Mexico’s Children, by Ben Rickert, Back2Back Mission Trip Participant

Last year, the American media was obsessed with Mexican crime. Throughout the year, our Michigan airwaves were packed with stories depicting horrible acts of gang violence and warnings that Mexico’s government was unable to control the drug trade. That may or may not be true, but many people were canceling their vacations and many students involved with Riverview Church and our campus ministry were having second thoughts about traveling to Monterrey to serve with Back2Back during Michigan State University’s spring break.

Still, about thirty students made plans to travel anyway, and as we were making the arrangements I did some research and was shocked to learn that illegal drugs are among Mexico’s most profitable exports and that the United States is the biggest customer. I was amazed to hear such harsh criticism confidently coming from the country that shares at least half the blame. I then knew that our local airwaves needed the rest of the story, so I packed my digital recorder and headed to Mexico. What I learned by speaking with leaders of Back2Back and the orphanages there is that this greater story of addiction and unrest is directly related to the rising number of abandoned children in Mexico.

The final radio piece about Back2Back that I worked on gained some attention after being aired a handful of times by MSU’s radio station 89FM, “The Impact”, and actually just received an award from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters! It’s exciting to see the project gain support, but it’s more exciting to know that word is getting out about these kids in Mexico. They are real, live kids with real lives. They like to color, kick soccer balls, and eat ice cream and their needs will remain even longer than the American media will stay interested in their country’s needs. To help them, it will take commitment on a personal and spiritual level, like Back2Back taught us (and we were all perfectly safe the whole time, by the way!). It will also take a large-scale decision on the part of both countries to put aside selfishness before we see vast improvements in all of these problems. I hope you enjoy and are challenged by the piece and I am grateful for Back2Back’s help in this project.

Listen to the radio piece about Back2Back.