Posts Tagged ‘Hurricane Alex’

Progress at Rio III, by Jim Betscher, Back2Back Mexico Staff

December 13, 2010

I wanted to update everyone on the progress that we have had at Rio 3. It has been four months since Hurricane Alex washed away over 100 homes and turned the church building that Back2Back supports into a 24-hour refuge for hundreds of people. With the help of many who gave towards our huricane relief fund, we have been able to put a roof on the new multi-purpose addition and pour a concrete floor. This will enable us to not only serve the community on a daily basis, but will also allow us to be better able to serve the people in the event of a future disaster. This building will eventually be a soup kitchen for the community!

I always like to point out that I believe the ministry that Olga runs from this church building is  a light in a dark world. Now they will be able to bring light to darkness in even a bigger way. We are excited about what God is doing in Rio 3. We also give thanks to God for the generous support that so many of you give. Together we are making a difference.

Advertisements

Dresses of Hope, by Jim Betscher, Back2Back Mexico Staff

August 17, 2010

In the midst of the aftermath of Hurricane Alex, we have experienced some very heartwarming stories. I have told several people that I believe God is using this tragedy to bring people closer to Him. In the Rio III community that was hit hard with widespread destruction, we have witnessed several such stories.  As the area has become darker, it has given Christians an opportunity to shine brighter.

The first week we hosted groups after the storm, we hosted a group from Northview Christian Church in Indiana. A thirteen-year old girl named Danielle came with her mother on this group. Danielle spent months preparing to come by organizing dress sewing sessions. She and her friends made seventy-seven dresses, which they brought them with them. She had done this before in other areas but this was the first time she was able to bring them and give them away herself. What a blessing she was for seventy-seven young girls from Rio III that week! Some of these girls lost everything in the flood waters of Hurricane Alex!

Check out Danielle’s blog at http://www.dressesofhope.blogspot.com/ to view a video she made when we gave away the dresses.

Serving those in Need, by Cathy Huffer, Back2Back Mexico Staff

July 26, 2010

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. ” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Recently, Back2Back staff, Back2Back partners, Meme and Maru, and some people from Meme’s Rio took a prepared meal to serve families in Rio 3, another impoverished community that suffered greatly during the recent storms from Hurricane Alex. It was quite the experience seeing one women and one man prepare a meal for 300 and travel across the city to serve it to a community they knew nothing about.

God was good to us as he lead us there safely.  We served 150 people and even spoke to a few families, as we viewed the destruction.

Preparing meals for the community

Serving meals to the families in Rio III

At Rio III, viewing the destruction from Hurricane Alex

I asked one family what it was like when the rains came. I asked if they were scared. One ladies answer was quick and confident, “No, I wasn’t scared, when you have Christ in your heart, you don’t need to fear.”

The other women spoke how the church/soup kitchen there (supported by Back2Back) was holding regular services and serving three meals a day. Meme, Benny, China, Perla and Beto were exchanging experiences of how the river wasn’t always a friend to them as well.

As I listened I remembered  a passage from the Bible, 2 Corinthians 1. Paul talks about how God gives us comfort so we could comfort others with the comfort we ourselves experienced from Him. The day was long and full of images I don’t want to forget. But these ladies and one man returned to their home full of the Joy that comes with serving the Lord and sharing in His comfort.


Hurricane Alex Update, by Beth Guckenberger, Back2Back Mexico Staff

July 22, 2010

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

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



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

Families line up to receive a meal

A child from the Rio enjoying her lunch

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

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

A family receives a food package from Back2Back staff

Connecting with a woman from the Rio during the clothing giveaway

A woman receives a new outfit at a Back2Back clothing giveaway

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

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

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

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

You are invited . . .

July 22, 2010

Back2Back Ministries Hurricane Alex Prayer Service

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

WHERE: Vineyard Community Church Chapel

11340 Century Circle East
Cincinnati, OH 45246-3316

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

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

– a time of praise and worship

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

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

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

Lemonade and Bracelets: Help for Hurricane Alex Relief

July 19, 2010

Abby, and her best friend, Annika love making friendship bracelets.  Yesterday, they decided to use their hobby to help a greater cause.  They hosted a bracelet and lemonade stand in front of their neighborhood pool to benefit Back2Back hurricane relief efforts in Monterrey, Mexico.  Excited about the opportunity to help victims of Hurricane Alex, Abby’s younger sisters, Grace & Rachel, jumped in, helping at the lemonade stand, and even buying some bracelets for themselves.  Later, Grace, Rachel, and Abby’s brother, Luke, also donated money they had already set-aside to tithe.  In the end, Abby & Annika also contributed their babysitting money, bringing the total amount raised to $100!

Back2Back thanks all those, like Abby and Annika, who give of their time and resources to enable us to continue to provide “care for today and hope for tomorrow” to orphans in need around the world!

Top Left (clockwise): Abby, Luke, Annika, Grace, and Rachel

Thank You for Your Support!

July 15, 2010

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

Mission Trips to India, Back2Back India Staff

July 14, 2010

It’s good to be back in India! We arrived this week in advance of the mission team. Ten youth and adults from a church in Virginia are coming to serve with us this week. We also have three Back2Back interns and two additional Back2Back staff on this trip. We are looking forward to what God has planned for us and the needy children in the rural areas around Hyderabad.

