Over the last few years, Back2Back has seen tremendous growth in our Child Sponsorship Program. We are thrilled to be able to connect you with the children you love, and thank God that He lets us witness the impact it has on their lives. Thank you for truly sacrificing to partner with us in caring for God’s children!
As we’ve grown, we’ve also learned. We’ve seen things that work well, and areas of opportunity to grow. At Back2Back we are not afraid to change and are constantly asking ourselves how we can improve.
As a result of questions like these, we have made some exciting changes to our Child Sponsorship Program!
Moving forward we will offer 3 levels of sponsorship. Click here to learn about the 3 new levels.
The most important thing for you to know is that there is nothing you need to change as a sponsor.
>In addition, to letters from your child, you will now receive email updates from the home where your child lives twice per year.
>If you signed up as a Half Sponsor at $50/month, this will continue with no change. You are welcome to increase your giving if you feel led, but this is certainly not a requirement!
>You can expect to receive 2 to 4 letters per year from your child, based on how often you write your child.
If you wish to increase your commitment level or add an additional sponsorship, please let me know! We now offer several different commitment levels for all types of giving.
By Adam Gellenbeck, Back2Back Field Staff, Mazatlan, Mexico
Sixteen-year old Alberto loves textile arts, soccer and skateboarding. He enjoys spending afternoons with Back2Back staff at a local skate park. He strives to be a leader in his children’s home, someone they can look up to and come to for advice. He is passionate about living his life as an example for the younger boys in his dorm. Alberto has a compassionate heart and a desire to serve. “When I grow up, I want to help other people in need,” he says.
As an orphaned teen in Mazatlan, Mexico, Alberto could be involved in so many other things besides soccer and skateboarding. Statistics indicate orphaned children have an increased likelihood for involvement in drugs, human trafficking, or the black market. But Alberto is not a statistic, nor are the other four boys at Salvation Army Children’s Home who have no family to visit on the weekend.
At Back2Back, we strive to provide children like Alberto with the love and encouragement they need to thrive in the midst of difficult circumstances with no family support. Each weekend, the boys watch as one-by-one the other children are picked up for a weekend visit with a family member. They wonder what they did wrong for their family not to visit them. I love building into these boys for many reasons, but the greatest reason is to share hope with them. I invest in them through fellowship and community, cultivating a sense of belonging and giving them a chance to be themselves. It is amazing how a trip to the movies or dinner together at a taco stand provides a sense of belonging and acceptance. They enjoy typical boy antics – rough-housing and practical jokes, but ultimately each boy has dreams and hopes for his future.
Back2Back’s dream in Mazatlan, Mexico is to build a stronger sense of hope for each of the children we serve, a hope based on the promises of a faithful God. We are in the midst of a land campaign to develop a Back2Back ministry site in Mazatlan, a project that will allow us to better serve children and empower them to break free from the cycle of poverty. This is only possible through the Body of Christ coming together. The vision is for a ministry site that will not only facilitate mission teams and the staff, but also create an environment of hope for each child’s future. The property will also include multi-purpose space for teen retreats, child development, training sessions for local caregivers and churches, and ministry time with current Hope Education Program students. In addition, we will construct six Hope Program houses for teens like Alberto. We envision a Hope Program in Mazatlan that will allow orphaned children to live in a home, experiencing a healthy family life for the first time. The goal is to not merely meet each child’s physical needs, but to equip each child with the tools and resources to have successful futures by investing in their spiritual, emotional, social and educational development.
The more time I spend with Alberto, the more I see his incredible potential and just how much God cares for him. I’m grateful to play a role in helping him understand the love of his heavenly Father. I’m excited for the completion of this project, as it will enable us to provide better care for the children we serve, ensuring they have the tools to pursue an education when they age out of the children’s home. As we come alongside orphaned and vulnerable children, we are eager to see how God begins to renew lives and rewrite futures.
For more about the Mazatlan vision, click here.
We believe in a thing called hope. We believe that together we can change the world one child at a time. Together, you and I can take a stand and be a voice for the orphan child. Stand with us. The story isn’t over yet.
Give Hope. Be a Voice for the Orphan Child.
