OH.

ECFA accreditation is based on the ECFA Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship™, including financial accountability, transparency, sound board governance and ethical fundraising.

Back2Back Ministries joins a growing number of Christ-centered churches and ministries across America, supported by over 35 million donors that have earned the right to display the ECFA seal.  When an organization is accredited by ECFA, it demonstrates its willingness to follow the model of biblical accountability.

“We are pleased to include in our membership a ministry committed to being a voice for orphans and poverty stricken people,” said Dan Busby, president of ECFA.

Founded in 1996, Back2Back Ministries (www.back2backministries.org) exists to love and care for orphans and impoverished children by focusing on the whole child in meeting their physical, spiritual, educational, social and emotional needs that they may overcome their life circumstances and break free from the cycle of generational poverty, so each one experiences restoration to a life of purpose, becoming fulfilled, mature Christian adults.

To learn more about Back2Back Ministries and their stewardship opportunities, visit ServantMatch®, ECFA’s program that matches God’s servants with the stewardship options of ECFA members based on ministry sectors and categories.  It is ECFA’s newest online feature that allows you to quickly and easily find giving opportunities.

ECFA, founded in 1979, provides accreditation to leading Christian nonprofit organizations that faithfully demonstrate compliance with the ECFA Standards pertaining to financial accountability, fundraising and board governance.  For more information about ECFA, including information about accreditation and a listing of ECFA-accredited members, visit www.ECFA.org or call 1-800-323-9473.

Join Us in Honor of Orphan Sunday

November 4, 2011

November 6th is Orphan Sunday, a day created by the Christian Alliance for Orphans to honor the 163 million orphans in the world.  Below are a few thoughts from the Christian Alliance for Orphans.  For more information and resources, visit the Orphan Sunday website.

Back2Back supports the Christian Alliance for Orphans in a shared passion for caring for orphans.  The Christian Alliance for Orphans unites orphan-serving organizations and churches to ignite passion and build excellence for Christ-honoring orphan care, foster youth and adoption ministry.

Thoughts on Orphan Sunday from the Christian Alliance for Orphans

Orphan Sunday is November 6th.

On November 6, 2010, Christians will do something we’ve never done before. We’ll stand with a united voice across America and beyond for the orphan. Our prayer is that this Orphan Sunday will be remembered as the day that launched a revolution. Building on the many ways God is already stirring, local events across the country will help catalyze heart change…and action.  We anticipate hundreds of events that will touch thousands of lives. Clearly, God is calling many to a revolution in response to the Biblical mandate to care for His precious children. How will you be part of this historic day? An Orphan Sunday activity can be a Sunday morning sermon or prayer…the launch of an orphan initiative…a small group gathered to pray… a Sunday school class or youth group event.

Ten Ways Every Christian Can Care for the Orphan and Waiting Child, Thoughts from Hope for Orphans

1. PRAY for them

– Tape a waiting child’s picture to your dashboard and pray for the child every time you’re in a car. Visit AdoptUsKids.org or RainbowKids.com. Organize an evening prayer vigil at your church and pray for children in foster care or an orphanage overseas.

2. SPEAK UP for them

-Carry a waiting child’s picture and show it to other believers. Ask if they, or someone they know, would give this child a home. Become a court appointed special advocate for a child in foster care. Visit NationalCASA.org for details.

3. PROVIDE for their needs

-Give sacrificially to a reputable orphanage. Financial gifts can be designated for specific items and aid needed by orphans. Visit HelpOrphans.org for more information. Organize a drive in your church to collect school supplies for children in foster care or shoes for orphans overseas. Visit GainUSA.org or ShoesForOrphanSouls.org.

4. SUPPORT those who support them

– Mow, baby sit, or organize meals for a week for foster parents. Pray with them and tell them you appreciate what they do. Encourage a family adopting an older child by hosting a shower for them. Partner with an orphan care organization or ministry.

5. PROTECT them from harm

-Become a foster parent or emergency foster parent. Raise money to build a children’s home to help remove children from the streets. Visit WorldOrphans.org for details.  Support an existing children’s home.  Contact claire@back2backministries.org to find out how you can help!

6. VISIT them where they are

-Go on a mission trip to an orphanage as an individual or family.  Support reputable orphan care organizations on a regular basis.

7. GIVE sacrificially to them

-Contribute generously to an adoptive family to help offset their costs. Visit ShaohannahsHope.org or LifeSongForOrphans.org.

8. ENCOURAGE them to press on

– Sponsor a child, support them financially, and encourage them through your letters.  Contact Back2Back Ministries (513-754-0300) if you are interested in sponsoring one of the children that we serve. Become a mentor or tutor to a teenager in a foster group-home.

9. ADOPT them into your family

-Give a child a home through international, domestic, or foster care adoption. Adopt a young adult who has aged out of the system.

10. MOBILIZE your church for them

-Be a catalyst in your church for starting a sustained orphans ministry. Visit HopeForOrphans.org for resources and to learn more about attending a Your Church and the Orphan™ workshop.  Organize a church mission trip to serve at an orphange.

Join Us in Honor of Orphan Sunday

September 23, 2011

November 6th is Orphan Sunday, a day created by the Christian Alliance for Orphans to honor the 148 million orphans in the world.  Below are a few thoughts from the Christian Alliance for Orphans.  For more information and resources, visit the Orphan Sunday website.

Back2Back supports the Christian Alliance for Orphans in a shared passion for caring for orphans.  The Christian Alliance for Orphans unites orphan-serving organizations and churches to ignite passion and build excellence for Christ-honoring orphan care, foster youth and adoption ministry.

Thoughts on Orphan Sunday from the Christian Alliance for Orphans

Orphan Sunday is November 6th.

