Stories of Impact

Global Orphan Care

Mario
Luckson
  • Place and Cultural Context
  • A Day in the Life
  • Take the Next Step

Monterrey, Mexico

Back2Back serves orphans and vulnerable children in Monterrey, Mexico by partnering with individuals, schools, churches, civic groups, and businesses. Monterrey is the capital city of the northeastern state of Nuevo León in Mexico. Located 150 miles south of the U.S. border, Monterrey is surrounded by the breathtaking Sierra Madre Mountains. There is a large separation between the wealthy and poor in Monterrey, with very few people considered “middle class.” It is difficult to break the cycle of poverty since public education ends after the 9th grade. As a result, unemployment rates are high, and the national minimum wage is less than $5 a day. In Mexico, children age out of orphanages in 9th grade when free public schooling ends - long before most children are ready to transition to independent living.

Back2Back founded the Hope Program to offer vulnerable children an opportunity to pursue higher education in a family environment, and ultimately a means to break free from the generational cycle of poverty that is all too common. With that in mind, Back2Back invites children who are on the brink of aging out of the homes to live on the ministry campus and participate in the Hope Program. Living in a family-style setting with house parents, students are mentored, supported through scholarships and tutoring, and encouraged to finish high school and college. The Hope Program is a critical alternative for teenagers like Mario who would otherwise have limited options.

A Day in the Life

Mario was left him at Douglas Children's Home in Monterrey, Mexico when he was just 3 years old. While there, Mario wrestled with anger, distrust and depression. He coped by staying busy, playing with friends and spending time with mission groups from Back2Back. He did anything to deflect the pain and distract himself.
Mario's older sister, who was also at the home, and his caregiver, Lorena, were lifelines in the midst of his hurt – comforting him, praying over him, reading him Bible stories.
(Mario, first row, 2nd from the left) In 2010, Mario was invited into Back2Back's Hope Program just down the street from his children's home. Through new friendships, spiritual retreats, nurturing house parents and discipleship, Mario began to experience God in remarkable ways opening his heart to the possibility of forgiveness for his mom.
Mario experienced true joy while serving in Cancun on a mission trip with other Hope Program students. God planted a desire within him to serve children who were processing trauma similar to his own. Mario returned home more peaceful and centered. God continued transforming his heart in the weeks following that trip.
Not long after returning from Cancun, Mario sat in church listening to a message on forgiveness – a theme that seemed to keep resurfacing in his life. As the pastor spoke, God stirred Mario’s heart. He felt as if God told him, You need to forgive your mom – your lack of forgiveness is you back.
During a powerful time of worship at a student retreat, Mario cried out to God. “God, if you’re here, show yourself to me and do something with my life.” As Mario began to finally face his hardness toward his mom, he felt overcome with God’s presence, and the grip of bitterness began to release. Mario’s life, like most, did not follow a straight path from there. He continued to grow in his faith, but also experienced seasons of discouragement and doubt. Mario began to spiral downward until he realized his future in the Hope Program was in jeopardy unless he dealt with his difficult past. For the next year, Mario participated in counseling, where he began to sift through his past.
That night, in the quiet of his room, he finally picked up the phone. “I will never forget the day,” Mario said. “When she answered, I cried and couldn't believe I was actually speaking to her.” Mario remembers how nervous he felt when he asked if they could meet and how relieved he felt when she quickly agreed. After the call, Mario surrendered the situation to God in prayer. He was ready to start fresh.
A few days later, the two reunited after over a decade apart. Mario ran and wrapped his arms around her. They both began to softly cry. Tears streaming down his cheeks, he whispered, “I forgive you. Everything that happened is all in the past.” That day, he felt a sense of closure from years of heartache. In the months that followed, Mario's friends watched a quiet transformation as he was released from bitterness. Mario had finally found peace.
God isn’t finished with Mario. Recently, he graduated from Back2Back’s Hope Program and moved into his first apartment. He is transitioning from dependence to independence, continuing to visit his mom, growing in his relationship with God and serving others in his community. Last year, he served in Haiti where his story took on a new meaning, as God used him to bring hope and healing to boys from another country. He is searching for a job in communications and considering pursuing a post-graduate Biblical Studies degree. He knows that God will see him through with His steadfast love, He has proven that to Mario time and time again.
  • Place and Cultural Context
  • A Day in the Life
  • Take the Next Step

Port-au-Prince, Haiti

January marked five years since a devastating earthquake rocked the tiny island of Haiti. While the rubble has finally cleared, daily life is still a struggle for many who call Haiti home. The poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere is plagued by a slew of social issues common to 3rd world countries – political corruption, food scarcity, suffocating heat, inadequate housing, extreme poverty, not to mention lack of education, health care, electricity and clean water. Since 2012, Back2Back has been in the trenches serving orphans and vulnerable children in Haiti - equipping and empowering children’s homes through a team of dedicated staff, skilled volunteers, and child sponsors.

Harvest Care Children's Home in Port-au-Prince is on the front-end of change. It’s been two years since Back2Back first forged a relationship with Harvest Care and partnered with volunteers to transform the conditions of the home. Today, the change reaches far beyond the physical improvements. There is a noticeable difference in the quality of care for children who call Harvest Care home. Hurting children, like 10-year old Luckson, are growing and healing as staff and trained professionals care for children with a more holistic approach - addressing spiritual, physical, educational, emotional and social needs.

A Day in the Life

Luckson wakes up ready to begin a new day. With one last yawn, he surveys his bright surroundings and decides to spend just one more minute snuggled under his soft cozy covers before joining his friends for breakfast. Since he first arrived at Harvest Care Children’s Home at age three, Luckson has grown to be an energetic, fun-loving boy who loves meeting new people, swimming, soccer, and learning.
Children like Luckson were quickly sponsored through Back2Back’s Child Sponsorship Program, meeting basic everyday needs. For the first time, caregivers had the resources to supplement the children’s diet ensuring they received balanced meals and daily vitamins. Staff and volunteers quickly noticed a marked improvement in the their overall health and energy levels.
Today, the children are healthy and strong. The pantry is fully stocked and the shelves of the fridge are lined with fresh fruits and vegetables. With full bellies, children like Luckson are finally able to concentrate in school – thriving academically.
Two short years ago, the concrete walls, the dusty ground and murky swamp surrounding the shell of a building was jarring. The interior of Harvest Care was stark too - bare and sparsely furnished. The children relied on a basic outdoor kitchen and a lone outdoor bathroom. Staff and mission teams began filling the swamp with truckloads of gravel, building bunk beds for each child, outfitting the home with a new kitchen, laying a cement patio in place of sharp rocks, building a playground and outfitting indoor plumbing. Today, the property looks vastly different from just two short years ago.
Staff engage with each child through intentional play and meaningful interactions, nurturing them, carving out a space of safety and love for them to grow socially and emotionally. No longer distracted by basic needs, Luckson scopes out the next pick-up game of soccer, running a little freer, laughing a little louder.
Education is paramount and a team of staff and volunteers offer individualized academic support based on assessments of child's specific needs. Staff provide critical support to children like Luckson, offering ongoing tutoring and homework assistance to ensure children are on target academically.
God is moving in the hearts of the children of Harvest Care, using caregivers, mission trips guests and staff to continue to provide crucial care and support. In the midst of a country struggling to recover from the devastation of an earthquake, Harvest Care continues to transform. Children like Luckson are receiving deep holistic care – spiritually, physically, educationally, emotionally and socially. Sixteen lives, sixteen boys and girls, know they are loved. They are not forgotten. They are sons and daughters of a big God who sees and loves them.

Take the Next Step

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