Posts Tagged ‘birthday’

An Interview with Christy Ross, Back2Back Mexico Staff

January 20, 2011

Starting this month, we will be featuring interviews with various Back2Back staff members, highlighting one to two individuals on the field each month.

Christy Ross, at a recent birthday party for the children of ERJ children's home

How do you serve with Back2Back?

Christy: I am on staff in Monterrey, Mexico. I am the captain of the Casa Hogar Birthday Program here in Monterrey. I am in charge of planning birthday parties every few months at six of the children’s homes that we work with and making sure each child is given a birthday gift. I spend time organizing gifts, buying gifts, picking out a specific gift for each child, ordering/picking up cakes at the local grocery store, coordinating days with the captain to have a party at each home while a group is here, and, if I am able, I go to oversee the birthday party.

I also spend my time by building relationships with the older girls at Casa Hogar Douglas. I visit them at the home to help with English homework, I talk with them, play games and do crafts together, and occasionally bring them over to the Back2Back campus to do something fun and different.

I am also available to help with other miscellaneous projects. I am a mentor for one of the high school girls in the Hope Program and I work with groups occasionally.

Why did you decide to begin serving with Back2Back?

Christy: I have been involved with Back2Back for many years. My first mission trip to Monterrey, Mexico with Back2Back was in 1999. After that first trip, I felt like I left a piece of my heart there and felt God calling me back each year. My relationships with kids grew each time and I continued to see so much need. I knew I wanted to be involved in a bigger way someday. My husband and I both have a heart to work with kids and we strongly believe that God calls each of us to minister to orphans and widows and to be His hand and feet to others. Through our dating period, we prayed a lot about our future and how God would lead us. We were married in August 2005 and a year later a position opened up in Monterrey and we knew that God was calling us there. We moved to Mexico in January 2007 and are thankful to be serving the Lord here by ministering to the abandoned and neglected children in Monterrey. We are also blessed to be working with Back2Back alongside such a great team.

What part of your job are you most passionate about?  Why?

Christy: I am most passionate about loving and caring for the children that Back2Back ministers to. I love to see how God uses everyone in different ways by the talents and abilities that He gives us.  I love seeing felt needs of people being taken care of.

One part of my role that I enjoy most is being at the birthday parties for the kids and getting to see their excitement as they receive a gift that was picked out specifically for them. Kids living in children’s homes share everything and rarely have people to celebrate their birthday with them and that is why we have groups participate in this, by playing with the child and their new toys and giving them special attention.

What is something that God has shown you or taught you over the past year through your experiences with Back2Back?

Christy: Through the past year, God has been teaching me to really trust Him and know that He is in control. No matter what the situation is, I know that I need to remember that He cares about the details of our lives and is in control.

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A Birthday Surprise, by Claire Rogers, Back2Back US Staff

September 27, 2010

Last week, Oziel , a toddler at Douglas Children’s Home, turned four years old.  His sponsor family donated money to purchase him a birthday gift, through the Shelter Sponsorship Gift Catalog.  They specified that the money was to be used to buy him a gift of an action figure and toy car. Little did they know that just a few days prior, when asked what he wanted for his birthday, Oziel had told Back2Back staff members that he was hoping for a Hulk action figure.  Needless to say, when he received the exact gift he had been hoping for from his sponsors in Ohio, he was elated.

Oziel receives a birthday gift from his sponsor

Child sponsorship is helping children like Oziel in a multitude of ways. Prior to the launch of the Shelter Child Sponsorship Program (last June), many of the homes were underfunded, operating on a fraction of the needed operating budget.  Through this program, Back2Back has been able to come alongside the homes and help support them with resources to provide the children with a higher level of care.

For example, the children are now eating more nutritious and balanced meals with meat and produce (versus just rice and beans as was the norm before).  Thanks to sponsorship, Oziel and the twelve other children his age are now attending an excellent pre-school, whereas before they were attending a public pre-school with a ratio of one teacher per every three classes of children.  This would not have been possible without sponsorships. These are just a few of the practical ways in which sponsors help to improve the quality of care at the children’s homes.

Interested in sponsoring a child like Oziel? Contact Claire Rogers at the Back2Back US office at claire@ back2backministries.org.

Party Fun at Imperio de Amor, by Christy Ross, Back2Back Mexico Staff

November 2, 2009

Recently, a group from Christ United Methodist Church in North Carolina served alongside us at the Monterrey children’s homes.  They were able to go to Imperio de Amor children’s home and have a birthday party celebrating the kids’ birthdays that are in July through September. The group brought money to buy tons of candy and a pinata. They also brought along festival type games to play with the kids. There was a big cake made up of cupcakes (quequitos),the group blew up balloons, and they had fun with the kids as they opened up their gifts.

One of my love languages is gifts. I love receiving gifts but I also love giving gifts. I am thankful I can be used in this way working hard to come up with great gifts that each child can enjoy. It also makes me smile thinking of the kids as they open up something that is specifically for them and that there are lots of people to get excited with them at the parties.

