Category Archives: Mexico – November 2015

Monterrey with Back2Back – Day 6

November 27
OUR LAST DAY…

It’s hard to put into words how we are feeling today. We really didn’t think that our hearts could be broken any more, and yet here we are, completely wrecked and completely full. The Lord has worked on us all in very big ways this week and to say that we are grateful is not enough. We have all gone through beautiful transformations of our hearts that we desperately pray that remain with us when we leave tomorrow.
That being said, we had a fantastic day today! We met the children of Imperio de Amor children’s home at an enormous park in Monterrey. It was beautiful to see the children that we’ve connected with seek us out to spend time with us. We were all extremely aware that today was our last day with them and we were determined to pour every ounce of love, laughter, and play into them. We rode bikes, ran races, pushed kiddos on the swings, gave a ton of piggyback rides and ate 14 pizzas in record time! We laughed so hard, we got sweaty, we got dirty, we broke swings, and we broke the rules and let some little boys play in sprinklers (oops!). We tied shoes, gave hugs, held hands, and wiped away some tears. The beauty of the day was not in the where or the what, but in the who. We loved seeing these children let go, with room to run and just play!
These children became ours this week. They are are forever imprinted on our hearts and we will never be the same.
Lord, we are so thankful for our time spent here. Thank you for Back2Back and their beautiful ministry and leadership. Every day they taught us how to serve the least of these here in Monterrey and every day they ministered to our transforming hearts, giving us specific and deliberate growth for our souls.
Lord, keep these children in our hearts and minds as we head home and continue to do ministry with them in mind. Continue to break our hearts for what breaks yours.
Lord, thank for our team. It is so clear to us that we are not ready to leave these children, but we realized tonight that we are not quite ready to leave each other either. What a gift you gave us when you put us together on this journey. Help us to remain close and to hold each other accountable for staying on mission.

“A father to the fatherless, a defender of the widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing, but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land. “
-Psalms 68:5-6

There was a lot of rock throwing today.

There was a lot of rock throwing today.

Let's check out the ducks!

Let’s check out the ducks!

Some work with a sweet friend on the side.

Some work with a sweet friend on the side.

Lots of laugher

Lots of laugher

Fast friends

Fast friends

UNO!  DOS! TRES!

UNO! DOS! TRES!

Let's race!

Let’s race!


Monterrey with Back2Back – THANKSGIVING DAY!

November 26

Today has been our longest day by far! We started Thanksgiving prep at about 10 in the morning and wrapped up the clean up from our amazing celebration at about 11 pm. We were a bit unsure of what the day would bring, but quickly learned that we would be preparing and serving Thanksgiving dinner to 200 current and graduated Hope students, their house families, and the Back2Back staff. It was a whirlwind of a day! Turkey! Mashed potatoes! Sweet potoatoes! Broccoli casserole! Relleno stuffing! Salad! Green bean casserole! Corn! Rolls! And a list of desserts that are way too numerous to list! We cleaned, chopped, and baked to the point where we weren’t sure that we would even want to eat dinner tonight!
It was a huge blessing to be invited into the homes of the Back2Back staff, the Hope students and their house parents. It was so much fun to create these dishes with them. They had incredibly welcoming attitudes, even when they were probably pretty unsure of most of what we were asking them to do. We smiled and laughed over silly nuances of American food and cooking.
We were able to serve these wonderful people and then eat together with them. They were so loving and so welcoming, oh did they bless us. The evening ended with worship and thanksgiving. It was striking and so humbling to witness how similar we are. We all love Jesus and we all want to do His work. What a gift to come alongside our brothers and sisters here in Monterrey and praise Him in word, deed and song.
Tomorrow is our last day and we are rather in a state of disbelief in thinking about leaving. We pray for another beautiful day of doing work for His kingdom. We pray for strong hearts and giving hands.
Thank you Lord, for this Thanksgiving. Thank you for this day here, in Mexico, where have have truly seen and understood what means to be thankful.

“He executes justice for the fatherless, and the widow and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. ”
– Deuteronomy 10:18

Potato Prep!

