It All Started With “Yes”

Jun 6, 2018

Beth Guckenberger

As we crested over the hill to the Rancho de los Niño’s property in Mazatlán, Mexico, I could see the rooftops of the new homes Back2Back was constructing for the sixteen children with disabilities living there. My eyes couldn’t help but fill with tears as we pulled in. It had been months since I had been there last and what was once a drawing on paper, was now reality.

I bounded up the front porch stairs, grabbing my phone from my pocket. Pulling up Todd’s number, I tried to FaceTime him, but he didn’t answer. Employing our secret answer-this-call-emergency code, I dialed again and he it picked up, clearly in the middle of a meeting. With a concerned look on his face, he asked “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing is wrong,” I answered, panning the phone around the room, so he could see firsthand the almost completed construction. I turned the phone back to my face, as I answered “Everything is just perfect.” We looked at each other for a moment as he realized where I was standing and sighed, so much going through both of our minds. “Show me around,” he said simply.

Interrupting his meeting, he allowed me to take them on a jostled tour of the homes, as they oohed and awed over each detail.

“Here they will sit as a family…”
“This is where they can bathe in a chair…”
“Look how wide this doorframe is…”
“See how bright these bedrooms are…”
“These stairs will be perfect for him…”

On and on, we delighted in the work staff and donors, architects and teams had all collaborated on over the last year, to send one giant message to sixteen vulnerable children: you are worth it.

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It’s been a journey for the ministry, as we’ve assumed responsibility for the full-time care of medically fragile and developmentally delayed children. We studied the Scriptures for clarity on the calling. We consulted with doctors to constantly improve their prognosis. We labored in all these ways on their behalf, believing God deeply loves them and wants to demonstrate His love through careful, competent care.

We talked excitedly to each other about children who would grow up there and donors who we wanted to see it. We talked about staff who make excellence their goal and caregivers whose jobs will get easier in the new facility. We dreamt of families who would use Rancho as a resource, feeling strong enough to keep their disabled child in their home.

Finally, I had to hang up and Todd smiled gratefully at me. “Tell them I will be there next month. I want to see first hand Ricky walk into his room, and Chuy sit at his own kitchen table. I want to thank Adam for his project management and Ethan for his advocacy. There are so many people impacted by this story. That’s how you know God is in it.”

“Yes” was all I said as a goodbye to them.

Yes was how it all started. Yes to a relationship with strong national partners. Yes to pursuing the children’s full-time care. Yes by donors who invested in children not their own. Yes to hiring more quality staff. Yes to an ambitious building project. Yes to a future we can’t imagine. Yes.

Beth is an author, speaker and mom. She and her husband, Todd, serve as Co-Executive Directors of Back2Back Ministries. Beth frequently travels and speaks at conferences drawing on her vast experiences with adoption, foster care, spiritual care, and non-profit leadership, serving and living internationally for over 15 years. Between biological, foster, and adopted children, Beth and Todd have raised ten children.

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