Friday, May 29, 2009

A birthday party gone to the dogs

Last night, we held a special birthday party. Guests included both people and some of Casa Shalom's favorite pets. Between yesterday and the day before, we had lots of birthday boys and girls. Here's a list -

Ana -7 years Maria (the director's daughter) - 16 years Alejandro - 14 years Max - 14 years Walter (house dad to the teen boys)- we didn't feel it was polite to ask Our dog Burrito - 1 year To celebrate these birthdays, we threw a hot dog cookout and invited everyone at Casa Shalom! The kids and pets chowed down on lots of hot dogs and chips and had a great time!

Photos - 1 - The boys help set up for the party by hauling benches
2 - Our dog Burrito wears a party hat made for him by some of the kids
3 - Cesar helps man the grill 4 - Santos, Benjamin, Wilson and Edwin
5 - Birthday boy Alejandro and his dog Spike 6 - Birthday girl Maria and her dog Snoopy

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Baby house

We wanted to share with you some news regarding the baby house, so you can be praying with us. The house parents we had working full-time in the baby house had to leave Casa Shalom for personal reasons. We are praying that the Lord will send a Godly married couple to care for the orphanage's littlest children. We ask that you please pray with us that a set of house parents will be found as quickly as possible! Until then, the rest of the staff is taking turns caring for the children.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Great leaps

Check out this great video of Victor, 7, attempting to do a back flip off of a tree stump!

Saturday, May 23, 2009


We have returned home safely from our trip to Peten, in northern Guatemala. There, we visited two national parks to see ruins of Guatemala's indigenous Mayan culture. During our two day trip, we first visited the ruins at Quirigua, below. The elaborately carved monoliths display Mayan carvings and writings. In photo 3, you can see the Mayan system of writing, which used pictures instead of letters. Photo 4 is of a carvings of a giant snake's head!

We also visited the ruins at Tikal National Park, he most important site featuring Mayan ruins. The site features many different pyramids and temples, as well as gravesites and altars. In one of the photos below, you can just get a glimpse of a howler monkey, one of the many kinds of wildlife that can be found in the park!

And finally, enjoy some videos we took at Tikal. In video 3, you can hear the loud call of the howler monkeys!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Headed to Tikal

On a personal note, we are excited to tell you all that tomorrow, we are headed to Northern Guatemala! The president of Casa Shalom's Board, Pastor Miguel Lima, has invited us to accompany him and wife on a trip until Saturday. We will be visiting Tikal, Guatemala's largest and most important archaeological site. Tikal is a large national park and is one to ancient Mayan pyramids and ruins! We are excited to see this national treasure. If you are interested on more information on the park, check out this link: Tikal Park
With our personal note is a personal picture - this is our dog Burrito, a one-year-old cocker spaniel. He's using a trash bag as a rain coat to avoid getting drenched when going outside during this very rainy season!

~ Josh and Jessica

Monday, May 18, 2009

Goofy girls

This weekend, we gave the girls our digital camera and let them take as many pictures as they wanted for a
scrapbooking project they are working on. Here are some shots those goofy girls took of themselves.

Colim and Ada


Karen and Maria


Maria and Enma

Clara Alicia

Eliza...and her stuffed monkey

Friday, May 15, 2009

Sticker fun

A lot of people ask us what the kids at Casa Shalom do in their free time after school every day...well, let's see....The teen boys like to run around outside and play soccer, or stay indoors and break things. The girls like to watch movies or play basketball. And the babies love to watch their Veggie Tales movies or color! A few days ago, we took some special Noah's Ark sticker pages to them and they spent the afternoon creating their own boat scene. They had a blast!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mother's Day Celebration

A few days before Mother's Day, the girls' house invited the ladies of Casa Shalom invited over for a Mother's Day celebration. They decorated their home, cooked a great dinner, and organized several games with prizes. Jessica felt blessed to be part of this special event! Photo 1: The ladies and girls of Casa Shalom Photo 2: Enma leads house mother Maby, the director's wife Noemi, and house mother Jenny in a game that ended with the ladies unknowingly sitting on wet towels!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Posting from Pollo Campero

Hello everyone! As you may have guessed, we are in the middle of what will probably be the first of many, many internet outages of the rainy season. As we've ranted about before, customer service here consists of our internet company asking "Well, what did you do to break the internet?"
We are currently posting from Pollo Campero, a local fast-food restaurant that offers wireless internet! So if we are don't post for a period of time, keep coming back and keep praying our internet issues will be resolved!! All is going well at Casa Shalom. We celebrated a wonderful Mother's Day - the girls' house invited Jessica over for a special Mother's Day dinner (photos to come). We continue to work at the school during the day and with the kids who live at Casa Shalom during the evening. Please continue to keep Casa Shalom in your prayers! Photos: Clemente, Vinicio and Edgar keep their balance while trimming trees way up off the ground!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

First International Casa Shalom Assembly - Date Change

As we mentioned a few months ago, we are in the process of planning the First International Casa Shalom Assembly. We would like to announce a date change for the Assembly - the Assembly will now be held October 28 - 29 here in Guatemala. All previous and current donors and sponsors of Casa Shalom are invited to attend and hear testimonies from some of Casa Shalom's children, see a detailed report of how your donations are used at the orphanage, and see the unveiling of a 10-year plan that will direct Casa Shalom's future. Watch for more information regarding the Assembly!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A difficult day

Today, we had to say a difficult goodbye. Sarai, 3, has been at Casa Shalom for several years, but today, left to live with her father. A year ago, a judge ruled that Sarai could return to live with her father, her only family, although he seemed unable to hold down a job. But her father didn't want to remove her from the orphanage and she continued to live at Casa Shalom even though she could have gone home with him. Today, however, he decided to remove her from the home. It has been a difficult day for all of us who have had to say goodbye to this wonderful little girl. All of the kids at Casa Shalom are special, but there are a select few who simply shine and immediately capture your heart, and Sarai was one of them. She greeted everyone who entered the baby house with "Hola, me llamo Sarai! Como te llamas?" (Hello, my name is Sarai! What is your name?) She lit up every room she was in! We trust the Lord to do His will in Sarai's life, and the life of ever child at Casa Shalom, and we ask that you pray for peace in the heart's of all at Casa Shalom who were saddened to see Sarai go.

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Monday, May 4, 2009

Nature hike

After a days-long Internet blackout (thanks rainy season!) we are back online. On Friday, we took a nature hike with all the Casa Shalom kids - the hike ended up being far longer and more strenuous than we'd imagined. We don't have tons of wonderful photos because we got left at the back of the pack, toting some of the smallest children who can't climb on their own. But we are happy to share with you the photos we did get to take! Also, on a happy note, we are glad to announce than an anonymous donor has stepped forward to pay the cost of the psychologist who will be spending one day a week at Casa Shalom, starting tomorrow, with the home's most troubled kids.

Photos 1 - 4: The beautiful scenery we encountered on the hike Photo 2: Alejandra and Eliza bravely helped little Jorge and Abagail up the mountain. Photo 3: A giant worm we came across, with a soda can for size reference Photo 4: Martin, Kevin and Marvin show off the big snail they found and took home as a pet Photo 5: Josh and Cesar at the end of the hike