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Get Involved | Global Orphan Care | Back2Back Ministries

Care for Today. Hope for Tomorrow.


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Category Archives: Get Involved

Diving Deep with Volunteers

By Caroline Burns, Back2Back Monterrey, Mexico Staff

This month, I had the privilege of training new Back2Back Monterrey volunteers. About 45 volunteers from local area churches gathered to receive training about providing trauma competent care to the orphans we serve.

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We tailored the training to the various roles the volunteers will fill – tutoring, mentoring, discipleship programs, reading programs and music lessons. Our desire was for the volunteers to better understand the profile of the children they would be working with in the children’s homes and to better grasp how past trauma often impacts a child’s ability to focus, learn, and behave appropriately.

As we prepared to provide the training, I kept asking myself, “If this group of volunteers was about to sit down with the ten boys I care for, what would I tell them?  What would help them be successful?” What we came up with turned into a list of practical tips for ways that volunteers can empower the children to be successful each time that they have the opportunity to interact with them.

A Few Examples
  • Did you know chronic dehydration is common in orphanage settings and often leads to an increase in violent behavior in children?  Studies show 80% of violent behavior in children’s homes can be decreased by ensuring children are well-hydrated.
  • Did you know chewing gum or sucking on a lollipop has been scientifically proven to be calming to a child and to lower cortisol levels in the brain, momentarily increasing a child’s IQ and allowing them to better focus? Full-sugar bubble gum (sugarless gum doesn’t have the same effect) can be very beneficial to the children we serve.

Something that really impacted me during the training was the realization that God is answering my prayers from years ago – prayers to see the local church active and responding to orphans in their own backyard.  If you’ve been praying for this shift, please know that God is moving heavily in the local churches here in Monterrey, Mexico.  Many local churches are now partnering with Back2Back to be a positive presence in the children’s homes we serve.

At the end of the training, there was a time for the participants to work through examples of negative behaviors they’ve seen the children display.  Afterwards, participants gathered in groups and practiced appropriately responding to the children by connecting to the child vs common responses of disciplining inappropriately with disconnecting responses.

As our volunteer team acted out the skits (which displayed how much they had grasped from our training day), they kept calling themselves as Back2Back. When they referred to “Back2Back,” they weren’t referring to Back2Back staff or mission teams – which honestly is how I usually view “Back2Back.”  They were referring to themselves – an amazing team of consistent volunteers who represent our ministry.  Volunteers are a valuable pillar of the Back2Back team.

Volunteers are making a tremendous difference for the children we work with.  They are providing weekly reading and math skills classes.  They are mentoring children and teens in the Hope Program.  They are discipling the children we work with through weekly Bible classes. It was an incredible privilege to help equip them for their work with the children.

 Caroline Burns serves with Back2Back Ministries in Monterrey, Mexico. She is passionate about providing deep holistic orphan care to each child she serves. 

Service with a Purpose

By Kathy Lawson, Back2Back Mission Trip Participant

I had wanted to participate in a mission trip for over ten years. For numerous reasons it hadn’t happened yet. I was having lunch with a dear friend who was going to Cancun in just a little over two weeks. I shared that I’d love to participate if it wasn’t too late. It was amazing to watch God open doors over the next several days to allow me to go at the last minute. I had heard so many people say a mission trip would be life changing, and they were right. I can’t even explain all the reasons why. Seeing the conditions the people, especially the children, live in touched me because they were warm and welcoming. I realized how much I take for granted – the everyday conveniences and luxuries I have. I saw how far that care, compassion and a little time can go. I watched people pull together from different walks of life to help make a difference in the children’s lives. I saw the vision of Back2Back Ministries for Cancun and the dedication of others to help them achieve it. I don’t know the full impact of this trip on my life yet because I know it won’t be my last mission trip. I just know I was truly blessed to have been a part of it.

God’s Story in Haiti

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By Beth Guckenberger

I can’t get enough of Haiti. Every chance I get, I hop on a plane to visit the people I care about there. It’s not the cause, or the statistics that make me pack a suitcase – it’s the faces. Each one has a story asking to be heard. We see their families, and their dreams, their hopes and their struggles. I’m often asked, “Isn’t it hard to be there? To see that level of need?” Yes, of course it’s hard. But the contrast between the hard and the hopeful is so wide it’s stunning.

Let me share a story with you of a child that I met during my travels to Haiti.  It starts with a boy named Derson, and ends with a little girl named Anne-Marie.

