Monday, August 31, 2009

The Worship Team of The Church at Casa Hogar Douglas

I wanted to introduce you to the group of young people that we have to lead worship at the church at Casa Hogar Douglas. If you have visited the church, you may have seen them, but not been introduced to them. We have been blessed in so many ways since we have started regular church services every week. God has given us the very best, in everything that He has blessed us with.  The worship team is no exception to that. Betty and I have come to love these young people that God has brought into our lives. They are all an asset to our ministry and we give thanks for them. I want you to meet them.
Beto is our Worship Pastor and director of our worship team. He has an incredible voice. When you hear him sing, you think I could listen to him all day. He is extremely talented and can play the drums and sax as well. He told me when I first met him that his parents dedicated him as a baby to do God's work and he has felt called to serve God as an adult. He has even preached a few times. Beto just married Ruth in July in the newly remodeled chapel. He works for Lincoln Welders during the week. We are excited to see how God will use Beto & Ruth together this year.

Priscila is Betty's oldest daughter. She works for an exporter and goes to school studying communications. Pris loves to sing, like all of Betty's kids. Whether she is in the house, the car, a soccer game or in church you will probably find her singing. She has a great voice and Betty and I are proud of her.

Diego is our piano player and may be our most talented overall musician. He teaches music and is very easygoing. Nothing ever seems to bother Diego. He helped me a lot when we were purchasing the sound equipment. Diego is like many of the others in that he just loves the Lord. He is very humble and always has a kind word for everyone.

Aissa & Shaida are Betty's nieces and are 15 & 16 years old. They have been serving with us since the beginning. They both love serving the Lord by singing and we are blessed to have them as part of our team. Many of the little girls from the children's home love to "hang with them."

Carlos plays guitar and lives in Guadalupe with his wife Scarlett and their baby. He works on computers for his day job and also gives music lessons on the side. He brings the guitar "to life" when he plays it. I believe he could also be a comedian if he wanted to. Carlos is a fun person to be around.

We were blessed to have Ely with us for a few months this year. She is a bundle of energy and the kids love her. We call her 'Shakira for Jesus' after the popular Latin singer. Ely was the first one to lead us in the worship song "Te Doy Gloria." I believe that one day God will call her to be a worship leader in a big church. When that day comes, we will be able to say "she first led worship for us at Casa Hogar Douglas." This school year, Ely is studying in Argentina. We will miss her while she is gone but Diego and her in love, so we hope to see her again.

Anna has been one of our singers since we first started. She and her brother Jonathan were going to school here in Monterrey. Jonathan played the drums for us for a while but I don't have a picture of him. They're just good, nice young people that love to serve the Lord. They both are currently living in Texas, but we stay in touch with them through Facebook.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Reflections - Greater Things are still to come

I'll admit that when I first thought about writing this entry, I wanted to just share some reflective thoughts I have had lately. I'll also admit that sometimes those thoughts can be negative. You see, sometimes I am a little down. Everyday I see kids that are hurting. I live in a place where it is hard to see justice. Sometimes the simplest of tasks can take half a day to accomplish. I miss my family back in Ohio. And sometimes, I can even ask myself "Is it all really worth it?" When I weigh the answer to this question, I can always answer "yes!" 
Today, as I prepared to write this entry, I received the following link to this YouTube Video:

It is a promotional video that was made by one of our ministry partners. The James Fund is the non-profit ministry of Family Christian Stores. They have been huge partners with us since 2005. I consider Steve Biondo, the president of The James Fund, who does a lot of the speaking in this video, my friend. When I watched the video, I found myself coming alive. I found myself saying "yes!" It was then that I realized that while sometimes I am discouraged, God always has a way of revealing to me why it is all worth it.
As partners with us in this ministry, I hope you can view this video and be lifted up as I was. I know that you too can be discouraged from time to time and even wonder if it is all worth it. Please watch the video. I want you to be energized in knowing that many Christians all over the world are united with us.  Thank you for your prayers. Thank you for your financial support. Thank you for coming and serving alongside of us. We are so thankful for your lives. We pray God's blessing on you as you have been a blessing to us!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Kevin & Poncho

This is a photo of Poncho who lives at Casa Hogar Douglas with a group member who was here this July. While he was serving with us, Kevin Baker developed a special bond with Poncho. Kevin was so impressed with Poncho's work ethic as he helped the group with their work project, that he purchased a cordless drill for him before they left. Poncho is the oldest of 5 kids in his family and they all live at Casa Hogar Douglas. He really is a great young man and is very helpful with the workers in the home. He also is very willing to help me with whatever he can as well. Often times, Poncho does not get much attention from the groups that come to serve. He is older and most of the time the younger kids get the American's attention. I'm so thankful for Kevin's act of love for Poncho. I know that it touched Poncho's heart. He had tears in his eyes when this picture was taken. It may have been the kindest thing that a man has ever done for him.
Thank you Kevin! You showed Christ's love for Poncho in a very practical way that week.
P.S... Kevin decided to sponsor one of the kids at Casa Hogar Douglas in our Shelter Kid Sponsor Program. Guess which kid he is sponsoring.

