Something Worth Celebrating

Feb 25, 2016

Ben Riggs

A tired road leads from the highway into Tres Reyes. Storefronts and hollow buildings rest under layers of dust. Signs and advertisements, once proud with crimson coke-bottle reds and bright highlighter yellows, sport worn and weary colors.

Further down the tired road, a crowd has formed outside a gate. Dozens of families in button-ups, dresses, and even a suit, talk together and look through the gate. Little Valentina, wearing her favorite purple dress, waits anxiously with her mom, dad, and brother. Emily, in her blue Back2Back shirt, opens the gate and welcomes Valentina’s family in with hugs and high-fives. More families funnel in behind them.

As Valentina walks in, she hears music and sees a sea of orange, green, blue, red, and yellow erupt in front of her. Balloons and streamers, alternating in exuberant color, cover the property of the new Community Center of Tres Reyes. This day, February 20th, is Celebration Day and there’s much to celebrate.

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For over four years, Back2Back Cancun has ministered to the families of Tres Reyes, in addition to many others in Bonfil and Cancun. Beginning with weekly classes in a local pastor’s church, Back2Back slowly began working on a home and a local church building, learning more about the community and its families. Three years ago things took a turn toward the incredible.

In November 2013, after years of vision casting and dreaming, ground was broken on a barren plot of land to make way for a new community center. Its main building would later be named after the legacy of a key Back2Back supporter, Judy Morand. After years of construction with thousands of volunteers, gallons of paint, buckets of concrete, and uncounted hours of prayer, it was party time.

Tired from hours of running between game stations and the ice cream cart, Valentina sits in the multi-purpose room with tacos. Inside, over two hundred people gather around brightly colored tables to share stories and watch the video of photos capturing the past years of ministry in Tres Reyes. She smiles at a picture of her with a mission trip guest from last summer. Valentina’s mom sits and talks with two other families as they finish their meal. A Back2Back volunteer comes to check on their table.

With a full belly and heavy eyelids, Valentina gets up with her family as the celebration comes to a close. As she leaves through the gate, her small hand carefully clasps a long string with five bright balloons. She walks down the road in her favorite purple dress. But it’s not hard to see her. All you have to look for amid the dust and faded signs is a small, but bright collection of colors wandering into Tres Reyes. They’re the brightest colors this street has seen in awhile, and they’re carried in Valentina’s little hand.

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Ben and his wife Emily Riggs are site-staff with Back2Back Cancun. He serves with missions teams, Back2Back's Child Sponsorship Program, and tries to keep up with the stories God is writing in Cancun. He's baffled by the grandeur of words, story, and their Author. He's also overly attached to coffee, Charlie Brown, conversations, and story-based blogs.

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