This month’s activities will take place at two of the children’s homes served by Back2Back India.  We will have a good dose of “kid time” with crafts and games. The children have prepared special singing and dancing for us.

Part of the time we will spend at the schools, seeing the importance of education and maybe even being “substitute teachers” for a couple of classes!

Work projects will depend on the rain, availability of supplies and present needs at the children’s home.

There are always plenty of needs. A likely highlight of the trip will be a special musical concert from the members of our church band in Hyderabad who will travel to the children’s home to perform. The kids cannot wait (and neither can I)!

Currently, Hyderabad is averaging temperatures cooler than Cincinnati. But it is monsoon season and we have experienced heavy nightly rainfalls. Our prayers are with our staff, interns and guests in Monterrey where they received “monsoon-like” rains from Hurricane Alex. Thank you for your prayers for the team coming to India and the work we’ll do this month. Look for upcoming blog posts about the trip.

Hurricane Alex Clean-up Efforts Continue

July 13, 2010

Thank you to the hurricane response team from Riverview Church and Lifepoint Vineyard that partnered with us in clean-up efforts last week!  Below are a few photos from time spent serving in Rio III, an impoverished community that was hit hard by flooding from Hurricane Alex in early July.

To see more photos from Rio III, view the entire photo album on Facebook.  Photos from the team’s time serving in Meme’s Rio, can be viewed here.

All photos courtesy of Kevin Judy.

Cristina: A Picture of Servanthood, by Hope Maglich, Back2Back Mexico Staff

July 12, 2010

Cristina caught me at an intense moment. I was frustrated and worn out by the needs of the people. Everyone needs something. Sometimes it feels like the whole world is looking to you to solve their problems. It was one of those days at the Rio where I felt like I had nothing more to give and yet people were still coming with their problems, financial crises, and needs.  Needless to say I was frustrated and worn out. At this moment, Cristina caught my arm and pulled me aside. Cristina is a women who lives in an impoverished community just outside the Rio area where Back2Back serves. She has several kids and you can tell by just looking at her that she does not have many resources available to her. (You can also tell by just looking at her that she has a very real relationship with Christ!) Cristina volunteers her time and talent helping to cook at the soup kitchen nearly every week.

“Hope,” Cristina said, “I just wanted to tell you that I have been looking through my things and my kids things and have put together several bags of clothing that we really don’t need. I was wondering if you could come by my house in your car and pick up the bags and take them to the people in Rio III.” (Rio III is a very impoverished community that was nearly wiped out during Hurricane Alex.)

Little was left of Rio III after flooding from Hurricane Alex

I was astonished! I looked at her and asked, “Are you sure? You don’t need these things?”

“No, Hope,” Cristina replied, “I know there are people that need these things more than I do.”

I gave her a hug and tried to keep back my tears. In my year of consistently serving in the Rio this is the first time I have seen anyone offer or desire to give away some of their own things to someone else. Poverty can be an ugly thing when it gets to the core of people and makes them believe that they always need more, can never have enough, and couldn’t possibly give anything away. I was so encouraged by Cristina’s heart to give freely of her own possessions to those who “needed it more than she did.” After a frustrating afternoon, this was like a cool drink to my soul! I’m praying blessings on Cristina as she blesses others.

Please Donate: Hurricane Alex Recovery Fund

July 5, 2010

The drive leading into the Back2Back Monterrey, Mexico campus

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

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

Rio III suffered great devestation from Hurricane Alex

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you.

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

Additional Hurricane Alex Update

July 2, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for your continued prayers.

a street by the Back2Back campus

Latest Hurricane Alex Update

July 2, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hurricane Alex Update

June 30, 2010

In our efforts to keep families of Back2Back trip members updated, we wanted to provide the latest information on the storm that is working its way toward Monterrey, Mexico.

  • First, it is important to note that all of our families and teams are safe, and there is no reason to believe we will be in any danger. We may get a little wet, but between the weather forecast and our specific location in the mountains, we are not concerned.  Still, we are taking some precautions to prepare.
  • The blog and website are the best way to get the most current information. I will be communicating with the home office to update the Back2Back website and blog if there are any changes here in Monterrey.   We will update it when and if there are any changes. We are in constant communication with our US office team.
  • Each trip coordinator will be contacting their home church to also give an update on the situation.

The current situation, as we understand it:

1.  The storm crossed over Monterrey starting on Wednesday, June 30 at 11pm.

2.  The forecast predicts the high winds will only be 23 mph.

3.  The teams are very safe here at our facility.

4.  The Back2Back campus has three generators (in case the power goes out) to ensure the electric pump works, providing us access to water and electricity for our kitchen.

5.  We are checking the airline schedules regularly.  If there are any cancellations, we will work to assist with rescheduling the mission trip guests as quickly as possible.  It will be helpful for us, if you contact the airlines directly to check on any family member’s flight status.

6.  The ministry sites we work with are also preparing with extra water and resources.  In the squatters villages, specifically, we are providing resources to help with relief from water damage.  We are providing extra water, tarps, and flashlights.

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