Potato Prep!

Dessert Detail!

Dessert Detail!

Cheesecake!

Cheesecake!

Sweet Friends

Sweet Friends

More Mixing!

More Mixing!

The pastry princess!

The pastry princess!

Such a joy to serve

Such a joy to serve


Monterrey with Back2Back DAY FOUR!!!

Wednesday November 25th

Once again, we’ve been struck, stretched, moved and convicted. We are so incredibly grateful for another day of learning, growth, and incredible, incredible love.
The day started with our second trauma competent care training. Each and every day we have learned so much about the needs of children with trauma backgrounds. Today we discussed the three different types of trauma and their consequences. Acute trauma is a one time chronic event such as an earthquake or hurricane. Chronic trauma is a series of traumatic events that affects a child over a course of time. Complex Development Trauma occurs when a caregiver fails to give a child the loving and nurturing care that they needed. When Complex Development Trauma occurs, the brain develops at a much slower rate. In other words, that sort of trauma derails brain development and causes that child to be 1/2 their chronological age, causes problems with cognition, and pretty severe learning difficulties. Trauma causes changes in body, brain and belief systems. Our trainer Sammy said it best today, “ behavior is the language of the child who has lost his voice.”
We switched it up a bit today and visited the extension campus for the Hope Program. It is a newer campus, with only two caregiver families and 5 high school students. It made for a beautiful opportunity to spend time with them on a more casual basis. Wendy and Aldolfo, and David and Veronica were incredibly gracious and welcoming to us. It was wonderful to meet them and spend time in their space.
We were put to work today in a big way! The Promised Land campus had some big projects for us to work on and we are so excited to say that we finished every single one of them! The best part was that all of the projects contributed to the kids’ safety. We completed a razor wire security fence. We put up a chain link fence to separate a basketball court and playground. We spread 28,000 lbs of dirt around the yard to make it more level before grass seed is put down. Paint was touched up, clotheslines were hung, and emergency lights were installed. Oh, it was hard, hard physical work, but, my goodness, it felt amazing to labor and ache in doing the Lord’s work! The blisters, stiff necks, and back aches were so worth it!
To our absolute delight, we were able to stop at a Monterrey restaurant for dinner. After today, we were so ready for some great Mexican food. El Pollo Loco did not disappoint! An all-you-can-eat salsa bar (amazing!) and some incredible chicken and tortillas made a perfect end to our already perfect day.
It’s hard to believe that we only have two more days here. How is it that it is Wednesday evening? How is it that this trip that we have been planning for and praying for is in process and almost at an end? It’s 9:00 right now, and I’m so humbled sitting here surrounded by this team of amazing people who started out as team members, grew into friends, and are feeling pretty much like family now. We’ve been exhausted together, filthy together, overwhelmed together, humbled together, and blessed together. We’ve laughed, cried and done pretty much everything in between. I don’t think we could have asked for anything else as a team.
It seems strange that tomorrow is Thanksgiving. And while many of us will not have our families to give thanks and share peace and gratitude with, we have each other and the amazing children, students, caregivers and staff here in Monterrey and that blesses us beautifully indeed.

“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body, and be thankful.”
-Colossians 3:15

Our team and the incredible staff at The Promised Land campus

Our team and the incredible staff at The Promised Land campus

Praying over selfless Veronica and David

Praying over selfless Veronica and David

Dirt Detail!

Dirt Detail!

Our extended team!

Our extended team!

Adorable helper!

Adorable helper!