Monday, August 24, 2009

An email from a teenage girl

The following is an email message that I received from a young teenager who was here on a trip this summer. I think she learned a lot about the heart of our Heavenly Father for the orphan child. I asked her if I could share her email on my blog and she said yes. Here it is....

I am a teenage girl who has always felt that for all of my days I will glorify God. I used to think that I would be talking to the hearts of hurting teens...before I realized I have little patience for those between 12 and 18. For the past year I felt that God was calling me to the mission field overseas. I never had a second thought about going to Mexico. I fell in love with a young girl in Mexico by means of a picture that had been taken from the February trip LPV took. I was determined that God wanted me to meet her, to talk to her.  However, the day my dad lost his job, I considered not going on account of finances. Then God provided.  I continued to believe that this little girl was bringing me to Mexico. Although I said I had no expectations, I fully expected to meet her. Four months later and thousands of prayers for this little girl, I went to Monterrey. I learned the day after I arrived that 1) our group was not going to visit the home of this little girl and 2) she was not at her home. My heart broke into a million pieces, or what felt like it, anyway. I didn't even know this little girl's name and I was bawling from heartache, feeling that this child was not safe at "home" and angry that I felt so much pain for a girl I didn't know. Angry that I seriously believed a little girl brought me to Mexico. I allowed God to break my heart, though. I learned that God used that little girl to show me His heart. He allowed my heart to break so i could feel, on a miniscule scale, the pain He feels for His children. Except, He knows every single one of His children by name. I needed to hang onto that one child and feel the pain for that ONE child because if I hadn't, I wouldn't have seen the bigger picture. The statistic of orphans did not break my heart, it is a number. But for that one child, my heart shattered. God knew this. His love is far beyond my 
human heart. How much patience and care must He have to allow me to feel for the heart of an orhan so that I may recieve the other children with a heart broken for the right reasons?  I will tell you now, I did not meet this girl. Looking back, though, I did. I met this girl in the 10 year old that stole my heart, the 8 year olds that left their handprints on my shirt after painting, the young child I fed at Casa Hogar Douglas,  and every child I came in contact with. The broken heart is the only way to reach and reach out to the human heart. God takes a broken heart and mends it and connects it to others and even allows a heart to break so that it may break for what breaks His. If the cry of my heart is to break with the things that make God's heart break, that means some pain, but so much joy. Joy in the eyes of an orhpan accepting Christ into her heart. Joy in the hug of an orphan-a person, a friend.  Thank you, Mr. Jim, for letting God break your heart for the heart of the orphans. I don't have much, but I offer God my life, and to you and B2B, my prayers. I cannot promise  the needed $5200 for meals in Rio 3. I cannot promise a fiesta to raise this money or that I will be an intern next summer, but I offer this all to God, and can promise you that His ways are perfect everytime. I can promise that God's timing, while not mine, is perfect. And darkness does not hide light - is not darkness measured by light? May you be a light. thank you. -Lauren Ellis

Saturday, August 22, 2009

First Leadership Conference Held at CHD Church

We just finished our first Leadership Conference at the church at Casa Hogar Douglas. The conference was 2 hours each day on Thursday and Friday. It was primarily for the caregivers and other interested adults that wanted to come. The speaker was a woman named Adriana Garza who is the wife of the senior pastor of a large church here in Monterrey. She shared with us that God does not have limits of what He is capable of doing. She encouraged all of us to think and dream BIG in what we want God to do in our lives. She shared examples from scripture, as well as personal examples, of how God has done great things in the past. This was especially encouraging for the caregivers. Many of them have served the children of this children's home for years. They do not have much money and they are seldom recognized for their sacrificial services for these children.
One of the messages, that we want to share with the caregivers and the children, is that their is hope in a life that is lived for Christ Jesus. I know that there are victorious days to come in the lives of these workers and children. God has much more planned for them than a life filled with oppression. The church continues to be a fountain of hope in Christ for them.

Project Completed at Casa Hogar Douglas

If you were a member of one of our groups this summer working at Casa Hogar Douglas, you may have helped with this project. We worked all summer on renovating the area outside the laundry room there. We installed a new security fence, to protect people from falling into the storm sewer and installed 6 new clothes line poles, poured a new concrete slab to keep the area clean and built a roof over part of the area. There were so many American groups that helped dig holes, stretch chain link fence, paint, mix & pour concrete and build the roof structure. I wanted to share a photo of the finished project for all those people that helped in so many ways. 
Doing the laundry everyday, for 75 kids, is a huge job. Because of the cost of gas, they do not use dryers. The clean safe area to hang the clothes to dry outside will be very useful for the workers to use. There will even be an area, under the roof, to dry clothes when it is raining. I would like to give a huge "Thank You" to all that helped with this project this summer!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Good times at Casa Hogar Douglas

