Archive for the ‘Programs’ Category

Bringing the Joy of Reading to Children in Cancun, by Julie Mowery, Back2Back Cancun, Mexico Staff

May 24, 2012

This month we rolled out MERC…our Mobile Education Resource Center.  We are so excited to see the kids participating in this program and are slowly building our library of books through contributions and gifts. We would also like to add other resources to the program, including educational games, manipulatives and laptops. Laptops would allow us to use educational software as another teaching tool, and to teach the kids computer skills.

Jorge (9) from Casa Hogar San Jose practices reading aloud.

Years and years of taking Eliza and Nick to the library and checking out tons of books is paying off in really neat ways.  Lending libraries are very rare in Mexico, and we do not have any in this area. We’ve been collecting books for the past few months and I really didn’t know how the kids would respond, but they love it!

Beti (9) was so excited about the new books that she couldn’t
decide which she wanted to check out.

In addition to allowing them to check out 2-3 books at a time, we also have read-aloud times, both one-on-one and in a large group. In addition to helping the kids learn to read and learn to enjoy good stories, it’s also a great time for teams to interact with the kids on a more personal level.

A mission trip participant reads to Beti

Sandy (14) is reading Loco Amor (Crazy Love) by Fancis Chan.

We are very excited about adding more resources to the MERC to expand the program. If you are interested in helping build our library, please contact the Back2Back home office.

 

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Children of God, by Theresa Reed, Back2Back Nigeria Staff

February 3, 2012

Image

The other day one of my students, Jeremiah, asked if I would give him a red pen. I knew he needed it for school, so I gave him one of the many pens that have been donated to the Education Center. He smiled really big and said, “Auntie, thank you!! You always give me the things that I ask for”. I don’t really know what I asked this, but immediately I asked him, “Why do you think I give you those things?”. Without flinching he answered, “Because you are my Auntie.”

His response got me thinking. He claimed his relationship to me to be the reason why I give him things. I started to think about how much more a father desires to provide for his children and give them good things when they ask. A father longs to provide for the needs of his children. If we believe in God and have proclaimed him to be Lord of our lives, we are His sons (and daughters). Romans 8:15 says, “But you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.””

I just finished reading a book called, “The Birthright” by John Sheasby. The book discusses the concept of being a child of God and what that allows us access to in Him. In the book, John Sheasby discusses the story of the prodigal son, but talks about it from the viewpoint of the older brother. He quotes Luke 15:29, which says, “But he answered his father, “All these years I’ve worked like a slave for you. I’ve never disobeyed one of your commands. Yet, you’ve never given me so much as a little goat for a celebration with my friends.”” The author goes on to explain how sad it is that the older son never knew the power of what he had access to through his father. All he had to do over all the years was ask his father- and whatever he wanted would have been his. He had total access to his father’s riches, but never thought to ask for it- he just did his work and went on with this daily life.

Think about this for a second- we are children of God. We have access to everything that is His. All that we have to do is ask. Just as I gave Jeremiah a red pen because I am his Auntie, God wants to give us good things because we are His children. My point in all of this is that I desire for us as Christians to see the power that we have as children of God. We have total access God’s abundance. He desires to provide for us because we are His children. The best part of all of this is that He knows what we need. It is a good thing that I do not have to figure out what I need and don’t need because I don’t know the whole picture – but God does and He gives what He knows that we need. Praise the Lord for our closeness in relationship with Him!

Back2Back Nigeria provides academic assistance and tutoring to children in the Kisayhip Village outside Jos. Last fall, we opened our doors to the Oasis Education Center to expand educational opportunities for the local orphans and impoverished children.  By improving education and providing sponsorship, the children of Jos will have a brighter future.

Give a gift of hope this Christmas!

December 12, 2011

This Christmas, give a gift of hope 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 bring hope to an orphan this Christmas.

View it here.

Give a gift of hope this Christmas!

November 14, 2011

This Christmas, give a gift of hope 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 bring hope to an orphan this Christmas.

Look for the gift catalog in the mail this month or you can view it here.

NASCAR Driver, Michael McDowell, and Back2Back Ministries Team Up to Promote Orphan Care on July 7

June 10, 2011

Join NASCAR driver, Michael McDowell and Back2Back director, Beth Guckenberger, Thursday, July 7 at 7pm at Crossroads Community Church in Cincinnati. McDowell will be sharing his passion for NASCAR and the orphan child at this special event. Beth Guckenberger will be sharing stories from her new book, Relentless Hope, which will be advertised on McDowell’s race car.

Pre-registration is required for this free, limited seating event.  To register, send an email to NASCAR@back2backministries.org with your name and phone number.  Those guests who register by June 27 have a chance to win two NASCAR Garage and Pit Passes for the Nationwide Series Feed the Children 300 on July 8th and the Sprint Cup Series debut with the Quaker State 400 on July 9th at the 107,000 seat  Kentucky Speedway.  You must be 18 years of age or older to be eligible to win.

Glendale, Arizona native Michael McDowell has emerged as one of NASCAR’s top young drivers, as he competes in his third full season of NASCAR. In December 2010, McDowell joined Trevor Bayne, Daytona 500 Champion, on a Back2Back Ministries mission trip in Monterrey, Mexico. On his trip, they visited orphanages and a squatter’s village. He saw people living in shacks and many of the children didn’t have shoes – some were completely naked – and he couldn’t help but wonder if he was supposed to be on the mission field. After serving orphans with Back2Back, Michael McDowell and his wife were inspired to pursue an international adoption.

“Seeing such hardship firsthand makes you want to be pro-active,” McDowell told the Christian Post. “How do you get involved? How do you save the world? You don’t, but you can make the difference in somebody’s life.”

By losing himself in the arms of orphans, McDowell found perspective in his own life. He’d seen real hardship and it broke his heart.

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!

King for a Day, by Caroline Burns

April 26, 2011

Living with the boys at Douglas this past summer opened my eyes to sad reality that birthdays for these orphans are often one of the worst day of their year instead of the best. They are a reminder that they are thrown into a group, not celebrated as individuals, that their mom or dad didn’t make their birthday a priority and that they are not a priority to mom because she didn’t visit on their birthday or bring them anything. I was shocked once I realized this awful truth.

