Posts Tagged ‘worship’

Neighborly Love, by Nate Gangwer, Back2Back Nigeria Intern

July 11, 2011

 

A few weeks ago we began our first project with another team.  We spent the entire day doing projects at the Oasis Community Center in the Kisayhip Village of Jos, Nigeria.  The majority of the team painted the community center with a primer coat to get ready for the Back2Back team next week.  The rest of the group split in two and some worked on clearing the roadside gutter to prevent flooding during the rains and the rest of the group moved a significant amount of gravel, rock, and sand for concrete mixing an building to the other side of the compound to make it easier for future deliveries and a more central location for work. In the midst of the pounding heat we were able to completely prime the building, move all but a handful of the big rocks, and dig out a majority of the roadside.  Feelings of accomplishment ran high as we finished out the day sitting on the porches watching a thunderstorm roll by.  These types of achievements not only help boost our moral, but really help to show the community the importance of taking care of facilities and thinking a few steps ahead of the current problem.

Nigerians are a wonderful people with a tremendous sense of community and perseverance, but have been trampled and pushed down by exploitation, which turns into a terrible foundation of traditions.  A large part of community development lays in finding pride not only in your neighbors and family, but also in the actual land and buildings.  Loving your neighbor does not always entail saving them from a horrible plight or devastating circumstance, but more frequently, and perhaps more importantly, loving your neighbor means literally doing the small things that you desire for yourself for them.  If I want my yard or my house to be clean then how I love my neighbor is also desiring (and acting upon) their yard or house to be clean.  The motivation moves from being self-centered to community centered and Biblically obedient.  By partnering together and serving those around us who are incapable, either by a lack of resources or a lack of know-how, we are not only serving them we are serving Christ and following the model of love He exhibited for us and commanded of us. Oh, how wonderful it is to worship in work and service!

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A New Song, by Hope Maglich, Back2Back Mexico Staff

May 6, 2011

This spring, we have been teaching the children in the Rio about worship. It has been fantastic! A donor supplied us with money to purchase instruments for the children and thus the idea sprang into action. Our heart was to teach the kids not only how to worship the Lord but reasons we have to worship Him! When we truly know His character there is nothing left to do but worship.

My favorite day of our worship unit with the children was when we taught them about Miriam praising the Lord after he saved the Israelites from the Egyptians. Miriam took up her tambourine and praised the Lord with a new song!

Hope teaches the children about how Miriam praised God

After learning about Miriam, we decided as a class that we would write a new song to the Lord just a Miriam did. Back2Back staff member, Cheque, got out his guitar. I pulled out a dry erase board and we began to write a song of praise to the Lord, worshiping Him for the ways that he loves us. Cheque and I started out the song, but in no time the kids were shouting their ideas as well. It was the children who came up with most of the words and reasons why we praise the Lord.

Children from the Rio wrote the lyrics to the worship song

It was beautiful for me to hear these children, who live with very little, shouting out reasons they have to praise the Lord! Oh how true it is! Within twenty minutes our song was done, Cheque had a tune, and we all began to worship the Lord with a new song! We have now added this song to our collection and sing it each week.

“God saved us from the Egyptians

Let’s sing to the Lord

God loves us very much

Let’s sing to the Lord

God created us

God healed us

God protected and provided for us

Let’s sing to the Lord. ”

– Written by the children Back2Back serves in Rio 1

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.

 

 

 

 

Take Flight, by Jessica Biondo, Back2Back Mexico Staff

February 8, 2010

As you may know, the mission of Back2Back is to provide “Care for Today and Hope for Tomorrow” to the abandoned and neglected children of Monterrey, Mexico. When I write for this blog, I hope to give you tastes of what that looks like in our day-to-day activities. Every day is different depending on the needs of the various homes that we work with. However, one thing that remains constant is that we have about forty teens that live on our campus.

These teens grew up in the children’s homes that we work with, but at age fifteen they can no longer live in the homes. Due to this, many of the teens are back out on the streets and end up in the black market or prostitution because they believe that they have no other options. In order to put a stop to this cycle and provide hope for these young students, Back2Back started the Hope Program. When the students turn fifteen they are invited to come and live on our campus in one of the teen homes with house parents.

While they are here, Back2Back pays for them to complete high school and go to college to pursue the degree of their choice. They are given hope through education and opportunities for success, but more importantly, our constant prayer is that we are able to show them a greater hope. A hope that does not depend on circumstance, education or opportunity. A hope that is only found in Christ. It breaks my heart to think of the lives that many of these students have lived. They have suffered through constant abandonment, abuse, neglect, loneliness… and many more things that I cannot even imagine. Yet we know that we serve a God who can bring healing, redemption, identity and hope.

