Posts Tagged ‘mission trip’

Pour Yourself Out, by Andy Rainey, Lifepoint Vineyard Pastor, Guest Blogger

March 23, 2012

 

We have been on the ground in Mazatlan for two days now and as always words can’t adequately express the work Back2Back is doing and the ways God is showing up. One of my greatest joys is watching God move on the team and I’m just thankful …I’m able to be a part of it.

Today, we worked at a children’s home at The Salvation Army and we witnessed a young girl get dropped off. She never came outside to enter act with us, but she was extremely emotional. I can’t imagine what was and is going on in her mind… Did she get kicked out? Did her parents split up? Did she have nowhere else to go? What will she be thinking tonight sleeping in a strange place where she doesn’t know anyone? How long will it take her to start to open up to someone? How will this affect the rest of her life? Is this something she get over? Then the I wonder how this will affect her relationship with God… Does she even know God? How will God redeem this? So many questions and so many thoughts run in through my mind and I can’t imagine the thoughts running through hers.

Now we are back at the house and all the way back I couldn’t help but think about my kids and my family. I’m so thankful and grateful for what God has given me. I pray I live my life as the best possible steward of what God has entrusted me with.

God come and pour Yourself out on the team during our remaining time here.

You are Beautiful, by Jen Powers and Jessica Groves, Back2Back Mexico Mission Trip Participants

October 4, 2011

We had the thrill, honor, and privilege to come alongside an incredible ministry, Back2Back, and partner with them to use a free dance camp in the children’s homes to communicate that Jesus is pursuing the heart of every girl, calls them His princess, heroine, daughter, and His beauty. We are back from our trip and awestruck, even still, at how such an incredibly awesome God would allow us three to be a part of sharing His crazy, wildfire love to the orphan girl using dance as the vehicle.

We pray with every fiber in our being that the message we shared has begun to take root in their hearts and that these girls really begin to believe into the truths that there really is a Kingdom, there really is a King, and we really are His princesses. And most of all, that this is no fairytale. Every day in class, the girls prepared for the recital to be held on Thursday night. The evening of the show came, they were both excited and nervous as they walked to the pavilion where they would perform. The space was packed with an audience of children’s home staff, Back2Back staff, and short-term mission workers. As each dancer was introduced, the audience erupted with cheers and held up signs with their names. Then the sweet girls began to dance – from the boisterous two-year-olds, to the shy fifteen-year-olds – spinning, jumping, all joyfully praising their heavenly Father.

They were all lovely, and you could see in their faces as the crowd cheered them on, that they believed it too. They had such confidence in their carriage and in their eyes, just like princesses. After the performance, Beth, Back2Back’s director, murmured through tears, “It was so amazing to see these girls feel beautiful.”

After all, isn’t this how God wants all of his daughters to see themselves -completely captivating, and totally adored? One of the sweetest moments we were able to witness was the girls engaging in an activity to love their friends in a tangible way on day four of camp. They drew names from a hat and made princess crowns for one of the other dancers. We circled up when everyone was finished gluing on the last gem or affixing the last, perfect sticker to their friend’s crown. Then, in that moment, they begin sharing life giving messages and words of encouragement to each other that they thought on while assembling the crown. The girls said things like “You are beautiful”, “You are smart”, “The King is captivated by your beauty” as they placed the crown they made in the hand of their friend. It was such a sweet moment as they learned and were witness to the power of speaking truth into someone else’s life.

There were endless smiles, little girls growing taller with confidence as older princesses of Jesus crowned them and spoke life over them. There’s something beautiful that unfolds as you watch one princess speak to the heart of another…and watch them receive it in full confidence. As much older princesses of Jesus, we as women hesitate to receive compliments or encouraging words. These girls took the gift and allowed it to bless them. If only we allowed the Lord to do the same moment by moment. We might just have that same skip in our step too…

Celebrating right after the recital with a big group shot - beautiful girls relishing in the joy of dancing before their King.

NASCAR Driver, Michael McDowell, and Back2Back Ministries Team Up to Promote Orphan Care on July 7

June 10, 2011

Join NASCAR driver, Michael McDowell and Back2Back director, Beth Guckenberger, Thursday, July 7 at 7pm at Crossroads Community Church in Cincinnati. McDowell will be sharing his passion for NASCAR and the orphan child at this special event. Beth Guckenberger will be sharing stories from her new book, Relentless Hope, which will be advertised on McDowell’s race car.

Pre-registration is required for this free, limited seating event.  To register, send an email to NASCAR@back2backministries.org with your name and phone number.  Those guests who register by June 27 have a chance to win two NASCAR Garage and Pit Passes for the Nationwide Series Feed the Children 300 on July 8th and the Sprint Cup Series debut with the Quaker State 400 on July 9th at the 107,000 seat  Kentucky Speedway.  You must be 18 years of age or older to be eligible to win.

Glendale, Arizona native Michael McDowell has emerged as one of NASCAR’s top young drivers, as he competes in his third full season of NASCAR. In December 2010, McDowell joined Trevor Bayne, Daytona 500 Champion, on a Back2Back Ministries mission trip in Monterrey, Mexico. On his trip, they visited orphanages and a squatter’s village. He saw people living in shacks and many of the children didn’t have shoes – some were completely naked – and he couldn’t help but wonder if he was supposed to be on the mission field. After serving orphans with Back2Back, Michael McDowell and his wife were inspired to pursue an international adoption.

“Seeing such hardship firsthand makes you want to be pro-active,” McDowell told the Christian Post. “How do you get involved? How do you save the world? You don’t, but you can make the difference in somebody’s life.”

By losing himself in the arms of orphans, McDowell found perspective in his own life. He’d seen real hardship and it broke his heart.

Shaken to the Core, by James Bush, Mexico Mission Trip Participant

April 1, 2011

My recent trip to Monterrey, Mexico has messed with me in the deepest way possible.

Majestic.  Beautiful.  Powerful. I was overwhelmed.  It was Sunday morning at Casa Hogar Douglas, an orphanage, in Monterrey. The aforementioned orphanage would have appeared empty to the passerby if it weren’t for the noise coming from a little building atop the hill there. Inside that building, sixty-eight orphans together with fifty other adults were worshipping God in multiple languages. I was holding a little baby girl. She was an orphan. What broke my heart about that moment was that she was so into worship. Here was a child rejected by her parents worshipping God with all of her might. I knew in that moment that I have often taken God for granted. This little child was demonstrating what it means to really worship the living, active and loving God.