Ephesians 4:4-7 says, “We are all one body, we have the same Spirit, and we have all been called to the same glorious future.” This Christmas season, we are grateful for you and your commitment to joining us in providing care for today and hope for tomorrow to orphans around the world. We rejoice that we serve a God who is in passionate pursuit of the orphan child. As you gather with family and friends to celebrate, thank you for continuing to remember the orphans we serve. On behalf of all of us at Back2Back, thank you for being a part of the Back2Back family and for serving alongside us!
MASON, OH – The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) announced today the accreditation of Back2Back Ministries of Mason, OH.
ECFA accreditation is based on the ECFA Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship™, including financial accountability, transparency, sound board governance and ethical fundraising.
Back2Back Ministries joins a growing number of Christ-centered churches and ministries across America, supported by over 35 million donors that have earned the right to display the ECFA seal. When an organization is accredited by ECFA, it demonstrates its willingness to follow the model of biblical accountability.
“We are pleased to include in our membership a ministry committed to being a voice for orphans and poverty stricken people,” said Dan Busby, president of ECFA.
Founded in 1996, Back2Back Ministries (www.back2backministries.org) exists to love and care for orphans and impoverished children by focusing on the whole child in meeting their physical, spiritual, educational, social and emotional needs that they may overcome their life circumstances and break free from the cycle of generational poverty, so each one experiences restoration to a life of purpose, becoming fulfilled, mature Christian adults.
To learn more about Back2Back Ministries and their stewardship opportunities, visit ServantMatch®, ECFA’s program that matches God’s servants with the stewardship options of ECFA members based on ministry sectors and categories. It is ECFA’s newest online feature that allows you to quickly and easily find giving opportunities.
ECFA, founded in 1979, provides accreditation to leading Christian nonprofit organizations that faithfully demonstrate compliance with the ECFA Standards pertaining to financial accountability, fundraising and board governance. For more information about ECFA, including information about accreditation and a listing of ECFA-accredited members, visit www.ECFA.org or call 1-800-323-9473.
We invite you to partner with us by joining us in prayer for our ministry. Find a list of current prayer needs by country below.
– Pray for the Lord to bring us more Godly staff to serve in India.
– Pray for the continued growth and development of the ministry in India
– Pray for the Lord’s wisdom and guidance as we seek to grow, develop, and go deeper in the ministry in Monterrey.
-Pray for the new students who are being considered for the Hope Education program in the fall.
-For wisdom as we continue building relationships with local children’s homes/ministry partners.
– For God’s continued leading as we desire to zero in on a specific area of outreach.
– Pray for the village we work with as we seek to use community development as the avenue of reaching the orphan child.
– Pray for the education/tutoring center that was opened in January. Currently ten students are coming to class four days a week to learn the basics of English. The hope is that this will enable them to do better in their English speaking school.
– Pray for more staff to join our ministry here.
-Pray for our US staff as they provide support to the various missions bases and raise awareness and funds for the ministry.
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.
Thank you for your continued partnership with us in providing “care for today and hope for tomorrow” to orphans around the world. We truly appreciate your love and support. If you would like to make a year end donation by December 31, 2010, here are 3 ways for you to give…
Please make checks payable to Back2Back Ministries and mail to (postmarked by 12/31/2010):
P.O. Box 70
Mason, OH 45040
Donate online at www.back2back.org.
For stock transfers or credit card donations, call Karen at the U.S. office at 513-754-0300 ext. 3.
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 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.
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.
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.
What if there were few expectations placed on you? Do you think you’d rise up to something better?
Milagros has had hearing disabilities since around the time she was born. The plans from her parents were to take care of her until she was eighteen years old and then pray that some boy wanted to marry her to care for her.
But, God had other plans.
God put in Milagros’ heart a love for Him, a love for children, and a desire to want more out of life. Through connections ordained by God, Milagros has had the opportunity to study sign language and is planning on finishing beauty school this spring.
Will you join me in praying for her?
She needs independence training in order to live alone or with others for assistance. There aren’t many opportunities for her here. Pray that we are able to find a place where she can learn what she needs to become independent and be safe within her environment. The picture below is of her coloring my hair. Anyone who knows me, knows that I have never colored my hair. Only for Milagros would I do such a thing. She indeed is inspiring.