A few weekends ago, we took the teens to a youth conference of 400 students from all over Monterrey at one of the churches in the area. The theme of the event was “Alza el Vuelo”, which means “Take Flight”. It was a powerful weekend of worship and speaking. It also opened a lot of doors for great conversations with some of our teens who are really seeking right now. But the thing I am most excited to share is that one of the teens accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior!! Praise the Lord!!! My heart fills with such excitement as I see the things that God is doing on our campus. He is pursing the young people who most of the world had written off and cast aside. Yet he is pursing them, capturing their hearts and preparing them for mighty things in the future! What a loving God he is! He will not give up on them, and we must not either. Please pray for each precious teen on our campus. That each one will come to know Christ and experience joy, peace and hope!

Read more about the event from Back2Back staff member Hope Maglich here.

A few Back2Back staff members with some of the girls at the conference

During worship at the conference

Harvest Sunday, by Emilee Munafo, Back2Back Nigeria Staff

December 17, 2009

A few weeks ago the ECWA church (Evangelical Church of West Africa) in the Kisayhip Village celebrated the Harvest Season with a special Harvest Sunday celebration. It was the Sunday following our American Thanksgiving holiday. As I walked up to the church doors, I could see buckets, sacks and trays that were full of grains lined up against the building. Each portion of grain represented a family’s hard season of planting, cultivating, protecting, watering, and harvesting. For many of them it is their way of living. Without this harvest they wouldn’t be able to provide for their family. I felt like I was back in Biblical times. Maybe I am too much of a city girl, but in our church we usually only bring forward our monetary gifts, and even then when we bring them, we bring them to a box, near the back wall at our own convenience.

In the Nigerian church, I have always noticed that the time for offering, whether with naira or with crops, is a time of worship. There is music playing, singing, dancing, even a little bit of shouting. It always makes me ask myself, am I giving my offerings to the Lord as an act of worship, or do I just do it out of obedience? It also made me think of what things I would be willing to bring as an offering, if I wasn’t told to bring money but something that represented my hard labor. Maybe my time, my home, or my desires for my family would be on that list. What about you?  What would you bring as an offering? I’ve been sorting out what God is teaching me through my Harvest Sunday experience – it’s been a few weeks and I am still thinking about it!

The slideshow below shows an outreach that we did after church on Harvest Sunday. Only the pastor knew what we had planned. We enjoyed passing out bags of goodies that included lotion, sugar for Christmas baking, spices, and noodle packets to those who faithfully come to church on Sunday.

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

October 23, 2009

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

the One, by Kathy Couch

August 12, 2009

I am sitting here waiting for midnight to roll around so that our boys come in.  On one hand I am tired and want to go to bed, on the other….. it is finally quiet.  After eight weeks at an aerobic pace, there are no visitors on our campus, only the 100 of us that live here year-round!  There are no screaming voices outside my window.  There are no more requests from our boys to stay out past curfew ‘just one more time’ so that they can spend time with the American mission trip guests.  Man, I already miss it!

We wrapped up summer with a worship service and baptized one of our very own youth in the swimming pool.  She was the 10th person to be baptized this summer.  It was one of those super sweet moments that you wish you could wrap up so that you could open it up and experience it again and again.  Something powerful happens when a group of people are all going the same way, with the same goals in mind.  You can feel the power, the passion, the presence of the One who is pushing everyone in the same direction.

We felt that moment powerfully one day when we were serving out in the Rio III, a squatters’ village that Back2Back serves.  It is about the driest, dustiest, smelliest place that I’ve encountered.  It is a neighborhood built on a trash dump.  The people there are poor in wealth, but rich in spirit.

View while walking through Rio III

View while mission trip guests walk through Rio III - © DSL Images

While serving the community, one of our group members that felt the One pushing, so at His prompting, she grabbed a bucket of water and rag and began washing women’s feet.  These women are poor.  Several have been abandoned themselves by men or family.  And here was this American, washing, massaging and drying their feet.  What a picture of what I want my heart to look like.  I want to be a washer.  I want to see the dry, dirty, lowly, and I want to wash them in the name of Jesus.  I want to crawl around on the concrete floor washing feet until my knees are bloody so that I don’t leave anyone out.  I want to forget me.

A woman from Rio III has her feet washed

A woman from Rio III has her feet washed - © DSL Images

The only way I know to do this is to stay connected.  Connected to the One, the only One that can move our hearts and souls to strive for holiness.  To want to be more than we are,  but in a way that makes us less.  Less of us.  Less of our wants and desires and more of the desires of the people that surround us.  Those who feel unlovely or hardened.  I want to wash them.  I want to massage their dirty feet because I finally understand how valuable they are.  More of them, less of me.  God only you can move me in that direction.

