Friday, July 31, 2009

Baptizing one of our youth...Olga

We just baptized Olga tonight. She is one of the girls in our Hope Program. She has lived here in Todd & Beth's house for 5 years now. Olga is studying to be a social worker (just like Betty) in the university. Olga has a great heart and we love her dearly. It was a great night!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Standing Deep In Orphan Blood

This video was sent to me by a friend. It was written as the author considered Isaiah's condemnation of Judah in chapter 1. God told the people of Judah that deliverance would come, but only if they repented of their sins and turned to Him for help. They only trusted in God superficially. They sought to save themselves through clever alliances with Syria and Egypt. Their human attempts to escape the suffering of exile could never bring about their permanent deliverance. God allowed Judah to survive the attacks of Egypt and Asyria, but a few generations later, Judah was ultimately crushed by Babylon.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Power outage at Casa Hogar Douglas

On Sunday, I arrived at Casa Hogar Douglas around 9:30 AM to prepare for church. When I got there I discovered that they had been without electric for 24 hours. Because their water well works on  an electric pump, that meant that they were also without water. We began to determine exactly what was the problem so that we could get it fixed. It actually was Monday morning before we could get someone to come and tell us for sure that the transformer was bad. On Tuesday, 3 days after the power outage, we are getting the new transformer installed and the power turned back on. Those 3 days have had temperatures over 100 degrees and the kids have not even had a fan. I have been hauling water from our well in the back of my truck. We also have fed the kids on Sunday and Monday here at our property. All of the food that was in their refrigerators has gone bad and the bill to replace the transformer is $3,000. 
It has been a rough week so far. But that is why we are here. Without Back2Back's help I'm not sure where the children's home would get help. We are so thankful for your support. You are helping to meet these physical needs by supporting our ministry! That enables us to have a platform to share the Gospel with these children!
Next week.....We are planning VBS!  O Yea.....

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Bringing Light to Darkness

Many times when we take a group of Americans to the ministry area Rio 3, I tell them that we are bringing Light to the Darkness. As soon as we get off the bus, we can see the darkness that is associated with sin. If you only look at the shanty community, you can be depressed by the conditions that the people live in. I know that unthinkable things happen to the children that live there. Many suffer from abuse and neglect at the hands of those that should love them. 
In the gospel of Luke, Jesus says, "No one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, he puts it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be brought out in the open." (Luke 8:16,17 NIV) We know that a light shines brightest in total darkness. We want to put the Light on a stand so that all can see it!
Realistically, I know that hundreds of kids that live in Rio 3 may never own a car or eat 3 meals a day or live in a house like I do. But, I will feed them and clothe them and work to meet their needs of healthcare and shelter in the name of Christ. I will do these things so that I have a platform to share with them the eternal salvation God offers them, through His son Jesus. My ultimate desire is that they will be able to spend eternity in a place that knows no pain or suffering. 
Darkness, like the streets of Rio 3 can be pretty scary sometimes. But darkness always disappears when light confronts it. We simply want to be that Light!

200 Backpacks for needy kids at Rio 3

Recently, our friends at Lifepoint Vineyard Church in Monroe, Ohio held a fundraiser and purchased 200 school backpacks for the kids at Rio 3. Their church meets in a school building and when the teachers of the school heard about what they were doing, they made sure the backpacks were full of back to school supplies. Twenty two members of the church were here last week and they were personally able to give them to the kids at Rio 3.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Orphan Advocate

The following is an article that was written by someone who has participated in short-term trips here over the past several years. 

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress… 
(James 1:27 NLT)

Let me start with some numbers. 148, 224... Now don’t forget those.

Now, imagine with me a 6 year old child. Being promised candy, a day at the park and other deceits by their parents they trust and love. Now picture a bus pulling up to the children’s home and the child being left screaming and confused in the hands of one of the workers of that home. For some of us that just rips our hearts out. For those who work with Back2Back this can be a sad reality.

I have been blessed enough to have been a participant on 3 trips now to Back2Back Mexico with Family Christian Stores group The James Fund. If you have ever been a participant and listened to anything from Beth G. you would have heard the Experience, Reflection, Action and Change mantra. My experience this year really has led me to further reflection, action and change. I saw these kids in a new light. I didn’t see them as an orphan in a third world country that I should help to support. I didn’t see them as an unhappy child that I wanted to make happy. I looked into their faces and I saw my own children. I saw Pamela at Casa Hogar Douglas who was the same age as my oldest daughter and thought how would I feel if my children were the ones to be abandoned. What would their look on life be like? Or what would their view of a Loving and Caring God be? Could they trust that God? 