On November 6, 2010, Christians will do something we’ve never done before. We’ll stand with a united voice across America and beyond for the orphan. Our prayer is that this Orphan Sunday will be remembered as the day that launched a revolution. Building on the many ways God is already stirring, local events across the country will help catalyze heart change…and action.  We anticipate hundreds of events that will touch thousands of lives. Clearly, God is calling many to a revolution in response to the Biblical mandate to care for His precious children. How will you be part of this historic day? An Orphan Sunday activity can be a Sunday morning sermon or prayer…the launch of an orphan initiative…a small group gathered to pray… a Sunday school class or youth group event.

Ten Ways Every Christian Can Care for the Orphan and Waiting Child, Thoughts from Hope for Orphans

1. PRAY for them

– Tape a waiting child’s picture to your dashboard and pray for the child every time you’re in a car. Visit AdoptUsKids.org or RainbowKids.com. Organize an evening prayer vigil at your church and pray for children in foster care or an orphanage overseas.

2. SPEAK UP for them

-Carry a waiting child’s picture and show it to other believers. Ask if they, or someone they know, would give this child a home. Become a court appointed special advocate for a child in foster care. Visit NationalCASA.org for details.

3. PROVIDE for their needs

-Give sacrificially to a reputable orphanage. Financial gifts can be designated for specific items and aid needed by orphans. Visit HelpOrphans.org for more information. Organize a drive in your church to collect school supplies for children in foster care or shoes for orphans overseas. Visit GainUSA.org or ShoesForOrphanSouls.org.

4. SUPPORT those who support them

– Mow, baby sit, or organize meals for a week for foster parents. Pray with them and tell them you appreciate what they do. Encourage a family adopting an older child by hosting a shower for them. Partner with an orphan care organization or ministry.

5. PROTECT them from harm

-Become a foster parent or emergency foster parent. Raise money to build a children’s home to help remove children from the streets. Visit WorldOrphans.org for details.  Support an existing children’s home.  Contact claire@back2backministries.org to find out how you can help!

6. VISIT them where they are

-Go on a mission trip to an orphanage as an individual or family.  Support reputable orphan care organizations on a regular basis.

7. GIVE sacrificially to them

-Contribute generously to an adoptive family to help offset their costs. Visit ShaohannahsHope.org or LifeSongForOrphans.org.

8. ENCOURAGE them to press on

– Sponsor a child, support them financially, and encourage them through your letters.  Contact Back2Back Ministries (513-754-0300) if you are interested in sponsoring one of the children that we serve. Become a mentor or tutor to a teenager in a foster group-home.

9. ADOPT them into your family

-Give a child a home through international, domestic, or foster care adoption. Adopt a young adult who has aged out of the system.

10. MOBILIZE your church for them

-Be a catalyst in your church for starting a sustained orphans ministry. Visit HopeForOrphans.org for resources and to learn more about attending a Your Church and the Orphan™ workshop.  Organize a church mission trip to serve at an orphange.

Interested in an Internship with Back2Back?

September 16, 2011

Back2Back summer interns gain practical hands-on ministry experience by serving at our sites in Mexico, India and Nigeria.  Interns work alongside Back2Back staff members and assist behind-the-scenes to host summer mission trip groups.  Interns help to facilitate daily work projects at local orphanages and outreaches to impoverished communities, contributing to our mission of providing care for today and hope for tomorrow to orphans. The program includes discipleship and leadership training directed by Back2Back staff members.   Back2Back offers options in terms of length; selected candidates can request to intern for one-month or two-months.

All internship positions are unpaid.

The deadline for Mexico summer 2012 internship applications is October 21, 2011.  The deadline for Nigeria and India internship applications is October 7, 2011.

Interested? Email Chelsie Puterbaugh at chelsie@back2backministries.org to request an application for a Mexico internship.  Contact Chris Ramos at ramos@back2backministries.org to request an application for an India or Nigeria internship.
 
Hannah Cessler (far right), Back2Back India 2009 summer intern

Back2Back India summer intern ministers to local girls.

 
Back2Back 2009 intern spends time with a local girl in Nigeria

Back2Back Nigeria intern spends time with a local girl in Nigeria.

2009 Nigeria intern hanging out with a girl from the village near the Back2Back Nigeria base

A Nigeria intern spends time with a girl in the village near Back2Back Nigeria.

 
During a work project

Interns participate in crucial work projects at the children's homes we serve.

Spending time with the children

Interns make meaningful relationships with the children we serve.

One-on-one time with the children

Interns enjoy one-on-one time with the children we serve.

Working with “the Beautiful”, by Matt Cooper, Back2Back Cancun Staff

July 29, 2011

With each visiting missions team over the summer we had the privledge of partnered with Pastor Victor in his ministry out in Tres Reyes. The name of Vicotor’s church is “La Hermosa”, which means Beautiful – and for us it has been the beginning of a beautiful friendship with the pastor, with his church, and with the neighborhood.

Over the course of the summer we were able to tear out the hold floor, to back-fill the necessary areas, to pour a new concrete floor, to assist with resources for a temporary roof, and to help begin a new bathroom at the church. Each week we were there we also had a chance to visit with neighbors and invite kids back for the church’s children’s program. When we invited kids back we had a chance to do songs, games, some skits, and provide them with an afternoon meal.
What I think I loved most about the summer was getting to see more of pastor Victor’s heart and passion for the Lord, and for the lost of Tres Reyes. I loved seeing that God encouraged him through the support, and through the relationship. And I love that God is smiling upon this little place called Beautiful!

Introducing Back2Back’s 2011-2012 Theme

May 31, 2011

This year, Back2Back is exploring the idea that God is the true Source of Living Water. We’re asking ourselves and our visiting short-term groups, “What source do we tap into when we have come to the end of ourselves?”  Join us as we discover what it means to draw from Living Water in our own lives and offer it those around us in our communities. Take a peek at our new Bible Study here.

