Posts Tagged ‘Jim Betscher’

The Joy of Reading, by Jim Betscher, Back2Back Mexico Staff

May 10, 2011

We recently completed remodeling the library at Casa Hogar Douglas. This children’s home for over seventy kids now has a very nice library made possible by a donation from The Rotary Club International and the tireless efforts of many of our ministry volunteers.

I recently read that 94% of the municipalities of Mexico don’t have a library. The reader index for Mexico is the lowest in Latin America. Back2Back is eager to help each child develop a love for reading and ultimately provide them with opportunities to improve academically. I am so excited that these kids will have an opportunity to benefit from the blessing this library will be!
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An Interview with Jim Betscher, Back2Back Mexico Staff

January 3, 2011

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

Jim Betscher

How do you serve with Back2Back?

Jim: I serve as captain of both Casa Hogar Douglas and the ministry site of Rio 3. As a Back2Back captain, I am the liaison between Back2Back and the people/children we serve. About 70% of my time is spent “in the field” working alongside the caregivers in the children’s home or Olga in Rio 3, an impoverished community that Back2Back serves. Many times, it is not just working on projects, but it is time spent identifying and assisting in finding solutions to their needs. We try hard to build into the staff that work full-time in the areas we serve, so that they can function better. I can’t do that unless I can identify with what struggles they really experience in doing their job. The other 30% of my time is spent in my office planning projects for upcoming groups, communicating with supporters and doing other paperwork.

Why did you decide to begin serving with Back2Back?

Jim: Like many Christians, I had felt a calling to do more for God, for some time. I turned fifty, as a single dad of two adult children. I realized that I couldn’t spend the next twenty years like I had spent the last twenty, living my life through my kids. I was either going to be a frustrated, middle-aged man, who complained that he never saw his kids enough, or I needed to find something else to do with my life, that I was passionate about.

For many years, my daughter and I had served with Back2Back, on short-term mission trips. I had always felt satisfaction and purpose when we served the children’s homes of Monterrey. So, during this mid-life crisis in my life, I accepted an invitation to join the staff in Monterrey, with a one year STINT commitment. My background was in construction. Back2Back was busy building the new teen homes on their campus. I felt God was calling me to help with the construction and mentor teens that would be a part of the Hope Program. That is what I did through 2007. But, during that year, I met my wife, Betty, got married, picked up five more kids and began to serve as a team, with my new wife.

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

Jim: I am most passionate about the fact that we are making a difference in so many kids’ lives. There are many problems here in Mexico. Over 50% of the population lives in poverty. The kids we serve are byproducts of that poverty. Many have been abandoned in children’s homes, by poor, undeucated parents that have no supportive community to help them care for their kids. When I consider the possibility that these kids can one day graduate college, and have a career in medicine, education, business or social work, I get excited. As I think of the difference these young people can be in their careers, because they know Jesus, I begin to believe we can change the world!

I feel very blessed to be an eyewitness to these changes. I realize that many times the things that I have an opportunity to be a part of are the result of many faithful people. Many people work hard, sacrificially supporting the work of Back2Back and don’t often get a chance to witness the fruit of their labor. I feel a responsibility to share the harvest of that fruit with ALL of those who have labored in the fields.

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

Jim: The thing that God has reminded me of lately is that He seldom works in nice and tidy ways. Many of the stories or events in the Bible, involved battles, sickness, suffering, violence and blood. Even God’s plan for my eternal salvation required His only son to suffer and die a cruel death on a cross. Why should I expect that the things of my life would be neat, painless and comfortable when there is no evidence of such things in His Word? Maybe it is something that the American Christian church of the 21st century has come to expect. And, maybe it isn’t Christian at all. Maybe it is why airline pilots, surgeons and millionaires have told me the most fulfilling days of their lives were spent pouring concrete here in Monterrey.

I was reminded of this, as I witnessed the work that God was doing in Rio 3 after Hurricane Alex. Over 100 families lost everything in the flood waters that were produced from the 40 inches of rain that fell in two days. As I walked through the emptiness of Rio 3, just hours after the flood waters receded, I felt the horror of complete devastation in these families’ lives. Everything had washed away! But as I have witnessed the work God has been able to do in this area in the weeks that followed, I have realized that God has used this tragedy to expand His Kingdom. Today, we are not heckled by men who believe what we are doing is foolish. Instead, we are warmly greeted by men who have experienced the love of Christ through our actions and not just our preaching. Church attendance has nearly doubled since we first started serving meals, providing shelter and rebuilding lives. God has been working in Rio 3. The work hasn’t always been as we have planned. Sometimes, He has used an event like a hurricane to prepare the way.