The above reflections stirred my heart for these Orphans. I am no longer a happy once a year participant in what God is doing through groups such as Back2Back; I now am an ADVOCATE for the Orphan who hears the cry of God to ‘care for orphans’. This is the Action part of the cycle but what of the change.

How would God have me or those who are feeling this cry to advocacy ‘change’? Am I to sell all I have and move to India, Africa, Mexico or another 3rd world country? For some of you reading this the answer very well may be YES! But some of us are not called to go. Some of us are called, as a woman in Michigan is, to make blankets for those whom Back2Back Mexico serves in the Rio’s and elsewhere. The cry of the orphan to her is the call to help keep them warm and dry. Others it might be a call to support the ministry of Back2Back. Or others of you may be called to intercede.

We too often forget the power of intercession. We lose site of our All Powerful God letting a weak view of God shape our prayers. Or as many American’s, we are too fickle to continue to pray when we do not instantaneously see the fruit of our prayers. A woman with a painting in Ohio knew the power of intercession and passed away before knowing that God had answered her prayer for 2 orphan girls. (

These children need prayer to know that God does love them. He does have a plan for them. He does want to provide them a shelter. He will not leave them or forsake them. He will comfort and defend. He will be their father.

So now let’s go back to those numbers… 148 million is the number of orphans in the world today. 224 million is the number of churches in America according to a study. What if the church were to step it up a notch in the mandate of hearing the cry of the orphan? What if the Church were to pray daily for the tears that these children shed, their tender hearts that need mended? Or even still, what if you and I were to finally step up and realize we are the CHURCH? 

So here's what I think: The best thing you can do right now is to finish what you started last year and not let those good intentions grow stale. Your heart's been in the right place all along. You've got what it takes to finish it up, so go to it. Once the commitment is clear, you do what you can, not what you can't. The heart regulates the hands. 2 Corinthians 8:10-13 (Message)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

ReDedication of Church at Casa Hogar Douglas

On July 1, we rededicated the renovated church building at Casa Hogar Douglas. This building was originally built in 1966, but the last few years saw it's condition deteriating and it was no longer being used. When we started to hold worship services there in late January this year, we realized we needed to make repairs soon. God quickly provided the resources and we began to remodel. The building now has a new roof, stage, windows, sound system, fans and paint. It has been awesome to witness what God is doing in this church! For the rededication service we had over 200 people in attendance. It was incredible to worship and hear testimonies of God's faithfulness with so many people. Every chair was occupied and there were people standing outside and looking in through the windows! 

I wanted to share a story that I shared during the rededication service. When we were remodeling the building, a man in his 40's stopped by to see how the work was coming. He was a young boy when the building was built in 1966 and he remembered the time of original construction. He told me that the workers had buried a Bible in the foundation, underneath a pole, that supports the roof. As I thought about that, I realized the roof was battered, but it didn't fall. It was built on the Rock. I shared that we want to build the lives of these kids on that same Rock. We want their lives to be like that church building, anchored in the Word of God! Years of storms may batter their lives, but they will not fall!

The video above is one that we showed at the rededication service.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

In the middle of chaos is where God is working.

I've been a little behind on writing. Last week I had a couple of 15 hour days and I've been a little run down. I've been thinking a lot about things that I witness that seem to be chaotic. There are times when my heart is heavy because of the things I witness and hear. When I look into the faces of some of the hundreds of kids that we minister to, I sometimes see the pain and sadness that they have experienced in their young lives. This past week, I even witnessed a couple of American men with tears in their eyes as they served alongside of us. There are times that I even ask God, "Do you see what is going on here?" But it is then that I realize that He does, and what is even more, HE IS RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF IT!
I think that my initial question is rooted in my upbringing that things need to be orderly and neat. I mean when I went to church as a youth (and even a lot of my adult life) everything about God was neat and clean and there was an answer for everything. But as I have compared the things I have witnessed here with stories from the Bible, I realize many times God is working in the midst of the chaos. God was working through the life of Noah while the whole world was being flooded. Many other stories in the Bible are filled with violence, pain and suffering. Even the act of Jesus to save all of mankind from the consequences of our sins was chaos. Can you imagine being a witness to the death of Christ on the cross? Then who am I to think that God will spare my life from being one of chaos?