Posts Tagged ‘Matt Cooper’

Betty, by Matt Cooper, Back2Back Cancun Staff

October 14, 2011

This beautiful little girl is Betty. She is nine years old, and is one of the sweetest girls you’ll ever meet. She is the oldest of three sister who came to live at Casa Hogar San Jose almost a year ago now.

In December of last year, shortly after her arrival, we met a family from Michigan who happened to be in Cancun on vacation – and it just so happened that this family wanted to get to know Back2Back, and see what we were up to in this corner of the world. We picked them up from their hotel and spent a few hours together. Together we spent some time at Casa Hogar San Jose, and they met Betty. That morning God made a special connection between Betty and the family’s young daughter.

Their family decided to sponsor Betty through Back2Back’s Shelter Child Sponsorship Program and then in return we help facilitate on-going communication through letters between Betty and the family. During our trip to the midwest in August, we were able to get together with this family in Michigan who have not only become advocates for the ministry, but friends of our family as well. At the end of our visit their young daughter gave us a little tiny purse with a note attached and asked if we could take it to Betty when we got back to Cancun.

Below is Betty displaying what was inside the purse: a locket with a picture of her and her long-distance friend from Michigan. What a special gift for a very special girl. We love seeing Betty smile. We love the way God connects His people, the ways He cares for the orphan, and for the ways He lavishes His love upon children like Betty.
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Standing Back2Back with Nationals, by Matt & Julie Cooper, Back2Back Cancun

May 27, 2011

Through a series of God-events, we have met a pastor by the name of Victor.

Pastor Victor

Pastor Victor has a small church in a neighborhood named Tres Reyes. Tres Reyes is the same neighborhood where we have been helping Noehmi’s family build a house.

Victor has a desire to reach the people Tres Reyes for Christ. He has a desire to see the Kingdome of God grow. He has a desire to begin to feed children in the neighborhood but he needs someone to stand in the gap with him.

We believe that God has led us to Pastor Victor for this season. God has opened a door – and once again we’re walking through it.

With the visiting missions teams we will have over the next couple of months we are going to be helping Pastor Victor with some projects on his church, and assisting him in outreach to the children and families that live in this extremely poor neighborhood. We look forward to working together as we feed the hungry, love the needy, and bring hope to the hopeless!

A Back2Back staff member surveys the property with Pastor Victor

The Privilege of an Education, by Matt & Julie Cooper

May 16, 2011

Chave (Isabel), Mari and Sofia sitting in their classroom at school

The privilege of going to school seems like a given, especially to attend kindergarten. But what if you can’t afford to send your child to kindergarten? For the kindergarten age children who live at Casa Hogar San Jose, they have to pay $10 USD a week to attend school. It doesn’t sound like much, but when you multiply it by four children, and all of the weeks they attend school, it starts to add up!

Mari, Chave, Sofia and Alexa are four little girls from Casa Hogar San Jose who are all in kindergarten. Thanks to some individuals who gave money at Christmastime through the Back2Back Christmas Catalog, and through families who are sponsoring children through Back2Back’s Shelter Program we were able to cover the majority of this bill for these four girls this year.

Last week, I accompanied the director of the home to the school to make a payment because they had gotten behind a few weeks. When I suggested we just go ahead and pay what they would owe for the rest of this school year the director was speechless. She was both overjoyed, and overwhelmed. Thank you to those of you who have given! Thank you for making it possible to bless this children’s home in this way, and thank you for blessing four little girls, whose education is one of the most important things we can give them.

Poorest of the Poor, by Matt Cooper, Back2Back Cancun Staff

April 8, 2011

A few weeks ago we were introduced to a family. The social worker from the DIF (Child & Family Services) here in Cancun said she wanted us to meet a family, and wondered if there was anything we could do for them, as they were in a very rough situation.

Fifteen year-old Noehmi, is lower functioning, perhaps mildly mentally challenged. A few months back Noehmi had a baby, and has been receiving some services through the teenage mom program that we’ve been serving back to back with here. Noehmi lives with her younger sister, who is in sixth grade, and her 17 year-old brother, who is no longer in school. These three teenagers live with their elderly grandparents.