His Promises, by Jim Betscher, Back2Back Mexico Staff

September 1, 2010

Douglas Children's Home

Yesterday, a mom brought three sisters, to Casa Hogar Douglas (Douglas Children’s Home), an orphanage that Back2Back serves. She wants to drop them off at the children’s home because she thinks she cannot take care of them. I’m not sure that the girls even realize yet what is about to happen to them.

My wife, Betty, talked to their mom and took down all of their information, as she helps the home handle the intake of new children.  She sent them back home and told them that we would be in contact with them. The truth is that they will likely be the newest residents of this children’s home in a few days. I have witnessed scenes like this one numerous times in the last few years. Betty has been the person who has “interviewed” the moms and “admitted” the unwanted children into Casa Hogar Douglas, for two years now.

These young girls’ story is all too familiar. Mom has lived with their father for several years, but not been married. Now that he has left them, she has no education, job or money. The only relative that is willing to help her is her sister and she doesn’t have room for all of them. So, the children are dropped off at the children’s home, while mom “rebuilds” her life.

It’s times like this that my heart is heavy. So many thoughts and questions fill my mind sometimes. I really never dreamed that this period of my life would be spent in a battlefield. I think I always envisioned a more peaceful way that I would be spending these years. But really, I couldn’t be happier doing anything else! God knows exactly what I need and always provides. And, I know that God will provide for not only these young girls, but for all the other children in all the other parts of the world that Back2Back serves in. He has promised to do so in His Word! (Matt. 19:14)

I really want to take a moment to thank all of you that lift us up in prayer, support us financially or have come to personally serve alongside of us. As difficult as some of these situations are, I believe their is joy in knowing we are the ones God is using to demonstrate His Love for these children! All of you who support us in so many ways are being used by God also. (James 1:27)

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.

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!”

Christmas in Galeana, by Jim Betscher, Back2Back Mexico Staff

January 11, 2010

On December 22, the kids of Casa Hogar Douglas had an opportunity to serve kids that had very little materially. One of the caregivers in the children’s home, is from a small mountain town about four hours from here, called Galeana. The people from this town are very poor when it comes to material possessions. When the kids of Casa Hogar Douglas, a children’s home that Back2Back serves, found out about these kids from the hometown of their caregiver, they wanted to share their blessings with them. They got a list of seventy-four kids from a church in Galeana and each one of them chose a toy of their own to wrap and give to the kids of this town.

Not all of the kids were able to make the four-hour trip to Galeana with us on December 22nd.  We took with us about fifteen kids and prepared a meal, worshiped together, had a pinata to open and passed out all of the gifts to the children.

 

Some of the children on a stop during our drive to Galeana

 

 

Enjoying a meal together with the families of Galeana

 

 

Worshiping with the families of Galeana

 

 

The children had fun playing with the pinata

 

 

Passing out gifts to the children

 

 

The children of Galeana were so blessed by the generosity of the kids at Casa Hogar Douglas. For many this gift was their only Christmas present.

 

I witnessed something that day in the faces of the kids from Casa Hogar Douglas. I’ve seen their faces on the receiving end many times, but it was a blessing to watch them as they had an opportunity to serve others in the same way that they have been served by American mission trip groups.

Bringing Books to Casa Hogar Douglas, by Jim Betscher, Back2Back Mexico Staff

November 11, 2009

Back2Back recently received a donation to purchase new books for Casa Hogar Douglas, a children’s home in Mexico that we serve. I’d like to share with you a little of the story behind the donation.

Emily Taylor is a 14 year-old student at Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy. After participating in a mission trip here, earlier this year, she wanted to stay involved in the lives of the children she met in Monterrey. One of the needs that Emily noticed when she read with the kids in the children’s home, was the need they had to read better. As she thought about this, she had the desire to purchase books for their library. Once she knew what she wanted to do to stay involved with the children in Monterrey, she thought about how she could make this possible.

