Posts Tagged ‘Northstar Vineyard’

Additional Hurricane Alex Update

July 2, 2010

In our efforts to keep families of Back2Back trip members updated, we wanted to provide the latest information on the storm that has reached Monterrey, Mexico.

Teams from Peninsula Covenant, North Cincinnati and Northstar Vineyard are all safely on their way home today. The remaining team from Four Corners/Siemer are safe and will be traveling home tomorrow afternoon. Interns are being re-booked and will be arriving home as early as Sunday.

We are so very grateful to each of our team members, staff and families who have endured an amazing amount of water and the inconveniences that resulted.  We are grateful to all of our supporters and the friends and the families of those members who have been praying since this storm took hold of Monterrey almost two days ago.  Most of all we are grateful to God who has kept our groups, staff and families safe.

As we learn more about the children, the caregivers and families we care for in and around Monterrey, we will do our best to update our website and blog. Please continue to pray for their safety and protection, as well as for our staff and families who live in Monterrey.

The financial impact of this storm on the children’s homes, the squatters’ villages, and our own facilities will be significant. As you feel led, we will be grateful for any additional donations, no matter how small.

Thank you for your continued prayers.

a street by the Back2Back campus

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Words from Home, by Mandy Lail

September 24, 2009

Recently I received a sweet message from home.  My good friend Angel sent me a picture of herself at Casa Hogar Douglas from 1987.  When JJ (my husband) and I decided to come on staff with Back2Back in Monterrey as house parents in the Hope Program, we had been friends with Angel & Shawn for six years. We had served together at Northstar Community Church in Loveland, Ohio and enjoyed their friendship. We were so blessed when they jumped on our support team right away.  Not long after, Angel told me about how she and Shawn had taken several summer mission trips to Monterrey during their high school years.  God had stirred their hearts for this city and they still felt the connection.  Several summers ago, they returned with their son on a mission trip when a group from Northstar traveled to Monterrey to serve with Back2Back.

Last September, when we arrived in Monterrey and began spending time at Casa Hogar Douglas, God broke my heart over that home and the children there.  Three of the boys in my home (Marcos, Mario & Gabriel) are from Casa Hogar Douglas and there are several more boys there that we have formed strong bonds with.  It is a special place for us. As I began to write about it on my blog and post pictures, Angel sent me a message explaining that on their mission trips from high school they would come to Casa Hogar Douglas, climb the hill and pray in the chapel.  They would pray over the children’s home and the whole city. I was so encouraged by the connection God had given us and how He has used Angel to remind me that He is at work in that home…and always has been.

I was feeling particularly discouraged recently but when I received this photo from Angel, God once again used her and her words to encourage me. The needs here feel overwhelming at times and often we can feel too small to make a difference.  But then we are reminded that we are not alone.  God has collected an army of folks here and at home to pray, to advocate and to fight for the orphan.  We are so thankful and so encouraged by all those who choose to invest with us in these casa hogars, these teens, these children.

Read these sweet words of encouragement from Angel to me: “I just re-read the scripture I sent to you in the other email and the last verse says faithfulness through all generations…in 1987 the kids that you minister to were not created yet. Yet the same power, the same love and faithfulness that God had for the kids that I met in 1987 carries through to this generation right now. And so the same power, the same love and faithfulness will carry on to the next generation. This is so much bigger than you or me…I prayed over the Douglas home at lunch and I do feel the war. Please be strong in the power of his might. He hears our prayers…He will answer them.

Thank you Angel for your encouragement.  Thank you to all those Back2Back supporters for all you do for the least of these. We are so thankful for each of you.

Psalm 100:5 For the LORD is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.

Angel & Shawn at Casa Hogar Douglas in 1987

Angel & Shawn at Casa Hogar Douglas in 1987

Mandy's husband, JJ, playing soccer at Douglas in the same spot where Angel & Shawn took a photo in 1987

Mandy's husband, JJ, (far left) playing soccer at Douglas in the same spot where Angel & Shawn took a photo in 1987

Beth Guckenberger’s Speaking Schedule

August 26, 2009

Beth speaking

This fall, Beth Guckenberger, one of the directors of Back2Back Mexico, will be speaking at several US venues, while she and her family are temporarily living in Cincinnati (through December).  If you’re in the area, please feel free to join us!

October 2-4: NASCAR and Nationwide chapels, Kansas City

October 10: Monterrey, MX with FCS and PureNRG

October 16-17: Intimacy Retreat, Vineyard Community Church, Cincinnati, OH

October 25: Northstar Vineyard Community Church, Cincinnati, OH

October 30: North Cincinnati Community Church, Cincinnati, OH

November 12: Campus Crusade for Christ, Indiana University, Bloomington

December 13: Northstar Vineyard Community Church, Cincinnati

December 15: Hope Church MOPS, Cincinnati

Check back often – the schedule below will be updated as new speaking engagements are booked!  If you are interested in scheduling Beth for a speaking engagement, event or retreat at your church or organization, please contact kate@back2backministries.org to check Beth’s availability and receive additional information.