It’s one of the stories that I share in Tales of the Ones Led Out. It’s about a little girl who was the last one left in an orphanage that was closing. It begins with the story of Derson, one of the boys I met there, who had been visiting that orphanage and had heard God whisper to him.   It all begins like this…

Knock, knock.

Uh-oh, what now?  Tom thought, though he was certainly used to answering knocks on his door in the night.  As the director of a home mostly filled with abandoned boys, he knew that not a day would ever go by when someone wasn’t experiencing some kind of minor or major crisis, at least once in the day.  He just wished they could all happen in the day and not when he was about to shut his eyes.  Oh well.  All in God’s time, not mine.  “Yes? Come in.”

Derson takes a deep breath and feels grateful for the counsel he knows he will receive from Tom. “Do you have a minute? It’s about His Garden Orphanage. You know it’s closing right? You know I have been going there, that I have been more than just visiting, I have been investing myself there, I feel led there.”

“That’s great…” Tom says. “So what’s the problem?”

“It’s all coming down to this one girl.”

“Ohh,” Tom said rolling his eyes.  “It’s always about a girl.”

“No, it’s not like that,” Derson defends himself. “This is a little girl. She needs a family and…” he looks around the courtyard at the Lighthouse and waves his arms, “…we are that. We are a family.  And she doesn’t have anyone else.” He looks at Tom and waits for him to respond to the question he hadn’t voiced yet.  Tom waits for him to say it.  “Ok fine. I’ll say it. What if we just brought her here?”

Oh Lord, it’s always like this, isn’t it? Tom thinks. Impossible situations, broken people, then the opportunity to step into your story. I don’t know what you have in mind, but my answer is always ‘yes’. Yes to supporting Derson as he listens to you. Yes to providing a family for this girl. Yes to knowing Who, before I know where, how or when.

Tom stares at Derson and squints his eyes, cocking his head and pausing too long for Derson’s comfort. He seems to be holding his breath.

“Let’s go. Let’s go get her.”

“Really?” Derson practically squeals. “Are you sure?”

“Yes. I’m sure. Welcome to this adventure we call following God’s voice.”

The stories in the Lighthouse Children’s Home all share one common truth:  God has a plan for the children to hear about His story and to feel swept up in their own. The vortex of God’s healing and helping hand is what continues to draw me back to Haiti.

– Beth Guckenberger

We invite you to join in the story of Derson, Anne-Marie’s and the other children at the Lighthouse in Haiti. Purchase the Story t-shirt and share their story with your friends and family.  All proceeds will directly benefit the children living at the Lighthouse. To purchase a Story t-shirt, click here.

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About the Lighthouse Children’s Home in Haiti

Jesus in Haiti, a Back2Back Ministries partner, started in 1998 when Tom Osbeck, the Executive Director, moved to Port-au-Prince after visiting Haiti on several short-term mission trips.  In 2010, after a devastating earthquake left millions of children orphaned, Jesus in Haiti opened an orphanage called the Lighthouse. On average, the home has around twelve children, ranging in ages from 7-17. The children attend a local school, which they can walk to from the home. After school and in their spare time, the children enjoy playing basketball, soccer, card games, and reading with one another. On special occasions, the children enjoy one of their favorite activities, a trip to the beach.

Missional VBS Curriculum

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Back2Back Ministries is excited to partner with Standard Publishing to offer a brand new missions-focused VBS for 2014. Through the Jungle Safari VBS students can engage in interactive service opportunities that benefit the orphans Back2Back serves in around the world.

“Our hope with this curriculum is to resource churches to help open kids’ eyes to the needs in their community and around the world. I believe we have the opportunity to invest in this next generation, to show them how God sees the lost and the fatherless, and understand how He wants to use them,” says Back2Back Co-Executive Director, Beth Guckenberger. “We believe that by inspiring kids through true stories, they will begin to understand they can make a personal contribution to caring for orphans around the world.”

To learn more about how your church can participate in this exciting Vacation Bible School and access additional free resources and videos, visit  http://www.vacationbibleschool.com/ and send the link to your church’s children’s pastor. For additional info, contact vbs@back2back.org

We’ll Do It!

While serving with us throughout the year, our mission trip guests explore a spiritual theme through a daily devotional study guide. We invite you to join us in exploring this year’s theme based on Jeremiah 42:6 (Message).

Whether we like it or not, we’ll do it.
We’ll obey whatever our God tells us.
Yes, count on us. We’ll do it.