Emily decided that instead of asking for gifts for her birthday, she would ask people to give her money, that she could use to buy books for orphans. She collected $700! We used the money to purchase Christian books for all ages at a local Christian bookstore, here in Monterrey. The store gave us a 25% discount on our purchase so we were able to purchase $1,000 worth of Christian books with the money that Emily collected.

Before we put the books on the shelves, we prayed for them. We gave thanks for the 14 year-old girl who had a God sized dream to stay involved, from over 1,500 miles away. And we prayed that these books would help bring “hope for tomorrow” that these kids did not have before.

Bringing Books to Casa Hogar Douglas

Bringing Books to Casa Hogar Douglas 2

The library at Casa Hogar Douglas

The library at Casa Hogar Douglas

Answered Prayers, by Jim Betscher, Back2Back Mexico Staff

November 4, 2009

Last week, I was working at Casa Hogar Douglas, along with Mauricio, another Back2Back Mexico staff member. We were working on a list of “honey do” projects for the caregivers there in the children’s home. I always like getting things accomplished on this list because it helps make life a little easier for these ladies who live with and care for these children 24/7. I usually do things like fix lights or plumbing problems or repair doors or  broken furniture. This day, Mauricio was hooking up a clothes washer in the older girls’ dorm for their caregiver, LuLu. The water hookup was not right on the washer. Each time she used it she had to carry water up from the first floor in buckets to fill it. In addition, there was no electric outlet near the washer so she had to use a very long extension cord to make it run. He hooked a direct water line to the washer and installed a new electrical outlet near it for a direct connection.

As we finished up that day, Mauricio told me that LuLu shared with him how she had been praying for some time, that this work would be done. He said to me, “I love knowing that God is using me to answer someone’s prayer!” I had never thought about it that way before, but he was right. When we submit to God’s calling for our lives, many times God uses us as an answer to someone else’s prayer. I know that many of you have been used by God to be an answer to my prayers. As I have prayed for God to provide for our financial support, many of you have been the one that God has used to answer my prayers. That is why it is important to be obedient in the calling that God has for our lives. We may just be God’s answer to someone else’s prayer.

Lulu

Lulu (far right), a caregiver at Douglas Children's Home

The Prayer of Louis, by Jim Betscher, Back2Back Mexico Staff

October 28, 2009

The lives of the kids who live in the children’s homes that we serve are often filled with pain. Many times, their lives are filled with bad memories of their families and a void of real love. In all of the work that we do, we want the kids to experience love and to know that God loves them perfectly. I love it when a child has an opportunity to exercise his faith in God and realize that God always loves them. Recently, Luis, a nine-year old from Casa Hogar Douglas (one of the children’s homes we serve) had this opportunity.

Luis

Javier, the head care giver at this children’s home, has been going to each dormitory at bedtime and praying with the kids. A few weeks ago, he was in the young boys’ dorm, and he asked if they had any prayer requests. Luis, the oldest of four kids in his family that live at this children’s home, said that he wanted to pray that a relative would come and visit them on Sunday.  It had been weeks since anyone had come to visit them on visitation day.

Some of the other kids laughed and said, “No one is coming!”

But then, Javier calmly asked Luis, “Do you believe if we pray that someone will come, that it will happen?”

Luis answered “YES I DO!”

They prayed together that night for his mom to come and visit. That next Sunday, their mom came to visit them.

I remember the day that Luis, his two younger brothers and his sister were dropped off by their mom at the children’s home. It was about a year ago. I remember because I had tears in my eyes as she left them. But, none of the kids were crying. I know that their lives have probably always been full of sadness, heartache and pain. One of the hardest parts of our work, is witnessing the heartache and pain that so many of these kids carry. But I am also lifted up, each time I can witness God’s faithfulness in their lives as well.

Viva Mexico!, by Jim Betscher

September 30, 2009

September 16 is the Mexican Independence Day. The holiday is actually celebrated more on the night before than on the 16th. It reminds me of New Years Eve compared to New Years Day. The tradition here is to have a party on the night of the 15th, and at midnight the president leads the whole country in a cheer. At the end of the cheer, the president says “Viva Mexico” and everyone else joins in with “Viva!”

This year, Back2Back helped plan a party, organized by the church at Casa Hogar Douglas. The eighty kids that live at this children’s home were so proud to open their home up to the public to host this party.

