It was Father’s Day, and the staff in Monterrey was determined to rewrite the meaning of this day for the orphaned and vulnerable children they served.
“We wanted the children to understand they had a Father who would never leave them, who has always held them in the palms of His hands,” shared Beth Guckenberger. “We were hoping to spend the day celebrating His love, instead of grieving what was missing.”
Every home came together on the Monterrey campus under a large circus tent. There was music playing through the speakers, skirt steak grilling for tacos, soccer games and swimming happening and the air held a sense of a family reunion. When the evening program started, Beth gave a short talk about their Father who would never forsake or forget them, and then opened up the microphone for children to share how they’ve seen Him provide.
One of the young girls put her hand straight into the air waited patiently to be called on. When it was her turn, her conviction rang through every word. Adi Leslie grabbed the microphone and spoke resolutely of God’s love for them all, “God is my true Father and yours! We can trust Him to care for us and love us. I celebrate Him today.”
As Beth recounted that moment from many years ago, “Everyone started to cheer, it was like a pep rally for Jesus.” She shook her head, “Adi Leslie was a force, even then- powerful, not afraid to say what she believed, a real bright light.”
Adi Leslie has been a part of Back2Back Ministries most of her life. Before joining the Hope Program, she lived in a Back2Back-partner home. Hope Garcia, Back2Back staff, remembers Adi Leslie when she was younger, “Adi Leslie was very outgoing. She was always the first to initiate with visiting mission teams, and tried to speak the little English she knew. It endeared her to everyone who crossed her path.”
While Adi Leslie’s charisma pulled people in, it was her love for God that people remembered most. She would voluntarily pray for visiting teams before they left, and often remembered specific details about people– tucking them away to ask about later.
“In all the time I’ve known Adi Leslie, t God has had His hand on her,” shared Hope. “I used to tell her how excited I was to see her life unfold, and what God would do through her.”
It was 2019, and Adi Leslie’s red gown stood out against the green grass and blue sky. Surrounded by people who loved and supported her, she held the rope of the graduation bell in her hand delicately, taking in the moment. Giving one strong tug, the sound reverberated through the sky, ricocheting off the mountains. Adi Leslie had graduated, and she wanted everyone to know.
Now armed with a bachelor’s degree in marketing, she is working full-time for a bank in Monterrey, and enjoying her many international colleagues. Her road to graduation wasn’t always smooth, but Adi Leslie was supported by the love and encouragement of adults who knew what she capable of.
Adi Leslie’s story began early with Back2Back – a spunky young girl who grew into a woman that trusts God with each step. Today, living out her dream, she is using the degree she worked tirelessly for, still impacting those she interacts with, believing her Father loves her.