Posts Tagged ‘Corrie Guckenberger’

A Little Help, by Corrie Guckenberger, Back2Back Nigeria Staff

September 10, 2010

I have to say that yesterday was a big highlight for me, ministry-wise. I just experienced story after story of good things happening in OLA, one of the children’s homes that Back2Back Nigeria partners with. Let me share a few moments with you:

1) The picture below is of Big Mama.

Big Mama

She is one of the caregivers here at OLA. The girl to her left used to live in OLA. Both of her parents have passed away and her grandfather came and picked her up awhile ago. Well, as they were “checking in” on how some of the kids were doing that have been placed back in homes, they learned that she was being mistreated. Big Mama took her in as part of her family. What a kind and generous heart.
2) By now you might recognize little Kenny. BUT, do you recognize his new walker?

Kenny with his new walker

Fellow Back2Back Nigeria Staff member, Emilee Munafo, was there yesterday helping the kids all get ready when she rushed in the living room where I was and pulled me into the baby room. She said, “Oh my gosh, you have got to see Kenny!” And sure enough he met me at the door scooting, ever so professionally and big boy like, towards the hallway. I could have cried. He is getting so big and what a blessing for him to have a little help! My heart swelled as he handled the walker with grace and pride.
3) Yesterday was Abigail’s birthday, which is why we went to OLA in the first place. My mom picked out a beautiful pink scarf for Abigail as a gift from all of us and she looked stunning in it. Her party was so encouraging as friends of hers came to celebrate her life. A life full of hardship, but friendship also as evidenced by the people that came that day to recognize the gift she is to us and the kids in this home. She has grown up here, but takes responsibility for each one of these babies. She has had to receive help her entire life, but she doesn’t let that discourage her. For her, give and take is a part of life, a little help here, a little help there. She gives just as much as she receives. No pride, just relationship!

Abigail wearing her new scarf

These last photos are of big Mary as she walks full time now, and Hope who starts school in two weeks. She is excited, but nervous as well.

Mary (center) with my children

Hope

Each one of us needs a little help now and then, don’t we?  Yesterday, the little girl who lives with Big Mama, Kenny and Abigail showed me that a little help can be perceived as a weakness or it can be received with joy as a gift from God, one not to be missed out on, ever! May your day be blessed with a little help from others!

Inspired, by Corrie Guckenberger, Back2Back Nigeria Staff

August 4, 2010

Have you ever caught a vision of something? Something bigger than yourself? Maybe you even got a panicked feeling and at the same time a moment of exhilaration? Last week, I experienced all of those emotions after Esther (a girl from OLA, an orphanage we serve) graduated from secondary school.

Esther with her classmates (Ester is in red and black in the center)

I was full of emotion not just for Esther, but for the other children, Hope, Daniel and Joe, who were there watching Esther’s graduation ceremony.

I was so excited for her and for them to be able to see the fruit of what hard work and diligence and perseverance can produce. At the same time I became a bit panicky, as I thought about the statistics stacked against them: being poor and fatherless, being behind in their schooling due to lack of supervision with their studies, the struggling Nigerian education system.

Esther's classroom, as many in Nigeria, lacks basic supplies

I was quickly reminded that for more success stories to take place, God will have to step in and intervene for them through funding, mentoring, and tutoring. I also realized that me alone, or even Back2Back alone could not tackle this gigantic task. It is for the body.  A body of believers who are committed to the orphan child. Believers who are willing to lay down their life for someone else. People who are interested in considering others better than themselves and worthy of all that can be offered.

Sitting through the ceremony yesterday I felt choked up because these Nigerians truly celebrated the moving forward of each individual and child. They are proud of where they are coming from and even more proud of where they could be headed and where God might lead them.

Esther can make a difference, not just because she is educated.  Even more, her education will give her a platform to be able to reach more people and she will be able to use her God given mind to discern what is God’s perfect and pleasing will for her.

Daniel, Joe and Hope saw Esther celebrate a new season and stage of life. A new beginning and my prayer is that as we were all sitting there, they were becoming inspired to take another step forward, no matter how daunting the task is for them. We are all a part of the body, the body of Christ that can together raise another generation of believers who are willing to move forward.