Since then, I’ve tried my best to make sure that each of my boys is celebrated like an individual and treated special on the exact calendar day of their birthday whether it is a special movie we watch with snacks or ice cream just for them on their birthday; we sing happy birthday and make them feel special. Every now and then, one of the boy’s Shelter Child Sponsors gets involved in this celebration.  Witnessing this yesterday, warmed my heart because at least for one day, something was right in this situation.

Adrian turned nine yesterday. But about six weeks ago, his Shelter Sponsor made sure that he’d be celebrated on his birthday with some gifts and a card so that he wouldn’t be forgotten. His mom didn’t come. His full-time caregivers hadn’t checked the calendar to know that it was even his birthday (I don’t blame them – this has happened to me before). But his Shelter Sponsors were right there celebrating him even though they were thousands of miles away through their words on encouragement in a card reminding him that he is loved and important to them and to the Lord.

We sang to him, celebrated him, let him pick the movie that day, and then we ate the biggest cake ever. For one day, he was happy all day and for just one day he felt like a king.

A Sponsor for Sofia, by Claire Rogers, Back2Back US Staff

April 13, 2011

Sofia

Five year-old Sofia, who lives at San Jose Children’s Home, an orphanage that Back2Back Cancun serves, is now benefiting from child sponsorship. Sofia, an imaginative girl, loves to draw. She recently created this masterpiece for her sponsor in Pennsylvania.

Interested in sponsoring a child like Sofia, from one of the orphanages that Back2Back serves? Contact Claire Rogers at Back2Back’s US Office at claire@back2backministries.org

Building into the Future of a Student, by Kathy Couch

March 15, 2011

Boys are rough, tough and have endless energy.  How do you deal with that in a 17 year-old young man?  Tae-kwon-do.  One young man in our Hope Program, Antonio, has found a great outlet through tae-kwon-do.  He is now in his second year of lessons and just passed his red belt, level one examination.  One component of Back2Back’s Hope Education Program is that we encourage our students to participate in an extracurricular activity.  Many of these students have never had an opportunity to pursue a hobby before.

Antonio was introduced to tae-kwon-do through his college’s team.  After a short time, he grew eager to learn faster so we enrolled him in a tae-kwon-do school.   Apex Church from Ohio offered to partner with Back2Back by funding lessons for Antonio and also soccer lessons for another Hope student, Daniel.  This is a great way to build independence and confidence in a teenage.  After growing up in a children’s home where everything is shared, extracurricular activities teach the student’s independence and how to engage socially.   As we have watched Antonio grow in his craft, travel with his teammates to out of town competitions, and discover the satisfaction of succeeding at something, there is no way you can put a dollar amount on that.  It is indeed priceless.  This will follow him into his adult world where problem solving skills, teamwork, and interpersonal relationships will be crucial.   We are grateful for Apex’s vision to build into a student’s life through Back2Back’s Hope Education Program.

Antonio proudly displays his awards

Through the Hope Education Program, Back2Back offers 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. To learn more about contributing to Back2Back’s Hope Program, please contact our US office at 513-754-0300, ext 1707.

An Empty Stomach, by Theresa Reed, Back2Back Nigeria Staff

March 11, 2011


Theresa Reed, Back2Back's education center teacher, reads with the students

A little over a year ago, students from the Vineyard  Community Church decided to “Sacrifice Christmas” by giving up gifts for themselves, and encouraging their parents and others to donate money to the development of Back2Back’s new education center for children in Jos, Nigeria.  Their sacrificial gift provided the new students at the Igmin Kibe Education Center with the incredible gift of an education. Back2Back worked with SSE and the community leaders from the Kisayhip Village to decide which children should be first to attend the tutoring that we will offer at the center.  The decision was made that they should focus on those in the most need, those children whose fathers have died and their mothers are now widows.  These ten students will receive after school tutoring and the focus will be on learning English.  In Nigeria, most of the public schools offer poor education and often times the schools are closed due to teacher strikes or the government not being able to afford to pay their   teachers.  Consequently, less than 50% of children are able to read a simple sentence at the age of eleven.

Theresa Reed, our Back2Back teacher, and Esther who just graduated as a teacher in Jos, have had great success.  For these initial students, they are taking the first steps towards breaking the cycle of poverty that have plagued their family for generations.  It is the hope of Back2Back, SSE and the village of Kisayhip that these students will become self sufficient and be able to provide for their future families.

Hannatu, one of the children benefiting from the new Education Center in Jos, Nigeria

Hannatu could not concentrate. It was only the second day of class, but I could tell that she was not acting like her usual self.  Her eyes seemed glazed over and she was un-responsive when we asked her a question. Finally, Esther, the Nigerian teacher who works with me at the Education Center, asked Hannatu in Rakuba, “What is the matter today?”Hannatu responded by saying that her stomach was paining her because she was so hungry.

It is basic psychology that humans cannot learn to their fullest potential if their basic needs are not being met. Hannatu was hungry and therefore, could not concentrate. I have no idea when the last time that she had eaten something substantial was or the last time that she actually had protein, but all I knew was that she was hungry. If she was hungry, the other students (who are from her same village) were most likely hungry as well.

Because of Hannatu’s honesty with us on the second day of class, we have now started providing a healthy snack for the students every day at the beginning of class. I cannot explain how much Hannatu’s (and the other students’)  face light up the first time we gave them a snack during class. They were so excited and are now even more motivated to come to class. They love snack time and are more responsive for class once it is over.

Hannatu is now a totally different student. Once shy and timid, she is now all smiles and quick to laugh. She brought an important need to our attention and I believe that by meeting that basic need, we have built trust and confidence in a once reserved student.


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!

Join Back2Back in Serving Orphans

February 20, 2011

Learn how you can make a difference in the life of an orphan by serving alongside us at one of our many ministry sites.

The Heart of Back2Back Ministries

February 20, 2011

Back2Back Director, Beth Guckenberger, shares about Back2Back’s mission to provide care for today and hope for tomorrow to orphans in need.

