FALL/WINTER 2013 Volume 18
Care for today. Hope for tomorrow.
LETTER from the Director children being impacted around the world. Simply, this will take all of us, working together. In all transparency, all this learning and asking and growing as we ask our big question these days, can create tension.
What is best for an orphan child?
by Todd Guckenberger, Executive Director of Back2Back Ministries
We have decided to be kingdomminded. God has graciously led us to a vision of more depth, of working at the overwhelming challenge of meeting each child’s individual needs holistically through Back2Back’s 5-Point Child Development Plan.
In our family, we have a phrase, “If you can’t share it, you can’t have it.” We use it when our children (and their parents!) need to be reminded that selfishness is not an option for the Christ-follower. Things, time and ideas are ours to steward for a greater purpose than our pleasure. All we have is His. In the last couple of years, a conviction has been growing in me that we, in the orphan care movement, need to share as liberally as we can. As one organization has success in meeting childrens’ needs, it is a win and those ideas need to be cascaded to the rest of us. We cannot waste time competing against each other. The battle we are in is against the one whose constant attack is on the neglected, abandoned, abused, and fatherless. To that end, we are working to share resources and material with like-minded organizations around the world. We regularly share files of our content with other non-profits with permission to use our resources fully. It took us too long to get here and we want other organizations to benefit from our learning curve. We have carved out weeks for other orphan care organizations to come and learn and collaborate with us at Back2Back mission sites. We have decided to be kingdom-minded. God has graciously led us to a vision of more depth, of working at the overwhelming challenge of meeting each child’s individual needs holistically through Back2Back’s 5-Point Child Development Plan. We are students of other ministries, asking questions and gathering the latest research. We pray that this culture of learning and sharing will lead to more
Studies show that institutional care, such as orphanages, are not the best scenario for a child. These claims are based on research that indicate that children can miss critical brain development from lack of appropriate touch. The World Health Organization estimates between eight to ten million orphans live in orphanages. The rest exist on the street, in minor-head-of-households, in slavery, as domestic support, in child militia, etc. When looking at the alternatives of where an orphan can land, it can start to seem like orphanages are the best option but we simply can’t (and shouldn’t) build orphanages to house the remaining 153 million orphaned children. As an organization, we have shifted to a belief that orphanages are one option in a spectrum of care. In some cases, an orphanage is the best solution for the situation of the day. In this issue, you will read about another alternative of care, a church-based Christian foster care system that we are currently piloting in Monterrey. We are working alongside the government and the church to de-institutionalize each facility by creating more family-style living and reducing the numbers of children in each dorm. We hope by adding an additional quality caregiver, we can create an environment that is more conducive to healthy emotional development. The less time the worker is focused on “managing,” the more time there is for parenting and individualized attention. There is much to be done. As we continue to learn new methods, there will be more adjustment and growth. We will need more visitors lending a hand, more training classes, more donors to fund more workers and more energy for what is ahead. We invite you to join us. It will take all of us working together to serve the orphan child.
19 OUR VISION We desire for every orphan and impoverished child to have the opportunity for success through â€œcare for today and hope for tomorrowâ€?. Our goal is that each child would experience restoration to a life of purpose in which they can become fulfilled and mature Christian adults.
OUR MISSION Back2Back Ministries is an international Christian
non-profit organization that is dedicated to being a voice for orphans. We exist to love and care for orphans and impoverished children, by meeting their spiritual, physical, educational, emotional and social
needs that they may overcome their life circumstances and break free from the cycle of generational poverty.
21 Quality logo here
We would like to thank Quality Printing for partnering with Back2Back by offering us high-quality printing. This partnership has been a tremendous blessing to the ministry allowing us to expand our communications. Thank you to Quality Printing for this generous gift.
You are our witnesses
by Beth Guckenberger, Back2Back Ministries, Co-Executive Director
You are our witnesses! We want to testify to how God is moving on behalf of the Mexican orphan. We believe that God has heard the Church crying out to Him and His response has been thunderous. He is mobilizing His body and it’s been remarkable to watch.
May 2012 After the Back2Back staff attended that year’s Summit of the Orphan in the US, a seed was planted that we should hold a Spanish version of the Summit of the Orphan in Mexico with the express purpose of inspiring and mobilizing the local church to engage in this movement.
Fall 2012 The Mexican government visited our Monterrey, Mexico campus to discuss the successes associated with Back2Back’s Hope Education Program. They expressed a willingness to hear what ideas we had regarding serving the orphan child. We planted a seed in their minds about a faith-based foster care program, where the local church would identify families who could house orphans in their homes, not being incentivized with money, but by a calling.
winter 2013 We sent staff to train with Costa Rican based Casa Viva, a ministry dedicated to finding faith-based foster families for orphans. Back2Back staff learned their best practices and then brought their staff to Mexico to look at procedures and practices within the Mexican cultural context. Weekly meetings began with the government to explore foster care as a viable option.
late winter 2012/early spring 2013 The planning continued for the Cumbre, the Summit of the Orphan in Monterrey, Mexico, with staff reaching out to local pastors and community leaders. We were hoping for 250 participants.
march 2013 The legislative body in Nuevo Leon reworks the law to permit for sanctioned foster families to exist, as this had not been a legal option before. The word ‘acogimiento’, or “foster care,” becomes part of the vernacular.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen Ephesians 3:20
april 2013 Over four hundred people gather for the Cumbre, the Summit of the Orphan event in Monterrey, Mexico. It was remarkable to watch the national attention that followed. Speakers traveled from multiple countries to inspire the Mexican church to engage in the life of an orphan.
may 2013 Follow-up training began with those who indicated an interest in learning more about how to have hands-on involvement in Monterrey orphanages. Many people have committed to entering into a mentoring relationship with an orphan locally. These small groups will meet several times a month and work through a curriculum provided for us by David C Cook. Even more have joined in efforts to tutor children in foreign language, computer skills, math and reading, and help with ongoing academic challenges.
summer 2013 More than a dozen couples complete a joint training, hosted by Back2Back and authorized by the government, equipping them to be the countryâ€™s first foster families. Other Mexican states around the republic begin to reach out and ask about how they can initiate foster care in their states.
august 2013 The wife of the governor of Nuevo Leon, Mexico and Todd Guckenberger, Back2Back Executive Director, present certificates of completion to the first families who have completed foster care training.
