Monday, May 30, 2011

Shelter Program

Back2Back has a child sponsorship program called Shelter.  You can sponsor one of the children in the children's home with either a full sponsorship of $100 or a half sponsorship at $50.  This money helps us gives them more nutritious and varied foods, regular and higher quality medical care, school supplies and uniforms, better dorms, and the list goes on and on and on!  Shelter sponsors and their children write letters back and forth 4 times a year, and you can send your sponsored child gifts if you wish to.  An extra bonus for many people is that when you come on a missions trip here we make every effort to connect you with your sponsored child so that you can continue to build that relationship with them.  
 I am the Shelter captain for one children's homes called Imperio de Amor and for our Hope Education Program here on our campus.  That just means I'm responsible for the quarterly letters, delivering gifts, and keeping sponsors up to date on their kids.  Last week I spent a day doing letters out at Imperio de Amor.  It always amazes me how much these kids treasure their letters.  More than the financial support or presents, they love their letters and pictures from their sponsors.
It's amazing what the kids remember about their sponsors.  They don't need any prompting from me to remember names, children's names, ages, or even pets!  And most of the kids don't need any help writing a letter in return.  They can't wait to talk about their grades in school, upcoming birthdays or holidays, their friends, or their favorite soccer team.  I love getting to be a part of this relationship building, it's always a fun and encouraging day when we do letters.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Del Norte Update

A few pictures from Thursday morning.  5 of the 8 little kids had chicken pox, so we made the most of the one-on-one time with the other 3.  
Ximena's really coming into her own.  She's much happier these days but still hates to share.   
 Ady is new, she's baby Alexis' sister.  That makes 7 kids in that family who live at the children's home.  
 Learning to stack blocks and say colors.  Always fun!
 Ana Luisa (the caregiver) was snuggled up with baby Alexis for a while.  He wasn't feeling so well.  Hopefully he's not getting chicken pox too!
After some snuggle time he was ready to play with Buz for a little bit.  

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Staff Retreat

This past week we had our annual staff retreat where we spent 3 days learning, praying, worshiping, and team building with all of our Monterrey staff.  During one of the teaching times we studied Jochebed.  10 points if you know who this Old Testament character is before I tell you.  Don't worry, I didn't recognize it at first either.  It's Moses' mother.  What struck so many of us about this great story is that she abandoned her child.  She put Moses in a basket on a river.  Didn't drop him off in a children's home or look for a "forever family" for him, but put her infant in the river.  It was the most loving, sacrificial thing she could do and it was part of God's great plan for Moses.  A few weeks ago I posted about gaining perspective on the parents that drop their children off in children's homes, and this was another great reminder.  Sometimes leaving your child in a children's home is the best, most loving thing you can do in your circumstances.  And what a great story to encourage our children!  Old Testament hero Moses was abandoned too, and look how God used him!  Burning bush, 10 plagues, leading Israelites out of Egypt, 10 Commandments, all because Jochebed placed her infant in basket and pushed him down the river.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Handy Manny/Mindy

Since coming on staff with Back2Back I've learned a variety of construction skills.  It's actually one of my favorite things to do just because it's so different.  One of my grandpa's owned his own construction company, the other owned a car garage, so I guess it's in my blood.  I can mix and pour concrete, tie rebar, lay tile, use the metal grinder, and I've even dabbled in a little welding!  And I think part of being on staff is being an expert painter, that just comes with the territory.  Next on my list is some handyman skills.  Maybe some amateur plumbing?  
Helping group members tie rebar for a church roof
 Hope and I after painting ceilings all day
Using the paint sprayer and a cool gas mask that looks like a pig snout

Sunday, May 15, 2011


On Saturday I took a purposeful, intentional rest day.  Really resting here on the Back2Back Monterrey campus is hard.  There are 100+ people living full time on our campus, and so someone is always working.  And when you're working with orphans, there's always more to be done.  On my day off, even looking out my window can be risky since I look out on 5 houses full of orphan teenagers and our campus workshop.  So after 8 months of life here, I'm tired because I don't rest well.  The other single women on campus took a road trip to McAllen, TX for the weekend, and I took the opportunity to stay back with the sole purpose of resting.  I was blessed to wake up to a cool, cloudy, rainy day which just begs you to stay in bed for a while and brew lots of coffee.  I then spent the day listening to podcasts, watching some TV online, crocheting, and reading.  Relaxing, reflecting on my purpose, praying for friends who are hurting, and just enjoying my life.  One of the sermons I listened to was from my home church last May, which was titled Rest Well.  What a good reminder about how we're commanded to rest, and to rest well.  So listen to a sermon on resting well, and then do it!  Take some rest.

Friday, May 13, 2011

School's Out for Summer

This morning I taught my last class in our spring training series.  I'm already looking forward to the classes we have planned for the fall because I feel like they're even better.  This spring we made it through 6 sessions on caring for abused, neglected, and abandoned children and it's time for summer break.  Granted, our summer break is the opposite of a break, but it's summer nevertheless.  I had planned to do a little something special for our staff to commemorate the last class and remind them of what they learned, but life just happens to fast and I ran out of time.  I've been talking a lot about stocking our "toolbox" with a variety of tools to help us do a better job of working with these kids.  So, I'm asking for some ideas!  I wanted to give them something that reminds them of their toolbox and can be put somewhere to remind them of the tools when life gets stressful and kids get crazy.  Come on crafty and social work friends, I'm ready for ideas...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Life is all about perspective.  When I was home doing fundraising for a week, I couldn't wait for it to rain.  It's rained for all of 10 minutes in the last 8 months here in Monterrey.  Probably every other person in Cincinnati was thinking they'd love some sun and a little heat since it's been raining non stop this spring.  Perspective.  Today in our training series about caring for abused/neglected children we talked about the grief and loss that a parent goes through dropping their child off in a children's home.  So often we forget about their perspective.  What we see is a hurting, broken child who doesn't understand why their parent just abandoned them.  That is where we usually pour our energy and our heart and we forget about the other half.  Part of gaining that perspective was talking about the stereotypes we have towards these parents.  As you can see, the list is pretty negative.  We only got a few positive traits, and that was after asking for something positive.  For us to really understand orphan issues, we have to understand and have compassion towards the mother or father who drops their child off.  Their situations are unique, and they all have different reasons for dropping their kids off in a children's home.  To lump them all together as "bad" people who don't care about their kids will do us all a disservice.  Today I gained more perspective on them.  I felt sad for those moms today, they spent Mother's Day without their children.  Imagine the pain and grief of a day focused around being a Mom when you yourself can't do the "mom" things.  Pray for the moms of our kids, that in their grief they would find hope in Christ.  And pray for the children's home and teen home parents who stand in as moms, that they would remain strong and not grow tired of loving and serving these children who so desperately want someone to care about them.