Year End Donation

December 23, 2010

Thank you for your continued partnership with us in providing “care for today and hope for tomorrow” to orphans around the world. We truly appreciate your love and support. If you would like to make a year end donation by December 31, 2010, here are 3 ways for you to give…

1. MAIL

Please make checks payable to Back2Back Ministries and mail to (postmarked by 12/31/2010):

P.O. Box 70
Mason, OH 45040

2. ONLINE

Donate online at www.back2back.org.

3. PHONE

For stock transfers or credit card donations, call Karen at the U.S. office at 513-754-0300 ext. 3.

Woven into the Tapestry of Our Hearts: Reflections on Child Sponsorship, by Carlene Murray, Back2Back Child Sponsor

December 20, 2010

To remember a journey is to retrace its steps. It’s hard to walk the path to Casa Hogar Douglas Children’s Home and not be joyful and sorrowful at the same time. The rising light of the morning sun glows off the mountain’s cascade. It’s a beautiful reminder that God, The Creator Artist of this majestic beauty sits on His throne. Joy.

Once at the Children’s Home, gaze into dark brown sleepy eyes, or tear swollen eyes, or the vacant eyes of a little child or teen abandoned, neglected or abused, sadness has a power that can take over. Where are you here God? The enemy forces the lie that the orphaned child does not matter, that no one cares, that there is no hope. Sorrow.

Yet, in Christ we have victory and through the love and truth of not just words but faith in action, the people of Back2Back are living hope to orphaned children.

In the midst of what can appear to be hopelessness, there is faithfulness and love in action. How? They show up. They hug, they provide, they teach, they remind, they comfort, they shelter, they feed, they pray, they touch, they scrub, they come alongside, they heal, they love.

They meet the need in the moment and give hope for the future. Through each Back2Back staff member, God pours out His love to His precious children in a tangible way. Hope is born and lives are changed and like the majesty of the mountain, God, the Father sits on the throne of each precious child’s life. Then, in a holy moment, something in the eyes of the children glimmers and changes. Sometimes it’s for just a moment, or a day. Sometimes it’s fleeting with the goal for it to be a constant truth. But it comes and eyes light up, eyes smile and eyes rest knowing care and hope.

Hopelessness can destroy the precious spirit of a child, but through Back2Back and their Shelter Child Sponsorship Program, hope is active, hope is alive and kids are learning that they matter, are remembered, are special, uniquely created and are loved.

For our family, it was a spirit-led journey to Casa Hogar Douglas and meeting 14 year old Roberto. Our 14 year old son, Connor first met Roberto on a school mission trip with Back2Back in February 2009. Although the boys are the same age, Connor looked to Roberto as a friend and little brother because of Roberto’s playfulness and size. Roberto would instigate play with Connor by stealing his cap.  Running away laughing, Connor would chase him. The boys became friends and were happy to be assigned as partners on a Back2Back field trip. They were buddies enjoying the moment of childlike antics and easy friendship.  They were two boys, the same and different in that special time and place.  Together they laughed, ran around, joked and smiled for a week.

 

 

Roberto (left) and Connor

 

On the last day there, Connor’s group departed at dawn for home, while my husband Brendan, walked the dark early morning path to Douglas Children’s Home to serve breakfast to the children.

Upon seeing Brendan, Roberto ran to him and asked right away, “Where’s Connor?”

Brendan gently explained that Connor was on a different flight and had left early to go back home. In an instant, eyes can tell a story. In that moment, Brendan saw the fall of Roberto’s once hopeful eyes, dash downward in disappointment. Brendan smiled, ruffled Roberto’s head and told him Connor said goodbye and that they were friends. He hugged Roberto goodbye later that day and told our family how special Roberto was to Connor and to him.

Of all the stories Brendan and Connor told on their return, Roberto’s sadness of Connor’s departure would stay with me.  As a mother, my heart ached for a boy so special to my husband and son that I had never met. A boy our son shared in a testimony that touched and changed his heart. Roberto was not just a boy at Douglas Childrens’ Home.  He was woven into the tapestry of my son’s and husband’s lives and became a child we would embrace in prayer and share his story and the story of the orphaned child. Once our eyes see and our hearts are changed, are we not compelled to respond?

Just five months later, three spots would open on a Back2Back family mission trip to Monterrey in June 2010. Changed by his own experiences serving alongside Back2Back, Brendan arranged for me to join the group, along with Connor and our daughter, Shannon. Connor would get to see Roberto again so soon and Shannon and I would now get to meet Roberto for the first time!

I laugh now thinking what Roberto must have though the moment I hugged him with tears running down my cheeks. To me, wrapping my arms around him was such a gift. I couldn’t help but think we were sent to let God love Roberto through our family.

After our introductions and hugs, Roberto turned to me and said, “Connor, mi hermano,” (Connor, my brother).

This was a holy moment I will always treasure as tears flowed and I watched our son give Roberto a hug.

 

Shannon, Connor, me and Roberto

 

Roberto is bright, social and handsome. His smile lights up a room and I am know many hearts have been touched by him.  It’s really a special gift to know him and be a small part of his big fan club! I remember asking about Roberto, his story and if he had a sponsor and was told he most likely had a sponsor. So we enjoyed our week hoping to pour out fun and hugs whenever we could with Roberto and all the children. As our week went on, each time we would reunite with Roberto, I would hug him and we’d talk through Connor translating. It was easy and fun and I could not help but see he was a stair-step between my two children and I could imagine him as ours. Maybe not ours in the sense that I would be inclined to think, but maybe “ours” in a way I did not even know.

On our last night on the Back2Back campus, as my daughter, Shannon and I walked past the Shelter Child Sponsorship booth.  I quickly glanced over the table as I walked past it. Suddenly, I stood still, eyes fixed and I quietly gasped out loud. Shannon looked down too and looked up to me with eyes of surprise!  We each went to grab the picture of the child on the table so fast we almost ripped it!  Through my tears,  I was looking at the beautiful face and smiling eyes of Roberto!  I knew instantly then as sponsors, Roberto would be ours! We excitedly found Connor to show him Roberto’s Child packet and then the three of us ran off to call Brendan at home and in a million miles an hour, tell the story of God leading us to sponsor Roberto and asking “Can we?”  Each of us in our family had met Roberto, hugged him and laughed with him. We all had our own treasured memories with him. God took care to provide each of us with a personal connection with Roberto and then asked us, “Will you let me use you for him?” How could we not? Once we have seen are we not responsible to act? Does faith demand a response?