fall 2013 Back2Back staff continue to train volunteers in tutoring, mentoring and discipleship. More families have expressed an interest in serving as foster care parents. More churches are engaging in the program, as momentum continues to build. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen Ephesians 3:20 4
Sets the Lonely in Families by Hannah Fay, Back2Back Monterrey, Mexico
better quality care. Tangibly speaking, this means lower child-to-worker ratios, quality and committed caregivers, continuing education for direct service providers, apartment-style living within the children’s homes, ending the harmful practice of graduating dorms due to age and adding a team of specialists including social workers and psychologists in each home. These short-term solutions Astonished, they stared as the will enact long-term change in ten year-old girl leapt into bed and the process of moving up the A father to settled down under the blankets.“Is spectrum of care. By implementing it ok if I go to bed right now?,” she the fatherless, these changes, children like Isa asked. Over the next several days, will understand how to create Isa’s caregivers discovered that a defender of healthy bonds of attachment she had no identifying paperwork with their caregiver that they will and that consequently she had widows, then be able to transfer back to never been permitted to attend their family of origin should they school. Isa could not even write is God in reunify or with foster or adoptive her own name. Her caregivers, his holy dwelling. parents. For those who find who successfully advocated her themselves in institutions without placement in the third grade, are the intervention of a foster family, God sets the actively preparing her for the start staff will rely on the specialist team of her first ever school year. lonely in families. at each institution, who will work Isa represents one of 163 million with the biological family and child Psalm 68:5-6a “fatherless” and “lonely” depicted protective services to create a plan in Psalm 68 for whom Back2Back for either reunification with the Ministries seeks to provide care for biological family or placement in today and hope for tomorrow. Isa came to us from an an adoptive family. Our ultimate goal is for each child at-risk community where the majority of her time was to be in a family setting whenever possible. spent on the streets. On the spectrum of orphan care For the orphan child in the state of Nuevo Leon, this environment places her at the highest risk for not where our ministry site in Monterrey, Mexico is located, having her developmental needs met. The day Isa the only option prior to 2013 was institutional care or moved into an orphanage, she consequently moved in some rare cases adoption. Back2Back is proud to up the spectrum of care. She now has a better chance announce a partnership with the government’s child of having her needs provided for; however, she will protective services and the start of the very first foster still be at-risk of not having her needs met due to the care system in Monterrey thus expanding the number harmful effects of institutionalization on children. of options available on the spectrum of care within For children like Isa, who live in a Back2Back this community. Currently, there are nine families who supported children’s home, we coordinate activities have completed the training course. They stand ready and volunteer programs to mitigate the negative to intercept the child on her way from her home to the effects of being raised in an institutional setting. institution, in an effort to provide a better standard Using Back2Back’s 5-Point Child Development Plan, of care and meet the individual needs of the orphan we provide holistic care, addressing each individual child in the context of a family. We stand firm on child’s spiritual, physical, educational, emotional, and God’s promise in Psalm 68 that He will put the lonely social needs. The programs serve as a tool to combat in families. We are hopeful, as we are now able to offer the statistics that point to the devastating effects better alternative care solutions for Isa and the many of institutionalization on a child’s development. children in our care just like her. Simultaneously, Back2Back is committed to restructuring the children’s homes in order to provide Isabella arrived at the children’s home unsure of what to expect. She listened attentively as her caregivers, two Back2Back staff members, welcomed her to the dorm. As they showed her where she would be sleeping, they watched as her eyes grew wider and wider until she suddenly blurted out, “Are you serious? That is my bed...I get my own bed!”
Playing soccer on a team helps a child develop an understanding of teamwork, fosters camaraderie, and creates a feeling you are a part of something larger than yourself, rather than an outcast.
a child’s social development
by Todd Guckenberger, Executive Director of Back2Back Ministries
Social development teaches us how to interact with each other, how to behave in a classroom, or in public, and how to express ourselves socially. These skills are critical for securing a job and for managing interactions with the larger society. 7
As the Hope Education Program in Monterrey, Mexico was growing, we realized that we were making sure the children’s physical needs were met and their educational needs were being addressed. We were teaching them spiritual lessons about Jesus and hiring psychologists and asking questions about their emotional needs, but there was one area left gaping: their social development. Social development teaches us how to interact with each other, how to behave in a classroom, or in public, and how to express ourselves socially. These skills are critical for securing a job and for managing interactions with the larger society. Feeling a little insecure is a normal part of most of our childhood and teen years. How we feel on our first day of school, the first day on a new team, the first time we had to speak in front of our classroom, our first conversation with a cute girl, all require us to demonstrate to the world, and ourselves, if we have what it takes to overcome our fears and be successful. As children, we “practice” interacting socially with others, and with society every day. Our world naturally expands as we join sports teams, perform at recitals and plays, meet extended family and travel on vacation. These experiences were stolen from the children we serve. For reasons they couldn’t control, their world was made small and in some cases, a child will live, attend school, and socialize on the same campus. Although they’re in a safe environment, their social development is stunted. Those struggles regarding how to navigate the larger world will follow them into adulthood, reinforcing their fears that they are different, fears that they have nothing to offer. To this end, with the heart of serving children in practical ways that will contribute to their long-term success, we encourage participation in extra-curricular activities such as art, drama, and sports teams. We want the children we serve to have the opportunity to try new things and receive coaching to develop skills that they will one day use in their professional lives. For example, playing soccer on a team helps a child gain an understanding of teamwork, fosters camaraderie, and creates a feeling you are a part of something larger than yourself, rather than an outcast.
The children we serve need to have opportunities to interact with others in a faith community. By participating in a student worship band for church, or serving on mission trips to other parts of the world, the children understand they have something to offer and it matters! God has given us each talents to serve Him. They can learn from others and teach others according to their own growth. By serving and studying, they understand who they are in Christ in a deeper way. We actively invite mission teams to come and interact with the children we serve. Some participants voice concern over people coming in and out of their lives. Are we doing more harm than good? The truth is, when the children interact with a group member, their expectation is that the relationship will only last for a day or week at the most. This is a completely different experience of â€˜leavingâ€™ than what they experienced with their biological families. When you share time with the children, you model healthy conversation, serving alongside each other, and healthy affection. You teach, without even realizing it, how to smile and greet someone, how to share, how to work, how to listen, how to pay attention, how to exchange and how to problem solve. These are critical lessons for all of us, but especially for the orphan child.
Our goal is to see each child we work with develop a personal relationship with Jesus, become independent and sustainable and be interdependent in his or her community.