There came a point in the service where we were singing “How Great is Our God” in both Spanish and English and it struck me. God is sovereign over all things. It gave me chills to consider how the God of the universe who spoke and there was…that same God also knows the hairs on every orphan’s head as well as mine. Tears formed in my eyes as I considered the day when I would stand next to those orphans around the throne of God, on the sea of glass and worship with all creatures on, under and above the earth in one loud voice proclaiming, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and honor and glory and praise forever and ever!!!”

This trip to Mexico has shaken my faith to the foundation in the best way possible. May I always approach God with the same passion, love and fervency as those orphans.

 

 

 

 

Nigeria Partnerships

March 21, 2011

Self-Sustaining Enterprises (SSE), a partner organization with a focus on micro-enterprise and job creation, is serving with Back2Back Nigeria this week. Follow their trip via their blog at http://sseinc.org/blog

An Interview with Lonnie Clouse, Back2Back Mexico Staff

March 18, 2011

Lonnie, with a child served by Back2Back Mexico

How do you serve with Back2Back?

Lonnie: I am currently serving here in Monterrey with my wife Angela and my three children.   My children are Alonna (11), Brayden (9), Layton (6).  We are learning as much as we can about the Back2Back.  It is our goal to move to a new location in the near future and help start a new Back2Back campus.

Why did you decide to begin serving with Back2Back?

Lonnie: I asked a good friend of mine by the name of Steve Biondo what was the best orphan care ministry that he knew of.  Steve is the President of the James Fund (Family Christian Store’s non-profit foundation) and he has traveled the world seeing many children’s homes firsthand.  His response to me was, “The best orphan care ministry in the world hands down is Back2Back.  You really need to go and visit their campus in Monterrey”.  Well, my wife and I and our two oldest children visited the campus almost two years ago, and we fell in love with the staff and the whole ministry paradigm of Back2Back.

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

Lonnie: I really enjoy spending time with the team members that come to our campus.  I realize that if we can get them “fired up” about serving the orphan that it will become contagious and impact all those around them when they return home.  There are 148 million orphans in the world, and it is going to take the church as a whole to share God’s love with the abused, abandoned and neglected children of our world.

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

Lonnie: God has shown me that He has a heart for the orphan and will go to any extreme to extend His hand of love and grace to them.  He will even do the miraculous!

i.e.Less than a year ago we felt that God was leading us to sell our house and move to Mexico, but no houses were selling and the market was horrible.  Well, God sold our house before we even put it on the market and we even got the price that we were asking.  This is just the tip of the iceberg and nothing short of a miracle.

One of my favorite verses is Ephesians 1:19-20, (NLT) “I pray that you will begin to understand the incredible greatness of his power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.”

We belong to the King of the universe and there is nothing that is too difficult for Him.

 

Serving with Back2Back Nigeria, by Aaron Broomall, Mission Trip Guest

January 17, 2011

Our time with our new friends in Nigeria seemed to pass by so quickly, yet the effects of what we experienced and learned continue to work through each of us on a daily basis.  We got home about three weeks ago from what most of us would say was the best trip of our lives; a ten day opportunity to serve, love, and learn from what many people would consider “the least of these” along side the amazing staff of Back2Back Nigeria.  It is honestly hard to pick out singular impactful events because the week was so well planned out that each event or opportunity to serve held significance from playing with and holding beautiful orphans, to using our underwhelming construction skills to help build the new educational facility and a new orphanage to praying with widows.  Every day was full of amazing experiences and encounters with people just like us, working hard to provide for their families and putting their dependence, despite their extremely challenging circumstances, on a God who loves them very much.

It was a true honor and a privilege to be a part of Back2Back’s work in Jos.  It was entirely humbling to have the opportunity to serve and serve with such amazing people.  I’ve heard very often about individuals wanting to go places to share God with people, which is certainly a noble cause.  However, in my experience, the people of Nigeria did a lot more of sharing God with us, then we could have ever shared with them.  We simply opened ourselves up to be used in whatever way God saw fit and then waited anxiously to see what He would do.  And what He did was awe-inspiring.  We are so excited to continue to share the stories of what we’ve learned through our experiences with our friends and neighbors back here in Kentucky.  We are anxious to share the challenges that our friends in Nigeria face so that we can make a small difference there.  However, we are also excited to share what we’ve learned from their dramatic dependence on a loving Savior and how that kind of dependence can cause a deeper love for God in our lives here.  Thank you Back2Back for making this possible.  We are forever grateful.

Missions Cafe, by Rita Haworth, Back2Back Advocate

December 30, 2010

 

Serving with Back2Back Mexico

 

It’s been five years since I served on my first Back2Back mission trip. I experienced many emotions that week, but mostly I felt blessed.

I remember the plane ride home as, my friend, Connie, asked the million dollar question, “Do you think you’ll go back?”

Little did she know I had never really left!  Since that first trip, Connie and I have been committed to being a voice for the fatherless.

We attend Apex Community Church in Dayton, Ohio, where we are part of a fantastic body of believers, who support missions with a passion.  Over the past several years, Connie and I have hosted every fundraiser you can think of to raise money for our Back2Back mission trips.

At one point, we decided to host a bake sale at church, thanks to donations from Big Sky Bread. We shared stories and photos of the children in Mexico, who we had passionately fallen in love with.  The response was so overwhelming, that we decided to do it the next weekend and the next and the next.

Then it happened.  We discovered that the coffee shop area that we had been using for the bake sales was going to be converted into a space for our growing children’s ministry. The coffee machines were always on the fritz and the cost of supporting the coffee shop was becoming too high. Once the machines died, the church decided to eliminate the coffee shop.

We were upset, not knowing how we would continue to raise money toward our trips to Mexico. So, we began to pray. Neither of us could have been prepared for what God was about to ask us to do. Over the course of that weekend, it became clear what God was calling us to do. We asked the church if we could use the fellowship hall to set up tables and brew coffee. They agreed. I made a few more phone calls and before we knew it, the Missions Café was born.