Eyes Wide Open, by Hannah Cesler, Back2Back India Summer Intern

July 10, 2009

My first week interning with Back2Back India has opened my eyes. There is no way I could have been fully prepared for my initial visit to this hostel (children’s home) in rural India. I was a little nervous when we pulled up, but was instantly comforted by familiar verses painted on the walls in English and the native language, Telegu.

One of the girls in the children's home helping with meal prep

One of the girls in the children's home helping with meal prep

Upon arrival, I was given a tour of the girl’s dorm. Each room (equivalent to the size of my bedroom) is meant to house eight girls. Since the children are used to sleeping on the ground, they are somewhat able to fit in these rooms.  Some older girls came to greet us and they asked me to lead them in the song, “If you’re happy and you know it” which the kids knew even better than I did! I was especially amazed by the sanctuary. It was clean, open and bright—it made me happy to know these kids were getting the best when they were worshipping Jesus.

After we explored the girl’s side of the hostel, we went to check out a new project being started to expand the boy’s dorm. Seeing the method of construction blew my mind–hundreds of sticks were used to support the building while construction continued right on! Twice as many men were working on the building than were needed. Due to the low labor wages in India, this is not an unusual occurrence. I was just starting to pick up on the inefficiency behind a lot of what goes on in India!

Construction Workers in India

Construction Project in India

We stumbled into some of the bathrooms on the boy’s side. They looked like they hadn’t been cleaned in years and the smell was something no child should have to face every day. Apparently, this kind of cleaning is meant only for the lowest of workers in India; therefore, a bathroom will be left filthy before anyone would voluntarily take care of these duties. I started to get overwhelmed and frustrated at the reality of how much there was to do and how much I didn’t understand about this country.

It was the first day of the new school year and it seemed a bit strange to only see a couple boys running around. The classrooms were empty, both of people and of any sort of wall décor. We talked with one of the teachers who informed us that the kids take several weeks getting back to school. For those that return on time, the month of June is a bit slow as government schools typically prolong starting school until the majority of kids have returned. We learned of the efforts to fund the teachers and the cost of buying enough books for the children. It astounded me to learn that it would only take about $100/month to finance a teacher and $3/year to provide each student their textbooks!

Following the tour, we were invited into the director’s home where we were served mangoes and authentic Indian food. It was evident the difficulties due to lack of funding are only the beginning. Several factors play a role that are not so easy for the American mind to fully understand. With the majority of India being Hindu, many people find the significance of “fate” very important. In other words, if a child is orphaned or disabled, they believe it is their fate and therefore people do not feel obligated to help them. Poverty is rampant, women face oppression on a daily basis, and the people look to false gods for answers. In the Christian community, however, there is hope.

At this hostel, so many difficulties these children would be facing on the street are being avoided. With a little support these children can receive even more attention–a better education, improved facilities and the spiritual care they need to go on to do great things.

While the poor situation at this hostel was disturbing to me, I am hopeful with the direction and support of Back2Back, paired with the love of Jesus in these workers’ hearts–this place can transform! Once I got past my initial frustrations and focused on the numerous projects on the horizon, it’s easy to understand why Back2Back is called to be in India. I truly cannot wait to see what God has in mind for this hostel, the future of these children, and India!

Church at Casa Hogar Douglas, by Mandy Lail

June 4, 2009

Recently, some Back2Back staff members organized Sunday morning church services at Casa Hogar Douglas (CHD), one of our children’s homes in the Monterrey, Mexico area.  God has blessed this new venture with an awesome worship leader; extremely talented, gifted with the children and such an obvious heart for the Lord.  The old chapel is pretty run down and through some generous supporters they have repaired the roof and modified the walls for better air flow.  It’s such a blessing to the CHD workers to have a place to worship where they feel comfortable and the kids too.

The greatest blessing for me is worshiping among the kids from CHD.  There is such power in the concert of voices, such power in the prayer and praises being offered by the B2B staff, the CHD staff, adults from the community and even the kids as well.  The Lord’s presence is obvious.  Every time I am there, each time we praise His Holy Name as we sing, I feel His pleasure so strong it feels as if we have supernaturally carried the children right to His throne room and laid them at His feet.  Now I’ve been to a lot of good churches, even worked at two great ones, but nothing has compared to worshiping among the least of these…

Thanks to Caroline Burns for capturing the service on video.  Click below to view:

Worshiping during a Sunday service at Casa Hogar Douglas