The TPCC Monterrey, Mexico team had a little bit of trouble getting the internet to work, so we are going to recap day 1 and 2.
The team arrived in Mexico and got settled into our new home for the week, the Back2back campus. We were given a tour of the beautiful campus and also got to meet some of the amazing families in the Hope Program. Sammy, our guide and leader for the week, gave us an overview of the week and some things we may encounter as we visit the sites. She helped us all understand the importance of “Indiscriminate Friendliness” and being able to set a good example for these children on how to interact with strangers. Later, the families in the Hope program showed us some wonderful hospitality and allowed each family from the Monterrey team to eat with them at a picnic table and get to know them. We all bonded over some yummy hotdogs and other cook-out food.
After our tummies were full, the sun began to set over the mountains and the cool air set in. Some of the kids continued to play with the Back2back staff kids and soon we all headed to bed after a long, but amazing first day.
We all awoke again to a beautiful mountain scene and were eager to began our first day at “Casa Hogar Douglas.” As we arrived, we were given a tour by Sammy of the whole campus and the way of life for these beautiful children. Then we began our first work project. Half of the team (the stronger half in my opinion), worked on moving a huge load of sand to another location on the campus, so that the following day we could pour concrete to create a new walkway. Meanwhile, the other half of the team moved a ginormous load of wood from the bottom of the campus all the way up a hill to organize in a shed. After our legs and arms were sore, we waited for the kids to come back from visiting some family members (this day was the Mexican Revolution Holiday.) As soon as the children trickled in, each member of the Monterrey team jumped in! Reese and Myah befriended a young girl they call “Jujah” and played on the slide for hours. Ethan was able to see a friend he made last year named Kenan! He was so excited to reconnect and see him again. Many of the kids and adults who were a little nervous about the language barrier, were able to jump in and have so much fun nevertheless. Unsurprisingly, countless soccer games were played. Even those who were not big on soccer jumped in and enjoyed relaxing with the game after a long day of work. One of our favorite parts of the day, was getting to play in this huge field behind Douglas right in between the mountains, not only was the scene beautiful, but we were able to see everyone get involved and have fun.
Dinner was served by two chefs that cook for Douglas, called “Discola” which was huge mix of meat and vegetables. We all enjoyed our very first day at Douglas even with our bumps and bruises. Sammy helped us debrief our very first full day in Monterrey and began our night recap tradition of the “Picture of the Day.” I will share someones picture of the day each day on here to help show our collective experience. (The picture of the day is each individual’s favorite moment of the day in a “snapshot.”)
Day 2: Picture of the Day: Carlie’s picture of the day was seeing her young 8 year old daughter, Anna, play on the swings with a young girl from Douglas. Her Dad, Shane, also said his picture of the day was this moment, because at one point he saw Anna comforting the young girl when she was crying. It was a great reminder to all of us that despite a language barrier, we can show the love of Jesus to each and every child here just with simple acts of kindness. Anna was a great example for us all on Day 2.
We are so excited for Day 3 to see what God continues to teach us.
Author Archives: Mexico Team
The TPCC Monterrey, Mexico team had a little bit of trouble getting the internet to work, so we are going to recap day 1 and 2.
The Mexico mission trip with Back2Back Ministries was definitely one of the most impactful experiences of my life. First of all, I learned that a group of nearly-strangers (17 of us!) can come together and become an authentic and unified team when we all put Christ ahead of ourselves and take on a servant’s heart. Secondly, under the leadership of the superb staff at Back2Back, we received excellent training on how to work more effectively with kids from challenging backgrounds. That was one of the biggest positive surprises for me–the ministry really invests in those who are coming to serve with them, even though we are there for only a few days.
The experience was humbling; it was and is almost overwhelming to think about how God has blessed me with so many privileges when others have so little. This was the most poignant for me when we were doing our prayer walk through the kids’ residences on our last day there.
As I reflect back two weeks after returning from Monterrey, I can see that God used this trip to clearly remind me of my need to trust him to guide my path and my decisions. He has chosen me for a purpose and that is to serve him wholeheartedly.
~ Russ Baker
This trip was truly life changing in so many ways for me. My prayer from the beginning was that God would push me out of my comfort zone, although I didn’t really know how that would happen. I’m a teacher who was going to work at an orphanage, so everything seemed right up my alley. Throughout the week, I was given opportunities to do two major things which I never in a million years would have thought I’d volunteer for. The first was climbing up onto a roof to apply thick layers of Thermotek to keep water from leaking into the house. The second was to build a wall on the entrance of the orphanage. I gained a new respect for cement trucks that mix cement for you, but we did it by hand with shovels two days in a row. God definitely gave me so many little situations throughout the week that pushed me to new places in my faith as well, and I’m so extremely grateful.