A local coffee company donated industrial coffee machines and gave us coffee at an amazing cost. From there, we went out to the community and asked restaurants for cups and lids. Longhorn Steakhouse partnered with us by donating all of the coffee condiments.  Granite Transformation, a local company, donated not only their time but replaced our vintage countertops with beautiful new ones!  With the help of volunteers from church, all of the electric and plumbing was replaced and updated. We now receive weekly donations from Big Sky, Panera Bread and the Bagel Café. The church community has engaged by consistently donating supplies, allowing our costs to continue to remain low. This means almost all of the proceeds go directly to missions ministries like Back2Back!

The café has become more than just a means for us to raise money for our trips to Mexico.  It also allows us to sponsor five children at El Retiro Juvenil Children’s Home in Mexico through Back2Back’s Shelter Child Sponsorship Program.  In addition, we use the proceeds from the café to support two boys in Back2Back’s Hope Education Program.

We have a small army who help run the café.  If we have learned anything through this journey, it would be that we serve a God who keeps his promise to be a father to the fatherless.

Woven into the Tapestry of Our Hearts: Reflections on Child Sponsorship, by Carlene Murray, Back2Back Child Sponsor

December 20, 2010

To remember a journey is to retrace its steps. It’s hard to walk the path to Casa Hogar Douglas Children’s Home and not be joyful and sorrowful at the same time. The rising light of the morning sun glows off the mountain’s cascade. It’s a beautiful reminder that God, The Creator Artist of this majestic beauty sits on His throne. Joy.

Once at the Children’s Home, gaze into dark brown sleepy eyes, or tear swollen eyes, or the vacant eyes of a little child or teen abandoned, neglected or abused, sadness has a power that can take over. Where are you here God? The enemy forces the lie that the orphaned child does not matter, that no one cares, that there is no hope. Sorrow.

Yet, in Christ we have victory and through the love and truth of not just words but faith in action, the people of Back2Back are living hope to orphaned children.

In the midst of what can appear to be hopelessness, there is faithfulness and love in action. How? They show up. They hug, they provide, they teach, they remind, they comfort, they shelter, they feed, they pray, they touch, they scrub, they come alongside, they heal, they love.

They meet the need in the moment and give hope for the future. Through each Back2Back staff member, God pours out His love to His precious children in a tangible way. Hope is born and lives are changed and like the majesty of the mountain, God, the Father sits on the throne of each precious child’s life. Then, in a holy moment, something in the eyes of the children glimmers and changes. Sometimes it’s for just a moment, or a day. Sometimes it’s fleeting with the goal for it to be a constant truth. But it comes and eyes light up, eyes smile and eyes rest knowing care and hope.

Hopelessness can destroy the precious spirit of a child, but through Back2Back and their Shelter Child Sponsorship Program, hope is active, hope is alive and kids are learning that they matter, are remembered, are special, uniquely created and are loved.

For our family, it was a spirit-led journey to Casa Hogar Douglas and meeting 14 year old Roberto. Our 14 year old son, Connor first met Roberto on a school mission trip with Back2Back in February 2009. Although the boys are the same age, Connor looked to Roberto as a friend and little brother because of Roberto’s playfulness and size. Roberto would instigate play with Connor by stealing his cap.  Running away laughing, Connor would chase him. The boys became friends and were happy to be assigned as partners on a Back2Back field trip. They were buddies enjoying the moment of childlike antics and easy friendship.  They were two boys, the same and different in that special time and place.  Together they laughed, ran around, joked and smiled for a week.

 

 

Roberto (left) and Connor

 

On the last day there, Connor’s group departed at dawn for home, while my husband Brendan, walked the dark early morning path to Douglas Children’s Home to serve breakfast to the children.

Upon seeing Brendan, Roberto ran to him and asked right away, “Where’s Connor?”

Brendan gently explained that Connor was on a different flight and had left early to go back home. In an instant, eyes can tell a story. In that moment, Brendan saw the fall of Roberto’s once hopeful eyes, dash downward in disappointment. Brendan smiled, ruffled Roberto’s head and told him Connor said goodbye and that they were friends. He hugged Roberto goodbye later that day and told our family how special Roberto was to Connor and to him.

Of all the stories Brendan and Connor told on their return, Roberto’s sadness of Connor’s departure would stay with me.  As a mother, my heart ached for a boy so special to my husband and son that I had never met. A boy our son shared in a testimony that touched and changed his heart. Roberto was not just a boy at Douglas Childrens’ Home.  He was woven into the tapestry of my son’s and husband’s lives and became a child we would embrace in prayer and share his story and the story of the orphaned child. Once our eyes see and our hearts are changed, are we not compelled to respond?

Just five months later, three spots would open on a Back2Back family mission trip to Monterrey in June 2010. Changed by his own experiences serving alongside Back2Back, Brendan arranged for me to join the group, along with Connor and our daughter, Shannon. Connor would get to see Roberto again so soon and Shannon and I would now get to meet Roberto for the first time!

I laugh now thinking what Roberto must have though the moment I hugged him with tears running down my cheeks. To me, wrapping my arms around him was such a gift. I couldn’t help but think we were sent to let God love Roberto through our family.

After our introductions and hugs, Roberto turned to me and said, “Connor, mi hermano,” (Connor, my brother).

This was a holy moment I will always treasure as tears flowed and I watched our son give Roberto a hug.

 

Shannon, Connor, me and Roberto

 

Roberto is bright, social and handsome. His smile lights up a room and I am know many hearts have been touched by him.  It’s really a special gift to know him and be a small part of his big fan club! I remember asking about Roberto, his story and if he had a sponsor and was told he most likely had a sponsor. So we enjoyed our week hoping to pour out fun and hugs whenever we could with Roberto and all the children. As our week went on, each time we would reunite with Roberto, I would hug him and we’d talk through Connor translating. It was easy and fun and I could not help but see he was a stair-step between my two children and I could imagine him as ours. Maybe not ours in the sense that I would be inclined to think, but maybe “ours” in a way I did not even know.