Partner with us through Prayer

May 13, 2011

Children at El Limon Children's Home spend time in prayer

We invite you to partner with us by joining us in prayer for our ministry.  Find a list of current prayer needs by ministry location below.

CANCUN, MEXICO

-God’s grace and great things to happen here for our first summer of ministry ever!

-For revival in the city of Cancun.

-For changed hearts in us, in those we serve, and in those who come alongside us over the next few months.

-For continued guidance as we move into some partnerships with local pastors in their areas of outreach.

-For God’s provision for the right volunteers, the right staff, the right facilities, and the financial resources to make it all happen!

 MONTERREY, MEXICO

-Pray for God’s continued protection and provision for Back2Back staff and ministry sites as we draw on His wisdom, continuing to exercise safety precautions that reflect the conditions around us. Pray for God’s wisdom to fill government leaders in Mexico who are working to end drug trafficking and further improve the safety of its guests and citizenry.

-Pray for God to meet the groups that are coming this summer in every aspect of their trip, from fund raising to their time in Monterrey. Pray for every moment to be fruitful in their lives and in the lives of those they will serve.

-Pray for all the focus areas of our ministry, specifically as we work for the development of each child holistically and for our local partnerships that are key in what we do.

-Pray for the staff in Monterrey. Pray for the families moving back to the States, and for the staff that will be reporting soon.

– Pray for all the house parents in the Hope Education Program to have wisdom and new ways to connect with their teens in order to lead them to freedom in Christ.

 HYDERABAD, INDIA

-For more staff in India!

– We are currently in the process of enrolling many of the children we serve in private schools. Pray that they will be granted admission.  Please also pray that we can provide tuition fees, text books, and uniforms and find tutors to help them particularly with their English skills.

-Pray for the directors of the childrens’ homes.

 JOS, NIGERIA

– Pray for the children attending our English Program. They are one parent orphans living in a rural village. Pray they would improve their grammar skills and be ready for learning how to read this summer.

-Pray as we build infrastructure and relationships inside the community center with the youth. We currently have one male Bible study and we are starting a female one this summer. Pray a female leader in the community would be raised up to lead the other women.

-Pray the Lord would provide more staff to join our team! We have big vision and need the manpower to sustain it!

The Joy of Reading, by Jim Betscher, Back2Back Mexico Staff

May 10, 2011

We recently completed remodeling the library at Casa Hogar Douglas. This children’s home for over seventy kids now has a very nice library made possible by a donation from The Rotary Club International and the tireless efforts of many of our ministry volunteers.

I recently read that 94% of the municipalities of Mexico don’t have a library. The reader index for Mexico is the lowest in Latin America. Back2Back is eager to help each child develop a love for reading and ultimately provide them with opportunities to improve academically. I am so excited that these kids will have an opportunity to benefit from the blessing this library will be!

Join the Relentless Hope Online Book Discussion!

April 12, 2011

Join us for an online weekly book discussion of Back2Back Director, Beth Guckenberger’s, latest book, Relentless Hope (Standard Publishing). This story-driven book delivers honest testimonies from unique voices. The discussion will start on Tuesday, April 26th on the Back2Back Facebook Fan Page.  A new video from Beth will be posted each Tuesday. Check the Back2Back Fan Page on April 26th for the first video from Beth in this special series!

Pick up your copy of Relentless Hope today!

April 1, 2011

Enjoy hearing Back2Back director, Beth Guckenberger, speak?

Be sure to pick-up a copy of her newly released book, Relentless Hope, today! This story-driven book delivers honest testimonies from unique voices whose stories are living and real. They don’t all have the “happy endings,” but they all carry truth and hope. Available at your local Christian bookstore and online retailers.

Post a Review of Back2Back!

February 25, 2011

Back2Back has joined greatnonprofits.org. Please click on the link below and take a second to post a review of Back2Back!

Give a Life-Changing Gift to an Orphan in Need

November 29, 2010

This Christmas, give a life-changing gift to an orphan in need.  Choose from dozens of items in our gift catalog to help the children that Back2Back serves in Mexico, Nigeria and India!  Your gift will make a lasting impact in the life of a child this Christmas.  This is a great way for individuals, families and churches to celebrate the true spirit of the Christmas season!

If you did not receive our Christmas gift catalog, please contact us at 513-754-0300 and we will be happy to send one to you.


Last Day to Bid on Carl Edward’s Memorabilia to Benefit Back2Back

November 15, 2010

Today is the last day to enter the Copart.com charity auction of Nascar driver, Carl Edwards’ Harley Davidson motorcycle, firesuit, race car hood, and autographed pit crew shirt! All proceeds to benefit Back2Back Ministries! Register for FREE at copart.com to bid on Carl Edwards’ gear before it is too late!

Send a message of hope this Christmas season!

November 12, 2010

Back2Back Ministries is pleased to offer Christmas cards that reflect God’s message of hope for orphans and His promise to hear their cry and lift them up from their distress. Proceeds from the purchase of this card will help Back2Back Ministries as they provide care for today and hope for tomorrow to orphans in need.

Three Ways to Place an Order

1. To pay by credit card call 513.754.0300 Monday through Friday between 9am and 3pm EST

2. Or, mail a check noting the desired number of sets in the memo line to: Christmas Cards, Back2Back Ministries, P.O. Box 70, Mason, OH 45040. Please add $4.95 shipping for one set or $10.35 shipping for 2-13 sets to your donation. Unless otherwise specified, cards will be shipped to the address listed on your check.

3. If you prefer, you can avoid shipping charges by picking up your cards from our office during regular business hours, at 8118 Corporate Way, Suite 201, Mason, OH, 45040. We recommend calling ahead (513.754.0300) to ensure someone will be available to assist you.