Overall, the most encouraging parts of this trip were the relationships built and amazing teamwork that came with that. I have never met a group of people who come together from all different places in life, but mesh like family. During the most intense projects, our team worked so well together taking over when others needed a moment to grab water or just rest. I can’t accurately express how amazing the teamwork was. I truly believe this was possible because of everyone’s openness to forming new relationships and growing together as a group. God brought us together for a reason, and I really feel that we were able to make a huge impact during such a short time spent in Mexico. I cant wait to go back and work with Back2back again!
~ Brianna Baker
Amazing. If there was one word that could describe this trip it would be amazing. It all began with a team of 17 strangers ranging in ages from 9 to 60 coming together for one purpose…to serve the body of Christ. More specifically, children who have come from very hard places and the caregivers and staff that serve them day in and day out.
Our first day was a very long day that began around 3:00 a.m. for most of the group. As we arrived at the airport wearing our TPCC Missions shirts rubbing the sleep from our eyes, the excitement started to build. The luggage was checked and everyone made it through security successfully and the plane was boarded safely. First to Chicago and then it was on to Monterrey.
As the wheels touched the ground, smiles began to emerge and excitement and anticipation was all over the faces of our group. We were greeted in the airport by two Back2Back staff who escorted us to the bus that would take us to the Monterrey campus of B2B. The bus ride was about an hour-long and very bumpy but that soon faded from our minds as the beautiful Sierra Madre mountains came into view. Wow! What an amazing display of God’s splendor and majesty.
As our bus rolled into the Back2Back campus we were greeted by cheers from the staff and interns. What an amazing welcome! The rest of our day was relaxing and informative as we toured the campus and enjoyed an orientation of what we were going to experience for the next week.
Every morning the sun rises and creates the most beautiful scene on the mountains right outside the Back2Back campus, where we are staying, and this morning was no exception. This was an amazing way to start off our day with our usual activities of small group time, quiet time, and trauma competent care training.
Today was a little different than what we have been doing all week. Today we stayed on the B2B campus and did work projects to help out the people involved in the Hope program as well as the staff here at B2B. Some groups worked on the soccer field that was recently added to the campus. They put concrete around the soccer goals to level them out. Another crew added dirt to the areas surrounding the goals, which was the first step to have a grassy knoll on the B2B campus. Next, the cement crew worked on the construction of a patio near the pool. This location would be used for the meeting of other missions groups staying at the B2B campus. The third group painted. They painted houses for the staff and the kids in the Hope program and also touched up every previously painted nook and cranny on the B2B campus.
After several hours of hard work all around the B2B campus, we went to El Pollo Loco for dinner, but instead of just some average chicken, we found out what Jesus’ love tastes like. In whole, our group ate about six chickens and every wing and leg was delicious. Needless to say, their chicken is crazy amazing and the perfect way to end a hard work day. After dinner, we went across the street to get dessert, where every person got a little cake of their choice.
When we got back to the B2B campus, we went to a session with Jed, a staff member, about staying connected once our trip is over. We heard Jed’s story and a previous Hope student’s story. Both were powerful and moving. In all we learned that being a “supporting character” is very important in staying connected to this trip. A “supporting character” is someone who encourages, helps, prays for, and loves someone even in the hard times. This message moved a lot of us tonight. It was an amazing end to the day.
Stay Tuned for tomorrow!
-Just dudes being guys aka Mary and Hanna
Day 3 – After breakfast, another TCC training, and a devotional on JOY in our lives and how we can share that joy internally and externally. Following devotionals, we headed straight to the Douglas Children’s home and got to work. Luckily it wasn’t as hot as yesterday, so we were able to work harder and longer. Lunch was some delicious chicken burgers with watermelon, japanese peanuts, and apples. During lunch, several of the crew members were not themselves. After many hours of hard work in chemical and gas fumes from the cleaning supplies and the powerwasher, there were a few naps taken to shake off any weird headaches and it took a couple hours to fully recover but we finished out the day strong.
Day four started out with breakfast and then another great TCC training. Following training we dived into a great lesson about finding HOPE in God’s word and the power of transformational hope. This was a perfect transition into our finishing of work projects for the next two days. Fence posts were planted, bathrooms were powerwashed, and the sand crew mixed concrete for a new building on the campus. We finished and had lunch of sub sandwiches, orange slices, and chips at Douglas. After lunch we headed back to the main campus (LDM) and got to swim with the kids from Douglas and celebrated a birthday of a girl named Dana who lives at Douglas. Dinner included a variety of incredible, fantastic, and nutritious tacos and an amazing dessert of fried tortilla topped cinnamon sugar. The night only got better as we shared extended worship with the other church staying on campus, over an hour of singing, praying and independent spiritual growth. Words can’t describe the power of the Lord’s presence in Monterrey tonight, and many, if not all of our hearts were moved and redefined by this night. Following the break of the gathering for worship, Jack pulled out his guitar and the TPCC crew held our own further extended worship on the porch of LDM. After a night of lifting up our hands and acknowledging God’s plans for the rest of our week and future, we are refueled to start tomorrow with refreshed and full hearts.