At Back2Back, our goal is to see each child we work with develop a personal relationship with Jesus, become independent and sustainable and be interdependent in his or her community. Please pray with us as we work to flesh out this part of the 5-Point Child Development Plan. It can make the difference for a child who needs to interview for a job or assimilate with his inlaw family or find his way into a local church. We believe intentional opportunities will cultivate these skills. Thank you for all the ways you have supported the staff and children as we have worked to this end!
Mi NOmbre es shannen Brown
I am one of 163,000,000. I live in Monterrey, Mexico. by Rob Hall, Back2Back Advocate
It began as nothing more than a fleeting idea, a whim, really. Connect a professional photographer and filmmaker with Back2Back and something decent was bound to happen, right? A visual storyteller teamed with an organization driven by the ultimate Storyteller. Little did we know that that whim would lead to an extended project during the oppressive Mexican July heat. The initial series of meetings between photographer/filmmaker and Back2Back led to a plan to create a film, a short-film documentary that would focus on one child as a representative of the 163,000,000 orphaned children in the world. Among the details required was the need for a subject, of course, who would be able to withstand the scrutiny and emotional grind of being the focus of such a film. Co-Executive Director, Beth Guckenberger, was as sure as she was quick to mention Shannen, a nineteen-year-old young woman in Monterrey, unusually mature and compelling, someone who not only was “typical” of the 163,000,000 she’d represent but also unique among the 163,000,000 in that she had consciously chosen to take advantage of the holistic care that organizations like Back2Back offered - propelling her to a high school diploma and beyond. “I am very grateful and very happy for the opportunity that He’s given me to do something, to be someone, to have a story,” says Shannen. One-hundred sixty-three million. Let that sink in if you can. It is more than twice the estimated number of children that live in the United States. 1 If the 163 million orphaned children gathered to form a country of their own it would rank 8th in total population among all the nations on the planet, just behind Bangladesh and well ahead of Russia. 2 No matter how we try, 163,000,000 is a number that is hard to grasp. In terms of creating a narrative, understanding the meta-story of 163 million orphans, is extremely difficult. As a result, orphan awareness is often relegated to statistics
(like those above), faceless and nameless children making up subsets of other subsets, but, in the end, the result is often a malaise from “the rest of us” in the face of overwhelming odds to make any difference at all. However, when we know one, when we put a particular face, a particular name to the story, our hearts begin to change: malaise is replaced by optimism, inaction by urgency, disconnection by relationship. Knowing the story of a child makes all the difference. If you understand that, you understand the heart of 1/163,000,000 - the film compels its viewers to see the life of an orphaned child and be stirred instead of merely knowing the numbers related to the orphan crisis and remaining unmoved.
Orphan Sunday & Beyond Sunday, November 3rd is Orphan Sunday, a world-wide event spearheaded by the Christian Alliance for Orphans meant to highlight the plight of orphaned children around the globe. 1/163,000,000 will debut as part of a special event to be held at the concert venue, The Underground in Cincinnati, Ohio at 4pm on November 3rd. We’re excited to tell Shannen’s story in this short-film documentary and Back2Back will use the event to raise awareness about orphan care. However, what was anticipated as the endpoint of our journey with Shannen may only be the beginning. Shannen’s story has been compelling to capture and Shannen has been amazingly determined to allow us to tell it. As a result, plans are being made, investors are being sought, and writers, artists, associate producers and directors are being assembled to create a fulllength documentary to tell Shannen’s story more completely. By doing so, one face, one name, one child, can tell the story of the 163,000,000 others each of whom have a unique and compelling story to which they are inviting us to become a part.
According to American Community Survey five-year estimates the U.S. is home to 74 million people children. The 2012 World Atlas estimates the population of Bangladesh at 164,425,000 and Russia at 141,927,000.
â€œI am very
Grateful and very thankful for the opportunity the
He has given me
someone, to have a story.â€?
tres Reyes community center development Our hope is that by supporting the community through the Tres Reyes Community Center, we will strengthen families and ultimately share the hope of Jesus christ.
by Andrew Conrad, Back2Back Cancun After months of searching for land to develop into a community center in the impoverished community of Tres Reyes near Cancún, Mexico, we recently finalized the purchase of just under an acre of land. The lot is situated on the main village road with a bus line to provide easy access to the entire community. It is already level and cleared of trees; additionally, there is a well, electricity, an existing building and a security wall lines the perimeter, enabling us to begin using the property for community outreach immediately, even as we continue to develop the land. Gloria, a widow with five children, is just one of the many families who will immediately benefit from the Tres Reyes Community Center. She is an incredible example of perseverance and faith. Even after walking through the tragedy of losing her husband with multiple young children, she refused to give up. Gloria works part-time cleaning homes to help support her family, but she still struggles to make ends meet. Back2Back has come alongside her family, providing support through tutoring, child sponsorship and resources. Gloria’s family is still together because she has remained positive and refused to give up on her family. Back2Back has come alongside Gloria to support her, as this is often the best means of preventative orphan care. Mission groups helped Gloria build her home, and we will soon install electricity and running water for the first time. Once Tres Reyes is completed, Gloria will be able to utilize the center for additional support, such as educational training and medical and dental care, services that would be otherwise difficult for her to attain given her limited resources. Her children will have the opportunity to grow academically through tutoring, join sports teams to develop socially and receive balanced meals through the feeding program. Gloria’s family and the countless others in similar situations inspire us to forge ahead with the Tres Reyes project. We are excited to partner with local churches and other non-profit organizations in Cancún for the Tres Reyes Community Center project, as we work with a local engineer and architect to plan the construction and programming in the building. Our plan is to use the first floor as an all-purpose room for events such as concerts, parties, large classes, and feeding programs. There will be a kitchen on the first floor that will allow us to prepare meals for large groups, serving them either inside or outside with serving lines in both places. We will have a small computer lab on the first floor. Classrooms, offices for family and individual counseling will be situated on the second floor, as well as a medical clinic and dental clinic. A soccer field, all-sports court, and a large palapa for outdoor events and activities will be located on the lot. The community center will offer counseling opportunities, tutoring for children, continuing educational resources, medical and dental care, feeding programs, sports leagues and possibly day care. Our goal is to offer resources to a struggling community that they might not otherwise be able to access. Our hope is that by supporting the community in this practical way, we will strengthen families within the community and ultimately share the hope of Jesus Christ.