The children at Douglas Children's Home helped decorate for the party

The children at Douglas Children's Home helped decorate for the party

They planned and worked to decorate and then they entertained the guests for the evening. We had about one hundred guests who helped us celebrate Mexico’s Independence Day with the children.  I am so thankful that the kids had an opportunity to enjoy this evening. This is something that they might be doing as a family if they had an opportunity to live in a home with their parents. Living in a children’s home, many times they miss out on events like this. But events like this are so important because they are part of their Mexican heritage.

The children dressed up in costumes to celebrate

The children dressed up in costumes to celebrate

The staff from Back2Back helped with booths, similar to the type that you would see at a carnival.

Back2Back staff enjoyed the celebration

Back2Back staff enjoying the celebration

We catered a delicious Mexican buffet dinner and played games with prizes. The children even performed a short program with the Mexican pledge and national anthem.

The children recited the National Anthem

The children recited the Mexican Pledge and the National Anthem

Some of the youngest kids did a traditional Mexican dance for the crowd and JJ Lail from our staff led everyone in the “grito” or “shout”.

Needless to say, they were all tired at the end of the night but they were very content too. “Viva Mexico!!!”

Power Outage, by Jim Betscher

September 7, 2009

It was Sunday.  I arrived at Casa Hogar Douglas, a children’s home we serve, around 9:30 AM to prepare for church. When I got there, I discovered that the home had been without electric for twenty-four hours. All of the food in their refrigerators was spoiled and because their water well works on an electric pump, they were also without water. We began to determine the exact cause of the problem. Soon, we discovered that the transformer was shorted out and would need to be repaired.

It was the third week of July and the temperature during that time of year is over 100 degrees every afternoon.  Since it was Sunday, we knew that we wouldn’t be able to do anything about the electric until Monday, at the earliest. So, we immediately began hauling drinking water from our property to the children’s home. We also brought the kids to the swimming pool on our property to cool down.  Afterwards, we had a cookout for them.

Getting ready to cool off in the pool

Getting ready to cool off in the pool

Pool party at Back2Back with the kids from Casa Hogar Douglas

Pool games

Alejandro loves playing in the baby pool

Alejandro loves playing in the baby pool

On Monday, we learned it would cost $3,000 to fix the transformer and it would be Tuesday before it would be ready. So we hauled more drinking water, fed them again and invited them to cool down in our pool once more.

It was a rough week. But that is why we are here. Without Back2Back’s help I’m not sure where the children’s home would get help in times like this. Those of you who support this ministry, make it possible for us to help the children’s homes when they have a crisis.  And for that we are extremely grateful. Events such as the power outage enable us to have a platform to share the Gospel. Today, the kids at Casa Hogar Douglas know that God loves them and will provide for their needs.

One of the dorms on the Casa Hogar Douglas property (Douglas Children's Home)

One of the dorms on the Casa Hogar Douglas property (Douglas Children's Home)

VBS at Casa Hogar Douglas, by Jim Betscher

September 2, 2009

The last week of July we had our first Vacation Bible School for the kids that attend the church at Casa Hogar Douglas (Douglas Children’s Home). Each morning, the children had a time of worship, teaching by age group, and crafts.  All of the kids had a great time, as they learned more about God and grew in their spiritual understanding.

In addition to the attendees from the children’s home, eight kids from the local community joined us for the VBS. Can you imagine how the kids from the children’s home felt when the neighborhood kids WANTED to come to their home to visit? Those in the community don’t typically WANT to come to a children’s home.

One of our goals is that the children would feel like the children’s home that they live in is more like a home and less like an institution. I know that this is difficult, but we want them to think as a family. We want them to know what it is like to have siblings, parents, aunts and uncles who really love them as Christ loves them. We tell them often in the church, that we are not perfect, but we are a family.

VBS was not only a time of learning Bible stories and worship songs. For the kids of Casa Hogar Douglas, it was a time to be proud. Please keep praying for this church. I believe God is moving mightily in the lives of these kids right now. Wonderful things are soon to come as we witness the fruit from this work!

Marilin leads the younger children at the children's home to a group Bible lesson

Marilin leads children to their first VBS activity

Children working on an art project during craft time

Children working on an art project during craft time

Sharing a Bible story with the younger children during VBS

Using puppets to share a Bible story with the younger children

Betty Betscher sharing a lesson with the older children during VBS

Betty Betscher teaching a Bible lesson with the older children

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!