Thanks Christ United Methodist Church for loving on the kids and for buying them a pinata, candy, and for bringing the little skateboards for the boys!  Also I want to give a big thanks again to the second grade classes at Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy for making the birthday cards, necklaces, pencil decorations, and placemats. They are all so cute and each child received one for their birthday.

Enjoy the pictures from the party!

Birthday Party Fun at IDA 1

10.29.09 - Birthday Party Fun at IDA 2

10.29.09 - Birthday Party Fun at IDA 3

10.29.09 - Birthday Party Fun at IDA 4

10.29.09 - Birthday Party Fun at IDA 5

10.29.09 - Birthday Party Fun at IDA 6

Birthday Celebrations, by Mandy Lail, Back2Back Mexico Staff

October 21, 2009

In the past month, we’ve celebrated birthdays for three boys that live with us through the Back2Back Hope Program.  Birthday celebrations have been a sweet way to celebrate each boy individually by fixing food he wants and/or doing something that is just about him.   Being a part of a loving family is part of our process for seeing God bring healing and wholeness to each boy.

There is a tradition in Mexico called the “mordida.”  The person whose birthday it is takes a bite of the cake with their mouth and then friends/family push their face into the cake.  You can imagine that with five teen boys this tradition becomes a bit of a full-contact sport. Even normally TOO COOL teenagers love this tradition (as you can tell from the photos).

Homero's birthday cake

Homero's birthday cake

The guys before eating cake for Homero's birthday

The guys before eating cake for Homero's birthday

Cake on the face, a Mexican birthday tradition

Cake on the face (mordida), a Mexican birthday tradition

A Different Kind of Thanksgiving, by Claire Rogers

September 9, 2009

When Wendy Kuremsky’s  thirteen-year old daughter, Caroline, decided to participate on a Back2Back mission trip with her school, Wendy had no idea just how much that one-week in Mexico would change her daughter.

Wendy remembers the day she picked up Caroline from the airport.  “When she landed in Dayton, OH, after the trip, we got in the car and before I even had my keys out, she had the light on and was showing me the things she did on her digital camera screen and telling me about the kids.  It clearly had an impact on her,” she recalls.  “About a week later she was in another’s mom’s car on the way to dance lessons.  The mom called me afterward and told me how Caroline was so articulate about the trip and that it was obvious she had changed.”

Caroline serving in Mexico on a Back2Back Ministries mission trip

Caroline serving in Mexico on a Back2Back Ministries mission trip

Caroline had been touched by the suffering and poverty she had witnessed.  She felt compelled to do something practical to help the orphans that she had met at the children’s homes where Back2Back serves.  As her birthday approached, Caroline began planning a big party, as she had every year before.  But this time, her celebration would be different.  Instead of accepting traditional birthday presents, Caroline made a special request to attendees, asking that they bring an item to be donated to the children’s homes in Mexico.  On the invitations, she suggested a few specific items that were most needed in the orphanages:  socks, shoes, flip flops, and blankets.

The Kuremsky’s were amazed by the response.  Almost everyone who was invited to the party attended.

“It was literally overwhelming how everyone responded,” Wendy says. “We purposely set up a long table right near the entrance to our yard and put some buckets on it.  When people brought their donations, we’d sort them into the buckets.  It was so exciting to see what families had chosen. In no time at all, the buckets were overflowing.  Another little table was added and we started putting stuff on the ground under the table.  It was very fun the next day for Caroline to look through and see all the things she knew the kids could use.”

Wendy ‘s heart was touched by Caroline’s zeal.  It was inspiring for her to see her daughter’s deep compassion for the children she had met and her determination to do something to make a difference, even after the trip was over.  “God can indeed teach valuable lessons to us through our children,” she says.

Caroline’s older brother, Tanner, has also served on a Back2Back Mexico mission trip.  Impacted by the experiences of Caroline and Tanner, Wendy and her husband, Michael, decided to take a family trip to Mexico to serve at the children’s homes together.  This November, they are joining several other families, for Back2Back’s annual Thanksgiving week mission trip.  They will be taking several extra suitcases, stuffed with socks, shoes and blankets, all of which were donated at Caroline’s birthday party.  While there, they will deliver the items to the local orphanages.

The Kuremskys think that serving children in need is the perfect way to spend Thanksgiving together as a family.  When asked what prompted them to forgo a traditional Thanksgiving celebration, Michael responded, “There is no better way to express our gratitude for how we’ve been blessed as a family than to serve people who haven’t been as blessed as us.”

Interested in participating in the Back2Back Thanksgiving mission trip, Nov 25-29?  There are still a few remaining spots open for families or individuals.  If you would like to join the Kuremskys in Monterrey, Mexico this Thanksgiving, please email the trip leader, Brian Bertke, at brian@back2backministries.org