Gloria, a widow with five children, is just one of the many families who will immediately benefit from the Tres Reyes Community
Center. We still have approximately $10,000 USD left to raise for the land, before we can begin fundraising for construction of the community center. We are excited for all that God can use this property for in this community. Please pray with us that God would provide the funding to complete this project and that He would use this new facility to continue to expand His Kingdom in this community.
Full Circle Hope Students Serve as Interns by Gabo Velasco, Back2Back Mazatlan, Mexico
at Childrenâ€™s Homes
This was an incredible opportunity for students, who regularly have mission groups serving them, to use their unique talents to reach out to orphaned children in need! 13
When my wife, Kelly, and I were house parents in the Hope Education Program in Monterrey, Mexico, we were intentional to invite the teenage students in our Hope Program home to participate in ministry. I naturally thought of the Hope Program students this past spring, as we began preparing for Mazatlanâ€™s first big summer. Interns play a crucial role in helping the busy summer season run smoothly, and an internship with Back2Back is a terrific opportunity for personal and spiritual growth. This summer, we were privileged to have two Hope Education Program students from Monterrey serve alongside us at Back2Backâ€™s Mazatlan, Mexico site. This was an incredible opportunity for students, who regularly have mission groups serving them, to use their unique talents to reach out to orphaned children in need! God is moving in them, as they discover the joy of service.
Meet Leo Leo Hernandez, a student in Back2Back’s Hope Education Program in Monterrey, Mexico, has experienced God working in his life in a very real and personal way over the past year. Despite challenges in his life, Leo has also proven himself to be goal-oriented and a hard worker. After receiving a positive recommendation from Leo’s current Hope Program house parent, we invited him to participate in Back2Back’s summer internship program, serving alongside our full-time staff and volunteer groups here in Mazatlan, Mexico. During the process of preparing for his internship, Leo frequently sent me messages about how excited he was about this opportunity. While Leo and I had many conversations over the summer, one of the most significant took place soon after he arrived in Mazatlan. Leo grew up in Manantial de Amor, a children’s home in Monterrey. The Salvation Army Children’s Home, one of the homes we serve here in Mazatlan, reminded him of the children’s home where he grew up. Early in the summer, our team had the opportunity to provide respite care for the twentyfour children at Salvation Army. One night, while we were rushing around trying to get twenty-four children to bed, I quickly asked Leo to lead night time devotions. He looked at me, hesitated, and asked what he should share about. In the chaos, I didn’t give him much direction. After getting all of the little girls to their dorm, helping the kitchen crew clean-up and completing other chores, I paused to check on the boys’ dorm. Leo was sitting in a chair, with a circle of children gathered around him. They alternated between listening closely and interrupting, asking questions and chiming in as he shared with them that he also grew up in a children’s home. He has been in their place, and he knows how they feel. They shared some of the things they face at school and with their friends, and Leo was able to use what God has taught him to comfort them and speak truth into their lives that night. Every time Leo visited the Salvation Army Children’s Home this summer, the kids came running at him, full-speed, with hugs and excitement. He was their super-star and hero this summer. Before he returned to Monterrey, Leo and I had a conversation about what God says about us as His children. I asked him if he was allowing God’s words and promises to take root in his heart. Leo replied that he needed to think about it more before answering. But, there was no need for a verbal answer- I watched him living God’s truths out every day.
Meet Shirley Shirley, another Hope Education Program student, was one of the girls who had lived in our Hope Program home when Kelly and I were house parents in Monterrey, Mexico. I remember the day when she came to live with us. She was shy and reserved, trying to soak everything in. Little did I know that once she felt comfortable with us it would take an army to keep her quiet, in a good way, of course. As a house parent to Shirley, God allowed me to see incredible leadership potential in her. I remember our endless talks about what she was going to study at college over midnight snacks. We loved hearing the girls share from their heart. It was a privilege to have a chance to speak life into them and share God’s heart with them. Kelly and I consistently affirmed them, telling them that we believed in them and what God could do through their lives. All these conversations and memories came to mind this summer, when Shirley came to Mazatlan to serve with us as an intern. In that moment, I was overcome with anticipation and excitement for one of our girls to serve alongside us as an intern. She had worked as hard as any other intern to come, not really knowing what to expect, but expecting God to work in her and through her. It has been an emotional experience for Kelly and I to see Shirley growing in her faith, seeing her believe in who God says she is. On her last day in Mazatlan, we prayed for Shirley with all the other interns. I was full of joy, as she was beginning to better understand what God says about her and everything that she has to offer to His Kingdom. Seeing Shirley grow in her faith as she steps into new opportunities has given me tremendous joy. I thank God for the privilege of being a part of her life. 14
There is a childrenâ€™s book by Shel Silverstein called,
The Giving Tree. In this story, generosity is shown over and over as an
gives, and gives, and
gives of itself to the
little boy it loves.
by Hope Garcia, Back2Back Monterrey, Mexico There is a children’s book by Shel Silverstein called, The Giving Tree. In this story, generosity is shown as over and over as an apple tree gives, and gives, and gives of itself to the little boy it loves. Lucia and I were teaching our little students at Del Norte Children’s Home about true generosity through this story. When we had finished our lesson, we passed out red construction paper apples for the kids to decorate with ways they could be generous to others. I have no idea what suddenly came upon 8-year-old Juan in this moment. He went from a laughing, goodnatured boy to an obstinate soul in literally one second. Juan stood up with a hardened frown on his face and announced that he thought the activity was stupid and he just wasn’t going to do it. We talked with him nicely and then firmly and still he didn’t budge. One of our rules at the library is that if you come to class, you must participate in all the activities, not just the ones you favor. Jaun was reminded about this rule, but his countenance and opposition did not change. Juan spent the next twenty minutes under the teacher’s desk ripping his paper apple to shreds. Lucia and I ignored his behavior and attended to the other students. I have to admit, I was not feeling very generous toward Juan in this moment. This was not the first time Juan had been a challenge to me. There had been several other days when I asked him to leave the library because of his behavior. He usually left while laughing mockingly at me, no sense of remorse for the chaos he had caused. As the students finished the activity and began perusing books, I felt a slight tug on my shirt. I turned to see Juan with The Giving Tree in his hand.“Can we read this together?” he asked, once again a happy boy. Speechless, the anger shocked out of me, I nodded a “yes.” We sat on the floor and opened the cover. Page after page we read together the story of the Christ-like tree. I turned the last page, closed the cover, and much to my surprise, Juan asked for another paper apple. I watched quietly, as with a tinge of embarrassment Juan wrote on his apple, “I love you. Forgive me for what I have done.” Never in my life did I expect to see those words written out on Juan’s apple. After months of giving, coaching, disciplining, loving, and teaching these children, we were finally seeing some return and from the least likely of all. Juan stood up and took his apple over to Lucia to ask her forgiveness as well. I overheard Lucia telling him that he didn’t need to ask forgiveness for himself, but for his behavior. “Love,” she said, “God has made you a very wonderful boy and He wants your behavior to reflect that.” Juan turned toward her and asked, “Why do you call me ‘love’?” Lucia, swooped him up in a big bear hug and said,“Because you are loved!” Despite the day-in and day-out trials, God’s love is seeping into these little hearts. He is slowly removing abused hearts of stone, and replacing them with hearts of flesh. This day, for the first time, we saw that Juan’s heart was beginning
I overheard Lucia telling Juan that he didn’t need to ask forgiveness for himself, but for his behavior. She said, “God has made you a very wonderful boy and He wants your behavior to reflect that.”
