Posts Tagged ‘Meme’

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.


Advertisements

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.

Showing God’s Love at the Rio – Valentine’s Day Outreach, by Cathy Huffer, Back2Back Staff

February 18, 2010

Valentine’s Day was a perfect time for one of our short-term mission groups to share God’s love to the kids and families at Meme’s Rio. Our group had fifteen kids in it ranging from seven to nineteen. They were great as we asked them to help us teach the 1 Corinthians 13 passage on love to about thirty-six kids at the soup kitchen. After we shared the verse, the kids teamed up to give six different dramas of what love is and what love is not. The kids were fascinated and really paid attention well.

Afterwards, they made valentines with homework to give away to someone special.

We served a delicious tostada meal and a group prayed against the spiritual warfare that is apparent there. The men helped put doors on the soup kitchen, while the kids played and played.

At the end,  we were getting ready to pray for Meme, one of our ministry partners, when Meme pointed out a girl who was sick and needed prayer. These kids laid hands on this girl and strong, passionate, sweet prayers went up around her. Prayers for healing, for increasing her faith, for protection and against fear.

What a full day to see God’s love in sharing His word, feeding the hungry, loving the people, working on the soup kitchen and blanketing the place in prayer. Now that is Biblical Love.

Celebrating Thanksgiving at Rio I, by Cathy Huffer, Back2Back Mexico staff

November 30, 2009

To me, Thanksgiving is about being with family and giving thanks. I was unable to be with family from the States and even my own family here in Monterrey because I was scheduled to work. In a way I was able to be with “family” as the people of the Rio (a squatter’s village that I serve with Back2Back) have become my second family.

Hope Maglich, another Back2Back staff member, had a great idea to celebrate our Thanksgiving with them by sharing a meal and doing an activity to reflect on the meaning of the day.

Sharing a meal from Pollo Loco with a few families at the Rio

I tried with my Spanish to explain about the first Thanksgiving and that in addition to joining together for a meal, the pilgrims and Native Americans also took time out to give thanks for all that God had given them.  Hope then asked everyone to participate in a Thanksgiving tree activity. Everyone was asked to take a leaf and write what they were thankful for.  I’d love to share a few with you.  One said, “I give you thanks for creating me.”

Another one read, “I give thanks to God for this life.”

As each leaf went on the tree, Meme, a local who partners with us in serving at the Rio, read them off.  With each leaf, I was reminded how big God is and how much He cares for us. Lord, I thank you for my family, the food you give us each day, for the sunsets and all the beauty in your creation. I think I need to make a Thanksgiving tree every day.

Meme and Hope leading the Thanksgiving activity

Meme’s Soup Kitchen, by Hope Maglich, Back2Back Mexico Staff

October 23, 2009

Every Saturday morning, Meme, a partner of the ministry, hosts a soup kitchen for nearly fifty people at Rio I, many of whom are young children. The families from the community arrive around 12:30 and together we worship and praise the Lord for all He is doing. Most of the songs we sing without instruments but recently we have been worshiping with the help of a guitar! After worship, the adults listen to a Bible teaching while the kids are split up into age groups to have Sunday School-like classes. After this time of feeding on God’s word, we feed the people a delicious Mexican meal!

Pleading for Prayer, by Cathy Huffer

September 14, 2009

Meet baby Melissa.

Baby Melissa

She is two months old and yet her due date has not yet passed.  She was born prematurely at six months.  Janet, her mom, was experiencing a normal pregnancy until at a routine doctor’s visit she learned she was losing fluid.  The doctor advised her to admit herself into the hospital so they could monitor her.  She chose to stay home because of the cost.  Four days later, Janet woke up with blood on her sheets and a puddle on the floor.  Scared and worried, she and her mom went to the emergency room.  She was taken away to a room and her mom was told to wait.  After nearly three hours, the hospital staff returned with a bag of Janet’s clothes and told her mother to speak to someone about how they were to pay for Janet’s hospital stay.

That morning word got out and Meme, a Back2Back partner, came to me and asked if I wanted to go with her to the hospital to visit Janet and pray for her.  When we arrived, she had been waiting three and a half hours with still no word.  Soon after we arrived, they called Janet’s mom inside a tiny office.  It was apparent that the news wasn’t good, as she began to cry.  They had told her that Janet had given birth to a baby girl who couldn’t breathe on her own and she should prepare for the worst.  Then she was escorted out to wait for futher news.

When Meme and I surrounded her, she told us the news about baby Melissa.  We hugged and cried.

Then Meme turned to me and said, “Cathy would you lead us in prayer?”

In that little hallway, we huddled together and prayed for the health of the baby, for the strength of her lungs, for Janet and her mom and other family.  We prayed for who knows how long.  When we finished we convinced Janet’s mom that she had to eat something.  We stayed with her part of the afternoon before finally returning home.  Later when her mom got to see Janet, they shared experiences.

