My name is Carly Glista. I live in Cincinnati, Ohio, and my role is Strategic Partnerships, with a focus on emerging generations! I have been on staff with Back2Back for five years.
Why did you join Back2Back?
Like all great stories begin, when I was 12-years old, I was watching Oprah with my mom. She was interviewing missionaries who’d had encounters with angels. It was then I decided that, along with being an actress, I would be a missionary, too. 3 years later, I took my first mission trip with Back2Back to Monterrey, Mexico. Under that big saddleback mountain, I was asked to care for an 18-month old boy, for the day, who’d been dropped off three days earlier at a children’s home. His caregiver shared he’d not shown any emotion or expression since his arrival, but by the end of the day, he was smiling, laughing, and crying. As I handed him back to his caregiver at the end of the day, I realized it was the hardest thing I’d ever done in my 15 years of life, and it was the first moment I felt an urge to be a mom, a desperate desire to care for and protect someone else. While my brain flashed with images of finishing high school with an adopted son and a much altered life, what actually happened was God planted a tiny piece of His heart for the orphaned and vulnerable child in my own heart that day. For the next decade, I dreamt of one day wearing a Back2Back shirt with “Staff” on the back, and when the day finally arrived, the ache I felt toward vulnerable kids was replaced with peace; my heart still aches for children from hard places, but I’m confident I’m in the center of God’s will for me, doing what I can, until every child is known and loved.
What have you learned since coming on staff?
Since coming on staff, I’ve learned that as long as these emerging generations are with us, the future of our world is bright. I have a front row seat every day, to Millennials and Gen Z, and if you could see what I see, hear what I hear, you would be blown away. So many of them care deeply about social justice, the well-being of all humans, and bringing the Kingdom of Jesus to this earth. If the news is getting to you and your outlook is bleak, take a mission trip with them, and the Lord will renew you with fresh hope.
Share a funny/embarrassing moment when the culture you’re familiar with was met with new cultural traditions?
My most embarrassing moment thus far has been the fault of my Spanish-speaking skills. While chatting with caregivers in a children’s home in Monterrey, I was sharing with them an embarrassing moment that had happened to me. I told them I was “embarazada”. Unfortunately, this word means pregnant in Spanish. They were very shocked and confused, then laughed at me for a very long time. I generally don’t talk about embarrassing moments in Spanish anymore, just to be safe!
What’s something you’ve learned while on staff that you’ll keep with you forever?
Thanks to my fellow staff who are Mexican, I’ve learned to share. To share when I have much, to share when I have very little, to share even when it isn’t convenient for me, to share when I don’t even know the person. If I have it, it’s an opportunity to invite someone in and bless them, even if just for a moment.