to warm and the first layer of stone was cracking off.
Gervens, a nine-year old boy from Port-au-Prince is the first Haitian child to benefit from a Back2Back child sponsorship.
first child sponsor in Haiti Nine-year old Gervens lost his sight as a young child, due to a common illness. Handicapped people in Haiti are often marginalized. There, children with disabilities are especially vulnerable to being abused or tormented by other children. In an effort to protect him, Gervens’ parents kept him shut in a room in their home. In 2010, our ministry partners, Jesus in Haiti Ministries, were hosting a Vacation Bible School nearby. Gervens heard the music and escaped, scrambling outside in hopes of joining the festivities. Almost immediately, a group of children began beating him. Tom Osbeck, the Director of JIHM, heard the scuffle and rushed to Gervens’ defense. He quickly learned of Gervens’ situation. Gervens’ parents confessed that they were desperate to protect their son, but lacked any other options. Tom invited them to allow Gervens to live at his orphanage, where he is now receiving individualized care and thriving. Two weeks after Gervens left his home and moved into JIHM, the 2010 earthquake hit. It completely devastated Gervens home and the room that he had once been locked in crumbled to the ground. Gervens certainly would not have survived had he still been living there.
Meet krista: our first Child Sponsor in haiti Through Back2Back’s Child Sponsorship Program, Krista, a student at Ohio University, is contributing toward holistic orphan care for Gervens, by assisting us in meeting his spiritual, physical, educational, emotional and social needs. Krista is passionate about serving children in Haiti and jumped at the opportunity to join a recent mission trip to work alongside staff in Port-au-Prince. Krista shares more about what prompted her to sponsor Gervens, after he captured her heart on a recent mission trip.
Tell us how you met Gervens
him. The absolute blessing of being able to sponsor Gervens means the world to me. I am so thankful I am able to have an impact on a little boy who has impacted me more than he will ever know.
Do you have any plans to return to Haiti? This sponsorship is just my foot in the door into what I know I will accomplish in Haiti. I cannot wait to return in March to see Gervens and he will continue to be in my life for as long as possible.
My story begins with a 9-year old boy named Gervens. The day after we arrived in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, our group was introduced to Gervens and a staff member mentioned that the little boy was legally blind. My heart immediately dropped. This little, skinny-ascan-be boy was dealt an extremely tough life, and yet he stood there with a smile on his face and no sign of struggles at all. I felt this overwhelming sensation to go to him and introduce myself. I sat down next to him on a chair and in broken and terrible Creole, I told him my name was Krista. He grabbed my hand and held it in his, and something indescribable occurred. I felt the deepest love for this little boy and a connection that cannot be explained and I knew this was only the beginning of our friendship.
Gervens’ absolutely blew me away with how he uses his other senses to compensate for his lack in sight. I know that he will have no problem living up to his full potential and I will be praying for him along the way as he grows and continues to amaze and inspire those who are blessed to meet him. He wants to be a preacher when he is older and I know he will because he is one determined boy. I am so excited to see who he becomes.
How has sponsorship impacted your life?
official BAck2Back Haiti ministry site launch: October 14
I’m now sponsoring Gervens through the Back2Back Child Sponsorship Program and I continue to share his story with anyone who asks. I cannot wait to return to Haiti, a place that feels a lot like home to me. Although I can’t express what occurred during my first day in Haiti, I know it was God’s attempt to call me to help Gervens, a little boy who I loved from the moment I met
What are your dreams and hopes for Gervens’ future?
We are excited to announce the October 14th launch of a new Back2Back ministry site in Port-au-Prince, Haiti! Back2Back staff, Brent and Anna Fudge, are serving alongside Jesus in Haiti Ministries to provide holistic orphan care to children like Gervens. 18
india by Casey Foreman, Back2Back India In 2011, a shared desire by an educator and Back2Back to help impoverished girls from poor rural areas resulted in a children’s hostel we call Peace Home. Located on the school grounds, the facility consisted of only three rooms but provided twenty-two young girls with the start of a foundation geared to provide for their spiritual, physical, educational, emotional and social development. In the two years that followed, the girls’ educational success was remarkable as their grades were as high as many of the other children who had been attending the school for several years. In a culture where measures of performance remain very important, nearly half of our girls were scoring in the mid to upper 90% range and achieving a “rank” (placement) in the top ten of their class. Moreover, in the State of Andhra Pradesh, where this hostel is located, the literacy rate among girls is less than 50%, making this truly a cause to celebrate! What was missing, however, was the depth of care that is at the very core of what Back2Back is about. We knew that their emotional and social development was not being addressed and candidly, difficulty finding loving and qualified caregivers was also limiting our success in caring for them physically.
