Can we go to Mexico this year?

This was my fourth trip to Monterrey, Mexico. I always enjoy going but it seems before every trip I expect the same things. I always expect the long plane ride, the sleepy bus rides, and seeing the same kids, but why do I think that?

Every year all of that comes true but none of that is what makes the mission trip special or different from the other times. In all the mission trips the best part is always the new friends you make, the kids who you hang out with no matter if you knew them before, or if they are new to you, and the new group members that come on the trip with you.

I love to go to Monterrey, Mexico every year,  but not because of the long plane rides, the sleepy bus rides, the fact that the same kids are there. NO, I never go there for that! It is always for the new friends, the kids you get to hang out with whether you already knew them or not, the new group members that come, but really I ALWAYS learn something as well. About me. About others. About the trip itself. So yeah that is why every year I WILL ask “Can we go to Mexico this year?”.

By: Daisy Kercher, Age 11

Honored By Douglas

While on the 2018 Monterrey, Mexico mission trip, I served by reading to the orphans in Douglas. I have advanced my reading in Spanish and I learned how to communicate with the orphans after taking three years of Spanish.

Betty, the leader of Douglas, complimented the way I read to the orphans. She told me that the older kids do not like reading that much, but I encouraged them by reading to the younger kids. (Randy read to the older kids too.  Even though the books were silly kids’ books, they seemed to like it.  Also, they wanted to try to take the books and show Betty they could read them too.)  I received a Douglas shirt after she said that I was important to her and (the orphans at) Douglas.

Before I received the shirt, I was at small group learning about God’s mercy and grace. I was told that grace is getting more than what we deserve. Even though Betty told me why I got the shirt, I saw being the only person who got the shirt FAR more than what I deserved.

By: Randy Kercher, age 15 (Mom added in a little)

 

I am Faith Promise Week 3 – Discussion Guide

Getting Started

Main Idea:
Faith Promise Value: We grow together.  Because when we grow together, we invite God into our midst

Discussion Starter:

What are some things that a group working together can accomplish that one person working alone cannot?

Introduction:
As we see in Genesis 2, from the beginning God did not design us to live or do life alone.  This does not only apply to the complementary design of men and women, but in God’s broader design for His Kingdom.  The Genesis story lays the foundation for how God architects human flourishing, Kingdom expansion, and expression of His glory.


Encounter God

Primary Scripture: 2 Samuel 11

Discussion Questions:
1. David’s struggle began when he “sent” when he usually “went.” Discuss a time when (either because of fear, laziness, pride, or something else) you let someone else do what you should have done.

2. This world, the enemy, and our selfishness all work to separate and isolate us. What is one thing in your life that you can remove or reduce to become less isolated?

3. What is one area where you need your group to help you grow? Commit to each other to grow intentionally and humbly.

4. Read Hebrews 10:24-25  How can you work together to love others and perform good deeds?

Discovery Bible Method:
For deeper study, as an alternative to the questions above, read Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 and use the Discovery Bible Method to explore the passage.


Embrace Others

Suggestion: Consider breaking the group into dyads or triads for this section.

Read Proverbs 27:17 How can you sharpen someone in your group? How can you be sharpened by someone else?


Engage the World Around Us

Engaging at Faith Promise: Find an area at Faith Promise where others can stretch you to grow in your faith.

Engaging in Community: Find an area in your community where your group can do more together than one individual could.

Engaging the World: Read Zechariah 7:8-10  How can your group live out this Scripture?


Expand God’s Kingdom

The Faith Promise value that we are looking at this week is essential to expanding God’s Kingdom.  Matt Chandler points out that human development and growth is not an individual pursuit.  He says,  “[…] God’s picture of human flourishing in the Scripture flies in the face of radical individualism.”  He goes on to say, “God’s picture of human flourishing starts when your preference and my preference become secondary to God’s will and how God has revealed himself in his Word.”  How are you pouring into someone to see and achieve God’s will?


Leader’s Notes

ALL groups at Faith Promise should follow Jesus Christ and lead others to do the same. Below are the marks of a growing follower and disciple of Jesus.

– A follower of Jesus desires to encounter God through the deeper study and application of God’s Word.

– A follower of Jesus embraces people and values relationships on a deeper level so everyone can grow together.

– A follower of Jesus engages and serves the world around them and in their community, through local partners or God-directed opportunities.

– A follower of Jesus expands God’s Kingdom through development and multiplication of disciple-makers, possibly to lead more groups at Faith Promise.

Who You Are

There’s an old question that people ponder:  “What would a person do in a crisis situation?”  It’s felt that how people respond in a crisis reveals who they truly are.  I’m not sure I love that old question, but I’ve learned of a different question during this mission trip to Monterrey:

What would a Christian do without all the day-to-day busyness?

On this mission trip, I saw a lot of Christians unplug from their normal lives, focus on Jesus, and serve orphans, caregivers, and local volunteers.  God blessed the dedicated time.  I was blown away by the people serving on the trip with me.   We worked hard fixing up the orphanage in very hot conditions.  We loved those orphans with love and patience.  We connected with caregivers and volunteers despite the language barrier.  We prayed powerful, honest prayers for the caregivers and orphans.  We had small groups and “daily debriefings” where we opened up about what we loved each day and what we were struggling with in our normal lives.  When we had personal problems (and we did), we worked through them.