On our last night on the Back2Back campus, as my daughter, Shannon and I walked past the Shelter Child Sponsorship booth.  I quickly glanced over the table as I walked past it. Suddenly, I stood still, eyes fixed and I quietly gasped out loud. Shannon looked down too and looked up to me with eyes of surprise!  We each went to grab the picture of the child on the table so fast we almost ripped it!  Through my tears,  I was looking at the beautiful face and smiling eyes of Roberto!  I knew instantly then as sponsors, Roberto would be ours! We excitedly found Connor to show him Roberto’s Child packet and then the three of us ran off to call Brendan at home and in a million miles an hour, tell the story of God leading us to sponsor Roberto and asking “Can we?”  Each of us in our family had met Roberto, hugged him and laughed with him. We all had our own treasured memories with him. God took care to provide each of us with a personal connection with Roberto and then asked us, “Will you let me use you for him?” How could we not? Once we have seen are we not responsible to act? Does faith demand a response?

It’s an honor and gift to be a sponsor and to be used to encourage, pray for and send support for Roberto. It is in him I see Jesus. In him I see selflessness, love and care of community and sharing. He lives in the moment of joy and makes others smile. He gives away what he has. Can’t we give away what we have been given? When I think of how Roberto has blessed each member of our family, I am awestruck at God’s special plan for his precious orphan children and how He allows us the gift to be a part of His plan for them and to be blessed. At first, we may think it’s the other way, that we the sponsor will be the blessing. Maybe. But we have experienced God placing His love in our hearts for a child that is not our own but we call “ours” and in that, we are the ones blessed to be a small part of Roberto’s life. We look back and clearly see God walking that path to Douglas Children’s Home with each of us to Roberto and converging that path of our lives and hearts. It’s so humbling to be used as part of God’s unique plan for Roberto’s life and to have the honor, the privilege and the gift to be a part of Roberto’s journey and love him. For us, nothing could better.  And so, we did not decide to become Roberto’s sponsors. God did.

The Gift of Comfort, by Kathy Couch, Back2Back Mexico Staff

December 15, 2010

When I think of putting a child to bed, I think soft and cuddly thoughts. These thoughts consist of squishy pillows, soft blankets, soft kisses, generally anything soft.

Last summer, my daughter and I spent several weeks in Hyderabad, India serving at Back2Back’s India campus. When we visited a children’s home that Back2Back India serves, one of the first things the kids did was excitedly show us their rooms.  Their rooms consisted of beds, pushed together in one platform, made of plywood, set up off the ground.  When the mission trip group members saw this, they were moved to act.  They started asking if there was any way they could purchase mattresses for the children in this home.  A national that works with Back2Back got right on the task.

When we went back out to the same home for the second day, a load of small mattresses arrived.  The kids were ecstatic.  As the group members carried those little mattresses upstairs, the kids could hardly wait to see.  We laid the mattresses on the boards and the kids promptly started lying and jumping on them.  It was a joyous moment.

What a great way to see a need and meet a need! We walked away knowing that maybe this would be the first time that these kids associated sleep with softness.  It gave us all sweet dreams.

Join us in India!

November 18, 2010

Interested in serving with Back2Back?  Join us in Hyderabad, India from February 9-18, 2011.

Deposit due November 30, 2010!

Back2Back mission trips provide individuals with a life-changing experience that leaves a lasting impact. Back2Back India exists to serve the abandoned and neglected children of Hyderabad, India. We partner with local children’s homes to meet the needs of over 300 orphans. During the day, teams serve at area orphanages. During the evening, live worship and small group time for debriefing are designed to foster spiritual growth.

Each year, we facilitate mission trips for thousands of individuals, families and businesses providing an opportunity to serve orphans and impoverished families in a third world country. Back2Back coordinates each mission trip, handling all logistics and preparation, in-country transportation and meals.

For additional information on partnering with Back2Back through mission trips, contact ramos@back2backministries.org

Full Service Mission Trip

• 7 Days (plus travel)

• Group leader handbook

• Online trip handbook

• Promotional materials

• Unlimited trip consultations

• Fundraising ideas manual

• Customizable projects

• Purified drinking water

• Airport transfers

• Transportation to/from ministry sites

• Evening debriefing

• Trip devotional

 

Reflections from My Time in Mexico, by Nate Gangwer, Back2Back Mission Trip Participant

September 13, 2010

It remains extremely difficult to articulate my time in Monterrey, Mexico.  Most of what affected me and changed me and challenged my faith and broke my heart cannot be expressed with words and what can be expressed with words is still too much for a brief paragraph that someone might read.  I could write pages and talk for hours and show dozens of pictures and tell dozens of stories and read Bible verses and share songs and still what I feel in my heart and know down in my soul would be inexpressible.  And if I were asked to comment on my time cutting up tree stumps and loving orphans and serving the kingdom of Christ in Mexico five years from now I would still have great difficulty in sharing my convictions.  So I will limit my writing to one story.

Photo by Nate Gangwer

Throughout the week I had the privilege of removing stumps and trees, serving in a few different orphanages and a Rio.  This task was completed with a tremendous amount of labor and my shirts were often caked with dirt and soaked through with sweat so that mud developed along the front of my clothes.  I spent time fixing a chainsaw which repeatedly broke leaving me and my friends no other choice but to use machetes, pick-axes, and a regular ax which unfortunately broke after only an hour of use.  I tell you this background not for your sympathy or gratitude or approval, but to simply let you know that by the afternoon of our last day serving the beautiful children of Monterrey I was very tired.  I felt like someone had taken metal rods and glued them to my joints so that normal movement was nearly impossible and the word stiffness was a great understatement.

Photo by Nate Gangwer

On the last day, our group took orphans from a children’s home on a field trip.  We went to a local play place with a bouncy house and video games and hot dogs that could be washed down with soda and chips. The kids were eating and I finally had time to stop moving and rest.  So, I crawled up to this little stage at the front and flopped down next to some friends.  Then I looked up and saw for the first time in my life the pinnacle of God’s creation: humanity.