It’s an honor and gift to be a sponsor and to be used to encourage, pray for and send support for Roberto. It is in him I see Jesus. In him I see selflessness, love and care of community and sharing. He lives in the moment of joy and makes others smile. He gives away what he has. Can’t we give away what we have been given? When I think of how Roberto has blessed each member of our family, I am awestruck at God’s special plan for his precious orphan children and how He allows us the gift to be a part of His plan for them and to be blessed. At first, we may think it’s the other way, that we the sponsor will be the blessing. Maybe. But we have experienced God placing His love in our hearts for a child that is not our own but we call “ours” and in that, we are the ones blessed to be a small part of Roberto’s life. We look back and clearly see God walking that path to Douglas Children’s Home with each of us to Roberto and converging that path of our lives and hearts. It’s so humbling to be used as part of God’s unique plan for Roberto’s life and to have the honor, the privilege and the gift to be a part of Roberto’s journey and love him. For us, nothing could better.  And so, we did not decide to become Roberto’s sponsors. God did.

Answered Prayers at Douglas Children’s Home, by Caroline Burns, Back2Back Mexico Staff

December 6, 2010

The children at Casa Hogar Douglas (Douglas Children's Home)

I just wanted to encourage all of you who have been praying for Douglas Children’s Home and especially since we as a staff team started asking for prayer warriors to cover the home in prayer last February. There have been many, many changes at Casa Hogar Douglas in the past ten months.  I believe that it is in direct connection to your prayers and all of you who committed to pray and fast for Douglas last February!

I spend almost every day of my time here in Monterrey at Douglas. Sometimes, it’s too easy to get caught up in my daily responsibilities of child care to reflect adequately on all God has done to drastically change Douglas for the better. God has sent a ton of new staff families – another one moved in last week. God has moved workers around so that there are awesome people in direct care of the children. He’s given us a ton of Shelter sponsors, through Back2Back’s Shelter Child Sponsorship Program.

As a result of the Shelter Program, we’ve been able to move a lot of the kids to new schools. Some of the kids are now able to attend a school for kids with special needs in the afternoons and evenings. Their food is a world better because of the Shelter Program funds. They have hot water for their showers now that it’s cold because of Shelter Program funds. The kids run and yell and practically push me out of my table when I start to distribute the Shelter letters (from their sponsors) because they are so excited that they might have received a letter from their sponsor. The church at Douglas now has a Tuesday night youth group for all older kids. The biological families of the kids (if they have them) are being asked to be more involved with their kids and are visiting more often, staying longer and some are even taking their kids home for the weekends now. The Mexican government is getting more involved with the home and helping to regulate forms and programs to help the kids. Not everything is perfect there but a many things are improving and it’s obvious to see how God has been moving at Douglas in these past ten months.

 

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.


Meet Emmanuel, by Emilee Munafo, Back2Back Nigeria Staff

November 22, 2010

Meet Emmanuel.

He lives in the Kisayhip Village and washes cars for a living. Emmanuel is different than the other boys at the car wash. His mother left his father and his family was split up. His father and brother turned to a life of alcohol, but Emmanuel chose to be different. A Christian man raised him, and Emmanuel has modeled after this mentor. He is someone people trust and admire. When we started looking for someone to help with our Community Center, Emmanuel had a key role in running and maintaining it for the community World Cup viewing. He has a vision for his community he desires to see the children become something more than what he sees himself. When we asked more about that desire Emmanuel said, “If these children don’t get an education, then they will wash cars like me and that is where it will end.”

Emmanuel has a true heart for his own community and loves that Back2Back is there to support his village. We love working alongside Emmanuel as God gives us a united vision to bring H.O.P.E. to the community!

H ealth Care

O pportunities for Spiritual Growth

P rovision for Basic Needs

E ducational Opportunities

Thank you!

November 12, 2010

Thanks to all of you who joined us last night for Back2Back’s fall banquet! Over 650 friends of the ministry attended the event, sharing with us in a celebration of God’s relentless pursuit of the heart of the orphan child. Thank you for coming alongside us as we provide “care for today, hope for tomorrow” to orphans around the world. We are truly grateful for your ongoing support.

To those of you who were unable to attend, learn more about Back2Back’s orphan care efforts, by watching our new video, which premiered at last night’s event.

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.

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.

Yo Soy Libre, by Kathy Couch, Back2Back Mexico Staff

June 29, 2010

Before summer started here at Back2Back Mexico, we hosted a youth retreat for the teens that live on our campus through the Back2Back Hope Education Program.

Students during the youth retreat

The theme was “Inner Healing.”  Several of our youth started praying and fasting for this event about two months before.  The testimonies that flowed from the retreat were incredible.  Testimonies of feeling like baggage from the past had dropped off of their shoulders, they felt free, forgiven, and worth something.  This retreat culminated in a church service at a local church where our youth gave testimonies in front of a large congregation of people.  One young man in particular, got up and yelled into the mike, “YO SOY LIBRE!”  (I am free).  He then went on to explain how he had made several bad choices in his life, but God had forgiven him and he truly felt free for the first time in his life. That phrase ‘Yo soy libre’ has rattled around in my head these past few weeks.

Lately I have been praying that God would renew my passion for the orphan child.  Little did I know how badly it would hurt.  At one of our children’s homes we are short a care giver.  One of our single staff women has stepped in to be surrogate aunt until we can find a replacement.  Others of us, including me, are helping share the load of fourteen little guys between the ages of two and eight.

I have helped bathe them and put them to bed.  Bedtime has to be the loneliest time in a children’s home.  All those little bodies wanting someone to rub their back and treat them like the children they are. You always have someone crying, throwing things, one with a meltdown, one who has pooped his pants, and the never ending climbers! The first few days I helped out, I would come back to our campus and just cry.  I really could not stand the pain that these kids were going through.  One morning I was reading my Bible, flipping through the Psalms and I hit upon Psalm 61:1-3:

O God, listen to my cry!  Hear my prayer!  From the ends of the earth I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety, for you are my safe refuge, a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me.  Let me live forever in your sanctuary, safe beneath the shelter of your wings.