Lola, by Brian Hubers, B2B Mission Trip Guest

July 27, 2009

Last week I traveled with a group from Northstar Vineyard to Monterrey, Mexico for a week-long mission trip with Back2Back.  It was my first time there and it was nothing short of incredible.

On Sunday, our first day in Monterrey, we served at Casa Hogar Douglas (CHD), a local orphanage. Some of us started working on leveling uneven terrain to prepare for the concrete that would be poured there starting on Monday.  It was hard physical labor but there is something therapeutic and satisfying about a project that a team can sink its teeth into and see results.  When I stopped for a water break, I noticed a young lady sitting on the cement floor of the palapa, or outdoor shelter area.  She was tired and unable to stay awake.  It was apparent that she had some type of disability.  I filled up my water bottle and headed back to my digging.  We made great progress with our project.  As we wrapped up for the day, I was looking forward to the concrete work on Monday and seeing the area transformed.

Each evening, there is a time of worship and debriefing about the day.  On Sunday night a Back2Back staff member, challenged us to get out of our comfort zone and try something different on Monday.  She said, “If you naturally gravitate toward working on the concrete project, maybe you should paint or spend time with the children.”  That hit me.  I knew that was for me.  I love working with children, but I have to admit I was feeling anxious about the language barrier.  I wanted to see the concrete project completed and I felt like being with the kids all day would be more challenging.  But God had something else in mind.

Monday morning we returned to CHD.  I decided to step-out of my comfort zone and join the team that was playing with the children. As I headed to the palapa, where some of the children were congregating, I noticed the same young lady from Sunday.  I took her hand and together we walked to a picnic bench and sat down.  I learned that her name was Lola.  As we began to interact I couldn’t tell if she could hear me or see me.  I said a few words in Spanish and English but she didn’t react.  Someone gave her a lollipop and she held it a couple of inches from her face to see what it was.  Lola then handed it to me to open.  I glance to my left and notice a line of wheelbarrows at the work site and question if I should really be playing with the children, rather than helping with the concrete.

Just then, the Lord quieted my heart and in that moment, I knew that I was exactly where I needed to be.  Although I didn’t know if Lola could hear or see me I talked to her.  We patted hands a lot and every once in a while she smiled.  She only had a few teeth but nonetheless her smile was beautiful.  It hits me that I should start praying for her.  Once I started praying blessing and protection over her, I just couldn’t stop.  The words kept flowing and before I knew it I had been praying for twenty minutes.  Then, my prayer turned into song and I began singing praises.  Simply put, it was “a God thing”.  I had never done that before; it’s all I can do to stay focused in prayer for five minutes.

One of the other older kids from the home came over to take her somewhere.  Maybe she was trying to rescue me or perhaps she was jealous of all the time and attention someone else was receiving.  But Lola wouldn’t budge.  She held my hand, refusing to stand up.  I tried to communicate to the other girl that it was okay for Lola to stay with me, but I couldn’t tell if she understood.  We continued spending time together, her face beaming as she started to pat my face, first gently and then more aggressively until she was almost smacking my cheeks.  It hurt, but she was enjoying it so I smiled all the more.  By that point, Lola and I had spent over an hour together.  It was a sweet time in His presence.  I had seen her as God saw her and I couldn’t get over her true beauty.

Then, it was time for lunch and that did get her attention.  After she left to eat, I talked with a Back2Back staff member, who explained to me that Lola has severe Down’s Syndrome and is actually 38 years old!  After lunch, Lola and some of the other children took a rest.  I didn’t see her for the remainder of the day.

That night I couldn’t stop thinking about her or talking about my time with her. I shared with the team that although I didn’t think Lola could see or hear me, the hour we spent together was truly wonderful.

On Tuesday morning, a group of men from our team had the privilege of serving breakfast to the kids at CHD.  The kids had no idea we were coming.  Not only do they treasure extra time with the visiting teams, but most of the homes can’t afford to serve the children breakfast, so the meal itself is a special treat.

The kids were still asleep as we prepared breakfast.  When we finished, we rang a bell to wake them.  All twenty of us created a receiving line.  As sleepy little ones with eyes half open headed our way, we cheered to greet them.  Their excitement was visible.  I saw Lola coming toward us.  I was excited, but at the same time I didn’t know what to expect.  She walked straight to me and grabbed my hand.  I escorted her in to breakfast and served her.  And what an honor it was! The guys decided to sing and dance for the children. Lola watched, smiling her near toothless smile.  It was the most beautiful thing I saw the entire trip.

Spending time with Lola

Spending time with Lola