Following multiple conversations with our partner and with intense prayer, we mutually agreed to assume responsibility for the oversight of this hostel.We have taken dramatic steps forward in advancing our mission and meeting our passion to care for these girls holistically in a way that truly does provide care for today and hope for tomorrow. We are excited about this bold step and are taking steps necessary to ensure we remain true to our commitment to partner with in-country nationals and preserve the cultural richness of the girlsâ€™ heritage. Leveraging the resources of another childrenâ€™s ministry weâ€™ve come to know well, our first selected caregiver for this home recently began an 8-module training series to deepen her knowledge on caring for children holistically. A second caregiver will be sought and trained and we will continue the program of high-quality education that includes tutoring sessions daily, while being sure the girls get to be children too.We are seeking a suitable home that will allow the girls the space to sleep on a bed and have space for their belongings, which will help increase their sense of security. We are excited to provide deep holistic care to the girls at the Peace Home, by focusing on their spiritual, physical, educational, emotional and social needs.
by Leah Smart, Back2Back Nigeria
We arrived in Nigeria one year ago. We were intentional to seek God’s wisdom as we utilized Back2Back’s 5-Point Child Development Plan to offer individualized care to the orphaned children at Destiny Home, many of whom had suffered traumatic pasts.
Physical The physical surroundings of Destiny Home called out for change immediately. The girls’ and boys’ bathroom was the same room, just one stall designated for the girls and one for the boys. One stall didn’t work, so the pretense that the room performed its function crumbled. In our first months at Destiny, it was clear how to prioritize the funding and the manpower. With help from U.S. teams, we repaired and remodeled two bathrooms, painted school rooms, inspected and tested electrical wiring, repaired piping and restored the water supply, and built an industrial size clothesline. The tidy condition of the children’s bedrooms was completely out of sync with the condition of the bathrooms right down the hall. There are eight or ten sets of bunks, occupied by fourteen boys or girls. During the day, all beds are made, floors are cleaned and clothing is neatly folded on the child’s shelf. Today, the new bathrooms are clean. The children love the facilities. The day after the hot water heaters were installed, there was a commotion outside the girls’ bathroom; 3-year old Simi had locked herself in and refused to come out of the shower!
Educational The children’s education demands our attention. In the years before they came to Destiny, the schools in their villages could not maintain normalcy in the tense and unpredictable environment. As a result, some of the children had never attended school. 19 21
Destiny has three teachers and three classrooms, each full of children with a broad range of abilities, too much for any one teacher to manage the needs of each child. Thanks to generous donors, some children have had the opportunity to move to outside schools. Those who remain are able to receive more one-on-one attention at Destiny. Join us in praying the plan works! Fwobos is twelve years old, but he cannot read. He was relegated to the kindergarten class. Even though he is small for his age, the chairs just aren’t big enough. He wants to learn, but he grows bored and frustrated in the young class, and mostly causes trouble. This year, he will receive additional help and hopefully move up to an older class.
Spiritual The Destiny staff witness the children’s needs being met, sometimes just in time. The workers teach them it is God who provides for their needs every day. Discipleship is crucial to help them grow in their faith and face the challenges of making their way in this country and in this world. Each week, our staff holds Bible Studies for the Destiny staff, offering them an opportunity to deepen their understanding of God’s love and power in their lives.
Emotional The Back2Back 5-Point Child Development Plan helps us step back and remember the obvious needs are not the whole picture and we must attend to each child’s emotional needs. We know the current scenario, where one matron is living with the children full-time, is not ideal. Destiny Home needs a bigger facility to accommodate more full-time workers, so the children receive more caregiver attention, and the caregivers are able to have down time. This part of the plan is on our wish list. Back2Back Nigeria wants to hire a social worker or psychologist. We recognize the need for help with the children’s emotional needs after the compounding trauma of violence, abandonment, and living in an institutional setting.
Social All children have innate social needs. Wherever we can, we are striving to expose the children to field trips, visitors, and most importantly, other children. High school students often come to play with the children, bringing games and crafts. This year we will use activities called, “Play with a Purpose” to inject interactive learning opportunities into the children’s routine. The games teach lessons in cooperation, trust and empathy. In Nigeria, Back2Back’s 5-Point Child Development Plan accomplishes two fundamental purposes: helping us stay focused on what the children really need and broadening the scope of our focus beyond our initial instincts.
Jason Munafo and Patience, one of the seven students receiving vocational training in the Kisayhip Village in Nigeria.
Sustainability through Vocational Training by Jason Munafo, Back2Back Nigeria Education opens doors of opportunity to people around the world. However, in developing countries like Nigeria the positive effects of education are often mitigated due to cultural factors.
Due to political corruption and a lack of infrastructure to support industry, free enterprise is
limited and there is very little job growth. As a result, highly-educated individuals find themselves
unable to even find jobs in their field. Many Nigerians have dreams of pursuing their careers in other countries, but in most cases leaving Nigeria is not a feasible option.
career as a
To this end, it became evident that it is not enough to simply provide an education to the youth
we serve in the Kisayhip Village of Nigeria. The youth needed the opportunity to learn a life skill
our new vocational program.
or develop a trade as a means to support themselves and contribute to their community. We offered our older youth an opportunity to do just that. Seven youth are currently studying a trade of their choice. Additionally, theyâ€™ve been connected with trusted community business owners for hands-on training and mentorship. Vocational training truly is vital to sustainability in regions like the Kisayhip Village. We are hopeful for the opportunities that our vocational program will offer to youth like Patience, Naomi, and Marcus, who are learning tailoring; Ijah who is studying electrical work; Blessing who is learning catering and baking; Joe who is learning to be a mechanic; and Samuel who is studying carpentry.
This summer, youth workers led hundreds of students on trips to Back2Back sites and One21 camps. Their commitment to the kingdom of God is fueling the work of the church in the lives of youth.