Pictures above of cleaned up campus

Javier preaching in church

We have some great news about what God is doing in Casa Hogar Douglas. About a year ago, some of the Back2Back staff began praying in and over the campus of Casa Hogar Douglas. It is the children's home that we have worked with the longest and is also the largest home we work with as it is the home of about 75 children. A lot of our staff felt the need to pray for a spiritual revival to happen there. I know that many of you who have come here to serve have prayed for the same thing when you went home. I also believe that the church that we were able to rebuild and restore has been part of God's answer to those prayers. But, I've said many times this year that God isn't finished yet. I firmly believe that we are witnesses to a multi-level revival that God is sweeping through this campus! I don't believe I am exaggerating at all, when I say that you can feel the presence of God working when you come into the children's home today.

In addition to the restoration of the church, there are other things happening as well. One of the biggest changes recently is that Javier has assumed the role of Point Person or Head Care Giver. Javier is a pastor and teacher. He has lived near the home for 25 years now. His history with the children's home goes way back. He taught in the Bible School that is connected to the home until October of last year. That is about the time that our staff began to earnestly pray for the kids at the children's home. He told me that he felt God had something different planned for his life and that is why he resigned. He didn't even know that people were praying for the revival of the home at the time that God was telling him that He had something different in the future for Javier. The last few weeks, Javier and his wife have led the kids in prayer each night. There is also time of Bible study each day and we have been working to clean the campus. We also have been trimming trees & cutting the grass. The kids are taking pride in their home. All of these things have added to a more joyful atmosphere at Casa Hogar Douglas. Please continue to pray as revival continues.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


I have been learning a lot about prayer lately. You see my wife Betty is a prayer warrior. In fact, she really doesn't think she is praying until she is down on her knees in prayer. She does this often. She has for most of her adult life. Sometimes she comes to me and says, "Jim, we have to be praying more!" I usually think, what do you mean? You are always praying! But, I don't say it. Betty has many testimonies of how God has provided for her and protected her in the past. She accredits this to prayer.

I'm reminded often here that this place that I'm living is not always as safe as my home was in the states. I know that Satan is directing the lives of many here because they have given in to his temptations. Evil and darkness can be seen without going too far. But that is what makes this place such a ministry field. And, in the middle of all of this is where we can find God working! We need not be afraid because God will protect and provide for us. We DO need to be in contact with Him through prayer however.

I would like to share with you a devotional someone recently sent to me in regards to this:

Prayer Comes First        Did you expect any less 
The king said to me, "What do you request?" So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said to the king…
Nehemiah 2:4-5

When Reverend William Gale was principal of Brainerd Indian School in Hot Springs, South Dakota, the furnace had to be replaced in the girls' dorm. Knowing the girls were cold, Gale made this a matter of earnest prayer. He grew so burdened that he prayed into the night; and between 2:00 and 3:00 a.m., he took a pencil and square, went to the girls' dorm, and marked out a rectangular area. He asked God for a furnace to fit the hole. The next day he told his carpenters to saw and frame the space. They suggested he wait until a furnace was found, but finally did as he requested. Later that morning, a man drove up in a pickup truck containing a gas furnace he wanted to donate to the school. Taking it to the dorm, they were amazed to find it fit perfectly into the hole. *

Just as Nehemiah prayed before answering the king and just as Reverend Gale prayed in expectation of God's provision, we should begin every task for the Lord Jesus with prayer. He has an answer to fit every need.

There are three secrets to the success of our work: prayer, prayer, and more prayer.
Billy Graham

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Clean Water Project in Rio 3

Clean Water is Available for Everyone!

We finished building a water filtration system at Rio 3. It is a system that filters the water using carbon ceramic filters. The water is placed into the first tank that has ten of these filters installed on the bottom of the tank. The water passes through these filters and is collected in copper tubing and directed into the second holding tank. This tank holds all of the filtered water.
The last week of July, we had an American group with us as we passed out 40 - 10 liter bottles of water in the community. Most of these homes have no running water, sewer or electric. The homes have dirt floors and sometimes only cardboard for roofs. We instructed the people on the importance of drinking clean water and told them that they can return to the church to refill their bottles for free. We are excited about how we can share God's love for these people in this practical way.

Monday, August 3, 2009

VBS at Casa Hogar Douglas Church

This past week we had our first VBS for the kids in the church at Casa Hogar Douglas. Each morning, the kids had singing, teaching by age group and crafts. All of the kids had a great time of learning and growing. 
In addition to the kids from the children's home, we had 8 kids from the local community. Can you imagine how the kids at the children's home feel when the neighborhood kids WANT to come to their home to visit? I believe the church is helping to make the kids feel like where they live is more like a home and less like an institution. We all want them to feel loved like a family and most of all to know that God loves them. 
Please keep praying for our church. I believe God is moving mightily in the lives of these kids through this church we have started. Wonderful things are soon to come as we witness the fruit from this work!