My name is Corrie Guckenberger. I moved from Jos, Nigeria and Monterrey, MX to the US Corporate Office, and my role is Ministry Partner Development Coach and Staff Care Representative. I’ve been on staff with Back2Back since 2005.
1. Why did you join Back2Back?
For me, this is a difficult question to respond to without acknowledging my husband, John, also had a call. I’d always wanted to be a missionary, since 1994 when I went on a CRU summer project to Albania, and we showed the Jesus Film. I saw miracles firsthand that summer. Miracles I only thought happened in the New Testament, Acts church, not today. The Lord shifted my heart that summer, so I could see a bigger picture of what He was doing all around the world. I had a choice to make – be a part, or just move forward with “my plan.” Fast forward 9 years – I got married, had three children, and prayed the Lord would call John to the mission field. We had spent the last 9 years, without fail, taking others to the mission field through annual trips. It was when I finally “surrendered” my heart for missions that the Lord called my husband. We sold everything we had and moved 6 months later to Monterrey, MX.
2. What have you learned since coming on staff?
I’ve learned no matter where I lived, eventually it became my “norm.” My neighborhood, my market place, my church people and places… that without an internal revival of the heart, complacency can be found anywhere on this Earth. I have also learned what I am doing now, in my coaching role, is the perfect environment for discipleship. I have learned in each of my locations, the Lord continues to use relationship to strengthen and prepare people for what is to come next.
3. Share a funny/embarrassing moment when the culture you’re familiar with was met with new cultural traditions?
Well, it may not be funny, however we now use it in our cross-cultural training! John, our son, Gus, and I were shopping in the Nigerian market one day, when we came across some fireworks. We were spending our first summer serving there and wanted to surprise the interns with a “halfway through summer” party – the American 4th of July. My husband wasn’t very excited, but eventually Gus and I convinced him this would be “so fun” – why would they sell fireworks if you shouldn’t use them?!
Well, we had our party and lit off fireworks near the end. Within 10 minutes, our entire compound was surrounded by the Nigerian SWAT team. They had heard we were being attacked, as our neighbors immediately called the SWAT Team to come and help us when they heard the “gunfire.”
We later learned we should’ve told our neighbors we were going to be lighting off fireworks, so when they heard loud sounds, they would be assured no one was being hurt, we were just celebrating an American holiday! We learned a valuable lesson in reconciliation that day! I would like to say we strengthened our neighbor relationships that night…
4. What’s something you’ve learned that you’ll keep with you forever?
“You never know what someone is walking through, so just be kind.” I would say this anytime I connected with any relationships in Monterrey, Nigeria, or Cincinnati. As I would sit down and listen to people share their burdens and thoughts, I realized we are all the same, no matter the location: we all hurt, we all need a Savior, we are all working through our own pasts, and we all desire to serve. Sometimes things just get messed up. Kindness can go a long way in communicating the Gospel to the person across from you.