Posts Tagged ‘Shelter Program’

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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A Balanced Meal, by Mindy Webster, Back2Back Mexico Staff

July 15, 2011

Enjoying fresh grapes with lunch

Many of the children’s homes that we serve lack the funds to purchase fruits and vegetables. A normal lunch or dinner in a children’s home consists of rice, a tortilla, and eggs, beans, or ground beef.  These foods are inexpensive and easy to make in the large quantities three times a day.  As a result, the children’s diets lack essential vitamins and nutrients that are found in produce. However, the Shelter Child Sponsorship Program is enabling the children’s homes to begin to provide more balanced meals, supporting the growth, health, and development of the children.  The children’s homes are now purchasing fruits and vegetables on a regular basis.

At Casa Hogar Del Norte, the children had grapes, watermelon, and a salad to go with their lunch.  The children were especially excited to have fruit with their meal.   They view it as being a special treat, since until recently, they rarely had it. The caretakers didn’t have to ask the children to eat their fruit. In fact, after finishing their portion, they were all asking for more!

A Sponsor for Sofia, by Claire Rogers, Back2Back US Staff

April 13, 2011

Sofia

Five year-old Sofia, who lives at San Jose Children’s Home, an orphanage that Back2Back Cancun serves, is now benefiting from child sponsorship. Sofia, an imaginative girl, loves to draw. She recently created this masterpiece for her sponsor in Pennsylvania.

Interested in sponsoring a child like Sofia, from one of the orphanages that Back2Back serves? Contact Claire Rogers at Back2Back’s US Office at claire@back2backministries.org

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.

Answered Prayers at Douglas Children’s Home, by Caroline Burns, Back2Back Mexico Staff

December 6, 2010

The children at Casa Hogar Douglas (Douglas Children's Home)

I just wanted to encourage all of you who have been praying for Douglas Children’s Home and especially since we as a staff team started asking for prayer warriors to cover the home in prayer last February. There have been many, many changes at Casa Hogar Douglas in the past ten months.  I believe that it is in direct connection to your prayers and all of you who committed to pray and fast for Douglas last February!

I spend almost every day of my time here in Monterrey at Douglas. Sometimes, it’s too easy to get caught up in my daily responsibilities of child care to reflect adequately on all God has done to drastically change Douglas for the better. God has sent a ton of new staff families – another one moved in last week. God has moved workers around so that there are awesome people in direct care of the children. He’s given us a ton of Shelter sponsors, through Back2Back’s Shelter Child Sponsorship Program.

As a result of the Shelter Program, we’ve been able to move a lot of the kids to new schools. Some of the kids are now able to attend a school for kids with special needs in the afternoons and evenings. Their food is a world better because of the Shelter Program funds. They have hot water for their showers now that it’s cold because of Shelter Program funds. The kids run and yell and practically push me out of my table when I start to distribute the Shelter letters (from their sponsors) because they are so excited that they might have received a letter from their sponsor. The church at Douglas now has a Tuesday night youth group for all older kids. The biological families of the kids (if they have them) are being asked to be more involved with their kids and are visiting more often, staying longer and some are even taking their kids home for the weekends now. The Mexican government is getting more involved with the home and helping to regulate forms and programs to help the kids. Not everything is perfect there but a many things are improving and it’s obvious to see how God has been moving at Douglas in these past ten months.

 

A Birthday Surprise, by Claire Rogers, Back2Back US Staff

September 27, 2010

Last week, Oziel , a toddler at Douglas Children’s Home, turned four years old.  His sponsor family donated money to purchase him a birthday gift, through the Shelter Sponsorship Gift Catalog.  They specified that the money was to be used to buy him a gift of an action figure and toy car. Little did they know that just a few days prior, when asked what he wanted for his birthday, Oziel had told Back2Back staff members that he was hoping for a Hulk action figure.  Needless to say, when he received the exact gift he had been hoping for from his sponsors in Ohio, he was elated.

Oziel receives a birthday gift from his sponsor

Child sponsorship is helping children like Oziel in a multitude of ways. Prior to the launch of the Shelter Child Sponsorship Program (last June), many of the homes were underfunded, operating on a fraction of the needed operating budget.  Through this program, Back2Back has been able to come alongside the homes and help support them with resources to provide the children with a higher level of care.

For example, the children are now eating more nutritious and balanced meals with meat and produce (versus just rice and beans as was the norm before).  Thanks to sponsorship, Oziel and the twelve other children his age are now attending an excellent pre-school, whereas before they were attending a public pre-school with a ratio of one teacher per every three classes of children.  This would not have been possible without sponsorships. These are just a few of the practical ways in which sponsors help to improve the quality of care at the children’s homes.

Interested in sponsoring a child like Oziel? Contact Claire Rogers at the Back2Back US office at claire@ back2backministries.org.

