My experience working in Mazatlan, Mexico with Back2Back was incredibly eye opening. I have always had a passion for working with children, so being given the opportunity to work with three different children's homes was very rewarding. We worked all week doing a lot of manual labor like mixing concrete, painting fences, and scraping old paint off of ceilings. But we also worked all week building relationships with the kids that we met. Going into the week I was a little nervous because I wasn't too confident in my Spanish speaking abilities; it was on this trip that I saw that actions truly are louder than words. On the second day we were in Mazatlan, we were hanging out with some kids from a home called EDS. There was a little girl there named America. When I walked up to her, she took some chalk and wrote her name on the ground. She then handed me the piece of chalk so I did the same with my name. When I gave her back the chalk, she put a heart around our names and said, "Tu eres mi Americano." I think it's crazy that God allowed us to have such amazing connections with these kids even though we weren't native speakers.
This summer, we had the opportunity to go on two amazing mission trips where we saw the Lord in numerous ways. The puppet ministry went to work in cities at the Virginia and Tennessee border. We performed in nursing homes and churches. Though we don’t see the audience very much, we hear them praise the Lord along with the puppets. After each performance, we go out to see how the audience liked the show. They usually tell us what a great job we did, what their favorite song was, or how we look like one of their grandchildren. The two of us often wonder if the audience is really touched by the Holy Spirit through the performance. It warms our hearts and blesses us so much to see the smiling faces and the joyful spirits as we come around to talk to them. That’s what makes it all worth it.
I hope that you have enjoyed reading the staff faith stories. My biggest prayer is that you were moved in a mighty way and they spoke to you. We have a great staff and no two stories were a like. Let this be a guide for you as you write your own faith story.
I was blessed enough this year to go on the Renovation Youth Choir Trip. Their theme this year was based on the song “Hello my name is” by Matthew West. The kids were encouraged to write their story and come up with a name of who they used to be. The following is my story using this same model.
I was baptized as a baby at Redemptorist Catholic Church in Kansas City, MO. Although my mother and step dad both believed in God, we did not attend worship regularly, nor were we active in the church. My mother was estranged from the Catholic Church due to her divorce, and my step dad was angry with God about bad things that had happened to him along the way. So because of their attitudes toward church, I grew up without any experience in Children or Youth Ministry, except on rare occasions when we did visit a church.
Some of my first memories as a child are of sitting in the pew of the small Lutheran church I grew up in, beside my mother and brother, flipping through the hymnal during church (to try to follow as we sang, but also to occupy myself during long sermons!)