Join Us in Honor of Orphan Sunday

October 27, 2010

November 7th is Orphan Sunday, a day created by the Christian Alliance for Orphans to honor the 148 million orphans in the world.  Below are a few thoughts from the Christian Alliance for Orphans.  For more information and resources, visit the Orphan Sunday website.

Back2Back supports the Christian Alliance for Orphans in a shared passion for caring for orphans.  The Christian Alliance for Orphans unites orphan-serving organizations and churches to ignite passion and build excellence for Christ-honoring orphan care, foster youth and adoption ministry.

On Sunday, November 7th, Beth Guckenberger will be sharing a special message about orphan care at Northstar Vineyard Church in Loveland, Ohio at 9am and 10:30am.  Northstar Vineyard meets at the Loveland High School at 1 Tiger Trail, Loveland, Oh 45140.  All are welcome to attend.

Thoughts on Orphan Sunday from the Christian Alliance for Orphans

Orphan Sunday is November 7th.

On November 7, 2010, Christians will do something we’ve never done before. We’ll stand with a united voice across America and beyond for the orphan. Our prayer is that this Orphan Sunday will be remembered as the day that launched a revolution. Building on the many ways God is already stirring, local events across the country will help catalyze heart change…and action. Already, we see hints of revolution in these numbers: over 50 excellent Christian organizations have united behind the movement; more than 75 volunteer coordinators are promoting efforts across the U.S. We anticipate hundreds of events that will touch thousands of lives. Clearly, God is calling many to a revolution in response to the Biblical mandate to care for His precious children. How will you be part of this historic day? An Orphan Sunday activity can be a Sunday morning sermon or prayer…the launch of an orphan initiative…a small group gathered to pray… a Sunday school class or youth group event.

Ten Ways Every Christian Can Care for the Orphan and Waiting Child, Thoughts from Hope for Orphans

1. PRAY for them

– Tape a waiting child’s picture to your dashboard and pray for the child every time you’re in a car. Visit AdoptUsKids.org or RainbowKids.com. Organize an evening prayer vigil at your church and pray for children in foster care or an orphanage overseas.

2. SPEAK UP for them

-Carry a waiting child’s picture and show it to other believers. Ask if they, or someone they know, would give this child a home. Become a court appointed special advocate for a child in foster care. Visit NationalCASA.org for details.

3. PROVIDE for their needs

-Give sacrificially to a reputable orphanage. Financial gifts can be designated for specific items and aid needed by orphans. Visit HelpOrphans.org for more information. Organize a drive in your church to collect school supplies for children in foster care or shoes for orphans overseas. Visit GainUSA.org or ShoesForOrphanSouls.org.

4. SUPPORT those who support them

– Mow, baby sit, or organize meals for a week for foster parents. Pray with them and tell them you appreciate what they do. Encourage a family adopting an older child by hosting a shower for them. Partner with an orphan care organization or ministry.

5. PROTECT them from harm

-Become a foster parent or emergency foster parent. Raise money to build a children’s home to help remove children from the streets. Visit WorldOrphans.org for details.  Support an existing children’s home.  Contact Back2Back Ministries to find out how you can help (513-754-0300).

6. VISIT them where they are

-Go on a mission trip to an orphanage as an individual or family.  Support reputable orphan care organizations on a regular basis.

7. GIVE sacrificially to them

-Contribute generously to an adoptive family to help offset their costs. Visit ShaohannahsHope.org or LifeSongForOrphans.org.

8. ENCOURAGE them to press on

– Sponsor a child, support them financially, and encourage them through your letters.  Contact Back2Back Ministries (513-754-0300) if you are interested in sponsoring one of the children that we serve. Become a mentor or tutor to a teenager in a foster group-home.

9. ADOPT them into your family

-Give a child a home through international, domestic, or foster care adoption. Adopt a young adult who has aged out of the system.

10. MOBILIZE your church for them

-Be a catalyst in your church for starting a sustained orphans ministry. Visit HopeForOrphans.org for resources and to learn more about attending a Your Church and the Orphan™ workshop.  Organize a church mission trip to serve at an orphange.

NASCAR Driver, Carl Edwards, and Copart Team Up to Auction Edwards’ Harley Davidson Motorcycle and Race Memorabilia to Benefit Back2Back Ministries’ Orphan Care Program

October 25, 2010

Carl Edwards with his XR1200TM Harley Davidson Sportster, which he is auctioning online to benefit Back2Back.

Copart, Inc., a leading online vehicle auction company, today announced it is teaming up with Roush Fenway Racing driver, Carl Edwards, for a promotion and online auction of his personal memorabilia.  Carl Edwards intends to donate all proceeds from the auction to benefit Back2Back Ministries’ orphan care program in Monterrey, Mexico. Back2Back Ministries is a non-profit organization that provides for orphans and impoverished families around the world with locations in Monterrey and Cancun, Mexico, Jos, Nigeria and Hyderabad, India.

“This partnership is an exciting way for Copart to support Back2Back,” said Todd Guckenberger, Executive Director of Back2Back Ministries.  “While they promote their auction via their social networking program, they are raising enormous amounts of visibility for our organization and helping to meet the practical needs of the orphaned children we serve.”

“We are incredibly proud to be the connecting piece of the puzzle in this campaign to support Back2Back Ministries,” said Copart CEO Jay Adair. “The opportunity to serve as the vehicle between Carl Edwards and Back2Back in raising money for this charity is tremendous and demonstrates a core value that we at Copart stand for.”

Both Copart and Back2Back Ministries will use social networking platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogging and other viral marketing tactics to help drive people to the charity auction and sweepstakes, where they can become Copart.com members for free.  Once a member, fans will be able to bid on items that include Edwards’ used fire suit, autographed pit crew uniform, a hood off the No. 60 Copart Ford that Edwards raced in Nashville this season, and a Harley Davidson that Edwards won at the Nationwide Road America race in June.