Beingthe Difference for One by Chris Cox, Director of One21 Ministries
It was late into the night. On a normal camp night, students would have been settling in with their hearts full and their minds spinning about what God was doing in them and around them. Tonight was different. Some students were struggling. They had been abandoned by their parents when they were young, abused by caretakers, and had bounced between the homes of extended family and foster care homes for the past seven years. They didn’t sign up for the One21 Summer Experience; they were sent there. They didn’t come to connect to God; they came to stay out of juvenile detention. It was no surprise that on this night they had stolen money from other students as a survival tactic. It’s not the first time students have acted in desperation and it won’t be the last. What these girls didn’t realize, though, was they had been caught by some of the most loving, gracious, bondage breaking agents of reconciliation they would ever meet. . . One21 youth workers. In the coming hours, a host of One21 leaders would support, counsel, coach, and cry with these hurting girls. The result, three young ladies returned what was stolen, asked the girls in their dorm for forgiveness, and left camp believing in a Jesus of grace, mercy, love, and justice. As these three girls left the camp at the end of the week, they hugged and thanked the youth workers who had invested in them. This was just a small part of a powerful summer experience with One21, yet it reminded me of one of the most overlooked but influential roles in
Kingdom work: the youth worker. In thirteen years of ministry work, I’ve had the privilege of working alongside countless youth pastors, interns, volunteers, college students, and student leaders. I’m in awe of their sacrifice, love, commitment, and pursuit of the emerging generation. The late nights, crazy games, worship sets, small group times, retreats, camps, mission trips, confessions, baptisms, and counseling sessions these workers guide students through seems daunting. But for them, it isn’t a task – it is an adventure. This summer, youth workers led hundreds of students on trips to Back2Back sites and One21 camps. Their commitment to the kingdom of God is fueling the work of the church in the lives of youth. From the One21 Summer Experience to a week at Back2Back’s site in Monterrey, Mexico, youth workers are the catalyst for change in many students’ lives. Youth ministry isn’t a job for them; it is a mission in and of itself. I’m blessed to partner with these leaders who deny themselves, take up their cross daily, and follow Jesus. At One21 we constantly talk about “resourcing emerging generations to live like Jesus”. There is no better resource to give a student than to offer them a leader who will invest in them. For many of the students we serve, a youth pastor, intern, or youth worker will step into space abandoned by a mother or father. As One21 continues to pursue this vision, we are honored to stand alongside such great men and women serving in the church. 24
WE’LL DO IT! 2013 Theme summer mission trip highlights
by Beth Guckenberger, Back2Back Ministries, Co-Executive Director
This summer was one for the record books! Record heat, record numbers, & record extenuating circumstances.
It was the perfect summer for us to have our hands in the air in a posture of
While serving with us throughout the year, our mission trip guests explore a spiritual theme through a daily devotional study guide. This year, we are inviting our guests to join us in exploring our theme, We’ll Do It!, based on Jeremiah 42:6 (Message) Whether we like it or not, we’ll do it. We’ll obey whatever our God tells us. Yes, count on us. We’ll do it. This summer at all of our ministry sites was one for the record books! Record heat, record numbers, and record extenuating circumstances. It was the perfect summer for us to have our hands in the air in a posture of “Pick me!” At the summer’s end, as always, the staff teams circle up and share their highlights. These highlights include the number of children now in sponsorship relationships and the groups who are committed and passionate about a specific home or project. As we talked, we found ourselves thankful to eyewitness more Hope Education Program graduations and Hope Education Program students who sacrificed their summer to serve alongside of us at our various ministry sites. We thank Jesus for the interns whose lives will be forever marked by the summer they spent pouring out for Him. It was a joy to be in their stories! We had more local volunteers than ever before and we are hoping our culture of hospitality and service becomes contagious in their families and churches. There are teams who took trips across the ocean to serve alongside the staff in India and they continue to allow themselves to be stretched in serving a record number of Indian children. We enjoyed evenings of worship and prayer with each other and the teams who joined us and the we’ll-do-it attitude was evident as all of us faced spiritual healing, new beginnings and old wounds. The you-can-count-on-us spirit was clear during work projects when bodies were wearing out, and on field trips where we were hot and lost. It was there when boilers broke and donors stepped in and workers grew tired and staff filled gaps. Students, staff, guests and even the children offered themselves one to another and ultimately, to the Lord. Hands still raised, even now, we are all different. We lean better on each other. We trust more, waiting a bit more patiently for the Lord’s hand to move. We listen more closely. We have our feet pointed in the right direction and there is an army beside us. Thank you for joining us this year as we say, “Yes.” This story is still unfolding! Download the Back2Back devotional at www.back2back.org/2013/05/well-do-it
reflections Hyderabad, India Monterrey, MeXico
Lisa Taulbee Mission Trip Participant
We had an amazing week witnessing God working in and through the lives of our team. We would definitely do it over again! Our extended worship time at Back2Back’s campus highlighted our trip. I was so glad, as a youth pastor, that our experiences with the children and with poverty were the catalysts for our team to experience God working in their lives. Thankfully, the experiences God gave us at the children’s homes and at Rio3 softened our hearts so we could worship God and hear from Him in a fresh way. We were humbled to be used by God to serve Him that week.
I recently went to India with Back2Back to meet the little girl I sponsor through Back2Back’s Child Sponsorship Program. Meeting Shireesha was such a sweet experience that I will cherish forever. Not only was meeting my sponsored child an incredible moment, but the whole trip, from beginning to end, was unforgettable. The people, the culture, the children, the children’s homes, the food, the music, the colors, the clothing...It was all around one of the coolest places I’ve ever been. God’s presence was overwhelmingly evident in the work we were doing there. Our team was blessed to love on these children and to show them hope, but what the children don’t realize is that they filled our hearts with love and hope as well. God is so good. I can’t wait to go back.
Andrew Smiley Mission Trip Participant
mazatlan, MeXico Andy Schmidt Mission Trip Participant
This summer, several other occupational and physical therapists and I had the privilege of helping the kids in a special needs children’s home in Mazatlan. Our goal was to evaluate the children and develop treatment plans for them so that the Back2Back staff and children’s home workers would be able to better help them improve. When we got there, we were all surprised at the fact that even though the children were not in the best physical condition or setting, they were always cheerful and excited. Whenever we saw them, they were smiling at us and never seemed down. It was very motivating for me to see the children here who had nothing, but were living examples of the command to “be joyful always.”
Aimee Logeman Mission Trip Participant I am convinced that God loves a surprise, especially when it means shocking those who believe they can predict Him. Before my journey to Haiti, which marked my seventh mission trip, I envisioned the manual labor, cute kids, and group closeness that existed in previous trips. However, I felt a resistance to Haiti and even some bitterness that the college group from my church was not returning to our Back2Back site from last year. On the third day of the trip, I met several 12-year-old boys. As I watched my friends entertain the little ones, I conversed with these young men who treated their time with me as if I were a queen. We laughed together as we taught each other how to count in our native tongues and spent hours taking pictures of ourselves. In a divine and unpredictably beautiful way, my interactions with these boys bonded my heart to Haiti.
Cancun, Mexico Jill McGraw Mission Trip Participant
I would like to share with you, through our team’s experiences, a theme that was evident to all of us who had the privilege of serving in Cancun in July was: the one matters. “It’s time for VBS!”, calls Rossy, a partner with Back2Back, as she walks through the streets of her impoverished community. Children run out from their homes to follow this vibrant woman who radiates Jesus. The picture we see in this is Jesus walking through the streets and children flocking to Him, following him, desiring to be near Him...because the one matters. While at church, a community center in Bonfil, we had an amazing time of prayer where a Back2Back intern received a miracle and her foot was healed in the powerful name of Jesus as the team prayed over her...because the one matters. We watched as women who are widowed worked incredibly hard to provide for their children, sacrificing on their behalf. It touched our hearts...because the one matters.