Whatever God calls us to, wherever we go, however deep we have to dig, whomever He calls us to love, ‘we’ll do it!’ We’ll welcome more kids, we’ll do whatever, whenever, however He asks. We’ll do it. I want my hand in the air. I want to be used by God. I want a better story for my day than I can write myself, I want the feeling I am at the end of myself and need Him for my words, my next step. Put your hand in the air with us this year. Say ‘yes’ when it doesn’t make sense and isn’t comfortable. Say ‘yes’ to stretch and grow and break and rebuild. Just tell Him, you’ll do it.

We invite you to consider joining us on a mission trip this year. Learn more about exploring our devotional while serving with us.

If you would like to join us in exploring our devotional while at home, download now.

A Mission-Focused VBS Curriculum!

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Back2Back Ministries is excited to partner with Standard Publishing to offer a brand new service-oriented VBS curriculum for 2013. Through God’s Backyard Bible Camp and the Mission Project Pack students can engage in interactive service opportunities in their own backyard that benefit the orphans Back2Back serves in Mexico. The Mission Project Pack includes everything you need to get your kids involved in serving others from the US. Your kids will help individual orphans and join a movement of VBS kids that are committed to service.

To learn more about how your church can participate in this exciting Vacation Bible School and access additional free resources and videos, visit  http://www.vacationbibleschool.com/ and send the link to your church’s children’s pastor. For additional info, contact vbs@back2back.org

Serve with Mark Schultz

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Please join us for a special mission trip experience, May 26-31, 2013, with our friend and musician Mark Schultz, Platinum selling artist and GMA Dove Award winner. Mark has teamed up with our ministry partners at Family Christian Stores and Good Goers to lead a mission trip to Monterrey, Mexico with Back2Back Ministries.

As an adopted child himself, Mark has a heart for the orphan child. Together, you will build into the lives of orphans during the day and enjoy live worship led by Mark each night. For more information on this special service opportunity, please visit our partner website, markgoestomexico.com. We hope to see you at our campus in Monterrey, Mexico!

Join us for a Family Celebration

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Sunday, May 5, 2013 4:00-7:00pm

Horizon Community Church
3950 Newtown Road, Cincinnati, OH 45244

We are grateful for your incredible partnership throughout the past year! As we look ahead to exciting opportunities on the horizon, we cannot thank you enough. Your faithful support has allowed us to continue to relentlessly pursue the orphan child.

Please join the staff of Back2Back Ministries for a special appreciation event for friends of the ministry, a free family celebration with a picnic-style dinner, community and games. Ministry directors, Beth & Todd Guckenberger, will share stories from the field and ministry updates.

  • Doors open at 4pm
  • Family-style games at 4:30pm
  • Program and dinner at 5pm
  • Event concludes at 7pm

Register online and feel free to invite friends and family to this fun event!

 

Service without Borders

Back2Back serves children’s homes and impoverished communities, through partnerships and short-term mission trips, in which individuals and groups work alongside Back2Back staff members who are stationed at each of the ministry locations. Back2Back invests in the future of each child by meeting their spiritual, physical, emotional, educational and social needs, so that they can become self-sustaining individuals who give back to their community. Our goal is that each orphan we serve would experience restoration. Each year, Back2Back facilitates mission trips for hundreds of students, individuals, families and businesses providing an opportunity to serve orphans in a third world country. Back2Back coordinates each trip, handling all logistics and preparation, in-country transportation including to and from the airport and meals. Guests stay at modern facilities on a Back2Back campus (or an orphanage or hotel in India). Projects vary in terms of required skill level; all teams will be placed at projects that fit within their skill level and will be assisted by staff. We intentionally include opportunities for teams to connect with the children through a relational ministry approach called “play with a purpose.” Other projects are designed to improve the physical surroundings of the orphanages and villages where Back2Back serves, directly benefiting the children.  Join us on a mission trip, providing holistic care to orphans around the world.  Interested in learning more?

Mission Trip Info Request

We would love to hear from you! If you would like additional information about mission trips, please fill out this form and we will get in touch with you shortly.

 

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P.O. Box 70
Mason, OH 45040


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Back2Back Ministries is an international Christian non-profit organization that is dedicated to being a voice for orphans. We exist to love and care for orphans and impoverished children, by meeting their physical, spiritual, educational, social and emotional needs that they might overcome their life circumstances and break free from the cycle of generational poverty.

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