The grandfather is not in good health. Their mother has passed away. And their father, who had always supported the entire family has recently been sentenced to prison. The father’s old employer leant a room to the family to stay in.

When the social worker took us out to see the family, we met them in this tiny back room of a house with a tin roof that was caving in over their heads.

“Every time it rains all of our things get drenched,” they explained.

They family had been making payments on a plot of land, but the income from her grandma selling tamales, and the 17 year-old washing car windows at intersections had been barely enough to feed the family, let alone have anything left to make payments on their land, or to build a home.

“So, do you think there is something Back2Back can do for this family?,” asked the social worker.

For a moment, we sat in silence, and I felt overwhelmed, helpless, wondering what I could do to really make any difference. It all seemed so urgent. Yet, I felt like I had no resources at my fingertips, no solutions to offer. And then God brought something to my mind.

Several weeks earlier, a friend of ours on Back2Back staff in Monterrey shared that someone had given her some money and asked her to use it when she came across a situation of the “Poorest of the Poor”. Our friend had shared with us that she praying about where to use the money in Monterrey, but felt that God might equally want to use the money in Cancun, and that we to should be praying and should let her know if we came up with a need.

I was convinced that this was it, this money was given for Noehmi’s family. I contacted our friend and learned that the money was still available. The social worker contacted the land owner of a plot of land the family had making payments on, and permission was given to begin working on construction of a new home for the family – somewhere they could call their own.

I could not have been more excited for the way God put the pieces together and for the way we’re going to have a chance to bless this family in a very, very real way.

Noehmi with her daughter, Miriam

Noehmi's sister, Blanca, making tamales with their grandmother

Waiting for our Return, by Matt Cooper, Back2Back Mexico Staff

September 7, 2010

Months ago, before Back2Back’s  first trip to explore the possibility of expanding into Cancun, I dreamed of meeting a young boy in Cancun. I’m not sure that I could describe much detail from the dream, other than the fact that I remember entering a children’s home and being greeted by ONE boy, a boy who was very happy to see me, and a boy that was very hungry for my attention.

During our first scouting trip here in March, we visited a home just outside of Cancun. It is a very humble children’s home run by Catholic nuns. The home has eleven children in their care, ten of which are girls, and just one boy, Jorgito.

Matt with Jorgito

During our visit in March, we spent the afternoon visiting with the caretakers, sharing some donations with them, and interacting with the children. I spent a good chunk of time coloring and playing frisbee with Jorgito. He was extremely hungry for attention. He stuck to me like glue that afternoon. As we left, and I thought back to my dream it began to click that perhaps Jorgito was the boy from my dream. It wasn’t as if they had the same face or anything, but rather, it was what the boy in my dream represented. He represented the obvious need, and he represented that we would be well received.

So now we fast forward almost six months and it’s late August.  Julie and I, along with the other Back2Back Cancun Staff, Mauricio and Lizy, went back to visit the home. We pulled in, and one of the first people to come running to see who we were was Jorgito, of course. Keep in mind it’s been almost six months, but immediately he greets me with a big smile and says to me, “You’re Mateo! I remember you!”

I couldn’t get over it. I had spent all but a couple of hours with the boy, SIX months ago, and it was as if he had been waiting for me to come back. When we walked further onto their property I ran into one of the nuns working at the children’s home, the same one who had received us in March. She too immediately remembered us. She said, “You’re Matt, from Back2Back. We’ve been waiting and wondering, but I just figured you weren’t coming back at this point.”

Excitedly I was able to explain that now we will be living in Cancun full-time, and that we want to serve them in any way that we can. I really could barely get over the fact that not only the caretaker, but also this small boy very clearly remembered us and had been waiting for our return. In a prophetic sense, this spoke volumes to me. Their very expectancy told me that we are needed here. It was a great moment of confirmation from the Lord that we are exactly where He wants us, that His timing is perfect, and that He indeed plans to use us for his glory in this place – especially in lives like that of Jorgito, and many more just like him.