Looking back on the Creation story, God’s glory becomes manifested more and more with each day and the intricacy and mastery of His workmanship becomes more evident.  Creation crescendos and God’s uses all of His glory and might and love and power to create humanity after His image.  On that stage as I watched little boys and girls shove their mouths full with hotdogs and quench their thirsts with soda something inside of me shifted. Something inside me broke.  I have a passion for photography and I find myself standing in awe of God’s created sunsets and mountains and raindrops and beautiful colors and shapes.  But at that moment as my tired body lay on that stage I realized that I had been focusing on the wrong beauty.  Like always my heart missed being aligned with Christ’s.  I was focusing on the beginning of creation and neglecting the masterpiece: us.  The power of the Holy Spirit broke my heart in that realization and my perspective altered. People are the purpose of creation.  They are the reason that God’s justice is fulfilled by His grace.  People are God’s top priority, His primary concern.  Jesus Christ died for no other reason than to satisfy the will of God and bring about a supernatural and divinely controlled communion for the most beautiful thing in all creation.

Image by Nate Gangwer

The word compassion comes from the verb ‘pati’ which means ‘to suffer’ and the word ‘cum’ which means ‘with’ giving a literal translation ‘to suffer with.’  So when Jesus has compassion on the multitude in Matthew 9 He shares in their suffering.  In Colossians, we are challenged to be clothed with compassion.  When Jesus is greeted by the grieving soldier whose daughter had died, Jesus in all His glory and humanity and divinity, knowing the Old Testament claim in Jeremiah 29 that God has a plan for prosperity and comfort of His children, Jesus goes and weeps and mourns with the family even though he knows God is sovereign and even has the power to raise her from the dead, which he does.  In that story Jesus’ humanity and divinity are so intertwined that he has compassion and suffers with His creation.

I hope that we as a society will have brokenness like Jesus and be moved as He was moved.  I hope that we pray for the power of the Holy Spirit to come and grant us the ability to give everything we have to the Kingdom of God and the glory of Christ and have eyes that view the beauty of humanity as God sees it and are then moved to compassion.  May we give as the church in Acts gave and live with such a passion and love for God’s people that miraculous revitalization would sweep through our hearts and turn society to the foot of the cross on which Christ died.  I could write pages on what God taught me in Mexico and the weeks that followed, but instead I encourage you whoever you are to join me and so many of the martyrs and followers of Christ into a place that says ‘Yes Lord, I will follow you and love your people no matter the cost.’  The beautiful children of the world in all their innocence and purity in joy can pull a heart closer to Jesus like few things. The world desperately needs compassion and love; it needs the Gospel.

Photo by Nate Gangwer

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.

His Unflagging Love, by Ally Horine, Back2Back Mexico Trip Participant from Northstar Vineyard Youth Group

June 21, 2010

Playing with a new friend

Our trip started out with the group arriving on campus to discover that Back2Back was bussing kids from the children’s home, Imperio de Amor, to their campus so that we could have a pool party and cookout with them. We were all tired from traveling, but excited to play with the children. We played with the girls then the boys got in the pool. Instantly, I bonded with a boy named Alejandro. We played and spent time together until it was time for them to leave. I was sad to see them go, but excited to know that we would be seeing them again soon.

On the last day, we took the same kids on a field trip to ride bikes. When they arrived at the park, they all chose “Americanos” to partner with for the bike-ride. Instantly, Alejandro chose me. We didn’t get the bikes until about an hour after we got to the park, so until then we played together. From running around, to throwing water on each other, we had a blast. At one point, this little trolley bus came around to give tours of the park. Alejandro saw the trolley and instantly ran ahead to catch it and grab a seat. I jogged behind him, due to the selfishness in me that would not run in the heat.

I was one of the last to get on the bus, but when I got on I looked around and spotted Alejandro with his hand on the seat next to him, saving it for me. At that moment, I knew why I was in Mexico. Not to do service projects, not to bond with my youth group, but to be a friend to Alejandro. God sent me all the way from Cincinnati, Ohio to Monterrey, Mexico just to spend time with this boy and be his friend. He loves the orphan child. His unflagging love continues to amaze me every minute I spend with Him. Experiencing and sharing His love was one of the most powerful experiences of my life.

After our bike ride, our group stopped for a photo with the kids we'd paired with. I'm the second person in from the left, posing with Alejandro.

Safari with Kids from ERJ Children’s Home, by Caroline Burns, Back2Back Mexico Staff

June 14, 2010

A few weeks ago, I went with a Family Christian Stores James Fund mission trip team that was serving with us for the week to go on a field trip with the kids from ERJ, El Retiro Juvenil Children’s Home. We went to my favorite field trip location on the entire planet: Bioparque Estrella. At this “zoo” you can go on a safari. As you can see from the photos, it was a little intense.

Luis feeding Nelson the giraffe and laughing

The giraffes are probably the most gentle animal you encounter there.

They look like velociraptors from Jurassic Park when they come straight at you for food.

Petting David, the giraffe

The kids had a great time but I think it was the Americans on this field trip who had the experience of a life time – one they’ll never forget!

We Want Him, by Cathy Huffer, Back2Back Mexico Staff

June 1, 2010

“No! You can’t take him. WE WANT HIM,” were the words that came from the back of the bus.

Three of the guys from the short-term mission group that we had taken to the Rio, had their arms around him and weren’t letting him go. Antonio, one of our Back2Back staff guys, had jumped on our bus to see if Oscar, one of the students in our Hope Education Program, had wanted to ride with him in another vehicle. The guys in the group were not letting him go. They wanted him and it was more than obvious. The smile on Oscar’s face told it all.

This is what our ministry is all about- advocating for these kids and teens in Monterrey, Mexico; in Jos, Nigeria; and in Hyderbad, India. We as a staff feel called to give these kids and teens the message that we want them, Jesus wants them. When groups, supporters and advocates join us in saying WE WANT YOU, its God’s way of screaming their value from the mountaintops! I hear the echos of Isaiah 41 :9-10 “I took you from the ends of the earth from its farthest corners I called you, I said, ‘You are my servant’ I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you;do not be dismayed, for I am your God, I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Have you heard God saying this to you? He is yelling, ” I want you.” ” I have chosen you and have not rejected you.” Sometimes in life it doesn’t seem this way. Its difficult to understand why things happen to us. But we need to know that like those three guys, God embraces us and says ” I want you and will not let you go.” Have you heard Him?