Well! We’ve made it here in Monterrey, Mexico. After long and strenuous hours of travel, we have all made it safe and sound. Unfortunately, Angie, Rachel, and Elly did have some flight complications and lost luggage, but they were able to join the rest of the team late last night! Yesterday consisted of getting acclimated to the Hope campus and meeting some of the staff and members of Back2Back.
Today was full of many new experiences and challenges. We started off our morning with THE most gorgeous view of the Sierra Madres mountains. It’s unreal! God’s creation is so breathtaking and stunning. After devotional and small group time, we started our Trauma Competent Care training and learned ways of how to get involved in the kids’ lives.
A big highlight of the day was getting to attend a church service in Spanish with some of the caregiver families and their children. It was an incredible experience. We were able to understand through a translator, but even without it, it was clear that the presence of God was there.
After church, we went to Casa Hogar Douglas, which is the children’s home that we are going to serve at throughout this week. We started some work projects, played with the kiddos, and bonded over bacon-wrapped hot dogs (yep – they were delicious).
We have already seen God moving in huge ways, and it’s only been two days. We cannot wait to see what else He does this week!
-Kelly and Elly
Friday in Mexico was a sunny day, unlike any other I’ve ever experienced. After a fulfilling breakfast and some quiet time, we gathered for a final trip back to the Douglas Children’s Home. While there we did what no other sane group of humans would ever do: we prayed over the beds of every child at that home. It was single-handedly one of the most emotional things I’ve ever experienced. There were tears and feelings rushing through the air, wrapping us all in a cocoon of love and Godliness. We felt His presence, standing in those rooms with us and listening to the words we spoke over the beds and the children. I believe the I Am was smiling through our crying, and embracing us in the feelings of loneliness.
Later, we played at a beautiful park and ice skated at the local rink. Funny, when I think of Mexico, I would have never guessed that they would have an ice skating rink. The beautiful ducks swam and watched the children with curious eyes, the trees rustled and swayed in the soft breeze. You could see it in the eyes of the children, they were free.
Ice skating was a different story entirely. Most of them spent the majority of their time on their backsides, but they had a determination that dispels all belief in the fact that they couldn’t do anything. I can still see the face of the child that I helped around the ice as he looked up at me and just said, “Solo!” and so with a slight shove and silent prayer I sent him a few feet ahead of me. While he fell back several times, I was there to catch him every single time, and I don’t know his story, but something tells me that I was the first person to ever do that for him,and that’s a fact strong enough to nearly bring me to tears.
Well, our dear friends and families, the time has come. We all knew it would, but I don’t think the fact that time was passing really resonated with us until now. Through all the work, all the play and laughter and fun we’ve had here, I’m not sure any of us wanted it to end. God has planted a seed here, though; He’s begun a revolution in the hearts of these beautiful children that perhaps we can’t see, but it resonates through every passing gust of wind, through every echo of their sweet voices in our heads. We became a part of their life and in turn they became a part of ours, which is tough to think about because, personally I may never see them again. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, allowing someone to enter your life and then have them leave so suddenly.
I have a fact for everyone to dwell on with me: there are approximatekly 153,000,000 orphans on this planet (that’s one-hundred and fifty-three million in case you missed a zero). It is not my intention to sound insensitive, but that’s enough children to fill the Phillipines Arena (the largest arena in the world) 2,782 times over. That’s also the equivalent of adding the population of all five major cities in the world and doubling them. In other words, we have a problem, one that can only be fixed on an astronomical and emotional scale. We need God in this world, we need a Savior that understands our struggles and is willing to send His Son to come and die on a cross for every single one of us, we need a revival to sweep through these lands, crushing every soul and every heart and rebuilding them piece-by-piece.
“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” John 14:18 ESV
If you have yet to do so, please do research on Back2Back and come to complete terms with their mission. They aim to solve a problem that has plagued this earth for centuries and they cannot do it alone. We’ve been here a week and we’ve experienced only a fraction of what they do here and the hard work that they put in and I have to say that there is no way that I could do any of that. I’m not asking you to sign up for a donation plan, to move your life down here and live here for years, nor am I asking you to adopt a child from a foreign country, decisions like that are between you and God only. What I am asking you to do is simple: pray. Prayer is the match that sets the world ablaze, consuming everything it touches with a tenacious ferocity that hungers for more. Prayer is everything, as God is the great I Am. Last night our guide here said that here at Back2Back they seem themselves as the infantry and we at home are the Air Force, dropping payloads of prayer and love on them from above. It’s what they need, and even if you don’t believe in God or the power of prayer, I want you to close your eyes and kneel where you are and just say, “Jesus.” you don’t care what everyone else thinks, only that that name has the power to change the course of history.