New Back2Back Site in Cancun, by Julie Cooper, Back2Back Mexico Staff

June 24, 2010

This fall, Back2Back will be expanding, by opening a second site in Mexico, specifically in Cancun.  Staff will help in the fight against human rights violations against children and provide “care for today, hope for tomorrow” to orphans in need.  Below, Julie Cooper, who will be heading up this site with her husband, Matt, explains how the idea began:

My husband, Matt, with two siblings from San Jose Children's Home in Cancun, during a visit to the area in March.

I want to share with you a little bit of the story behind us going to Cancun. This won’t cover every angle but mostly that which involves us personally. In the fall of 2008, one of our SMCA (the school on campus) teachers held a fundraiser to help an organization that works in areas where human rights are being violated. I was interested to learn more about this organization so I visited their web site to see what kind of work they were involved in. I was struck by an article about the great need in Cancun and how poor and street children are at incredible risk there. It just kind of became a burden to me. I thought a lot about the kids and their needs and began to wonder if Back2Back could maybe someday be “back to back” with the work that was going on in this city.

Later in the fall of 2009, Back2Back decided that it was time to branch out and begin work in another Mexican city. By this time, I had shared with pretty much everyone what I had read about Cancun.  However, back in the US office while researching options, our team was unable to find even a word about Cancun on this organization’s web site. Apparently, they don’t even work there! Whatever it was that I read over a year ago, was clearly God’s way of bringing this area of Mexico to our attention. Many associate Cancun with beaches and hotels – not with the thousands of children in need. Some are living in children’s home but many, many more are at home unsupervised while mom is gone twelve hours a day trying to earn a living working in one of the hotels. Older kids often turn to the streets.  Below is first-hand insight into the situation in Cancun, as reported by Chris Hawley,  of Republic Mexico City Bureau:

Cancun is a place of brilliant turquoise waters and cool white sand, tropical breezes and icy margaritas, glittering hotels and immaculate streets. That’s the Cancun seen by some 4.6 million visitors a year, making this tiny island one of the world’s biggest tourist destinations, a major source of cash for Mexico and the model for new resorts from Tunisia to Thailand.

But there’s another Cancun just beyond Kilometer Zero, the place on Kukulcan Avenue where the vaunted Hotel Zone ends. And things are not so idyllic there. It’s a city of 500,000 struggling with the social ills of a frontier boomtown: crime and poverty, drugs and gangs, political unrest . . . It’s a place of gritty “superblocks” where hotel workers live in cinder-block houses, and of even poorer areas where squatters build shanties out of scrap wood and old advertising banners.

“If the tourists knew where we live, they’d understand what Cancun is really like,” said María Eternidad Jiménez Orinano, standing in the door of her scrap-metal home in the Tekach neighborhood.

Back2Back will work to meet the needs of the children in the area and offer opportunities for short-term mission teams to partner with us as we serve.

God has worked in His own time and I am encouraged by that as I think about the obstacles that still stand in our way. I’m going to write about it in my journal right now, so that next year I can look back again at our faithful God who supplies all of our needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus and see how He was again faithful!

Join the Back2Back Flying Pig Marathon Team or Sponsor a Runner!

February 26, 2010

The Flying Pig Marathon is a city-wide race held annually in Cincinnati, Ohio.  This year, the race is scheduled for May 2, 2010 at 6:30 a.m. and this year, for the first time ever, Back2Back Ministries is organizing a team of runners to raise funds for the needs in our three ministry sites by asking people to sponsor, or “adopt” a runner!  To date, the team consists of Todd & Beth Guckenberger, Matt & Julie Cooper, Tim Couch, Kurt Kersey, and Antonio Garcia Espinosa.  Click here to find out how to join the team and become a Back2Back Pig!  Not a runner?  Sign-up to sponsor a runner here.