“Sitting at the drivers meeting in Road America, they showed all of the drivers this really cool looking motorcycle that the winner of the race would win,” said Carl Edwards.  “I knew that if I won the race, that motorcycle would be mine. So, I was talking to a friend of mine, Lonnie Clouse who serves orphans through Back2Back Ministries, about selling the bike if I won and giving the proceeds to his orphanage. After we talked about, I was thinking about how I was going to sell this motorcycle. Luckily, I have the perfect sponsor to sell a vehicle online and raise money. This is a perfect case of everything falling into place and I’m really proud of working with Copart in order to make this happen.”

The live online auction will occur on November 15, 2010 at Copart.com, but fans can start placing their maximum bids today. Bid at copart.com or by visiting the sweepstakes section of Copart’s Facebook fan page.

You are Invited to Back2Back Ministries’ Fall Fundraising Dinner

October 20, 2010

Cincinnati Friends: Back2Back Ministries’ Fall Fundraising Dinner is on Thursday, November 11th at 6pm in West Chester, Ohio at the Savannah House. Join us as we explore the various Back2Back ministry sites and hear how Back2Back is providing care to orphans around the globe. $75/per person. To RSVP or for more information, contact Diane Siemer at dsiemer@back2backministries.org

Building Roads, by Will Reed, Back2Back Nigeria Staff

October 15, 2010

A couple weeks ago I worked at another Back2Back staffers house digging a trench and clearing some big rocks/sand. As I cleared it from the yard I would take it to the street to fill in the big holes and ruts that force us to drive very slowly on our road. As I repeated this sequence of cleaning to “build the road” I realized this is something we are going to be doing for some time to come in a figurative way.

A lot of the things Back2Back is doing here in Jos require us to figuratively “build roads” to reach people. Theresa (Back2Back staff member and my wife) will be building roads to reach children through education. Each encounter she has with the students will help her earn their trust and know them better. As I spend time with the people in the Kisayhip Village where we serve I will do the same thing. We will not be able to love the people we are here to serve unless we are willing to “build roads” to reach them.

This process of building roads takes time. After putting several loads of dirt and rocks on one spot in the road a car would drive over it and pack it all down, still lower than it needed to be. It took several more loads to get it where it should be.

As a staff we are excited to continue to take the time of building these roads, whether literally or figuratively. Please pray with us that God gives us the patience endurance it requires.

Join us at Back2Back’s Fall Fundraising Dinner

October 6, 2010

Cincinnati Friends: Back2Back Ministries’ Fall Fundraising Dinner is on Thursday, November 11th at 6pm in West Chester, Ohio at the Savannah House. Join us as we explore the various Back2Back ministry sites and hear how Back2Back is providing care to orphans around the globe. $75/per person. To RSVP or for more information, contact Diane Siemer at dsiemer@back2backministries.org


Celebrating Milestones, by Claire Rogers, Back2Back US Staff

September 29, 2010

Saul, Marcos, and Omar on graduation day

Congratulations to our recent high school and college graduates! Through the Hope Education Program, Saul and Omar recently graduated from college, with Saul earning a law degree and Omar receiving a degree in Computer Systems.  Marcos, Katya and Perla graduated from high school.  Many of these students are the first in their family to attend and graduate from high school and college.

Last weekend, Back2Back staff cheered them on as they stood alongside their classmates to receive their diplomas.  We are so proud of their success and are eager to continue to support them as they pursue their career goals. Thank you for joining with us by investing in their future through the Hope Education Program!

Through the Hope Education Program, Back2Back offers students from Mexican children’s homes a way to continue their education when free public school ends at ninth grade. The students stay on the Back2Back campus in homes with staff families, experiencing a healthy family life, perhaps for the very first time. Students are mentored, provided with an education, and encouraged to pursue their dreams so that they can become self-sustaining individuals who give back to their community. Only 4% of Mexicans complete college; those who do will become the leaders of tomorrow, forever shaping the direction of their country.

For more information on contributing to the Hope Program, please contact the Back2Back US office at 513-754-0300.

Mexico Celebrates 200 Years of Independence, by Hope Maglich, Back2Back Mexico Staff

September 20, 2010

For weeks, the streets of Monterrey have shimmered red, white, and green as vendors have displayed their flags, t-shirts, streamers, and noisemakers on the sides of the roads.  Monterrey has been a bustle of activity with concerts, plays, and movies about the bicentennial of Mexico’s independence from Spain and the centennial celebration of the Mexican revolution.  September 15th, 2010 was quite a day in Mexico!

For Back2Back, our festivities started at Casa Hogar Douglas. Staff, children, caretakers, and two American mission groups gathered in the Douglas courtyard dressed in red, white, and green, ready for the ceremony and celebration! Several of the older children, dressed in uniform, marched the Mexican flag into the center of the courtyard for the anthem to be sung. Then Daniela, from Douglas, led the children in the student promise to the flag. Together as a community we sang the state of Nuevo Leon anthem and waited for the climax of it all, “El Grito”.

Traditionally, the 15th of September is referred to as “El Grito” (the cry).  Two hundred years ago in the village of Dolores (near Mexico City) on September 15th at 11:00pm a priest named Miguel Hidalgo gave the shout to the people to take up arms and fight for Mexico’s independence.  This started the 11 years of war with Spain for what is now the country of Mexico.

In Independence Day celebrations, traditionally the mayor or governor of the town will give the cry to the people just as Hidalgo did many years ago.  At Casa Hogar Douglas, one of our teens and a member of the Hope Education Program, Leo, who were dressed in traditional “charro” costume, gave the historic cry to the children, Back2Back staff, and group members participating with us. All around echoed the response to each phrase Leo spoke, “Viva Mexico, viva Mexico, viva Mexico!”