Seventh Grade Girls to the Rescue, by Corrie Guckenberger, Back2Back Nigeria Staff

May 7, 2010

I have been praying to the Lord as to how ministry will be accomplished this summer since Back2Back made the decision to postpone summer internships/short-term groups.  How will His promises be fulfilled without the hands and feet of His body?  How will we as Back2Back Nigeria staff be able to meet all the needs of the Fatherless around us?  Well, I want you to meet the seventh grade girls discipleship group at Hillcrest school.  There are about fourteen of them who have chosen to use their Tuesday afternoons to help us care for the orphans that Back2Back Nigeria serves!

They are full of spunk, energy, excitement and desire!  Their leader is a good friend of mine and she asked if she could take her bible study to Our Ladies of Apostles (OLA) orphanage one Tuesday afternoon.  She went on to further explain that she was having some trouble with them: they were bickering between themselves and not interested in things of God.  If there is one thing I have learned being on the mission field is that the moment you take your eyes off of yourselves and pour out, your own vision starts to become a bit more focused and that is when God starts to take over.  Which is of course the answer to my own questions above.

By the end of the day, the children were loved on, protected, held up and played with, and there seemed to be a spirit of hope that filled the room.  A hope for these orphans as each and every one of them, no matter how challenging they might have been physically or emotionally were picked up and loved on.  A hope also for these seventh grade girls who were laughing, finding refuge in each other and asking when they could come again.  And there was a hope in my own heart as well as I realized that God in His providence is answering my prayer by bringing an unlikely group of girls here to serve and that He will fulfill His promises in His own way. I need not fix my eyes on me, but I need to fix my eyes on Him, the author and perfecter of my faith who just wants me to see Him at work.  I guess it is what I said about the seventh grade girls, the moment I stop taking my eyes off of myself and pour out is the moment God starts to take over and work out my vision.

Blessings on a Page, by Mandy Lail, Back2Back Mexico Staff

April 19, 2010

This week we had a group of college age students visit the Back2Back campus in Monterrey.  Besides having a great week serving in the children’s homes and Rio areas, this group took a particular interest in our students living here on campus, the students of the Hope Education Program.  Just today I was handed envelopes for all five boys living in my home through this program.  These envelopes were filled with journal entries/letters written by group members for my boys.  They are blessings on a page.

The transition from living in a children’s home to life on the Back2Back campus is a big one for most of our students.  One of the things many of them miss is all the fun they had with our American groups who visit!  They miss the cookouts, field trips and all the attention and love given by mission trip team members.  Some still interact with groups, but many are busy with school and work while groups are here.  Sometimes they feel a little left out.  But not this week.  This week this group went out of its way to love on our students. And while the students aren’t little any more, the attention, love, and relationship still brings a big impact.  It helps them to remember that they are loved and loveable.

For me, the best part was an hour on the couch translating the letters for one of my boys; great letters, letters in English, simple letters full of love and truth.  These letters opened the door for a great conversation with my foster son about some important spiritual truths, about who he is in Jesus and how God ‘s love for him is so deep that He will use anything and everything to get to him. Even letters from a college student he’s never met, written in a language he doesn’t really understand.  That’s how far our God will go to pursue us…with blessings on a page.

A few of the letters

Journey to Nigeria, by Chad Powers, Mission Trip Participant

April 2, 2010

First of all, I need to get something off my chest…I didn’t believe that I could get there. I didn’t believe that the voice that was inviting me on an adventure was the voice of God. I thought that I was probably making it all up, that I was stirring up an old longing again.  I just didn’t believe. There, I said it, and now I feel better.

Let me back up…  It was December, cold and windy and less than two months before a group of men that I didn’t really know were scheduled to depart on their voyage to Nigeria. I bumped into one of the guys at a gathering and he offered me a standing invitation to join him on any trip of which he was a part. Little did he know that even while I was thanking him and making plans in my head, I was really beginning to cope with the fact that I could never afford a trip to Africa.  So, I began to let the dream die.

But something in that dream persisted.  I began having thoughts and visions of what my time there might look like. I felt something in my chest, I call it a ‘pressing.’ But it was really more like a ‘knowing.’ A ‘knowing’ that God was inviting me on a journey, that He was asking me to take a few steps, and that He would take care of me even in my weakness and trembling.

I knew that if I didn’t do something about this ‘invitation’ that my courage would bow to fear and that I would continue to carry the weight of this moment for a long time. So I jumped. I took the first step by telling my friend about this ‘pressing’ and asking him more about his trip. I confessed my fear in pursuing something that seemed so implausible for me to accomplish. I expressed my hope but then immediately expressed my fears. I began naming all the hurdles that would have to be overcome in order for me to get there. Money, visas, shots, airline tickets, time away from family and work. It was like I was giving a list of excuses as to why the dream wasn’t going to happen.

But God wasn’t impressed with my list!  One by one He began knocking down the barriers, proving to me that He is the God that overcomes… and overcomes… and overcomes.

In a month-and-a-half all the barriers were gone, and I was on a plane with some of the best men I’ve ever met. I’ll always have the pictures and the stories of what we did while we were there.

But the greatest impression I have from the trip is what God did to get me there.

He is greater than my circumstances. He is greater than the obstacles. He is greater than my fears. He is greater.

Our mission team with Back2Back Nigeria Staff

To see and read more about the experience in Nigeria, check out my blog from the trip.

God’s Story of Redemption, by Beth Guckenberger, Back2Back Staff

March 3, 2010

Last week I had the privilege of speaking at Cincinnati’s Teen Challenge Ranch, where I shared about God’s promise to come after us and pursue a relationship with us, no matter who we are or what we have done.  At one point, I was so impressed by these promises, I lost my composure, and could sense the Spirit’s movement and comfort in the room.  Afterwards, I was deeply moved by the stories and comments I heard from the men and women who are spending the better part of a year there, dedicating themselves to the rebuilding of their lives and breaking their substance abuse addiction.  What courage they demonstrated to me!  I shared a meal with some of the staff after the chapel and we began dreaming about what it would be like for some of the graduates of the program to be able to come on a mission trip.  The obstacle we faced was how to finance such a dream!