Spiritual Sons, by Matt Cooper, Back2Back Mexico Staff

February 23, 2010

One day in late September we were sitting in church listening to our pastor give his sermon, when out of nowhere he stopped, turned toward me and said, “Matt, God is going to give you Spiritual Sons.”

Of course I somewhat in shock that he was taking the time to share this word from the Lord with me right in the middle of his sermon, but I nodded in agreement, and then he just turned and went on with his sermon.

I found myself in wonder at a man that has the ability to listen to God so intently that during his sermon he could actually discern a word of encouragement (or prophecy) for me, stop and take the time to share it with me, and then go on with his sermon without skipping a beat. I loved it. I loved that my pastor could be so in tune to God’s voice, and I loved the promise that God had for me in the message he delivered to me through the pastor. From that day forward I began to think on those words, and imagine what exactly it might look like when they would come to pass.

Later in the fall, a handful of the boys that live with my wife and I made decisions for Christ from a church drama, and during an altar call at church.  So of course I began to think that that was the fulfillment of the pastor’s words. I just assumed, because in my simple mind I couldn’t imagine what else it could be.  Little did I know that there was more, and that in a sense it had more to do with me than it did with our boys.

In November, a sister church of our church was holding a youth retreat about three hours outside of Monterrey in a tiny little town called La Chona. The youth pastor from our church was invited to lead worship for the weekend, and he had invited me to sing with the worship band. At first I saw the invitation to sing in the worship band as being way outside of my bull’s eye of responsibilities. However, then it occurred to me that perhaps I could make it work if I took my boys along with me!  So I made the decision that we would go together as a house. Although in the end only four of the eight ended up being able to go, it later was clear to me that they were exactly the four that God wanted to be there.

For me, the weekend was three unforgettable days of meeting with God, being renewed in my spirit, challenged by the Lord, and used for his glory as we ministered through music and prayer. Early on in the weekend I began to feel that the Lord wanted me to “let go” in the way I worshiped Him.  I knew that I sometimes held back, too concerned for what others thought of me.  I felt personally challenged to begin to worship the Lord as King David did, as if I was all alone and to no longer worry about what others thought about me.  I realized that at times I was particularly worried what my teenage boys might think of me. Then God began to bring something to mind. When we raise our children from a young age they watch us, and model us, and learn what is normal and acceptable by our example. Then God began to impress upon me that it was exactly the same with my “big boys” and my example to them in how I pursue God and how I worship him. And so, I took the step of faith with God, and decided to “let go”. I decided that if while in the presence of the Lord I felt led to raise my hands, or sing a new song, or jump, or dance, or whatever. . . that I would not worry about what others were thinking, and I would not hold back. In the end I realized that whatever I do in the Lord’s presence is ALL for Him anyway!

As I began to let go, and worship as the Holy Spirit led, something amazing happened. First of all, I found a brand new level of freedom in my worship of God; and second, my boys, in following my lead, began to worship the Lord freely as well. In that exact moment, it hit me like a ton of bricks…the Lord had given me “Spiritual Sons”! I took great joy in sharing with them that although I do not have the honor of being their earthly father, that I feel all of the pride of a dad in seeing my “sons” seek the Lord with all of the heart, soul, and strength!

Embracing Marcos, one of the teens that lives in our home through Back2Back's Hope Education Program

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

Running the Race Together, by Matt Cooper

July 20, 2009

At the beginning of this year I decided that I wanted to take my running to a new level.  I’m still what most would call novice, but I decided that I wanted to run some local 10K races, that I wanted to run a half marathon, and that ultimately I wanted to run a full marathon before the end of 2009.  Perhaps even greater than my desire to run these races was my desire for others to run with me.  I’ve realized, that for people like me it’s really ultimately about bringing others alongside what I’m doing.  I don’t really like to do things alone.  Relationships and encouraging others are my heart, and they are the key motivator for why I do what I do.  So when it comes to “doing life” there are few things more energizing than being a part of a team.  When we learn to do life together the spiritual lessons and implications are endless – and let’s face it, most things in life are just more fun when you’re doing them with others.