Then the phrase ‘Yo soy libre’ started rattling around in my brain again.  God has done just that through the Hope Education Program.  He has heard the cries of the orphan child.  He is taking back the ground that the enemy meant to use to destroy them.  Through healthy interactions God is restoring them, giving them meaning, purpose, and love.  I feel totally humbled to be part of this process.  I know that there will always be orphans. There will always be wounds that are seemingly too deep to heal, but our God is a miracle worker.  He never sleeps. He never slumbers.  He never tires of hearing our prayers.  Pray for this large group of kids.  The last count I heard was 148 million but that was before the tragedy in Haiti.  Pray that God protects and provides for these children.  Pray for passion for the orphan child.

World Cup Outreach in Nigeria, by Corrie Guckenberger, Back2Back Nigeria Staff

June 17, 2010


This past Friday, the first World Cup game of the year was played on South African soil. As a ministry we used this event to kick-off our new “Oasis Community Center”. It was our grand opening of a Center that will host the viewing of futbol games and other media events.

It is a joint effort between three different people groups. Back2Back, SSE and the village itself. All three have different focuses but all three want what is best for the Rukuba people. The day was filled with food, fun, fellowship and a lively band that kept the kids hips moving.

These pictures show different aspects of the day unraveling. The ariel shot is Gus, my son, climbing the boulders that surround this plot of land and snapping a photo before it began.

We had a food station, a face painting station (my daughter, Sarah, and my mom manned this booth), a music station, and of course a jumpy castle station. We are grateful as it did not rain and people came from all different walks of life to see what was going on. Jason shared parts of his own testimony as Daniel and Ibro shared the vision and mission of this center. As much as we had “planned” and hoped the details would find themselves taken care of, it is still somewhat of a risk to plan things in the village.
There are so many unpredictables that come with an event focused on a group of people that do not limit themselves to the boundaries of four walls. This wasn’t focused on a children’s home. It was focused on orphans who are living in a village with or without people who care for them.
“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as we see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25

I pray as you find yourself meeting with your own fellowship surroundings this morning that you will pray for this community center as well.

Rukmini, by Back2Back India Staff

May 17, 2010

Back2Back partners with a feeding center in a Hyderabad slum that provides evening meal and education for poor children in the area. This is the story of Rukmini, an eleven year old girl who our staff recently met at the Feeding Center. Rukmini’s father works as a laborer on a brick transporting vehicle and her mother works as a daily laborer on construction sites. Her elder brother, now age fourteen, dropped out of the fifth grade and starting working under a mason, learning construction work to become a mason in future.

Rukmini is a sweet, intelligent and disciplined girl, who is very interested in studies. Last year, while she was studying in the sixth grade, her parents made her discontinue her schooling to look after her younger sister Vennela, who is four years old, and her grandmother, who is blind and bed-ridden.  Even though she was not interested in staying at home and missing school, her parents made her stay at home and look after them against her wishes. The feeding center has become an oasis for her regular evening study.

Rukmini comes to this center along with her sister. She actively participates in the study and attracts the attention of all the volunteers, the directors and visitors with her pleasing manners, good behavior and sharpness in her studies. Although she discontinued classes, she continues to read her old books and would like to move forward with the intention that she would get an opportunity to go back to school again and continue her studies.

Rukmini became a victim of her circumstances and helplessness of her poor and uneducated parents. There are many such instances among the families in the slums. The Feeding Center is an oasis for many poor children. Please pray with us for Rukmini and the other children in this slum area and for the directors of this feeding center. We are privileged to come along side them as they provide nutrition and education to these needy children.

Children studying in the evening at the Feeding Center

Children enjoy a nutritious meal at the Feeding Center

A young girl works on her homework at the Feeding Center

Spa Night for Girls in Hope Program, by Jessica Biondo, Back2Back Mexico Staff

April 21, 2010

Around Christmas time, some of my dear friends generously donated boxes full of delightfully girly products for the girls in the Back2Back Hope Education Program. The donation was originally for Christmas gifts, but the shipment was detained in Texas and did not arrive in Mexico until after Christmas had come and gone.

Random thought: Isn’t it funny how we originally intend for something to be used in a certain way and then it turns out that God has a totally different and immeasurably better purpose in mind?

Anyway, back to the story… In the beginning of February all of the gifts arrived and I was so excited to see everything! Lotion, body wash, deodorant, toothbrushes and make-up… lots and lots of make-up! All of these items are much needed necessities on our campus. I couldn’t wait to put together packages for the girls!

Each of the female teens that live on our campus (there are eleven) received a bag which contained something similar to the picture below.

Rather than just drop the bags off at the girls’ homes, my roommate and I had another idea in mind! A SPA NIGHT! We thought it would be fun to invite the girls over to our house for manicures, pedicures, facials, chocolate and a chick-flick! At the end of the night we would give each of the girls their gift!

Kayta (with her gift) getting ready for her pedicure!

I ran the pedicure station! Here is Carolina getting her toes painted...

Here is Becca giving Perla a manicure...

Some of the girls at the end of the night! We all had so much fun!

My favorite part of the night was hanging out with the girls and getting to know each of them better. A special thanks to my friends who made all of this possible! You are such a blessing and God has used your generosity to bring joy to these sweet girls! Thank you!

Cincinnati Cinco de Mayo Cooking Show with Celebrity Chef and Hope Program Students!

March 31, 2010

Spaces are limited and reserved on a first come basis!

Redemption, by Corrie Guckenberger, Back2Back Nigeria Staff

February 5, 2010

One of the ministries that our ministry tries to support is Gidan Bege. It is basically a ministry that teaches and trains widows how to sew. They undergo a year of discipleship that teaches them the Word and trains them and gives them and their children a place to stay. After that year, they are given the gift of a sewing machine and encouraged to go back to their village to start their own shop. It is amazing what these women can do. Now, realize this is coming from a woman who can BARELY sew on a button. But, we all play our part in the bigger picture.

