Saturday, February 28, 2009

Pray for Jorge Mario

Please keep director Jorge Mario Ramirez in your prayers - earlier this week, he lost his father to cancer. And just this morning, his aunt also passed away. Please keep the Ramirez family in your prayers during this difficult time.

Baby Abagail was not able to come home today as we'd previously hoped. Now it is looking like she may have stay in the hospital until Monday. Please continue to keep the baby in your prayers too!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday's Featured Child

This Friday's Featured Child is Evelyn Johana. Evelyn is 5-years-old and started kindergarten in January, the beginning of the Guatemalan school year. Evelyn has lived at Casa Shalom since she was a small baby, after being abandoned by her mother. Evelyn loves attending school, watching Veggies Tales movies, and the color purple. As Evelyn's sponsor, you can help the orphanage provide her with a good education, food, clothes, medical care and special field trips outside of the home. 100% of your $30/month donation would go to help Casa Shalom care for Evelyn. If you are interested in becoming Evelyn's sponsor, please contact us at:

In other news, we mentioned a few days ago that baby Abagail had been checked into the hospital because of a high fever and listlessness. Abagail is still in the hospital and after receiving antibiotics for an internal infection, her fever has gone down. Her doctors have been unable to pinpoint exactly where Abagail's infection is, but she will likely be released back to the orphanage tomorrow. We will keep a close watch on her and if need be, check her into another hospital. Please continue to keep baby Abagail in your prayers as she heals.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Hot dogs, Rio Bravo, and grills

What a packed few days it has been working with the Myakka Church of God! The team of 9 arrived late Tuesday night and will leave tomorrow. They have accomplished so much both at Casa Shalom and at the Rio Bravo feeding Center. On Wednesday, we all left the orphanage at 4:30 am to make it to the feeding center by breakfast at 6:30. The team helped serve breakfast to the kids and was able to bring a large quantity of food like milk, pancake mix and ham to donate to the feeding center. The team has also been hard at work at Casa Shalom - the women have cleaned and organized the kitchen and food and clothing storage areas. The men completed a large concrete grill and have worked to get the orphanage's well in running condition. Tonight, the team hosted a hot-dog cookout (450 hot dogs!) on the new grill. The team has been a huge blessing to Casa Shalom and we pray they return soon! Photos: 1 - Breakfast at Rio Bravo 2 - Serving breakfast at Rio Bravo 3, 4 and 5 - Kids at Rio Bravo enjoying their food 6- Rio Bravo kids after their meal 7 - Myakka COG ladies organizing the clothing store room 8 - Josh and Pastor Brad building the grill 9 - Working on the grill 10 - Abagail dressed up and ready for some hot dogs! 11 - Cooking on the new grill 12 - Carlos enjoying his food 13 - More cooking on the new grill

Monday, February 23, 2009

Welcome Myakka Church of God

Today, a group from Myakka Church of God will arrive to minister to Casa Shalom's kids until Friday. We welcome the Myakka COG group and pray that they will have a safe and fruitful trip. Watch for photos of their ministry in the next few days!

Photo: Eliza, Flora, Clara Luz, Clara Alicia, Enma and Jenny lead Wednesday night praise and worship.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Trip to Rio Bravo

Last week, we made a trip to San Jose Rio Bravo, the town whose feeding center we support, with Jessica's parents and a pair of missionary friends. We were blessed to be able to bring with us 3 months worth of food for the program. While our main ministry will continue to be at Casa Shalom, we believe that God opened the door for us to work at Rio Bravo for a reason and we'll continue to support these very needy children for as long as we are allowed. Enjoy the photos from Rio Bravo: Photos 1 and 2: Rio Bravo children enjoying their breakfast Photo 3: A little girl using her shirt as a napkin after breakfast 4: Josh serving breakfast Photo Photo 5: Jessica translating for Pastor Freddy, who runs the feeding program, on what will be the 2nd floor of the feeding center. Photo 6: A mother leaving breakfast with her 2 kids. Photo 7: Josh with a 100 lb. bag of beans Photo 8: Jose, a little boy from the program, insisted on helping tote food into the center . Photo 9 and 10: Pastor Freddy and some of the food we brought Photo 11: Jessica with Maria, 9, who shows serious signs of malnutrition Photo 12, 13, 14 and 15: The local school Photo 16: Jessica with schoolgirls who remembered her from a previous visit as Santa Claus's translator! Photo 17: A local organization donated 50 new desks for the kids - the kids are lined up in their desks after receiving them.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Bakery Inauguration and a prayer request for baby Abagail