With excitement high, Casa Hogar Douglas director, Pastor Javiar, stood up and spoke about how as believers we are called “the city of God” and how the greatest independence we have is that of freedom and liberty that is found in Christ. Together as a community, we thanked God for the freedom and grace he has showered on us.

The rest of the evening was celebrated with a Mexican buffet and a carnival for the children! Little red, white, and green bodies were everywhere as they waited for their turn to play games, eat tacos, and win prizes!

Later that night, we put on a special event for our teenagers in the Hope Education Program. We celebrated their country’s heritage with them with a decorated palapa, virgin pina coladas, and the events in downtown Mexico City projected on the big screen.  Together at 11:00pm, we watched President Calderon give the grito shout from the Zocalo and the amazing festivities happening in Mexico City. We also had the fun of shooting off our own fireworks on campus! The teens loved it, as did the staff! We finished with salsa dancing into the night.

It was amazing to experience Mexico’s bicentennial here in the country and even more exciting to celebrate with the children and teens such an important part of their heritage. Viva Mexico!

A Fresh Start: New Students Enter the Hope Education Program, by Kelly Velasco, Back2Back Mexico Staff

August 24, 2010

Yesterday, we welcomed ten new teens into the Hope Education Program.

Top Row (L to R): Jaime, Adan, Mario, Camilo, Jovani; Bottom Row (L to R): Yadira, Selene, Yaquelin, Shirley, Shannon

Through the Hope Education Program, we offer students from children’s homes a way to continue their education when free public school ends at ninth grade. The students stay on the Back­2Back campus in homes with staff families (house parents), experiencing a healthy family life. Students are mentored, provided with an education, and encouraged to pursue their dreams so that they can become self-sustaining individuals.

Selene, Shirly and Shannen are the three new girls living in the Hope House, the home where my husband and I live as house parents.

(Left to right) Selene, Shirley & Shannon

They are from Villa de Juarez and Manantial de Amor. Selene is fifteen years old and the other two girls are sixteen. They started high school yesterday. They are easing into their new transition and as they say, their new life is “super chido” which means “way cool”.

The John House welcomed Jesus Mario “Chuy” from Douglas, Adan and Camilo from Imperio de Amor, and Jaime (a.k.a. “Jimmy”) from the government orphanage DIF Capullos.

Mario (Chuy)

Adan

Camilo

Jaime

Jovani, who is from Galeana, will be living in the Joseph House with Juan and Rosa Porta.

Jovani

The boys walked into their new homes and didn’t skip a beat. They are the new kids on campus along with three other students in the Esther and Joseph Houses. Already, they are being faced with the challenge of learning how to navigate the public transportation system to and from their new schools. They are attending schools with some of Monterrey’s wealthiest families and are being challenged to compete academically and blend in socially with this new crowd. Additionally, they are learning to manage new jobs on and off campus to help pay for their transportation. As house parents, we are excited to say that the seasoned veteran students in the Hope Program have extended a warm welcome to the new kids on campus and are showing them the ropes. As house parents, we are full of anticipation, eager to see how the Lord will use us and the teens who we have already invested in to shape and mold the new students. We are hopeful that with the start of an education, the love of a family environment, and the encouragement of other believers, that these seeds have landed on fertile soil ready to grow.

Hurricane Alex Update, by Beth Guckenberger, Back2Back Mexico Staff

July 22, 2010

Thank you for your immediate response to our pressing repair and relief needs here in Monterrey, as a result of Hurricane Alex.  As a staff, we have been praying that we would be available in the aftermath of the storm to meet people’s emotional and physical needs.

Thank you for joining us as:
1. We have begun repairs to the Back2Back campus.  We are repairing both existing water damage (to the roads, dorms, walls, etc…), as well as reinforcing existing systems (water drainage, septic systems) so that in the event that we were to have a similar tragedy in the future, our systems would be better able to handle it.



2. We have been providing daily meals to families in Rio 3, an impoverished community that we serve. We have been coming alongside ministry partners in the area, such as Olga and her family, as they have been meeting the needs of the estimated 1,000 homeless individuals in the Rio. This has required both financial and human resources. The rebuilding will be continuing for a while, but with your help, we have been able to offer food, medicine, water and building supplies.

Families line up to receive a meal

A child from the Rio enjoying her lunch

3. In the other Rio communities that we serve (Cadereyta and Meme’s Rio), we have provided meals, clean water, cleaning crews, encouragement and help as they clean out their homes.  The jobs of many in the communities have been impacted by the rain (they collect or recycle garbage for example).  As a result, many have experienced weeks without employment. The staff has been attentive to those needs and grateful for your contributions.

Back2Back staff member, Jim Betscher, shows families in the Rio how to purify their water using Pur water filtration packets

A family receives a food package from Back2Back staff

Connecting with a woman from the Rio during the clothing giveaway

A woman receives a new outfit at a Back2Back clothing giveaway

Clean-up crews salvage damaged items from homes flooded during the hurricane

Hurricane clean-up crews help a family in the Rio pull their car out of the mud

4. Our children’s homes have all been visited by staff and summer groups and most of the clean-up is completed.  The majority of them experienced little physical damage, just water damage and the inconvenience of clean-up.  We have found ourselves continually grateful for God’s protection during the storm.

The hurricane and its effects are still talked about daily in the city.  You can’t drive anywhere without seeing the effect on roads and bridges.  We have been praying and are mindful of our responsibility to speak truth and use this experience to strengthen our own faith, our understanding of the Lord and our relationships with those we serve. Thank you for continually giving us the tools we need to reach out to the community.

You are invited . . .