We take short-term mission groups to Gidan Bege when they arrive to buy skirts, aprons, purses and bags, journals, etc… And they also make whatever you want if you come in with an idea. These ladies have personally made all of our curtains in our home and our throw pillows and whatever Nigerian clothes we have, they have made. We are blessed by their friendship, as well as their giftings and talents.

The pictures are of their working area (you will notice nothing is done with power), the shop where they sell their items, and their “office” where they store extra material and items that are ready for pick up. One thing that I find interesting is that the location where they are currently living, in the past, was once a brothel. How cool is that this ministry bought it and has now redeemed what was once used as evil and is now being used for good. I love the idea that God can even redeem land. I look forward to when you come visit us, that you too, can buy something in this little shop.

Scissors, by Mandy Lail, Back2Back Mexico Staff

January 5, 2010

I can’t believe it’s been a year already.  January 1, 2009 our family moved into the John House (part of the Hope Program) here on the Monterrey, Mexico campus.  Just a few short days later, five boys who had been living in children’s homes moved in as well. At the start of 2010 there is so much to look forward to.  We have lots of challenges ahead in this new year, but I can’t help but be hopeful when I remember how faithful God has been in 2009.  We have come a long way as a family.

Just a month or so ago one of the boys and I were talking about scissors.  He needed to use some and we couldn’t find any around.

Of course the mom in me starts asking “What happened to the pair I bought you for school?”

He tells me he used to keep them in a spot above his bed (he sleeps on the bottom of the bunk bed) but can’t find them now.

I am thinking and ask, “Why did you keep them there?”

After a short and rather cryptic conversation I begin to understand.  He kept them there for protection, in case he needed to protect himself at night.  He tells me that the childrens home, he slept with a stick under his bed for the same reason.  It’s sinking in, I am beginning to understand.  And then I innocently ask, “But you don’t need them anymore?”  And he answers “No.”

We have lots of challenges to face with our boys this year.  A hard start to high school, an ongoing court case, and the always present chores, homework, GIRLS, etc.  But my boys feel safer than they did last year.  My foster son no longer sleeps with a weapon for protection.  That is a blessing I cannot deny.  And with that in mind, I look forward to what God has in store for 2010!

Back2Back India News Update

December 31, 2009

After completing their one-year commitment to serve in Hyderabad, India with Back2Back, Brent and Lisa are transitioning back to the US to fulfill obligations at their businesses in Ohio.  A national ministry partner will be managing the day-to-day operations of Back2Back India.

Brent and Lisa have seen incredible fruit from their time in India, as God has opened new doors for ministry at local children’s homes.  A few highlights from the year include:

  • Clean Water: We built a clean water system at an area feeding center that provides meals and free education to a local slum community.  The families and children that benefit from this center can now access clean drinking water.  Back2Back also provided them with storage capabilities for the water.
  • Children’s Home Renovations: We completed renovations at the MHH Children’s Home, including an overhaul of their dilapidated bathrooms and the construction of a new kitchen/dining hall.  The children had been eating outside on the ground, but will soon be enjoying their meals indoors.
  • Nutritional Assistance to Children’s Homes:  In addition to providing ongoing financial support for the children’s homes, we have also established a new nutrition program and developed opportunities for spiritual development for the children.  Thanks to the generosity of US donors, Back2Back will continue to support the children’s homes through regular food donations in 2010.
  • New Partnership: We have begun a partnership with EJH Children’s Home, as the directors of this home share Back2Back’s vision to show love and provide care to children in need.  This particular home cares for children with disabilities, a ministry that is desperately needed in India, a country where those that have a handicap are marginalized by society.

Although Brent and Lisa are returning to the US, they will still be heavily involved with the ministry in India, providing oversight and direction for current and future projects, ensuring that Back2Back India will continue to maintain a strong presence in Hyderabad.  They will also continue to serve with Back2Back as mission trip leaders and ministry advocates, traveling to India several times a year and offering ongoing support to the local Back2Back India staff.

Back2Back Ministries is grateful to Brent and Lisa for their service in India this past year and thankful for their continued partnership with us, as we pursue the heart of the orphan.

Brent and Lisa with children from EJH

If you are interested in learning more about joining our staff team in India, please contact Chris Ramos at ramos@back2backministries.org.

Back2Back Christmas Gift Catalog: Give a Gift to a Child in Need

November 18, 2009

Celebrate the true spirit of Christmas by giving 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 listing impact in the life of a child this Christmas!

View the gift catalog online and choose an item by clicking here.

Back2Back Christmas Cards

November 12, 2009

Lift Them Up Cards, by 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.

B2B Christmas Card

Three Ways to Place an Order
1. To pay by credit card call 513.754.0300 Monday through Thursday between 9am and 4 pm 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.

Weary in Doing Good, by Matt Cooper, Back2Back Mexico Staff

October 30, 2009

If you have children then what I’m about to tell you will not come as a surprise.  Parenting is many times a thankless job. I mean, don’t get me wrong, we love our kids and we know that ultimately we are not only serving them but also the Lord, and that we should not parent with the motivation or expectation that our children will be grateful for the hours, the sweat and the tears that we pour over them – but sometimes you just wish they would express some small form of a “thank you”. As parents to six children of our own, and house parents to eight teenage boys here in the Hope Program, we have the special pleasure of seeing this lovely “thankless” spirit day in and day out….multiplied by fourteen!

So…more true confessions:  Sometimes this “spirit of thanklessness” (I believe I just made up that word!) can make a parent lose steam. It can make one wonder why they spend their life cooking, cleaning, reminding people to do their chores, making sure people are getting to bed on time, and up on time, and that they’ve finished their homework. Sometimes it starts to get old. The good news is that God is great at taking over when we reach what sometimes feels like the end of ourselves. Julie and I want to brag on the Lord that He’s doing a great work in us in this season of our life. I think that in some ways we had reached the end of ourselves. The wonderful news is that He is making all things new – including bringing renewed focus and vision, renewed passion and love towards our boys, and even what you might describe as personal revival in our relationship with him.