And it amazed me to see it in our children.  At home, I typically can’t get my kids to truly work hard outside the house for a full hour.  At the orphanage in Monterrey, I saw our kids work hard in the blazing sun with sweat dripping off them.  I saw our kids play for hours with orphans who haven’t yet learned to share, have patience, and take turns.  The kids understood why we needed to work so hard and love so selflessly, and they did.  God blessed and empowered our kids to serve amazingly.

And I saw God’s love and grace.  Orphans receiving and feeling genuine love, support, and attention from us.  Caregivers feeling appreciation and recognition that their work was truly God’s work.  And we missionaries being loved back from the orphanage.  Through this experience, God gave us insight into our daily lives and healing for our daily struggles.

This is what Christian life looked like in Monterrey this year… with a week devoted to following Jesus and to serving at an orphanage.  God blessed us like crazy.  I am so glad that my family went.  I’m so thankful to see my kids love selflessly and work hard in Jesus’ name.  This trip was absolutely priceless to me.  I saw the God-blessed best from a great group of people, who now are more like extended family.

By: Andy Kercher

“It is OK. Something better will come up.”

So, there is a rule when you go on a trip with Back2Back Ministries, “do not talk about past trips.”  It is an important rule because they don’t want people who are first timers to feel left out.  It is a rule that we all try to follow.  However, it does become a joke sometimes for us when we accidentally bring up or compare past trips.

This is the forth trip my family and I have made.  It is something that has become a part of us.  None of us can imagine a June without visiting the team and orphans in Monterrey, Mexico.  Every year is different in it’s own way and life changing.  That is how I always describe my trips “Life Changing.”  I truly mean it too.  However, there are always a few consistent things we can look forward too.  At least, so I thought.

There are a couple of treats for us to look forward to when we go.  The pool after a hard days work, Kathy’s cooking for dinner, water balloon fights, Mexican soda, and El Pollo Loco.  My kids talk about El Pollo Loco all year long.  For those of you who don’t know, it is an amazing fast food restaurant in Mexico.  I would try to describe, but I just can’t.  It took my son about an hour to realize it was not on the schedule when we got there.  “It is OK.  Something better will come up.”  This is what we kept telling ourselves and something better did come up.  We got to go to the church the kids in the orphanage we serve in attend and got to spend extra time with the orphans who don’t get to go “home” on the weekends. We also got to meet a little girl that thinks stickers are the best birthday present ever.

After three years, we have created some true bonds.  This is something we look forward to every year. Some are with the kids and some are with people who work at Back2Back Ministries.  These missionaries are true inspirations.  One of the men my husband waits all year to see is Jose. He takes care of teenage boys.  He teaches them how to cope with stress through art.  Jose is an amazing artist and we look forward to visiting his home every year because his studio is there.  He sells his beautiful artwork and uses the money to go on trips to Israel.  Not only that, my husband and  Jose can talk for hours about anything and everything.  Guess what, we did not go to his house this year.  Instead we went on a field trip with the teenage boys Jose cares for and Jose was not even there.  My husband was heartbroken.  “It is OK.  Something better will come up.”  It did.  Our field trip with the boys involved a four mile hike and a lot of adventure.  My husband started a belly flop contest with American and Mexican children and for a time language meant nothing.  The teenagers who are not cute and cuddly got to be the center of attention for once.

         However, I did not want my husband to have a broken heart. So I begged the staff for help. God made just enough time for Jose to come see us with some of his paintings right before we left Mexico.  I think the group bought almost all of them.  We also made a special request for next year.  And my husband did get to talk with Jose for a little while.  Also, we did not miss El Pollo Loco completely.  This is what it ended up looking like: a take out picnic with good friends.

So, the much needed lesson I really needed to learn:  It’s not all about me.  It is not about my expectations.  Even though I had the best intentions for my kids and my husband.  I could not see the whole picture until God choose to reveal it to me.  Even when we are doing what God asks we still need to be patient.  Our expectations may not be nearly good enough.  God always has the best plan.  So, keep telling yourself, “It is OK. Something better will come up.”

By: Robin Kercher

Monterrey’s Got Talent!

Towards the end of our trip we took all of the crafts we had leftover and spent time with the kids, letting them work and play with the materials. Man, they sure do love to try new things so one activity we decided to try was to make para-cord bracelets. Robin and I decided to be good students and read the directions ahead of time to be well prepared. With 45 kids wanting to make a bracelet all at once; we knew that we needed to be the experts. At first we were struggling to understand what to do with the directions on the paper in front of us. All the while, Rosy, a caregiver at the home, was patiently watching us struggle to figure it out. I called my husband Aaron back home.  He began to walk us thru how to make the bracelets via Facetime. Halfway thru the conversation, Rosy decided she had it figured out. She took one of the bracelets from us and in no time flat she had completed making it. Then, we had a few kids catch on quickly and they were perfect every time. We spent the next 4 hours making as many bracelets as we could, as fast as we could, with team members stepping in to help just so we could keep up. It was funny, exciting and worth every minute of those hours. It was awesome to see God’s talents shining thru in each of the kids and was a great reminder that we are all uniquely and wonderfully made. Patience won and so did natural talent!

 

By: Tiffany Reid