Posts Tagged ‘Edgar’

Selene, Karely, and Shirley’s Quincenera, by Cathy Huffer, Back2Back Mexico

December 14, 2009

As the three girls celebrating their quinceneras walked into the room, the words of Connie (a director at their children’s home, Manatial de Amor) rang in my ears.

“These three girls have been with us for a long time.  They grew up in this children’s home.  As I was praying today God reminded me that we all are daughter’s of the KING.  He wants us to know that.  In a very special way, God is showing that to these three girls tonight,” Cony shared.

Cony’s words are true for all of us.  And in a very tangible way God was showing these girls what they mean to Him.  This December we had another opportunity to provide a quincenera for three girls Back2Back serves at a local children’s home, girls who don’t have families to make this special event happen.

Shirley, Karely and Selene all have little to no family involvement.  Usually, we (Back2Back) are able to provide a dress, a few humble gifts, a few flowers and a meal for their children’s home and any family that can attend.  But, with the help of a group of women that came to serve with Back2Back, we provided a nice meal, cake and symbolic presents that are traditional for this special birthday signifying the maturing of a girl in Mexican culture.

Thanks to the women’s group, the quincenera was held in a warm reception room.  They all wore the gown of their dreams.  The girls received free hair styling and makeup by a relative of a Back2Back staff member and donations from folks through a Facebook and email petition allowed the girls to receive royal treatment.

Selene, Karely, and Shirley

Thursday night was in the low 50’s/high 40’s and rainy.   So, the room inside a Mexican buffet restaurant was a huge blessing.  Edgar, another Manatial de Amor director, gave the message and the woman’s group that was serving with us that week shared in the ceremony giving the symbolic gifts a girl receives (like a watch, bible, ring and pillow).  Dancing and dinner followed the ceremony to round out a perfect evening.

Edgar sharing a message during the quincenera

Edgar sharing a message during the quincenera

On behalf of these girls and the Back2Back staff, thank you to all those who gave to give them the night of their lives.

Heaven Breaks Through, by Greg Huffer, Back2Back Mexico

December 11, 2009

One of the most powerful and exciting things to behold is the testimony of a changed life in the hands of Jesus Christ.  As Christians, we talk a great deal about how Jesus is in the business of changing people, but we all know it is one thing to say that we are changed and quite another to demonstrate change with the actions of our lives.

In all of the homes we serve, we trust that God is changing the lives of the children we work with, even when it is not easily visible.  But every once in a while, we are blessed with a glimpse of the divine work that is taking place and we see a clear manifestation of Jesus-induced change!  At the Manantial de Amor (MDA) girl’s home, I saw one of these changes that Jesus is making in the lives of one of the girls that live there.  (In the following story I’ve changed the names of the girls to protect their identity.)

Not too long ago, a girl named Laura came from a government-run children’s home to live at the MDA girl’s home.  She found herself sharing a bedroom with eight other teenage girls who already had developed sister-like bonds with one another- intimidating for sure!  Laura, as many troubled teens do when they are uncomfortable, lashed out and much of her aggression was directed to one girl in particular, a girl named Susie.  For several weeks, the two lived in tension with one another, with conflicts and arguments every day.  Then, one day it all came to a head on Susie’s birthday!

Susie had received some money from supporters in the United States for her birthday with which she had purchased some gifts.  Things had seemed to have improved between Laura and Susie for a couple weeks and the house was a much nicer place for all.

One day while Susie was away, Laura found where Susie had hidden the rest of her birthday money and stole it along with the gifts that Susie had already purchased.  Then she ran away from the children’s home.  She got into some minor trouble with a police officer and when he asked her where she lived so he could return her, she told him that she lived at the government run children’s home in the area, the very home from which she had come to MDA.

The caregivers were surprised to see her back there, but took her in and contacted Edgar, the director of MDA.  As the story unfolded, I can only imagine the fear and hard-heartedness that must have been welling up inside Laura.  The director for the government home sternly told Edgar that he needed to confront and discipline Laura with strong and severe consequences.  This was all that would get through to a child like Laura.

Edgar replied, “No we don’t do that here.  We have another approach.  We are going to love her.”

Edgar brought Laura back to the MDA girl’s home that day.  I wonder how slowly Laura walked from the car to the front door.  What was she thinking?  What was she feeling?  What reaction would Susie show her when their eyes met?  I guarantee that whatever she was expecting, it was nothing like what really happened.

Susie came to Laura and hugged her and told her that she was glad she was back.  Clearly, she could see the fear and confusion in Laura’s eyes, wondering where the expected retribution was.

Susie took Laura aside and told her, “Laura, I don’t care about the gifts.  I don’t care if I get those back or not.  YOU are what is important!  YOU are so much more important than all of those things combined!”

This is what excites me about Back2Back!  I love seeing the change that is taking place before our very eyes in the lives of children like Susie.  Sometimes it can be hard to see, but other times, heaven breaks through in glorious moments like these!  It is through the love of Jesus that Edgar and others have shown Susie over the years at MDA, that she has changed. And hopefully, prayerfully, it is through the love and mercy of girls like Susie, that Laura and others like her will be changed as well!