Janet recalled her initial reaction to the news. “When they told me about my baby, I thought God please let Meme and Cathy be praying for my little girl.”

What Janet didn’t know then was that at the exact same time that she was pleading to God for us to pray, we were gathered in the hallway of the hospital interceding on behalf of her little girl.  When I visited Janet later she shared this with me and I was able to tell her how she can have a personal relationship with God.  She too can have a direct line to the Almighty Physician.  She was intrigued and I prayerfully anticipate more conversations about what Jesus offers us all.  It is obvious to me that God is using this little girl already and I’m convinced that He has great things in store for her life.  Would you continue to pray for Melissa’s health?  The doctor’s gave Janet oxygen for Melissa however she has yet to need it, praise God.  Also pray for the faith of Janet and the rest of her family.

Janet with baby Melissa

Janet with baby Melissa

Wait for the Story, by Beth Guckenberger

August 10, 2009

Last Saturday, when the final week of summer short-term groups arrived, someone handed me a bank envelope of $800 and said it was a gift to the ministry to be used however it was needed.

I immediately pressed, “Would you like this spent on a teen in our program? At one of the Rio squatters’ villages?  For a children’s home?  A medical need?”

The donor responded, “I know it was to be this amount and there are no strings attached.”

When I hear that, I know there is a story coming.  There are instantly a dozen ways I could spend $800 well.  Needs abound in our organization; it’s the nature of what we do and who we serve.  But, I decided to wait on the Lord on this one, so I put the money in our safe, and just prayed for wisdom on how to use it.  Days passed and on Wednesday, I prayed, “God, I know you don’t work this way, but how cool if the donor could see this week where their money was spent.  Just tell me what need you raised this money for.”

Silence.

Later that evening, I was talking to Meme, who serves here with us in one of the squatter’s villages.  She was an orphan as a child and last year became a widow.  She ministers to the families of her community with a grace and resolve that is widely admired.  I finish our conversation and walk away.

“Beth! Come quick!” she yelled.  I turned around to her and gasped.  Her front two teeth had fallen out completely.  She sat there, devastated.

I learn that evening that she hasn’t ever received regular dental care and it had been years since she had her teeth professionally cleaned.  The next morning, I took her to a local dentist office and told them to temporarily fix the problem and then to call me with the estimate of how much it would cost to fix them permanently.  I knew that we would have to raise those funds for her.  An hour later I got a call from the dentist, who reviews with me the lengthy process and multiple other outstanding dental needs.

I responded, “She is a giver of good news to highly unreceptive people.  She needs to be able to open her mouth and speak the truth to them.  Tell me the damages… how much will all of that cost?”

The dentist paused, knowing I would have sticker shock.  “Eight-hundred dollars,” he said.

“No problem. Get started,” I answered with a smile. “Our Lord owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and He sold some for her benefit last week…”

I knew the dentist didn’t understand my reference, but Meme sure did, as did the donor when we shared the story with him later that night. Respond to the prompting; pray when unsure; and then wait for the story.

Meme with her new teeth

Meme, after receiving dental care

Sarahi, by Cathy Huffer

July 1, 2009

There has been a faithful Back2Back supporter, who I’ll call Jill, who has regularly donated money for a little girl named Sarahi.  Sarahi lives in the Rio, which is one of the squatter’s villages that Back2Back serves. Sarahi is eight years old and just finishing 2nd grade.  Jill has helped to fund Sarahi’s education and provide staples for her family when they were without food and other basic necessities.

Sarahi

Sarahi

Recently, I told Meme, who helps with our Rio ministry, that I needed to talk to Sarahi’s mother, to see what they needed as I had just received another donation from Jill on their behalf. Meme informed me that Sarahi’s mother had kicked her out of the house and that her grandmother had taken her in. Sarahi’s mom is currently pregnant with twins and has another daughter who is a few years younger than Sahari who was allowed to stay in the home. I have had many people, Meme, Sarahi and her grandmother, try and explain this to me and yet it’s still difficult for me to understand how this can happen.

I could see the hurt on Sarahi’s face when she asked another woman and myself to pray for her. As I prayed, I told her that this was not a surprise to God and that He had already had placed someone in the states, Jill, to care for her. That was just one way God was showing her that He loves her. I don’t know what a girl that age can understand but her countenance changed drastically after our conversation.

I shared our theme verse of Psalm 91:1-2.  “He that dwells in the shelter of the Most High, will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress. My God, in whom, I trust.”

As Sarahi learns to trust the Lord, He is showing her how He can shelter her through her grandmother, through Jill and through others like you who are praying for her.  Will you take a moment to lift up Sarahi in prayer today?