We saw the generosity of a beautiful woman of God who has so little materially in the world’s eyes give away her personal belongings, not because she had to but because she got to, because she knows in God’s eyes that she has all of her riches of Christ Jesus...because the one matters. At Casa Hagar San Jose, a children’s home for girls, we worked hard that day, but the “picture of the day” came while doing face painting for the children. We observed how tenderly one of the girls held the face of a team member while so carefully applying the paint on her face and we see love...because the one matters. All for the one who matters!
YOu are never too young to serve by Claire Rogers, Back2Back, U.S. Office
How 1.3 Million Children Came Together to Serve the Orphan
If you’ve ever served alongside your children, then you’ve witnessed the enthusiasm that children feel when they know they’re helping others. Last summer, Back2Back had the opportunity to spark that same passion for service while growing orphan care awareness in the minds and hearts of 1.3 million children. Back2Back Ministries teamed-up with Standard Publishing, a top publisher of Vacation Bible School curriculums, to offer a new service-oriented Vacation Bible School curriculum for 2013. Through God’s Backyard Bible Camp and the Mission Project Pack students engaged in interactive service opportunities in their own backyard that directly benefited the orphans Back2Back serves in Mexico. The curriculum included a series of videos featuring Beth Guckenberger, in which she shares the memorable story of Joel, an orphan who lives in a children’s home in Monterrey. You might remember this powerful story from Beth’s book, Tales of the Not Forgotten, in which Joel asks God for the impossible – a steak dinner for the orphanage – and He faithfully and miraculously delivers. The hallmark of this particular Vacation Bible School was the interactive service element; this experiential tool empowered kids to raise money to meet the critical needs of orphans, such as food for a month, shoes or school supplies. Children poured out their hearts to raise funds for the children we serve. We were encouraged by the passion of thousands of Vacation Bible School kids, who hosted lemonade stands, did extra chores, emptied their piggy banks, and sacrificed at great lengths all in the name of orphan care. Tens of thousands of churches throughout the U.S. and Canada participated. 1.3 million children attended the VBS and heard from Beth each day, as she shared the powerful story of how God showed up in Joel’s life. Of those churches, 334 purchased the Mission Project Pack, extending an opportunity to their kids to raise funds for the children we serve and be a part of the orphan care solution. Stories are streaming in from churches whose kids discovered the thrill of serving others. At Bethlehem Assembly of God in Valley Stream, New York, a 6 year old boy, arrived at the last session of VBS with a large bag full of change. He said, “I’ve been saving up all my money for the past two years to go to Disney World, but I want to give it all to the orphans in Mexico.” Children’s pastors used this curriculum as an opportunity to reinforce an important message: you are never too young to serve. Our prayer and hope is these children will understand God’s heart for the orphan child. A quick glance at the numbers is encouraging. In total, 334 churches participated in the Mission Project Pack. An incredibly diverse sampling of churches participated, diverse in size, denomination and geographical region – from a small Mennonite church in South Dakota to a Baptist mega-church in Dallas to a large Korean-American church in New Jersey, representing 39 U.S. States, 4 Canadian provinces and 1.3 million kids. Despite the differences in background, the common denominator is clear and encouraging: churches committed to stand for the orphan child and kids who will forever know that they can make an impact on the world and be a part of something larger than themselves. Thank you to the countless churches, who came alongside us to accomplish that vision. We are humbled by your generosity. Back2Back is thrilled to, once again, have the opportunity to partner with Standard Publishing to offer serviceoriented curriculum for children for summer 2014: Jungle Safari Vacation Bible School. Learn more at www. vacationbibleschool.com 29
Over 334 churches participated in 2013 Vacation Bible School God’s Backyard Bible Camp representing 39 U.S. States, 4 Canadian provinces and 1.3 million kids.
Saturdays 10 am EST sirius XM 131
with beth & rob by Beth Guckenberger, Back2Back Ministries, Co-Executive Director
The Sirius/XM Radio show that Dr. Rob Hall and I have been hosting for the last year and a half on Saturdays, channel 131, has afforded us the opportunity to have conversations with thought leaders and authors, missionaries and orphan care advocates from around the world. These shows are all archived on www.reallifewithbethandrob.com, as well as itunes and we wanted to highlight some of our most popular episodes for you. We have spoken with well-known authors, like Josh McDowell, Bob Goff, Ken Blanchard, Paul Young, Anne Lamott, Gary Thomas, Mark Schultz, Audio Adrenaline, Jen Hatmaker, Phil Cooke, Leslie Parrot, Todd Henry, and David Kinnaman. We have asked them questions about their faith, and the issues God has placed on their hearts to share with the church. A few episodes even highlight Back2Back and address real time events at our specific sites, introducing our listeners to the ministry and inviting them to engage in child sponsorship and orphan care advocacy. We have asked leaders in poverty and orphan care to share their best practices. These have included the authors of When Helping Hurts, Global Orphan Crisis and We Are Not Heroes, as well as the host of the Poverty Cure series. We have spoken with staff from International Justice Mission, Orphan Justice, Destiny’s Rescue, Christian Alliance for Orphans and Lifesong for Orphans. We are gathering momentum, as we share our experiences with listeners. It is our hope that these conversations will inspire you to share ideas with friends and family throughout your day. We invite you, our extended family, to listen as we dialogue with some of today’s top leaders.
To listen to past shows visit www.reallifewithbethandrob.com or download on itunes - search podcasts for “real life with beth and rob”
Real Life with Beth and Rob
Back2Back Ministries P.O. Box 70 Mason, OH 45040
Orphan Sunday is an internationally recognized day, calling the church to respond. God has written dozens of promises for orphans, promises to come to them, hear them and lift them up, to be their helper, make them a home and maintain their cause. He promises to defend them and is inviting us, His church to fulfill those promises for the orphan today. Like-minded advocates all over the world will be gathering to pray, give and learn about how they can get involved in this movement. Join together within the faith communities where you serve. On November 3, lead them in conversations of orphan advocacy and intercession. For Orphan Sunday resources, www.orphansunday.org and www.back2back.org/orphansunday