Monterrey Mexico with Back2Back DAY THREE

Tuesday November 24, 2015

There was an aura around us this morning when we all gathered together for breakfast. A combination, I think, that came from a beautifully recuperative night’s sleep and the utter life giving day we had yesterday. There could be no better way to go into our second full day of service.
Our training this morning was on trauma competent care. In working with children who have a history of abuse, it is absolutely essential to have an understanding of how trauma affects their behavior and how best to work through it. The two most important concepts that we walked away with were those of 1) indiscriminate friendliness and 2) the attachment cycle that occurs with development.
When a child suffers from indiscriminate friendliness, that child has difficulty in deciphering between safe and unsafe people. They do not know how to behave around a stranger as opposed to a friend. For example, upon arrival at the children’s home today, three girls approached one of the Back2Back staff members. Two girls gave him big hugs, while the third held out her hand to shake. It was encouraging to see the third girl understand what was appropriate. She obviously had had help in understanding how to approach someone who is unknown. A child with indiscriminate friendliness most likely would have hugged Moi as well. Obviously, Back2Back is working hard to change these behaviors and thus help these children function appropriately in society.
A break in a child’s attachment cycle means that a child misses out on key moments in receiving care so that they are unable to trust and depend on others to meet their needs, so therefore they lose their voice. If a child does not receive proper care they are unable to give that sort of necessary care and love to others in the future and the unfortunate cycle continues for future generations. We were hearted today, to see several examples of children serving other children and us throughout the day. Their caregivers are obviously doing the necessary things to heal broken attachment cycles and lead them to better tomorrows.
We traveled to the Imperio de Amor Children’s Home again today and spent another wonderful morning playing with our new friends. Many sweet faces seemed to seek out team members that they bonded with yesterday. It was so amazing to be recognized by them and to pick up where we left out in our play. Walls came down much more quickly and both the kids and the team members seemed to be so much more comfortable with each other. Our time with them absolutely flew by and before we knew it, it was time for them to leave for school.
There were countless moments today where God was incredibly present but we were especially struck by His amazing grace, love, and mercy today. When on a tour of the original children’s home building that is currently used as a dorm for the older boys, we stopped in the bedroom. There were 11 twin beds in this room and since the boys were at school, it was empty. The lead staff member of the home, Moi, asked to stop and pick a bed to lay hands and pray over. What a sobering and humbling moment, realizing the obstacles and challenges that these children face every day. We couldn’t help but think about our own children who we tuck into bed at night, knowing that they feel safe, comfortable, secure, and loved. How many of those feelings do THESE boys feel when they drift off to sleep at night? There weren’t very many dry eyes when we left that room, and we are incredibly grateful that God put us in the space to break our hearts even more for these kids.
These children struggle in so many ways due to the many obstacles they face. Their education is one for those areas that get the least of their attention. How could it when they are merely trying to survive and figure out this world that has been so troubling for them? So, it is no surprise to hear that they struggle academically. Imperio de Amor has recently engaged a tutor for the kids. In the span of 6 months, dozens of kids have raised their grades to passing and honor roll levels. These are children who a year ago were at risk of being kicked out of school! Oh what can be accomplished when we invest time and love into children!
The bus ride back to campus was a quiet one today. We are exhausted but in the best possible way. We worked hard physically and we poured all of our love and energy into these littles as enthusiastically as we could.
It’s not enough it call it a good day. It was a blessed day. It was another life giving day. Our hearts were stretched even more today as God opened our eyes and our hearts even more than He did yesterday. We know that He will put even more before us tomorrow and that we will learn about God’s vision for our lives and how our lives can and should blend with that of others. We have been called according to His purpose and His purpose is that we connect with Him and that of ALL His children.
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners…to comfort all who mourn…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks for righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of splendor. They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations…And you will be called priests of the Lord, you will be named ministers of our God…” Isaiah 61:1-5

Loving hard!

Loving hard!

This is the reason why we are here!

This is the reason why we are here!

Play time!

Play time!

Utter sweetness!

Utter sweetness!

Peek a Boo!

Peek a Boo!