In the midst of all that God is doing he recently gave my wife specific encouragement with regard to her role as a mother to 14. In Galatians 6:9 we are reminded, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” It sounds like such a simple command – but yet if we are trying to “do good” out of our own strength it can become so very difficult. Praise God that the very motivation to “do good” is from him, and that ultimately all the good we do is for him or for his glory as we serve those around us. And so it is with that renewed vigor that Julie and I are tackling each day, and each task as we press on to serve and love those who God has called us to minister to.

A few days ago we were cleaning out the closets and came across some things that have not been used in awhile. We got out some puzzles as we figured they could be good family activities for all ages. Just as we suspected, our young children and our boys have loved them. They have been taking turns throughout the day, and late into the evenings putting them together all over our kitchen table. It’s been very fun to watch. The other thing we got out of the closet were some refrigerator magnets of the alphabet. We plastered them all over the front of our fridge and assumed that at least our two youngest could entertain themselves. Much to our amazement nearly the whole household has gotten use out of them, making designs, writing the names of people in our family, and practicing spelling words – both in English and Spanish.

The other night Julie and I returned home later after being out and encountered a very special message that some of the boys had created for us. There on the fridge, spelled out in letter magnets was the following, “We love you mom and dad – thank you – by your boys”.

Our hearts were touched indeed. What a special thank you! So simple, yet so profound. It meant the world to us because as parents you long to hear it or see it in any form. But more than being just a message of thanks from our boys it was an encouragement from the Lord, “Do not tire of doing good.” I’m not sure he could have made it any clearer. Thank you Lord. May you continue to give us even more love to love, and more desire to serve those around us.

10.30.09 - Weary in Doing Good

Meme’s Soup Kitchen, by Hope Maglich, Back2Back Mexico Staff

October 23, 2009

Every Saturday morning, Meme, a partner of the ministry, hosts a soup kitchen for nearly fifty people at Rio I, many of whom are young children. The families from the community arrive around 12:30 and together we worship and praise the Lord for all He is doing. Most of the songs we sing without instruments but recently we have been worshiping with the help of a guitar! After worship, the adults listen to a Bible teaching while the kids are split up into age groups to have Sunday School-like classes. After this time of feeding on God’s word, we feed the people a delicious Mexican meal!

Mercy Living, by Antonio Garcia, Back2Back Mexico House Parent

October 5, 2009

Through the role of my wife and I as house parents to teens in Back2Back’s Hope Program, God is teaching us to see through His eyes and to understand how to accept those who are unacceptable to society. He is teaching us that his mercy and love is able to transform.

We have experienced God’s mercy in our lives when we receive God’s forgiveness when we do not deserve it. What he has given us is a desire to work with eight young girls who live in the Esther House. We have to be tolerant, firm, patient and extend mercy. We are enjoying God’s work and that he has given us the opportunity through the Back2Back Hope Program to be instruments for the process of sanctification in the girls’ lives. We are understanding that in some areas we are not going to achieve fruit immediately.

The girls leave with the concept that a life full of values is important. We have the mission to achieve in each girl the values of mercy that God has had for them.

Some of the Hope Program girls that live in the Esther House

Six of the eight Hope Program girls that live in the Esther House

2009 Hope Program students, including the girls that live in the Garcia's home through the program

2009 Hope Program students, including the girls that live in the Garcia's home through the program

The Lucky Ones, by Matt Cooper

September 22, 2009

A few days ago, I was able to share special moment with two children that live in children’s homes where Back2Back serves. One was with Joel from Manantial de Amor. One was with Gaby from Casa Hogar Betesda. Joel and Gaby are two very privileged kids. They aren’t necessarily privileged because of who they are or what they have. They aren’t privileged because they are receiving the world’s best education, or because they are well traveled. They don’t live in any special neighborhoods, and they wouldn’t likely win any awards for being the best dressed. Sadly enough they don’t even live with their families. However, God has placed them in a children’s home where they are being loved and cared for.

What makes Joel and Gaby special is that they have both been chosen. Back2Back has started a new child sponsorship program, the Shelter Program, and Joel and Gaby are two of the lucky ones. I call them lucky because I know for a fact that that’s how they feel. Today when I met with Joel, I hand-delivered him a backpack that sponsors from Michigan gave me to give him, when we saw them during a recent trip home to the US. The look on his face was priceless, as I explained who the backpack was from, and as he began to unload the candy, pictures, school supplies, and other goodies inside.

“A pencil box!” he exclaimed, “I needed one of these!”

I explained to Joel that God already knew his need, and that He sent the things, through his sponsors, just in the perfect time. Without a doubt I witnessed a child feel loved, not just by his sponsor, but even more importantly by God as well.

Spending time with Joel at Manantial de Amor

Spending time with Joel at Manantial de Amor

Joel was excited to discover that his backpack was filled with school supplies that he needed

Joel was excited to discover that his backpack was filled with school supplies that he needed

Joel showing off his new backpack

Joel showing off his new backpack

After leaving Manantial, I went on to Betesda, another one of the children’s homes that we work with.  I sat down beside a five-year old girl named Gaby and explained to her that a woman back in Ohio had chosen to sponsor her.

She immediately started looking around and asked, “Where is she? I want to see her,” she said.

I quickly explained that she wasn’t here today. I reminded Gaby of a time back in June when her sponsor had visited, and worked on projects in her children’s home, walked down to the park with her, and shared a snack of popsicles.

“Do you remember that Gaby?” I asked.

She nodded her head. “Yes, I remember. Can I have a picture of her so that I can remember her?” she asked.

Together, we scripted a letter to her sponsor, asking about her family, and requesting a photo.

“Can I send her a picture that I’ve colored?,” Gaby asked.

“Of course you can sweetheart,” I responded. “She is going to love it!”

Gaby

Gaby

The Shelter Program is a way for every child we work with to have an individual sponsor. Those sponsors financially support “their child” by giving $100 a month, which goes directly to the children’s home expenses for the care of the children. Why $100? Because that is exactly what it costs to provide for that child for one month. It ensures that the child will be cared for emotionally, physically and spiritually so that they can thrive.  The money covers the cost of health care, an education, food and clothing.  The program also gives each child the opportunity to develop a deep and lasting relationship with someone who is invested in their lives and committed to their success.  We’ve found that many of our sponsors have already come to think of their sponsor children as part of their family.

