Stories from the Field

A Blessing in Disguise

Connection has been something we’ve all craved at some point in 2020. Across the world, staff have diligently worked to provide connection for vulnerable children and families as various mandated lockdowns have been followed. In one part of Cancun, the story is the same – families have followed procedures set forth by their government, which meant no community gathering, no designated time for moms to come together and debrief their weeks, and fathers worked when they could, but didn’t do much outside of their homes, either. Back2Back staff didn’t want this to deter any growth in community and relationship and decided to take steps to implement intentionality when and where they could.

Dan Ucherek, a father, husband, and staff member in Cancun, started a texting group with the dads served in two Cancun communities. “The moms we serve have worked hard at community and getting to know each other from the beginning,” shared Amy Kelly, Back2Back staff. “For the dads, it hasn’t come as naturally, and some of them have been slow to come around and invest, but the men on staff are taking small steps, and we can see the ripple effects, even during this strange time.”

Dan sends out a devotional to the dads in their text group and checks in with them throughout the week. His goal is, once programming starts back up, to have an in-person father’s group. Over the course of not meeting in person, one of the dads (picture above) tested positive for COVID-19, and Dan intentionally kept in touch with him to see how he was and what he and his family needed.

What started as a setback for the father and his family ultimately was a gift – testing positive, and the subsequent check-ins he received, humbled and sobered him, ultimately leading him to take his faith to the next level. Staff connected him with a local pastor and they are meeting weekly over the phone.

Weeks later, after he had recovered and Cancun was in the cleanup stages following the hurricanes, he saw staff helping families without a chainsaw, and helped them by bringing his own chainsaw, without being asked. “We’re seeing signs of the dads opening up more, following the examples of their wives when it comes to connection and community,” shared Amy. They are becoming men available to what God wants to do within them. Together, everyone is realizing just how much healing can take place when everyone in the family unit is present, involved, and available.

Communities Serving Each Other

Two hurricanes recently swept through Cancun. Staff and the families they serve are safe, and cleaning up the communities was a priority for staff. “We spent a day cleaning up the areas in each community,” shared Amy. Staff were also able to safely distance and visit families in person for the first time in months.

A few of the families needed trees cut down or limbs trimmed in the aftermath of the storms, and staff were happy to oblige. Following the clean-up and visiting, they gathered together and prayed for each family as they continue to adjust to the day-to-day changes and anticipate returning to normal programming soon.

Staff are also delivering food packs and sanitary items each month, ensuring the families do not go without and have what they need to stay healthy. Please join us in prayer for the families and staff in Cancun as they look forward to the days when gathering together will be the norm, again, and community will be in-person once more.