Esther during the graduation ceremony (second from left)

Esther with those of us who came to watch her graduation

Ice Cream and Pizza Party, by Corrie Guckenberger, Back2Back Nigeria Staff

March 9, 2010

For Christmas, my parents gave all of sixteen of their grandchildren $30 USD. But, the gift itself was for them to see the joy in giving, so a letter was written to each of them about it and what they had to do was find a “cause” or a “need” other than their own life that could benefit from $15. They could keep the other $15 for themselves. After they gave their money to wherever they chose they then had to write a letter back to grandma and grandpa about where the money went, etc…

The grandkids with the grandparents

So, majority of my nieces and nephews proceeded, through time, to hand John and I $15 to go for an ice cream party for some children we work with. We were overwhelmed with the amount handed to us that there was enough for not only an ice cream party, but also a pizza party, as well.

Yesterday afternoon, we took twelve kids from a children’s home we work with (OLA) to a restaurant, called Summerland, for ice cream and pizza.

The children from OLA

When we arrived there, I started finding out from the children one by one as they were ordering ice cream, they had NEVER eaten ice cream before. NEVER!!! They had NEVER been to a restaurant before. And they had NEVER had pizza before. NEVER!

The manager who was running the ice cream parlor asked one of the girls who was 19 years old, if she liked ice cream, she said she didn’t know what it was and has never had it before. You should have seen the man’s face.  He was floored.  From that point on, he was giving double the portions for half the price. It was a blessed day.

A few of the children from OLA, with my son, Gus

Emilee had to show the kids how to hold the pizza (with your hands) because they didn’t know what to do with it. In the end, they behaved quite well in the restaurant and ate all their food (we also ordered Jollof rice, just in case our great idea was a bust. I think they liked having it as an option).

Afterwards, we took them to my kids’ school, Hillcrest, to play on the elementary playground. It was such a fun day. I hope it is one that is not quickly forgotten.

We are blessed for sure.  Gus, our son, said to me near the end of the day, “They really had never had ice cream before?!” I think my whole family was overwhelmed with our own blessings and was reminded of how good we have it, even if it can seem that we are sacrificing.

Vision for Nigeria Land of Hope Campaign, by Corrie Guckenberger, Back2Back Nigeria

December 10, 2009

Back2Back is partnering with Self-Sustaining Enterprises (SSE) in Nigeria.  SSE  has given Back2Back fifteen acres outside of Jos, Nigeria to develop as a Back2Back ministry site with a community center, enabling us to expand our ministry to local children and families in need. If you would like more information about our campaign to raise funds for the development of the land, please contact landofhope@back2backministries.org

It was so encouraging to see more than 100 people show up on a cold rainy evening to hear what God is doing through Back2Back in Jos, Nigeria.  We had our first capital campaign on December 8th in Cincinnati and it felt a bit as if I was attending a family reunion.  I think that is my favorite character trait about serving in this ministry.  Thousands of people have gone to serve at different sites, different times, and for different purposes, but many came together that evening and there was an underlying reality that even if I haven’t met you, I know you and a sliver of your heart.

Corrie Guckenberger, relaying the vision for the Land of Hope Campaign at the Nigeria Open House

Beth & Todd Guckenberger, sharing their heart for Back2Back's ministry in Nigeria

John Guckenberger at the Nigeria Open House

I was just reminded that ten years ago, Todd and Beth had their first fundraiser for Back2Back’s Mexico ministry site at Snyder Farm, the same location where the Nigeria Open House was located. Back2Back has been on quite a journey since then, following the Lord’s calling.  He has done so much that it can be overwhelming to think that He is still at work, moving and stirring and leading us now in Africa as well.

The vision of where we feel the Lord is asking us to go was shared by everyone and it was daunting seeing it unveiled to others.  As we unfold the desire to develop relationships in the Kisayhip Village near Jos and build a host village next door for us as a staff to live, I am too aware that it is too big a project for mere man.  For that reason, I get excited to see God work out the details in His time and in His way.  Our desire is to just be obedient to Him.  We are so grateful for everyone who came to the event, encouraging us, supporting us, and cheering us on.  That is truly what family should feel like.

Back2Back Nigeria Property, "Land of Hope"

A few of the children we serve in Nigeria

Village children saying hello from the Back2Back Nigeria property to be developed