Some individuals or families choose to sponsor a child they have met during a trip to Monterrey. Others may not have met personally, but we will give them a chance to build and strengthen that relationship through letters, pictures and correspondence throughout the year. Joel and Gaby are two lucky kids, but there are hundreds more children we work with here in Monterrey just waiting for sponsors. They all deserve the privilege of feeling loved, of feeling like someone cares, and feeling like someone remembered them. They all deserve the privilege of feeling special. Please consider partnering with us in this very important project. There is a child waiting for you!

Interested in sponsoring a child? Email Claire Rogers at claire@back2backministries.org

Ribbons and Bows, by Claire Rogers

August 5, 2009

Last year, Casey Ochs attended the 7th grade at Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy. Her world studies’ teacher, Steve McCollum, leads a mission trip to Back2Back’s Monterrey, Mexico base every year.  During class, Casey saw a picture of a little girl that Steve had taken during an outreach to Rio III, a squatter’s village that Back2Back serves.  The little girl in the photograph had a chicken bone in her hair.  Steve explained to Casey that the bone was the only thing the girl’s mother had to put in her daughter’s hair.

Upon hearing that, Casey felt called to do something, so she took action, inviting the girls in her class, as well as her teachers, to bring in ribbon and barrettes to make hair pieces for the girls in Mexico.  She called her outreach “Ribbons & Bows.” Casey worked tirelessly collecting donations and hosting bow-making parties, where she and her friends assembled hundreds of hair pieces.  Last spring, over Easter break, Casey was able to see the fruit of her labors.  Steve McCollum led a group to Back2Back Mexico.  While there, Steve’s group traveled to the Rio with Back2Back staff members to hand-deliver beautiful new hair bows to the girls in the Rio.

God desires to use each of us, like Casey, to make a difference by responding to the call He has put on our heart –we must just be willing.  Casey’s story is a wonderful example of the impact we can make when we become attentive to the needs of others and respond with action.

The girls collected bows, ribbons and barrettes to assemble into beautiful hair pieces

The girls collected bows, ribbons and barrettes to assemble into beautiful hair pieces

Casey and her friends at a bow making party

Casey with her friends at a bow making party

A few of the finished products

A few of the finished products

Casey and her friends distributing bows to girls at the Rio

Distributing bows to girls at the Rio in Monterrey, Mexico

Makeshift Shelter, by Mandy Lail

June 17, 2009

We recently took our boys to a nearby lake for some fishing where I happened to capture this photo of Leo.  Leo lives with the Cooper Family in the James House as a part of The Hope Program.  Just like my boys he is getting ready to graduate from Secundaria (middle school) and will start Prepa (high school) in the fall.  When I look at this photo I can’t help but think about my boys, in fact all the students in the Hope Program.  To me this photo represents this season of their lives.

 

Leo on the fishing trip with the Lails

Leo on the fishing trip

 

Leo is standing on a rickety dock about fifty feet from shore.  Overhead is a makeshift covering.  Nothing fancy but it protects the two boats underneath from the occasional rain and the intense sun exposure. This is where our students stand: on a rickety dock with some makeshift shelter overhead.  It’s not the best they could have, but it is some shelter.  And what lies ahead of them is a like a lake and a series of mountains.  I think it’s a mix of emotions for them.  All they know is this makeshift dock and for some it’s even better shelter from where they’ve come.  But it’s all they know.

I wonder . . . do they have a sense of longing when they see those mountains?  Do they think I could have that, I can go there. I can leave this rickety old dock and scale a mountain? Truly I think they have more fear. They believe the lies they’ve heard or told themselves I can’t do it.  I don’t have what it takes.  I should just stay here. I think they look with a sense of longing for something more but it’s often overtaken with a sense of sadness and defeat.  They think I want it, but I can’t do it.

This summer our theme is SHELTER.  Would you join us in praying for our students in the Hope Program?  Please pray that God would show Himself to them and that they would have hope.  In the Hope Program they are given opportunities through education but for many it seems like that far off mountain is unreachable or unattainable.  Pray for their journeys as they learn how to step away from the hurts of their past and stop believing that they have nothing to contribute. Please pray for their courage to step out from their old, rickety, makeshift shelters and find true shelter in Him.

 

 

Food for a Day, by Matt Cooper

June 9, 2009

If you have a family you likely know the reality of living on a budget.  You know how much you spend on utilities, on gasoline, and how much you’ll spend on groceries for the month.  But have you ever figured out how much money it takes to feed yourself or each of your children for one day?

Here in Back2Back’s Hope Program, we too of course live on a budget.  As teen home parents of the James House my wife, Julie, and I have the challenging job of feeding eight teenage boys.  With the budget we’re allotted each month, we can spend about $4 (US) a day on each of our boys for their food.  If you have teenage boys…you know THEY CAN EAT, and you know that $4 suddenly doesn’t sound like very much money.  Our boys like to eat, and they like to eat a lot, but with as much as they enjoy eating, it certainly does not mean that they are always grateful for what we have to eat, nor do they always appreciate the value of what it is they’re consuming.

Recently, after a series of days filled with what I felt to be insensitive comments about what there was to eat and drink in the house, and after a general disrespect for some of our kitchen rules I decided it was time for a lesson.

So, just before bedtime I set all eight boys down for a few quick comments about respect for authority, and gratefulness for what we have – and then I handed them each $4.  I explained that they could use any of their personal money they wanted, but that for the next 24 hours this was all we were contributing towards their food.  I graciously gave them the option of eating at school, at local street vendors, at 7-Eleven, or wherever they pleased – but if they wanted to eat the food in our house they would have to “buy it” from us.  The looks on their faces were priceless – they all immediately “got it”.  I almost think I could have stopped the lesson right there, and had them hand their money back in…but I think they would have missed a large part of the lesson.  The next 24 hours were no doubt long for them as they had to think about budgeting, and stretching their $4 to make it last all the way through dinner – but I honestly think the larger lesson was on gratefulness and appreciation.  A lesson I hope and pray they will remember for the rest of their lives.

Marcos with his $4 for the day

Marcos with his $4 for the day