On Saturday, November 8th, over 1,000 individuals shared an evening to collectively celebrate a story bigger than themselves: one of God’s redemptive work in the lives of children around the world. A Night of Hope was more than a banquet – it was a gathering of old and new friends each invested in ways to learn, serve, give or advocate on behalf of the orphan and vulnerable child.
Guests were greeted with an opportunity to connect with U.S. and international staff, browse the international market, and view a gallery of photos of children Back2Back serves around the world. The reception hour concluded with many connections made and new ones formed. Dinner was served with a welcome and blessing from Back2Back Ministries Executive Director, Todd Guckenberger, and international site directors, Daniel Asama and Antonio Garcia.
Beth Guckenberger, Co-Executive Director of Back2Back Ministries, took the stage to share inspiring biblical teaching of God’s movement on behalf of the fatherless before welcoming the featured guests of the evening. Rob Hall, Director of Development, joined Beth in interviewing four Hope Program students, Rogelio, Mario, Shirley, and Shannen, and one graduate, Gaby, all from Monterrey, Mexico. One by one, they shared excerpts from their real-life stories of transformation.
As each student spoke, nervousness was quickly replaced with strength and conviction. Their stories and lessons learned were spoken from the heart, in such a way, the audience felt they were very much a part of the story they were telling. When asked about her recent mission trip to Haiti, Shirley Suarez said, “I went to share love, but all I heard from God was how much He loved me and wanted to restore my heart. The more I told the kids how God saw them, the more I realized how He sees me.”
Shannen Brown explained, “There isn’t one of us who wouldn’t have wanted to be part of a family. But we have accepted God’s sovereignty that this was not our story. When I was in Haiti, I realized I am not an abandoned girl. I have always had a Father parenting me. I realized He uses people who are broken. Those hard parts are what He uses.”
“I’m so grateful to the Lord for Back2Back,” Mario Hernandez concluded. “They helped me manage my story and prepare for what is next.”
While listening to each brave student speak, guests nodded in understanding, realizing God rescues, redeems and reconciles each of us in miraculous ways. “We don’t have to wait until heaven to cheer people on. We can be a cloud of witnesses now,” Beth Guckenberger encouraged. She explained each story shared is the result of years of mentorship, sponsorship letters, face-to-face visits from teams, and countless other ways individuals have encouraged along the way.
Ultimately, each person in the room spent time in God’s greater redemptive story. “Tonight was the perfect opportunity to put God on display. We prayed for Him to be glorified throughout the evening,” shared Todd Guckenberger. “I am humbled to be sitting here in a room filled with over 1,000 people all united for the orphan child. We are so grateful.”
For those who were not able to come, please enjoy a recorded version of the evening by clicking here. Please select “Archived” to view the event. We hope you enjoy the message from A Night of Hope, which encapsulates all God is doing through the work of Back2Back Ministries.