Monterrey, Mexico with Back2Back Day Two

Is it possible to have your heart completely full and completely wrecked at the same time? Because that would be a pretty accurate description of our day today. We were stretched and pulled, challenged and comforted. Our first day here was one that was full of many blessings, challenges and we cannot believe that we get to do it all again tomorrow.
Our day began with a presentation on belief systems. All of our experiences, both positive and negative impact the lens in which we view the world. With enough positivity, love and guidance, a child is equipped to love others, speak positive words of kindness and teach others to do the same. At the opposite end of the spectrum, a child who spends the majority of their life traumatized by abuse of words and deed will have an almost impossible time knowing how to love others and accept love. It was a sobering visualization that readied us for the critical work that would be done at the children’s home today.
An hour long bus ride took us through Monterrey and a very poverty stricken area. We pulled into the children’s home somber and ready to serve. We set our selves up with crafts, balls, board games, beads, chalk, crayons, and coloring books and watched the these beautiful children flock to these special treats. OH MY GOODNESS! They were beautiful little sponges just thirsty for any attention and love we could shower them with. Hours were spent playing soccer with the boys who just adored having a man to look up to. Baseballs were thrown, almost comically at times. Bead necklaces were created and shared between new friends. Connect Four, tic-tac-toe and Memory were played. Piggyback rides were given. We laughed. We smiled from eat-to-ear nonstop. IT WAS AMAZNG. IT WAS BEAUTIFUL. IT WAS INCREDIBLY LIFE GIVING. Our time together went by so quickly and before we knew it, it was time for our friends to go to school. We had the opportunity to ride along on the bus with them to school if we wished, and we bounced along the dirt road with them to school.
A highlight of the morning was the tour we got to take of the children’s home. We saw where they slept, ate, the new construction that has begun, and a special sensory room where the kids can go to decompress. But the highlight was the few minutes that we spend with a dueña and her children. She led them in a song, “Come Holy Spirit” and we were left breathless and utterly wrecked. We asked what we could do and she asked for prayers. We were blessed beyond words to lay our hands on sweet Nellie and lift her up in prayer. Tears flowed all around as we prayed for her strength in her important work of ministering to the least of these. We prayed for her love to be unceasing, her grace to be unending, and for God’s sweet mercy and love to strengthen her heart and her hands. These words just do not do the moment any sort of justice.
While the kiddos were at school, we got busy with paint and started to brighten up their space. The playground equipment got a much needed brightening of red, yellow, green, and blue. Just a little paint made the outside are so much happier looking. We started touching up the railings on the home and their newly constructed church. It was great getting our hands dirty for these children.
It was a beautiful first day on mission. God is working on us and through us and we are SO grateful. Our hearts are full and we are on fire for the Lord tonight. Tomorrow can’t come soon enough.

Piggyback fun!

Piggyback fun!

Laying hands on Nellie

Laying hands on Nellie

Brightening up the playground!

Brightening up the playground!

Pure sweetness

Pure sweetness

New friends!

New friends!


Monterrey Mexico with Back2Back Ministries Day ONE

Sunday November 22, 2015 – DAY ONE!!!

We are here! We made it! We are nestled among the beautiful Sierra Madre mountains and have been feeling God’s glorious hand at work all day long. We had perfectly timed and safe flights. We had wonderful team bonding during our travels. We originally had the unfortunate news that a team member would miss a connecting flight due to weather out east, but God prevailed and after a frantic sprinting-through-O’Hare-Home-Alone moment, he made it on our flight to Monterrey. Needless to say, we all clapped and cheered as he boarded the plane! Thank you God!
After an hour long bus ride through Monterrey and the Sierra Madre mountains, we arrived at the Back2Back campus. Our afternoon was spent on campus, resting and preparing our hearts for the work God wants us to do. We talked and laughed. We rested and prayed. We met our wonderful mission coordinator, Sammy, who took us through an orientation of sorts. We got a tour of the campus, got the low down on the rules and a bit of a schedule for the week and heard about the amazing work that is done here. Oh, are we excited to be a part of it!
We had the privilege and honor of eating dinner in the homes of the Hope students and their host families. There really are no words to describe it. These wonderful and gracious families welcomed us into their homes and their space. It was incredible to experience what can happen when we come together over a table, not sharing a common language but food, laughter, and a love for Jesus. The host families are supporting these students physically, emotionally, and spiritually. They are the epitome of the hands and feet of Jesus; what a blessing it was to be around their table. Over the of span an hour or two, the walls came down and we talked and laughed till our cheeks hurt and we left their homes feeling like friends.
That being said, we have been up for almost 24 hours. Our bodies and minds are exhausted but our hearts are so incredibly full! We are feeling joy, hope, and so much of God’s grace and love. Tomorrow is going to be an amazing day and we are so excited to meet the children at the Imperio de Amor Children’s Home. We are praying for a restful and recuperative night and day full of joyful service tomorrow.

