Back2Back Day Seven

Well, the Faith Promise Monterrey Mission Team is now back in the U.S. We travelled in two separate teams so the last team members arrived in Knoxville around 9:30 pm. I think I can speak for everyone in saying that we are physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted. It is undeniable that God’s hand was on this trip and he did some great things. Prior to this trip, a lot of the team members didn’t even know each other. It was really cool to see how this team quickly became a family. After the first couple of days, you would have thought we had all been great friends for years. Since our return, team members have been in constant contact with each other.

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Even though we are glad to be home, it is tough. As I hug my kids and watch tv with them on the couch, I look around and realize how blessed we are. Our kids have parents that they know love them, they have their own living spaces, toys, and clothes, and they live a life free of mental and emotional scars from neglect and abuse. We also have great job opportunities and basically everything we need is available at all times. It is hard to not ask God “why”. Why do we have all these things? Why has He chosen to give us such a great family who all love one another? Why has he kept our children from experiencing abuse and neglect? It seems so unfair that these beautiful Mexican children we spent the last week serving have been through and continue to go through so much. Since we arrived home, their faces rotate in my mind. They seem so happy even though they have so little. But like we learned from the Back2Back staff, many of them have a tremendous amount of pain underneath the smiles. It is heart wrenching to imagine what some of them have been through and what thoughts must go through their mind.

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I had the opportunity to share my testimony to the older boys at IDA and encourage them in the fact that God loves them very much and wants to use their lives to make a difference. He wants to use them to be His hands and feet to others. I hope they believed my message and that God will water the seeds that were planted (1 Cor. 3:6).

After 5 international mission trips, I am sure that the hardest part is not the fundraising or the work, but it is coming home and processing your experiences. How do you reconcile in your mind what appears to be so unfair? Proverbs 3:5-6 says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths”. It was such an honor and a privilege that he led our team on this path. These experiences give such clarity and insight. We are so blessed and we don’t deserve any of it; it’s just grace. Sometimes we just have to “Trust in the Lord with all [our] heart, and lean not on [our] own understanding”. God loves them just as much as he loves us and he fashioned their days before they were even conceived. Even though it doesn’t make sense to us, God is still good. We just have to trust him because he cares more about them than we are capable of. I look forward to asking Him some questions one day. We are so thankful that Faith Promise Church and Pastor Brad made this opportunity possible. Also, we are so thankful for Back2Back ministries because their very existence and vision is proof that God loves these orphans and is taking care of them. We cannot wait until next time we have the opportunity to serve with Back2Back and will continue to pray for them as they serve orphans around the world.

Tony Barnes

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