So this Spring, I began to try to encourage the boys in my home, other students in our program, and others on our campus to join me in running a half marathon at the end of April.  In the beginning there was some scattered desire to run with me, but when April came many lost interest, or gave in to the fear of what seemed like a lofty goal of running 13.1 miles.  In the end I was only joined by fellow house parent Tim Couch, and by one of our college students from the Hope Program, Antonio.  It was an amazing experience for the three of us to face what seemed to be a “giant” and to conquer it.  I loved the chance the reach one of my personal goals, but at the same time I still felt unsatisfied that more from our Back2Back community had not joined us.

This summer I had the chance to be a part of a fantastic 10K that was put on here in Monterrey.  Not only did I run the race, but eleven others ran with me in what was the first official Team Back2Back!  This time Tim and I were joined by Mauricio from our staff team, two summer interns and seven young men from our Hope Program.

What we great victory we experienced together.   For me, my immense joy wasn’t so much from completing the race, but it was more so from running the race as part of a team.  There was an excitement that built as we took pictures, warmed up, and gathered at the starting line together.  There was an anticipation as we looked for one another along they way, and took the time to give a shout of encouragement.  There was a mental boost that came from being able to run portions of the race alongside someone that you consider to be like family.  In the end there was a great satisfaction in seeing each one cross the finish line, congratulate each other, and together celebrate “our victory”.

1st row: Ruben, Leo, Cesar, Antonio 2nd row: Oscar, Omar, Tim, Homero, Mauricio, Matt, Shawn, Abby

1st row: Ruben, Leo, Cesar, Antonio 2nd row: Oscar, Omar, Tim, Homero, Mauricio, Matt, Shawn, Abby

Father’s Day with the Fatherless, by Matt Cooper

June 26, 2009

This past Sunday morning, I accompanied a visiting team from Cincinnati to Casa Hogar Douglas in the morning for church.  This is the seventh Father’s Day that I have lived here in Mexico, but for some reason it really began to dawn on me throughout the morning what a depressing day this must be for the children we serve.  How sad must it be to acknowledge a day separated out to celebrate fathers for a child who doesn’t live with their father, for a child who most likely can’t remember the last time they saw him, or for a child who quite possibly never had the chance to known him at all?

So we arrived at the Casa Hogar and I pointed the group in the direction of the chapel.  As I began walking up the hill towards the chapel I was almost holding my breath.  I could not help but wonder if Father’s Day would even be mentioned, if it would be the proverbial elephant in the room, or if we would just go about our business serving them as if it were any old day of the year?

We filled the seats in and around the children from Douglas and the worship leader began with his normal Sunday greetings.  Shortly after saying “Good morning” he popped the question that I had feared he might.  I literally felt myself hold my breath as he asked, “Who knows what today is?”  Of course they likely knew the answer to the question, but I couldn’t help but wonder what must be going through the minds of the seventy abandoned children that filled the chapel that morning.

Were they feeling sad?  Was some part of them angry? Did they feel like that got ripped off in the Dad Department?  How could they begin to wrap their minds around something that I as an adult barely understand myself?  What exactly is there to celebrate on Father’s Day when you don’t have a dad?

Then the unexpected happened as the worship leader instructed those seventy children to look around them, to locate a dad in the room, and to go and give them a big hug.  I couldn’t believe what I began to witness.  On tip toes and with wide eyes the children began to look around, and then they dispersed themselves throughout the crowd.  All of a sudden it wasn’t about them, or what they were missing out on so to speak, but it was about them wanting to bless someone else in the room.  And let me tell you – I was blessed that morning.  As more than half a dozen kids made their way to the corner where I was standing.  One by one they embraced me, and wished me a Happy Father’s Day – and the same thing was happening to other dads all across the congregation.

What an amazing Father’s Day it was.  I’m not sure why I should be surprised – it is just like God, really.  He used a room full of fatherless children to bless a handful of Fathers in a way that none of us will soon forget.