Never too early to serve!

Never too early to serve!


Mexico – Monterrey – November 2015 Prayer Calendar

We are so very excited about our upcoming trip to Monterrey, Mexico to serve the Orphans with Back2Back Ministries over Thanksgiving week.

Our team of 16 would love to have you praying for us as we get prepared to go and serve as well as while we are down in Mexico, and after we get back.

We have created a Prayer Calendar to give you some specific things to be praying for each day. Thanks so much for all of the prayers and support from each of you!

Prayer Calendar – Beginning 1 month before we leave on November 22, 2015:

October 22 – Pray for our team to bond together and to work as one for Jesus
October 23 – Pray for those who have grown up and moved away from the orphanage and who will be coming back for Thanksgiving with their spouses and children
October 24 – Pray for all of the pastors and ministers in the churches in Monterrey who serve the various orphanages
October 25 – Pray for the children that we will be working with in the orphanage
October 26 – Pray for our team members husbands, children, and parents who will be staying here in Indy while we are gone.
October 27 – Pray for all of the final logistical details to be completed without any complications
October 28 – Pray for our team to be constantly looking for and making the most of opportunities to share with others what God is doing in our lives and in the lives of those we will be serving
October 29 – Pray for the Back2Back organization that we will be working with, and for the work they do in Mexico, Nigeria, Haiti, and India to serve the orphans
October 30 – Pray for those in the world who haven’t heard the Gospel, and for the teams that visit Monterrey before we do
October 31 – Pray that we are a light for others in a dark world

November 1 – Pray for the Government relations between the US and Mexico
November 2 – Pray for the mothers who have placed their children in the orphanage
November 3 – Pray for the fathers who have placed their children in the orphanage and
for them to recognize and accept their leadership role for their family
November 4 – Pray for the need to have orphanages to be reduced
November 5 – Pray for Todd and Beth Guckenberger, founders of Back2Back Ministries
November 6 – Pray for the US missionaries and interns in Mexico, Nigeria, Haiti, and India
November 7 – Pray for the Mexican national missionaries serving the orphans
November 8 – Pray through the promises in the Bible for orphans
November 9 – Pray for the spiritual needs of the orphans we will be ministering to
November 10 – Pray for the Physical needs of the orphans we will be ministering to
November 11 – Pray for the educational needs of the orphans we will be ministering to
November 12 – Pray for the emotional needs of the orphans we will be ministering to
November 13 – Pray for the social needs of the orphans we will be ministering to
November 14 – Pray for churches to recognize the needs and respond to the responsibility for orphan care
November 15 – Pray for parents going on the trip who are leaving their children home
November 16 – Pray for good team communications, honesty, and for us to extend grace to one another
November 17 – Pray for protection of the team against spiritual attacks
November 18 – Pray for the health and wellness of the team
November 19 – Pray for packing, and that we don’t forget anything
November 20 – Pray for us to learn Spanish so we can speak with the children
November 21 – Pray for safe travels and no problems going through customs tomorrow
November 22 – Pray that each person will find a unique way to exercise their spiritual gifts to glorify God on this trip
November 23 – Pray for our team to be built up spiritually, stay energized, and to
adjust culturally
November 24 – Pray for our team to be flexible to be able to change with short notice, and to get good sleep
November 25 – Pray for strengthened relationships between TPCC and Back2Back
November 26 – Pray for the Thanksgiving meal preparation, and for the families and children we are serving, and our families at home
November 27 – Pray for safe travels and no problems going through customs tomorrow
November 28 – Pray for the teams readjustment back into American culture
November 29 – Pray for opportunities for our team to share our experiences with others