Finally, we want to thank Back2Back for the amazing work that they do here and for all the love and support that they show these children every single day. Again, we cannot begin to understand what they all go through on a daily basis, but we sure are thankful for what they do. Thank you to everyone back home as well because without your continued prayer and support none of this could have been possible the way it was. So here’s to more safe travels and the adherence of the lessons we learned here. God Bless and may love consume this world like a vicious wildfire.
Now that I compromised the time line yesterday, I guess it wouldn’t hurt to say Happy Thanksgiving everyone! There are so many things that we are thankful for here that I would need a separate blog to include it all, but I think I speak for everyone when I say, “Thank you to all those that supported us on this missions trip and for your prayers and support you’ve given us.” I’m sure that you may have gotten tired of hearing me say that by now but it’s just because we really mean it.
Now, about Thanksgiving Day in Mexico! Looking back, it was a day of cooking massive portions of meals, setting up a beautiful tent and decorations, making the most delicious pumpkin pie from scratch, and sneaking bites of the delicious turkeys that we carved…wait, I mean, no we didn’t…?
Now, you may be wondering why we had such a massive celebration for a holiday in a foreign country that does not recognize it as such, and that is a good question! The meaning of Thanksgiving is to thank God for all the things He has done for us in the past year, and as one of the Mexican hosts we had yesterday pointed out, the holiday has become heavily commercialized in the states. Now, if you celebrate a holiday in a country that doesn’t recognize that holiday, then it’s as though you can go back to the roots of the holiday and not celebrate the money that it rakes in for some companies, you get to celebrate the blessings that God rains down on us every day.
Also, it was nice to be able to share such a holiday and national feast with those from another place. We fed them Turkey with cranberry sauce, sweet corn casserole (mama’s recipe), sweet potato casserole, dinner rolls, scalloped potatoes, stuffing (or dressing if you’re old), and green bean casserole. In other words, we gave them the fixin’s. Afterwards we played games, took pictures at a “makeshift” photo booth (though I’m inclined to believe that it was in no way makeshift considering I would have lived in it), and enjoyed each other’s company, sharing what each other was thankful for.
All-in-all I would say that Mexico throws some pretty dope Thanksgiving parties, so you better watch out America, this land down south is coming up in a close second. As a group, we want to thank our hosts for their hospitality and acceptance of our culture and customs. We had a blast and enjoyed every second of the day as a whole.
So, we have one more full day here in Monterrey, which is definitely a bittersweet feeling. We have loved every second of this trip and, personally, I’m going to shed some tears when this is all over because despite being a homebody, I have had some of the best times here, and I’m going to miss them.
Now, we have a park and an ice skating rink to get to so I must bid everyone adios for now, and be sure to look out on Saturday for our final blog entry tomorrow morning! Thanks again to everyone for love and support and may God Bless everyone back home and everywhere!
Photo credits to the talented Chris Howe
¡Hola estamos en Mexico! ¡Hoy es el dia de gracias! For those of you that have never been introduced to the wonders of Google Translate I just said, “Hello from Mexico! Today is Thanksgiving Day!” and boy are we excited because we get to enjoy a massive American Thanksgiving dinner and get to experience a little bit of home right here in Mexico!
But before I get too excited, let me give you a run down of all the fun we had yesterday, and did we have a fun day indeed! Despite it possibly being the hardest any of us have worked in years, if ever, we did enjoy our time and not a frown could be seen for miles. We had teams working on moving a wall (which I was under the impression was not possible but I guess they showed me), a team trimming trees with machetes, a team that helped a local worker nail Styrofoam to an unfinished roof (which might seem odd but you must research Mexican roof building techniques and then you’ll understand the cleverness behind it), and a team that had to move nearly a hundred tiles, then dig out the ground beneath them and around them as well as level out said dirt and tamp it down. Yes indeed, a day filled with hard work and lots of pain but also lots of smiles.
I would like to point out the fact that we had pizza for lunch and Philly Cheesesteaks for dinner, making the ratio of American to Mexican meals we’ve had here close to 10:1, not that we’re complaining because everything we’ve had to eat here has been fantastically filling! I don’t know about everyone else but I was halfway expecting the food here to be like Taco Bell on steroids, and I don’t think I need to tell anyone that I was wrong on that one.
Our work here was tough and rough, but necesssary and fulfilling to say the least, and despite some minor injuries that some of us may have sustained, we are filled with joy and happiness at the opportunity to just be here.
As always, please continue to pray because we aren’t done here yet! We would also like to thank the Lord for His blessings and love and we can’t wait to see what else he has in store for us here in Monterrey! Here’s to a Happy Thanksgiving to everyone here and back home!
Photo credits to our own @eeast5