Then, this Sunday I spoke at The Next Chapter Church in Southate, Kentucky. They take up, in addition to their regular tithes and offerings, a dollar offering, where they ask the members of their congregation to donate a dollar in a separate bucket to a local charity.  They asked me if I knew of some way they could donate to Back2Back in a way that would allow it to help here locally.  I immediately thought of Teen Challenge, and on that Sunday, we raised enough money to provide a mission trip scholarship for a Teen Challenge graduate to serve alongside us in Monterrey for a week!

I don’t know who it will be, but God does. He is writing a story for one of those men or women that includes a chapter ministering to orphans in Mexico.  I am so looking forward to meeting that person and seeing what that chapter stirs in their hearts.   He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and will easily sell a cow in Kentucky to send a redeemed heart in Cincinnati to minister to one of his children in Mexico.  What a God we serve!

Following God’s Whispers: A Week in Mexico with Back2Back, by Mariel Beausejour, Back2Back Mission Trip Guest

February 2, 2010

A bus of American high schoolers pulls up to a church in one the darkest most impoverished neighborhoods of Monterrey, Mexico. Boys playing fútbol pause, well-worked women drop their conversation to observe, and little girls holding hands skip to find new friends. But beyond the many people standing all around us-some with shy smiles, others with hard stares- are shacks built from boxes. Packaging material for various foods I eat on a regular basis is the shelter that these people call home. We huddle into the sunlight, our knees shaking beneath our many layers of clothes, and see children dressed in well-used jackets and pants filled with holes. They are the very people behind the statistics I have heard for so many years. The poorest of the poor. Here was my chance to answer the call I had felt God so firmly press on my heart- a chance to spread his love to those society does not love, to bring freedom to those in bondage, and to feed the hungry and clothe the needy.

With some of my new friends in Mexico

After handing out hamburgers in a church packed with babies, children, older sisters, mothers, and grandmothers, and trying to use my limited Spanish to create an instant relationship with several of them, I was feeling a little awkward and extremely inadequate. Just then, a little girl, who I hadn’t seen yet, came and grabbed my hand. She said a few things really fast and then led me outside. She took me down, into an unfinished/barely started cinderblock building. I asked her what the building was and she said “una casa.” I asked whose house it was and she replied “No se.” For anyone reading this who doesn’t speak Spanish, this means “I don’t know.” Although this was a little unsettling, she seemed sure of herself, so I continued to follow her up onto the roof, which was lined with re-bar, and completely empty, other than an old wooden bench. She led me to it, and I took out a pack of UNO cards- which ended up being the most valuable thing I packed. Kids kept coming as I taught her how to play it, circles of kids around us, just watching, and hoping to get in on the game.

Later, I found out that this building was the new addition the church was building, with the help of organizations like Back2Back. The vision of the pastor and the dozens of women who volunteer at the church is amazing. They truly understand how God intended that the church should function- as a light in a dark world. Our decision to follow Christ is not a selfish one. It has great implications for us and our lives, but it takes a great deal of sacrifice. We must count the cost of being His disciple before we follow Him, because we can’t have an amazing relationship with Him if we continue to live our life as we wish. We have to surrender our own agenda, and pick up the lifestyle of the kingdom. We are the church. We should be living for God and others- feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, caring for the sick- bringing the riches of our compassionate God to the ones He longs to hold, talk to, and provide for. The pastor who planted this church in the Rio could have easily planted a church in a nice neighborhood, with an economically stable congregation, and a nice thick tithe. But he didn’t, he laid down all worldly desires in order to follow His whispers, and meet God where He has always been, and come along side Him in the workings and desires of His heart.

Students in Action, by Yeong Jiang, Mexico Mission Trip Participant, Xenos Christian Fellowship

December 29, 2009

During our time serving with Back2Back in Monterrey, Mexico, my son, Christopher (15-years old) was inspired by Back2Back Director, Beth Guckenberger’s story about another boy doing a fundraiser for the ministry through an XBOX Tournament.  After we returned, Christopher decided to organize a similar XBOX 360 Halo 3 tournament as a fundraiser.  With our help, he organized the game rules, rented a place, collected prize donations from local stores and business owners and invited his friends and classmates to attend.

After two months of preparation and planning, we had over thirty kids signed up for the tournament and many more just came to watch and cheer for the players. We had fun and raised a total of $540 through the event.  It was a lot of hard work putting it together but it was definitely a successful fundraiser.  Watching my son’s face with eyes full of excitement throughout the whole event was priceless. I am sure that it will be a long-lasting memory for him and a wonderful experience for his spiritual growth.

Blankets for Rio III, by Claire Rogers, Back2Back US Staff

December 2, 2009

Last week, during Thanksgiving, 15-year old Hope Bertke served in Monterrey, Mexico with Back2Back, alongside her parents and several other families.  Hope has been on several mission trips with Back2Back and is familiar with the communities that we minister to.  In the weeks leading up to her trip last week, Hope began to think of the families in one such village that we work with in Monterrey, a squatters’ village called Rio III. She wondered how the families there would survive the cold winter months in homes that have no insulation, heating and even sometimes electricity.  Her concern prompted her to take action by collecting money to purchase blankets for those in the community, since most families there have very limited blankets or bedding.

Hope’s goal was to raise $1,000 to purchase 100 blankets.  She began calling friends and family and spreading the word.  Her efforts paid off.  In just a few weeks, she had more than tripled her goal by raising $3,500 – enough to purchase a blanket for every family in Rio III!  Last week, Hope saw her dream realized.  She, along with the rest of her mission trip group, personally delivered a truck-full of blankets to hundreds of families in desperate need.

Reflecting on the experience, Hope said, “While giving out the blankets, the children had huge smiles on their faces.  They were so excited to get something new!  Although many of the kids weren’t big enough to carry their blankets, you could tell that they really appreciated them.  Many of the kids wrapped the blankets around themselves.  Many people don’t realize how cold it gets at night in Mexico.  When we were on our trip, it was getting down to 45 degrees at night and none of the makeshift homes have any heat.  We had just enough blankets for everyone who came to get one.  My original goal was 100 blankets, but God had bigger and better plans for the families in Rio III…we raised enough money for 350 blankets!”

Families began lining up early to receive a new blanket

Hope Bertke, helping to unload the 350 blankets that were purchased as a result of her fundraising efforts

These little boys were very excited to receive their blankets

Hope, helping to distribute the blankets

The Grouzard family (left) pictured with the Bertke family (right) helped by collecting money from friends and family in Chicago to purchase blankets.