July 22, 2010

Back2Back Ministries Hurricane Alex Prayer Service

WHEN: Thursday, July 22nd – 7:00 – 8:30

WHERE: Vineyard Community Church Chapel

11340 Century Circle East
Cincinnati, OH 45246-3316

As you may know, Monterrey, Mexico was hit hard by 40 inches of rain as a result of Hurricane Alex two weeks ago.  The Back2Back Mexico campus sustained fairly significant damage.  The Rio communities (squatters villages) where Back2Back serves also suffered greatly.  Flooding from this storm has presented significant challenges in the communities and children’s homes where we serve.

We want to invite those in Greater Cincinnati to gather in support of Back2Back.  The evening will consist of:

– a time of praise and worship

– some pictures and information on the impact of the storm on Back2Back

– a time of prayer for the overall ministry of Back2Back and for some very specific prayer requests directly from the staff in Monterrey

– a video update and (and internet access in Monterrey permitting)  a Live Video Skype call directly with Back2Back Mexico staff

Thank You for Your Support!

July 15, 2010

Thank you for your support and prayers in the aftermath of Hurricane Alex.  A few thoughts from Back2Back Directors, Todd & Beth Guckenberger . . .

Please Donate: Hurricane Alex Recovery Fund

July 5, 2010

The drive leading into the Back2Back Monterrey, Mexico campus

The bridge out of the Back2Back Monterrey campus on the south side of the property.

The result of 40” of rain in 36 hours last week has been devastating to our Monterrey, Mexico campus.  It has created additional burdens for the children’s homes, Cadareyta and the Rio areas that Back2Back serves. We are continuing to assess the damages and expect more will be uncovered in the days and weeks ahead.

Rio III suffered great devestation from Hurricane Alex

Back2Back staff has been providing regular meals for hundreds in the Rio III community, since it was devestated by Hurricane Alex

Words can never fully express our gratitude for the generosity of the many supporters who have faithfully joined with our ministry over the years to provide for the needs of the children and families we care for in Mexico, Nigeria and India.

Our current situation in Monterrey, Mexico is unique and your extraordinary help is needed.  A recovery fund has been established and we’re asking for your generosity in order to specifically provide for the substantial rebuilding that will take months to complete.

This fund will allow the accumulation of necessary financial resources and the greatest amount of flexibility in how and where we deploy, based on needs uncovered, weather, skilled worker availability, etc.

To donate online, please click on (or cut/paste into your web browser) the following link https://donations.back2backministries.org/ and indicate your donation for “Mexico Hurricane Relief.” Donations by checks payable to Back2Back Ministries should be sent to: Back2Back Ministries, P. O. Box 70, Mason, OH  45040.

As we learn more about the children, the caregivers and families we care for in and around Monterrey, we will do our best to update our website and blog. Please continue to pray for their safety and protection, as well as for our staff and families who live in Monterrey.

Thank you.

All donations are tax deductible. Contributions are solicited with the understanding that Back2Back Ministries has complete discretion and control over the use of all donated funds.

Additional Hurricane Alex Update

July 2, 2010

In our efforts to keep families of Back2Back trip members updated, we wanted to provide the latest information on the storm that has reached Monterrey, Mexico.

Teams from Peninsula Covenant, North Cincinnati and Northstar Vineyard are all safely on their way home today. The remaining team from Four Corners/Siemer are safe and will be traveling home tomorrow afternoon. Interns are being re-booked and will be arriving home as early as Sunday.

We are so very grateful to each of our team members, staff and families who have endured an amazing amount of water and the inconveniences that resulted.  We are grateful to all of our supporters and the friends and the families of those members who have been praying since this storm took hold of Monterrey almost two days ago.  Most of all we are grateful to God who has kept our groups, staff and families safe.

As we learn more about the children, the caregivers and families we care for in and around Monterrey, we will do our best to update our website and blog. Please continue to pray for their safety and protection, as well as for our staff and families who live in Monterrey.

The financial impact of this storm on the children’s homes, the squatters’ villages, and our own facilities will be significant. As you feel led, we will be grateful for any additional donations, no matter how small.

Thank you for your continued prayers.

a street by the Back2Back campus

Latest Hurricane Alex Update

July 2, 2010

In our efforts to keep families of Back2Back trip members updated, we wanted to provide the latest information on the storm that has reached Monterrey, Mexico.

First and most importantly, all teams, staff and our families in Monterrey are safe.

Because of the heavy rainfall, areas of Monterrey have experienced flooding and the Mexican authorities have closed travel on some key roadways except for police and emergency vehicles. Consequently we are unable to transport the teams scheduled to depart today to the airport in Monterrey.  The flooding is also requiring us to cancel the groups that were scheduled to arrive tomorrow.

We are attempting to reach the airlines and working with our travel agent to assist in finding alternative flights for departures as early as possible, which at this point we believe will be tomorrow (Saturday).

Remember – all teams, staff and our families in Monterrey are safe.

We will continue to update our website and blog as often as important new information becomes available.

Please continue to pray for the details that may need to come together as a result of the rains and flight delays.

New Back2Back Site in Cancun, by Julie Cooper, Back2Back Mexico Staff

June 24, 2010

This fall, Back2Back will be expanding, by opening a second site in Mexico, specifically in Cancun.  Staff will help in the fight against human rights violations against children and provide “care for today, hope for tomorrow” to orphans in need.  Below, Julie Cooper, who will be heading up this site with her husband, Matt, explains how the idea began:

My husband, Matt, with two siblings from San Jose Children's Home in Cancun, during a visit to the area in March.

I want to share with you a little bit of the story behind us going to Cancun. This won’t cover every angle but mostly that which involves us personally. In the fall of 2008, one of our SMCA (the school on campus) teachers held a fundraiser to help an organization that works in areas where human rights are being violated. I was interested to learn more about this organization so I visited their web site to see what kind of work they were involved in. I was struck by an article about the great need in Cancun and how poor and street children are at incredible risk there. It just kind of became a burden to me. I thought a lot about the kids and their needs and began to wonder if Back2Back could maybe someday be “back to back” with the work that was going on in this city.

