An interview with Beth Guckenberger,
Author of Tales of the Not Forgotten
Written for ages 8 and up, Tales of the Not Forgotten shares a collection of four real-life stories of children from impoverished circumstances and paints a picture of God’s dynamic movement in their lives. The first in the Storyweaver series, Guckenberger inspires readers to trust that God is weaving a story in the lives of each us, writing endings they would never imagine. She takes young readers on a journey to faraway lands, introducing them to faces the world often doesn’t see, but are not forgotten by God.
Guckenberger and her husband are founders of Back2Back Ministries, an international Christian non-profit organization dedicated to being a voice for orphans and existing to love and care for orphans and impoverished children.
Q: Your previous books have worked in stories of your mission work to an adult audience? Why did you decide to write a book for a young audience this time?
It was a combination of motives. Being a mother, I see my own kids asking questions about the world and the issues they are aware of around the world. Also, as a missionary, we serve alongside so many families that travel here on a short-term trip. Those experiences provoke good discussions they take back home with them. I wanted a book that would spark those kinds of conversations of substance at the dinner table and in the minivan, but without having to travel. I had noticed a lot of missions’ material specifically geared towards kids was outdated, or a little cheesy, or primarily guilt-driven. I kept thinking while I was writing that I wanted a book that addressed was God was doing instead of what man wasn’t.
Q: When did you go on your first mission trip? What countries have you/do you do mission work in?
I went on my first missions’ trip when I was 16 to Costa Rica. I can remember at the end of the month, I wasn’t ready to come home!
My family and I have lived in Monterrey, Mexico for 15 years. Back2Back Ministries has sites in Jos, Nigeria, Hyderbaad, India, Mazatlan and Cancun, Mexico and a new work in Port au Prince, Haiti.
Q: What other resources are available to go along with Tales of the Not Forgotten? How are churches and other groups using the book and leader’s guide?
We have written a curriculum to accompany the book that is very user friendly. A parent, a Sunday school teacher, a VBS teacher, or a Christian school can use it. It has a guide, “If you have 15 minutes, if you have 30 minutes, if you have 60 minutes…” so you can pick and choose the activities depending if it’s a classroom lesson or an after dinner devotional. Many churches are already using it in regular classrooms, as a part of their summer programs, or missions’ emphasis months. Families are using it as their once a week devotional, homeschooling families are using it in their school day, there are many ways in which the activities can be incorporated into your already existing structure.
Q: Are you able to keep up with the children in the book to know how they are doing?
Since I live in Monterrey, I am absolutely able to keep up with Joel who lives here. The other three are in the lives of our staff who serve in those countries.
Q: What is the main thing you hope children will learn from your book?
That we trust them with these stories and many more like it. We believe in what their generation will learn and be called to and accomplish for the gospel around the world. Also, that they aren’t too young to be learning about, praying for and going as God’s ambassador.
Q: Tell us a little bit about Back2Back Ministries.
Our Mission: Back2Back Ministries is an international Christian non-profit organization that is dedicated to being a voice for orphans. We exist to love and care for orphans and impoverished children, by meeting their spiritual, physical, educational, emotional, and social needs that they may overcome their life circumstances and break free from the cycle of generational poverty.
Our Vision: We desire for every orphan and impoverished child to have the opportunity for success through “care for today and hope for tomorrow”. Our goal is that each child would experience restoration to a life of purpose in which they can become fulfilled and mature Christian adults.