Posts Tagged ‘Jesus Christ’

A New Year, by Jim Betscher, Back2Back Mexico staff

January 20, 2010

I have some random reflective thoughts as we begin not only a new year, but a new decade. I’ll confess that I have thought a lot lately about the injustices that I witness in this world. I have prayed for God to show up and change people or circumstances that I know are not part of His will. It has been difficult to accept that all is not going to be perfect in this world. I can’t just “work at something hard enough” that it changes. I believe God is calling us to be faithful even when things don’t ALL go right. I’m reminded of the numerous times in the Bible when God’s people were called to be faithful, even when things were not going their way.

I also am reminded that I am not perfect…not even close. My friends aren’t perfect; my family isn’t perfect; my co-workers aren’t perfect. The only one who is perfect is God. Then why do I question Him? Is it part of my imperfection that I think I am wiser than Him? I am messed up! We all are! The best that we can hope for is that we can work for improvement in our lives. And, in the end, be forgiven of our failures by the grace that is available through God’s only son, Jesus. We all need it!

So, as I start this New Year, I want to keep praying and working for the injustices that I witness, to be made right. But I want to also remember, that everything will never be completely perfect. I must learn to be faithful to God’s calling in my life, even when it seems my efforts are futile. I also want to remember that we are all imperfect beings and that the same blood of Jesus that is needed to wash away others’ sins is needed to wash away my sins.

Many times, I take comfort in situations when I can think of scripture that brings me peace in the middle of a storm. I want to take the time to reflect more on God’s word. I also want to pray more. Instead of worrying or being frustrated over things that I can’t change, I want to just share my heart with God and rest knowing that He is in control of everything!

Happy New Year everyone! I really believe “greater things are yet to be done!”

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A Rio Christmas, by Hope Maglich, Back2Back Mexico

December 21, 2009

Fifty rubber balls, eighteen yo-yos, twenty-six dolls, ten baby blankets, 400 tamales, and a partridge in a pear tree!!!  Last weekend, we hosted a Christmas party for the people in the Rio and I felt a little like the “true love” in the Twelve Days of Christmas! We were blessed with a generous donation to be able to bring Christmas to the children who live in the Rio community, an impoverished neighborhood that Back2Back serves.

Days before several of us staff when shopping to purchase gifts for the kids. Because new things are a rare treat for these kids, we really wanted to bless each and every person who came with something new for Christmas. I have never before bought three cart loads of rubber balls plus various other toys and games! Several of us staff spent days buying gifts, wrapping, organizing donations, prepping crafts, and cooking champorado (Mexican hot chocolate) for about 100 people in the Rio.

On Saturday we left bright and early loaded down with gifts, food, and extra hands to help out. We had our normal church service in the soup kitchen with worship and teaching. After the service we served the people hot tamales and champorado. Then the festivities began! On a typical Saturday we will have anywhere from eighteen to twenty-five kids. This day we had well over eighty kids and sixty adults!

We pulled the tables close together, called for attention, and shared the Christmas story. If any of you have ever worked with children, you know that lots of young kids together, excited for gifts and candy are not always the best listeners. As we began teaching, I prayed for focus. While gifts and piñatas are fun, the best part of Christmas is our Savior’s birth. We wanted this to be the focus of the celebration. I marveled at how quiet the soup kitchen became. All seventy pairs of eyes were focused on the speaker and the pictures she showed of the stable and the manger… these images not too far from the kids’ own dwellings. They were captivated by the story…. a little baby born into poverty, but with an eternal destiny. At the close of the lesson we shared with the kids the purpose of that baby born so long ago, and his love and purposes for each and every one of them… it was beautiful.

Then we decorated ornaments, ate candy canes, smashed two piñatas, and handed out gifts to each person. It was a great day, a great adventure, and a great time to show these people how much they are loved. While the fifty rubber balls, the eighteen yo-yos, and the 400 tamales brought many smiles, our prayer is that the real Gift of Jesus brought eternal joy to some hearts that day….that is what our True Love has truly given us.

The One that Makes a Difference, by Cathy Huffer

October 8, 2009

Last week, I was talking with my neighbor, Norma, who lives near us  in Monterrey, Mexico.  She told me of the story of a teenage boy who stopped at her home to ask her where “the Americans” live.  Wanting to protect the privacy of the Back2Back American staff living nearby, she continued talking with him, attempting to find out his reason for wanting to find our campus.  She discovered that the boy was a classmate of one of the teens in the Back2Back Hope Program.  He was on his way to the Back2Back campus, so that they could work on homework together.