After the church service, we had a Father's Day cookout for the children.

After the church service, we had a Father's Day cookout for the children.

Two Boys at Casa Hogar Douglas

Two boys at Casa Hogar Douglas

Makeshift Shelter, by Mandy Lail

June 17, 2009

We recently took our boys to a nearby lake for some fishing where I happened to capture this photo of Leo.  Leo lives with the Cooper Family in the James House as a part of The Hope Program.  Just like my boys he is getting ready to graduate from Secundaria (middle school) and will start Prepa (high school) in the fall.  When I look at this photo I can’t help but think about my boys, in fact all the students in the Hope Program.  To me this photo represents this season of their lives.

 

Leo on the fishing trip with the Lails

Leo on the fishing trip

 

Leo is standing on a rickety dock about fifty feet from shore.  Overhead is a makeshift covering.  Nothing fancy but it protects the two boats underneath from the occasional rain and the intense sun exposure. This is where our students stand: on a rickety dock with some makeshift shelter overhead.  It’s not the best they could have, but it is some shelter.  And what lies ahead of them is a like a lake and a series of mountains.  I think it’s a mix of emotions for them.  All they know is this makeshift dock and for some it’s even better shelter from where they’ve come.  But it’s all they know.

I wonder . . . do they have a sense of longing when they see those mountains?  Do they think I could have that, I can go there. I can leave this rickety old dock and scale a mountain? Truly I think they have more fear. They believe the lies they’ve heard or told themselves I can’t do it.  I don’t have what it takes.  I should just stay here. I think they look with a sense of longing for something more but it’s often overtaken with a sense of sadness and defeat.  They think I want it, but I can’t do it.

This summer our theme is SHELTER.  Would you join us in praying for our students in the Hope Program?  Please pray that God would show Himself to them and that they would have hope.  In the Hope Program they are given opportunities through education but for many it seems like that far off mountain is unreachable or unattainable.  Pray for their journeys as they learn how to step away from the hurts of their past and stop believing that they have nothing to contribute. Please pray for their courage to step out from their old, rickety, makeshift shelters and find true shelter in Him.

 

 

Food for a Day, by Matt Cooper

June 9, 2009

If you have a family you likely know the reality of living on a budget.  You know how much you spend on utilities, on gasoline, and how much you’ll spend on groceries for the month.  But have you ever figured out how much money it takes to feed yourself or each of your children for one day?

Here in Back2Back’s Hope Program, we too of course live on a budget.  As teen home parents of the James House my wife, Julie, and I have the challenging job of feeding eight teenage boys.  With the budget we’re allotted each month, we can spend about $4 (US) a day on each of our boys for their food.  If you have teenage boys…you know THEY CAN EAT, and you know that $4 suddenly doesn’t sound like very much money.  Our boys like to eat, and they like to eat a lot, but with as much as they enjoy eating, it certainly does not mean that they are always grateful for what we have to eat, nor do they always appreciate the value of what it is they’re consuming.

Recently, after a series of days filled with what I felt to be insensitive comments about what there was to eat and drink in the house, and after a general disrespect for some of our kitchen rules I decided it was time for a lesson.

So, just before bedtime I set all eight boys down for a few quick comments about respect for authority, and gratefulness for what we have – and then I handed them each $4.  I explained that they could use any of their personal money they wanted, but that for the next 24 hours this was all we were contributing towards their food.  I graciously gave them the option of eating at school, at local street vendors, at 7-Eleven, or wherever they pleased – but if they wanted to eat the food in our house they would have to “buy it” from us.  The looks on their faces were priceless – they all immediately “got it”.  I almost think I could have stopped the lesson right there, and had them hand their money back in…but I think they would have missed a large part of the lesson.  The next 24 hours were no doubt long for them as they had to think about budgeting, and stretching their $4 to make it last all the way through dinner – but I honestly think the larger lesson was on gratefulness and appreciation.  A lesson I hope and pray they will remember for the rest of their lives.

Marcos with his $4 for the day

Marcos with his $4 for the day