Edgar & Conny (the directors of Manantial de Amor) with some of the girls from MDA Children's Home

Well Worth the Investment, by Matt Cooper

August 17, 2009

An Afternoon with Edgar

I know what people are thinking.  Starbucks? What a waste of money.  Ok, not everyone.  Those who love cold coffee drinks would argue that it’s worth it.  The truth is a trip to Starbucks is not something that I make a habit of.  An opportunity to connect with one of our Hope Program students, however, is something that’s worth the investment.

A couple of weeks ago Edgar moved into our home.  He is seventeen and just two weeks into his college career.  He’s new to our program and is filled with questions.  The thing about most seventeen-year-old boys though is that it can be like pulling teeth to get them to verbalize their questions, and much more so their thoughts.

We’ve just come out of a very busy season here in Monterrey, and Edgar unfortunately moved in during the last couple weeks of that season.  The great news is that today Edgar and I had the chance to hang out together one-on-one.  I needed to drop off a student at school so that they could turn-in a summer project.  As I was about to run out the door, I shouted to Edgar, “Come on, I’m taking you out!”  He quickly grabbed his shoes and we were off.

After we dropped the other student at school, my only intention was to find some place for Edgar and I to sit and chat.  It had crossed my mind to find a café to grab a coke, or an ice cream shop, but we just happened across a quaint little Starbucks.  It was Edgar’s first visit and of course his first Venti Caramel Frappucino.  More importantly it was ninety minutes to connect on a personal level.  It was a chance to have a great conversation.  We talked about school and personal growth; we talked about my expectations for Edgar and about his aspirations; we talked about his adjustment to someplace new; and in the end we talked about God’s provision, God’s plan, and Edgar’s understanding of who God is.  I could not have been more pleased with the time.

The money spent at Starbucks was well worth the investment.  The fruit from that hour and a half invested in Edgar may not be fully realized this side of eternity, but I have a feeling that our conversation was a start to a great relationship.  I have a feeling it was a conversation and investment that is going to bring many great returns.

Edgar, the newest addition to the Hope Program's James House

Edgar, the newest addition to the Hope Program's James House

Shelter in Unexpected Forms, by Mandy Lail

July 22, 2009

This week I have been thinking about shelter in unexpected forms.  Take one of my boys, Homero, for example.  When Homero was twelve years old, he came to live at Manantial de Amor, one of the children’s homes in Monterrey.  He had gotten into a lot of trouble at various schools and even with the police.  His mother was at a loss at how to handle him.  A family member lived near Manantial de Amor, so his mother decided to take him there even though she lives two hours south by bus.  After three years at Manantial de Amor, Homero moved in with us to participate in the Hope Program with Back2Back.

Most of us find it difficult to understand how a mother can take her child to a children’s home.  And even more, we find it difficult to understand how God can shelter a child there.  How a life without their family, a life in a group home can be a form of shelter.  The reality is that for many of these kids a children’s home is a safer place than they came from.  It’s not perfect, sometimes not even pretty, but for many much safer. This can be a hard concept for us to understand.

But for me when I look at Homero . . . it is so clear how God has not only sheltered him but continues to pursue him.  Living at Manantial de Amor removed him from a dangerous path he was on.  He was making bad decision after bad decision and thankfully his mother intervened.  If she hadn’t, I think he would likely be in jail. God provided not only physical shelter, not only removed him from a dangerous path but provided Homero spiritual shelter.  Through the spiritual influence of the director Edgar, Homero started a relationship with Jesus while living at Manantial.  And now he lives with us where he has the opportunity to receive a solid education and spiritual influence, while experiencing family life.

Recently we had to tell Homero “no” when he asked to visit his hometown over the weekend.  He had been back several times in the previous months and we were becoming more and more concerned with his trips there.  From what information we could gather after the fact, he was making questionable decisions again, hanging out with his old crowd and spending little time with his mother while there.  At his last request we both felt super uneasy about the prospect and decided to not let him go.  He handled it well and even seemed relieved.  Later he told us that he had thought God didn’t want him to go.

About two weeks later, his mother showed up unexpectedly.   When she asked to speak privately with us, we were concerned she was angry we had not let Homero visit.  Instead, through tears, she asked us to not let him visit his hometown any more.  She too was concerned about his visits and decisions.  She knew it meant she would see him less, but she was willing to sacrifice her time with him to ensure he stayed on his current path.  She knows what opportunities he has here at Back2Back and she wants him to compromise them.

To me it’s so clear.  God has sheltered Homero over and over again; through a children’s home, through Back2Back and especially through his mother.  Many would look at her and judge her inability to parent.  I look at her and see a woman who is fighting for her son the only way she knows how. It’s unexpected, it’s not what I would have picked but it is so clearly God’s shelter for my foster son.  And I am thankful.

Homero with his mom at graduation

Homero with his mom at graduation