Letters from the Heart, by Claire Rogers, Back2Back US Staff

May 21, 2010

Every quarter, we translate letters written from child sponsors and deliver them to the children at the homes we serve.  Often, sponsors include a family photo or stickers, but what is most impactful to the children is the realization that their sponsor is thinking of them. The children are so touched by the encouraging words of their sponsors and treasure the letters, sweet reminders that they are loved.  Thank you to all the child sponsors who through your correspondence brighten the day of the children we serve!  Sponsors can expect to receive return letters from the children in their mailboxes in June!

Interested in signing up to sponsor a child at one of the children’s homes that Back2Back serves?  Call our US office at 513-754-0300 and ask to speak with Claire.

Twelve year old Eduardo, from El Retiro Juvenil Children's Home, reads a letter from his sponsor, Michael

Seven year old Odalis, from El Retiro Juvenil Children's Home, writes a letter to her sponsor from Apex Community Church

Josue, from Douglas Children's Home, writes a letter to his sponsors, Phil and Cindy

Twelve year old, Beatriz, from Douglas Children's Home, writes a letter to her sponsors

The Lucky Ones, by Matt Cooper

September 22, 2009

A few days ago, I was able to share special moment with two children that live in children’s homes where Back2Back serves. One was with Joel from Manantial de Amor. One was with Gaby from Casa Hogar Betesda. Joel and Gaby are two very privileged kids. They aren’t necessarily privileged because of who they are or what they have. They aren’t privileged because they are receiving the world’s best education, or because they are well traveled. They don’t live in any special neighborhoods, and they wouldn’t likely win any awards for being the best dressed. Sadly enough they don’t even live with their families. However, God has placed them in a children’s home where they are being loved and cared for.

What makes Joel and Gaby special is that they have both been chosen. Back2Back has started a new child sponsorship program, the Shelter Program, and Joel and Gaby are two of the lucky ones. I call them lucky because I know for a fact that that’s how they feel. Today when I met with Joel, I hand-delivered him a backpack that sponsors from Michigan gave me to give him, when we saw them during a recent trip home to the US. The look on his face was priceless, as I explained who the backpack was from, and as he began to unload the candy, pictures, school supplies, and other goodies inside.

“A pencil box!” he exclaimed, “I needed one of these!”

I explained to Joel that God already knew his need, and that He sent the things, through his sponsors, just in the perfect time. Without a doubt I witnessed a child feel loved, not just by his sponsor, but even more importantly by God as well.

Spending time with Joel at Manantial de Amor

Spending time with Joel at Manantial de Amor

Joel was excited to discover that his backpack was filled with school supplies that he needed

Joel was excited to discover that his backpack was filled with school supplies that he needed

Joel showing off his new backpack

Joel showing off his new backpack

After leaving Manantial, I went on to Betesda, another one of the children’s homes that we work with.  I sat down beside a five-year old girl named Gaby and explained to her that a woman back in Ohio had chosen to sponsor her.

She immediately started looking around and asked, “Where is she? I want to see her,” she said.

I quickly explained that she wasn’t here today. I reminded Gaby of a time back in June when her sponsor had visited, and worked on projects in her children’s home, walked down to the park with her, and shared a snack of popsicles.

“Do you remember that Gaby?” I asked.

She nodded her head. “Yes, I remember. Can I have a picture of her so that I can remember her?” she asked.

Together, we scripted a letter to her sponsor, asking about her family, and requesting a photo.

“Can I send her a picture that I’ve colored?,” Gaby asked.

“Of course you can sweetheart,” I responded. “She is going to love it!”

Gaby

Gaby

The Shelter Program is a way for every child we work with to have an individual sponsor. Those sponsors financially support “their child” by giving $100 a month, which goes directly to the children’s home expenses for the care of the children. Why $100? Because that is exactly what it costs to provide for that child for one month. It ensures that the child will be cared for emotionally, physically and spiritually so that they can thrive.  The money covers the cost of health care, an education, food and clothing.  The program also gives each child the opportunity to develop a deep and lasting relationship with someone who is invested in their lives and committed to their success.  We’ve found that many of our sponsors have already come to think of their sponsor children as part of their family.

Some individuals or families choose to sponsor a child they have met during a trip to Monterrey. Others may not have met personally, but we will give them a chance to build and strengthen that relationship through letters, pictures and correspondence throughout the year. Joel and Gaby are two lucky kids, but there are hundreds more children we work with here in Monterrey just waiting for sponsors. They all deserve the privilege of feeling loved, of feeling like someone cares, and feeling like someone remembered them. They all deserve the privilege of feeling special. Please consider partnering with us in this very important project. There is a child waiting for you!

Interested in sponsoring a child? Email Claire Rogers at claire@back2backministries.org