Two girls walk home after receiving their blankets

Concert for the Children’s Homes, by Beth Guckenberger & Becca Gantz, Back2Back Mexico Staff

October 26, 2009

Thoughts from Beth Guckenberger:

pureNRG, a music group from Word Entertainment was our guest this past month in Monterrey.

pureNRG

They partnered with the James Fund and Payless Shoes in a marketing co-venture that resulted in thousands of donated shoes for orphans around the world.  Hundreds of those were sent to Mexico with b2b and we were able to do a giant footwashing event that placed new shoes on literally hundreds of children in one of our squatters’ villages. The three members of the group served alongside their James fund counterparts and record executives and reached out to two of our childrens homes during work days and then all of the homes one afternoon for a giant concert.  We began the concert with various children’s homes performing for each other and then culminated in a long set of pureNRG songs and their testimonies.  The children loved the concert, singing and dancing and enjoying the time altogether.  What a treat to labor beside our James Fund friends and Word Entertainment who has brought gifted artists like Mark Schultz and pureNRG to speak out with their voices for the children we serve.  It was a fantastic week and we are all new and loyal fans of this great band!

Thoughts from Becca Gantz:

Has anyone heard of the Christian music group pureNRG?

pureNRG’s mission is to entertain, educate and promote Christian values for young people by using wholesome, uplifting lyrics, along with music and dance, in order to provide a positive role model. pureNRG has been a favorite on Radio Disney and has a top selling album out on Fervent Records. They recently toured with MercyMe, BarlowGirl and Skillet.  Their mission is to entertain, educate and promote Christian values for young people by using wholesome, uplifting lyrics, along with music and dance, in order to provide a positive role model.

The members of the band, JORDAN, CAROLYNE, AND CAROLINE, were just here on a mission trip with Back2Back. We had such a blast with them!  They are super fun, energetic, and eager to serve.

One of the nights they were here, they put on a mini concert for ALL the casa hogars (children’s homes) we serve here in Monterrey. Instead of it being just a concert from them, all the homes had something prepared as a little present to them.  The Douglas girls performed a tambourine routine and the rest of the homes sang a couple of songs.

Performing for pureNRG

I am pretty sure it was all of the children’s homes first time to see anything remotely like a concert. There were a lot of kids, LOTS OF SMILING FACES, lots of food for dinner, and most of all LOTS OF FUN.

Dinner before PureNRG concert

Enjoying the concert

PureNRG concert

I also had the privilege of debriefing them one night after serving at the children’s homes.  These three teenagers blew my mind. Their focus is completely devoted to God and there was no doubt in my mind that God has specifically chosen them, to share the Gospel in such a unique and fun way, for a reason.

pureNRG with children from one of the children's homes we serve

Carolyne and Caroline from pureNRG with children from one of the children's homes we serve

With Jordan, Caroline and Carolyne from pureNRG

With Jordan, Caroline and Carolyne from pureNRG

Hear from the members of PureNRG on their experience in Mexico here, here, and here!

A Different Kind of Thanksgiving, by Claire Rogers

September 9, 2009

When Wendy Kuremsky’s  thirteen-year old daughter, Caroline, decided to participate on a Back2Back mission trip with her school, Wendy had no idea just how much that one-week in Mexico would change her daughter.

Wendy remembers the day she picked up Caroline from the airport.  “When she landed in Dayton, OH, after the trip, we got in the car and before I even had my keys out, she had the light on and was showing me the things she did on her digital camera screen and telling me about the kids.  It clearly had an impact on her,” she recalls.  “About a week later she was in another’s mom’s car on the way to dance lessons.  The mom called me afterward and told me how Caroline was so articulate about the trip and that it was obvious she had changed.”

Caroline serving in Mexico on a Back2Back Ministries mission trip

Caroline serving in Mexico on a Back2Back Ministries mission trip

Caroline had been touched by the suffering and poverty she had witnessed.  She felt compelled to do something practical to help the orphans that she had met at the children’s homes where Back2Back serves.  As her birthday approached, Caroline began planning a big party, as she had every year before.  But this time, her celebration would be different.  Instead of accepting traditional birthday presents, Caroline made a special request to attendees, asking that they bring an item to be donated to the children’s homes in Mexico.  On the invitations, she suggested a few specific items that were most needed in the orphanages:  socks, shoes, flip flops, and blankets.

The Kuremsky’s were amazed by the response.  Almost everyone who was invited to the party attended.

“It was literally overwhelming how everyone responded,” Wendy says. “We purposely set up a long table right near the entrance to our yard and put some buckets on it.  When people brought their donations, we’d sort them into the buckets.  It was so exciting to see what families had chosen. In no time at all, the buckets were overflowing.  Another little table was added and we started putting stuff on the ground under the table.  It was very fun the next day for Caroline to look through and see all the things she knew the kids could use.”

Wendy ‘s heart was touched by Caroline’s zeal.  It was inspiring for her to see her daughter’s deep compassion for the children she had met and her determination to do something to make a difference, even after the trip was over.  “God can indeed teach valuable lessons to us through our children,” she says.

Caroline’s older brother, Tanner, has also served on a Back2Back Mexico mission trip.  Impacted by the experiences of Caroline and Tanner, Wendy and her husband, Michael, decided to take a family trip to Mexico to serve at the children’s homes together.  This November, they are joining several other families, for Back2Back’s annual Thanksgiving week mission trip.  They will be taking several extra suitcases, stuffed with socks, shoes and blankets, all of which were donated at Caroline’s birthday party.  While there, they will deliver the items to the local orphanages.

The Kuremskys think that serving children in need is the perfect way to spend Thanksgiving together as a family.  When asked what prompted them to forgo a traditional Thanksgiving celebration, Michael responded, “There is no better way to express our gratitude for how we’ve been blessed as a family than to serve people who haven’t been as blessed as us.”

Interested in participating in the Back2Back Thanksgiving mission trip, Nov 25-29?  There are still a few remaining spots open for families or individuals.  If you would like to join the Kuremskys in Monterrey, Mexico this Thanksgiving, please email the trip leader, Brian Bertke, at brian@back2backministries.org


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