We have both good news and a prayer request for you. First, the prayer request: yesterday, Abagail, the youngest child at Casa Shalom, had to be taken to the hospital. Lately she has been lethargic and extra-tired and yesterday, she developed a fever of 102. Her doctors say Abagail has some type of internal infection but cannot pinpoint where the infection is. She will probably be in the hospital for 3 -5 days, receiving an IV and antibiotics. Please keep baby Abagail in your prayers as she recovers. On a positive note, the new bakery was inaugurated at Casa Shalom yesterday. Funded by a local group of businessmen called Friends of Shalom, the bakery will be used to teach the children the art of baking bread and cakes so they have a skill with which to make a living when they leave the orphanage as adults. A baker will be coming to Casa Shalom 3 days a week to give classes! Photos: 1 - baby Abagail is about 8 months old 2- Supporters prepare to cut the ribbon on the new bakery 3 and 4 - professional baking equipment donated by Friends of Shalom

Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday's Featured Child

After information about this Friday's Featured Child, check out some of the recent happenings at Casa Shalom!

This Friday's Featured Child is Alfonso Cox Garcia. Alfonso is 9 years old and in the 3rd grade. Alfonso's previous sponsor was unable to continue sponsoring him, so we are trying to find a new sponsor as for him as quickly as possible! Alfonso is a tenderhearted little boy and loves playing with marbles and racing matchbox cars. He says his favorite subject in school is science and he'd like to be a race car driver when he gets older, but being a teacher could be fun too. Alfonso has two older brothers that also live at Casa Shalom. The boys live at the orphanage because their family had very little money and couldn't afford to even buy food for them. For $30 per month, you can help Casa Shalom provide Alfonso with good food, an education, medicine and doctor's care, clothes, shoes and special trips outside the orphanage. You and Alfonso can exchange letters, emails and photos! If you are interested in becoming Alfonso's sponsor, please contact us at:

Update: A family has come forward to volunteer Alfonso! Watch next Friday for another child that is still waiting for a sponsor.

Now for some updates on the recent goings-on at Casa Shalom:
- Work has started to repair the well once and for all! This involves lowering a man 250 feet down into the well and bringing him up every few minutes because there is very little oxygen at the bottom. Watch for photos soon.

- The panaderia (bakery) has finally been completed and dedicated. The building will soon function to teach the kids a valuable skill for when they leave the orphanage at 18. Watch for photos soon!

- Jessica's parents visited Casa Shalom from Tuesday until today. They were able to bless not only the Casa Shalom kids, but also the kids of San Jose Rio Bravo by bringing a food donation for the breakfast program. Watch for photos soon!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Helicopters and Bread

Henry, left, and Brayan play with the helicopter toys they got for Christmas! We have a prayer request for all those who keep Casa Shalom lifted up in prayer - Since May, a local organization has donated bread twice a week to the orphanage. We have saved nearly $360/month on this basic staple of the Guatemalan diet, but today, the organization informed us that they will no longer be donating bread. They didn't give any reason why, but this will certainly cause an additional strain on Casa Shalom's budget. Please pray that the Lord will continue to bless Shalom with the resources needed to minister to the needs of the kids and that a miracle will be worked in regards to the bread.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Costume Party

To celebrate Valentine's Day, the younger students at Colegio Shalom came dressed in costumes last Friday. Enjoy the photos!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Eliza's cumpleaños

Tonight, we celebrated the quincieñera party of Eliza. Here in Guatemala, a girl's 15th birthday is a very big deal - it signifies the girl's passage into womanhood and is always celebrated with a big ceremony and party. Eliza and her brothers have lived at Casa Shalom for 7 years and it was an honor to participate in such a big event in her life. Eliza is a wonderful girl who deserved this special night. It was made even more special by the surprise letter and video sent by her sponsors in Washington. Enjoy the photos from Eliza's quincieñera. Photo 1: The birthday girl poses in front of her flowers. Photo 2: Eliza is led to the ceremony by her big brother Hector, who also lives at Casa Shalom. Photo 3: I got to co-host the ceremony with Mario, the director's daughter Photo 4: Eliza's family (sister in law, brother Hector, oldest brother Noe and his little girl, brother Julio) Photo 5: Director Jorge Mario and his wife Noemi praying for Eliza during the dedication Photo 6: Eliza with her cake Photo 7: Eliza with her cake on her face