Our neighbor gave him directions.  After an hour, he returned.

“Did you find your friend?,” she asked him. “How did your study time go?”

This innocuous question led to a deeper conversation than Norma had anticipated.  He quickly divulged that when he first arrived at the Back2Back campus, he was carrying a lot of burdens.  But once he walked through our front gate, he said that he felt different, like something had been lifted from his shoulders.

Later, after Norma had relayed this story to me, she said, “You know, Cathy, I’ve felt something different there too.”

It was the perfect opportunity to share with her, that I thought that “something different” was the Holy Spirit.  It gave me a chance to talk with her about the abundant life that Jesus offers.

“We receive the Holy Spirit as a free gift when we ask Jesus to come into our lives,” I said.

She was intrigued but not quite ready to ask Jesus into her life.  Please pray with me that God would continue to draw her closer to Him and one day bring her to a saving faith in Jesus Christ, the one that makes a difference.

Norma (in the pink shirt) standing with her family

Norma (in the pink shirt) standing with her family

Border Issues, by Kathy Couch

September 16, 2009

Living in a foreign country can have its drawbacks.  Especially one – the difficulty of crossing the border!  This experience is enough to make a grown man beg…. for papers… for entry…. for mercy.  Because, at that moment, the border immigration officers have ALL the power.  It seems there are rules, but no one really knows the rules.  This just makes it more fun.  My last experience with the border was fairly painless.  I thank the Lord for that.  But, it did make me think about border issues in my life.

After being in the states awhile and gazing into the television for way too many hours (because it “talked to me” in English), I thought of the border issues of my mind.  What am I allowing in without a fight?  What are my rules?  What do I give limited access too so that I can keep the pure mind that God called me to maintain?

It also reminded me of border issues in my mind.  If I am trying to die to myself daily, then I can’t be having conversations in my mind about my rights.  Rights to my own time, space, or wants.  I need to look outward instead of inward.  When people need my time or attention, my first thought should not be ‘me’!  It kind of spoiled me going home and having everyone think I was so great.  It filtered in through my brain and made me think I truly was something and some how deserved certain things.  So, there is another border issue.  To die or not to die.  To have the courage to die to myself, I have to stay plugged into the Word.  So that in dying to self, I am living in my spirit with Christ.

So with all the frustration of the border, I do have to thank them for making me think about the borders in my life.  I want to maintain the borders that keep me different from the world so that I can live my life as a witness to Jesus.  I had an interesting conversation with one of my boys who lives in our home through the Hope Program.  He shared with me that he thinks his teacher is a Christian.  His only proof is the man’s attitudes and actions.  What a testimony for an eighteen-year-old kid to notice there is a difference in your life! I want people to see that difference in me.  I want to talk about Jesus, but I also want to walk in a way that people see the difference and wonder why it is there!

Bringing Light to Darkness, by Jim Betscher

August 19, 2009

Many times when we take a group of Americans to serve at Rio III, an impoverished community in Monterrey, Mexico, I tell them that we are bringing Light to the Darkness. As soon as we get off the bus, we can see the darkness that is associated with sin. If we only look at the shanty community, we could be depressed by the conditions that the people live in. I know that unthinkable things happen to the children that live there. Many suffer from abuse and neglect at the hands of those who should love and care for them.

Children outside their home at Rio III

Children outside their home at Rio III - © DSL Images

In the gospel of Luke, Jesus says, “No one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, he puts it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be brought out in the open.” (Luke 8:16,17 NIV) We know that a light shines brightest in total darkness. We want to put the Light on a stand so that all can see it!

Realistically, I know that the hundreds of kids who live in Rio III may never own a car or eat three meals a day or live in a house like I do. But, I will feed them and clothe them and work to meet their needs of health care and shelter in the name of Christ.  By meeting these needs, I gain a platform to share with them the eternal salvation God offers them, through His son Jesus. My ultimate desire is that they will be able to spend eternity in a place that knows no pain or suffering.

Darkness, like the streets of Rio III can be pretty scary sometimes. But darkness always disappears when light confronts it. We simply want to be that Light!