Later in the fall of 2009, Back2Back decided that it was time to branch out and begin work in another Mexican city. By this time, I had shared with pretty much everyone what I had read about Cancun.  However, back in the US office while researching options, our team was unable to find even a word about Cancun on this organization’s web site. Apparently, they don’t even work there! Whatever it was that I read over a year ago, was clearly God’s way of bringing this area of Mexico to our attention. Many associate Cancun with beaches and hotels – not with the thousands of children in need. Some are living in children’s home but many, many more are at home unsupervised while mom is gone twelve hours a day trying to earn a living working in one of the hotels. Older kids often turn to the streets.  Below is first-hand insight into the situation in Cancun, as reported by Chris Hawley,  of Republic Mexico City Bureau:

Cancun is a place of brilliant turquoise waters and cool white sand, tropical breezes and icy margaritas, glittering hotels and immaculate streets. That’s the Cancun seen by some 4.6 million visitors a year, making this tiny island one of the world’s biggest tourist destinations, a major source of cash for Mexico and the model for new resorts from Tunisia to Thailand.

But there’s another Cancun just beyond Kilometer Zero, the place on Kukulcan Avenue where the vaunted Hotel Zone ends. And things are not so idyllic there. It’s a city of 500,000 struggling with the social ills of a frontier boomtown: crime and poverty, drugs and gangs, political unrest . . . It’s a place of gritty “superblocks” where hotel workers live in cinder-block houses, and of even poorer areas where squatters build shanties out of scrap wood and old advertising banners.

“If the tourists knew where we live, they’d understand what Cancun is really like,” said María Eternidad Jiménez Orinano, standing in the door of her scrap-metal home in the Tekach neighborhood.

Back2Back will work to meet the needs of the children in the area and offer opportunities for short-term mission teams to partner with us as we serve.

God has worked in His own time and I am encouraged by that as I think about the obstacles that still stand in our way. I’m going to write about it in my journal right now, so that next year I can look back again at our faithful God who supplies all of our needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus and see how He was again faithful!

Half of a Bologna Sandwich, by Brian Bertke, Back2Back US Staff

June 3, 2010

Since my first trip to Haiti in April, I have been thinking about a boy I met in the garbage dump.

This is the garbage dump community where we served.

A boy who lives in the dump, overlooking the community.

The organization that we are considering a partnership with, Jesus in Haiti, has a feeding program in the dump, and it is often the only meal that the children there will receive for the day.  The sad thing is, I don’t even remember this boy’s name.  However, he has had such a profound impact on my life, in terms of what I am willing to sacrifice so that I might be able to serve others at a higher level.

When we first pulled into the dump, we were surrounded by people who were pushing their way towards our truck, jockeying for position so that they could be first in line to receive a meal.  I must say that I can’t blame their urgency and their pushing and shoving.  If I knew that the only food that I would receive that day was in our truck, I too would be pushing my way up front to receive my meal.  When people are desperate to survive, they will resort to behavior that we might not otherwise condone.

When we got out of the truck, we waited to serve everyone their one bologna sandwich.   We wanted the crowd to calm down and we also wanted to have a chance to meet some of the children and adults that we would serve.  I ended up being with a group of young boys, judging from their size, they were probably seven to nine years old.  We started an impromptu game of “soccer” using a rusty can as a ball.  We weren’t really trying to score goals, but wanted to see who could keep control of the can the longest, seeing who had the better foot skill.  I was at a great disadvantage; these boys were quick and aggressive, attributes that come in handy when you live in a dump.

When we finished our game, it was time to serve lunch.  I felt bad for these boys, they were so thin, and some didn’t even have shoes as they walked on top of broken glass and rusty metal.  As I watched one of the boys that I had met that morning, he was different than some of the older boys at the dump.  He was still meek and kind.  The harsh life that he was subjected to day after day had not yet changed this boy’s heart.  I was truly impressed by him and his gentle nature.

Me with my friend

As he waited patiently for his sandwich, I felt a tremendous amount of compassion for him.  I went over and carefully handed him one of my breakfast bars, not wanting to draw attention from the older boys.  I didn’t want him to be put into any danger for having extra food; he quickly put the bar in his pocket as he gave me a quick hug and a smile.

When it was finally his turn to be served, I handed him his sandwich and that is when my life lesson happened.  My new friend immediately took his sandwich, his only meal of the day, and ripped it in half, offering me the other half.  I was stunned.  How could someone who has nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing, be so willing to share the very food that he needs to survive?

As much as I appreciated his offer, I couldn’t deny him his food.  I gave my half back to him, letting him know how much I appreciated his offer.  As I stood there with him, watching him eat, I wasn’t quite sure what to do with his kind gesture.  Here I was, thinking that I was the one there to serve, and instead, he was serving me.  Not by offering me just food for my stomach, but also food for my soul.

I have thought of that young boy a hundred times since I have been home.  I feel God probing my heart, my mind, my willingness to share the possessions that I have.  Possessions that are really God’s that He has graciously given me, but somehow, I have laid claim to them as my own.  I can feel God asking me what I would have done if I was in that little boy’s situation.  Would I have ripped my sandwich in half?  Am I willing to sacrifice more and more of myself, my possessions, and my life for the sake of others?  Do I love God enough to let go of the possessions that I am clutching onto in this world, so that He can fill me up with those things that matter in His world…love, peace, kindness, forgiveness and gentleness?

As Back2Back is praying about Haiti and what role we may have in this desperate country, I have been thinking a lot about my new friend in the dump.  As God continues to expand our ministry into new areas of the world, I know that we can only do this, if we are willing to give more of ourselves.  When I ask God how we can possibly serve more and more of His children, He reminds me that it is up to me.  Am I willing to share my sandwich?