Saturday, August 29, 2009


One of Casa Shalom's youngest residents, baby Fatima, was checked into the hospital yesterday. She was taken to a doctor, who diagnosed her with a severe bronchial infection and recommended that she be placed in a private hospital in the capital, where she can receive the best care. While public hospitals in Guatemala are cheaper but don't offer very good care, private hospitals like the one where Fatima is being treated are expensive because of the quality of care they offer. Fatima's stay will cost $250.00 per day, and she will be there for at least 3 days. Unfortunately, expensive hospital stays are not in Casa Shalom's budget and it will be very difficult for the orphanage to pay the bill. If you are interested in blessing the home and baby Fatima by donating toward her hospital stay, please contact us at

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Piggy Bank Blessings

Casa Shalom has been so blessed by donations of food, clothing, shoes, supplies and funds in the past few months. The majority of monetary donations have come from North American groups and churches, but director Jorge Mario has been out to change this, with a donation campaign aimed at Guatemalan congregations. While he is so grateful for the contributions from North America, Pastor Jorge also believes that the Guatemalan people must play a large role in caring for their own children. And due to the declining donations from North America, Casa Shalom's budget has taken a hit. To this affect, a few months ago, he launched a fundraiser here in Guatemala - he ordered 1,800 plastic piggy banks with Casa Shalom's name and logo printed on them. Each Church of God church in the country was assigned a code name was was given a bank with it's code name written in marker. The goal of this fundraiser was to raise a year of Casa Shalom's budget - an ambitious goal! The churches have had a few months to raise money for the orphanage, and many are now beginning to turn in their banks. In the few hundred banks that have been turned in, the home has raised over 12,000 Quetzales, which is around $1,500. We are grateful for the sacrifice of the Guatemalan churches and we are praying that the hundreds of banks that have not yet been turned in come in full! If you are interested in donating to Casa Shalom, please contact us at

Some of the piggy banks, post-money removal operation!

Maby, house mother to the boys ages 9 - 14, and her son Obed, help count funds from the banks.

Volunteer Flor, Edwin, and North American missionary Brent Potter, tally up some banks' totals.

Director Jorge Mario has relied on the help of Benjamin, one of Casa Shalom's oldest kids, who is currently studying to be an accountant.

Guatemalan 25-cent pieces!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Team Work

We have come to the end of what is considered Casa Shalom's "busy season" for hosting teams from the U.S.A. The busy season lasts from March - August, and this season, we hosted teams from Minnesota, Florida, Tennessee, Washington state, New York, and Virginia! They have painted, built retaining walls, done electrical work, built a chicken farm, replaced roofs, and so much more than we can list here. We'd like to thank all those who have worked so hard and have made such a lasting impression on us and on the children. These teams have developed relationships with Casa Shalom's kids that will last far beyond their stay at the orphanage. We are in the process of putting together a team schedule for the coming year. Please consider bringing a team (or your family!) to Casa Shalom - all kinds of jobs and activities are available and we are always in need of someone to swing a hammer or wield a paintbrush. If that is not your type of work, ministry teams and medical teams are always also welcome! For more info about visiting Casa Shalom, please contact us at
Photo: A recent team from Trumansburg, NY, in front of the retaining wall they built, that will help keep erosion at bay during the rainy season.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Wilson's mother

Today, Casa Shalom had a very special visitor - the mother of Wilson, one of Casa Shalom's kids. Wilson, 11, has lived at Casa Shalom since he was six-years-old. Prior to that, he had lived in jail, where he was born and lived with his mother until he was moved to Casa Shalom. His mother was sentenced on drug charges and was sent to prison when she was pregnant with Wilson - she has not left jail since then. For nearly 8 months she has been requesting permission to visit Wilson, whom she has not seen for years. Today, that wish was granted and she arrived at the orphanage, escorted by 3 guards armed with semi-automatic weapons. She was able to spend several hours with Wilson and get to know his house mother. We took this picture of Wilson's mother and printed a copy for her to take with when she returned to jail.
Please continue to keep Wilson, and all the Casa Shalom kids with such difficult histories, in your prayers.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Marvin Eduardo

Say hello to Marvin Eduardo, Casa Shalom's newest resident. Eduardo (as he prefers to be called), 15, arrived last week and has taken up residence in the teen boys' home. Eduardo has never known his father, was abandoned by his mother at an early age, and has since been raised by family friends. The family has fallen on difficult economic times and can longer afford to care for him, so he was sent to Casa Shalom by the court system.
Eduardo is doing a good job fitting in at the home - he is very friendly and has jumped right into helping lead the new Casa Shalom drum line. He says he enjoys eating pizza, playing volleyball and studying science. Eduardo says that when he grows up, he'd like to be a forensic scientist. As Casa Shalom's newest child, Eduardo is looking for a sponsor with whom he can develop a special relationship. If you are interseted in becoming Eduardo's sponsor and encouraging him as he makes this difficult transition, please contact us at

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Casa Shalom Drumline

We at Casa Shalom are blessed to have many people on staff who can offer their talents and time to benefit the children. We have 2 house fathers who are already offering drum, piano and guitar lessons to any child who shows an interest. We also have a long-term Guatemalan volunteer, a young lady named Flor, who is very musically gifted and has started a drumming corp at the orphanage. It is open to all of the kids and there has been a lot of interest! We were blessed awhile back with a donation of drums, so each child has his or her own instrument. Check out the video of the 2nd drum line practice!

The drum line is led by Flor, left, and Eduardo, a new child at Casa Shalom (he has lots of drumming experience - come back tomorrow for more information about him!)

Even little Sergio is getting in on the drumming action

They may not be professions, but they sure enjoy their new band - participants include Kevin, Julio, Sergio, Martin, Wilson, Clara Alicia, Alfonso and Carlos!

Friday, August 21, 2009


We have some wonderful news to share - Casa Shalom's bakery is up, running, and producing enough bread to feed all at the orphanage.
As planned, the kids have taken courses in bread making with a professional baker and can now prepare French bread, rolls, cookies, pizza crust, doughtnuts and cake! There are 4 kids - Alejandra, Eliza, Flora and Alejandro - who have shown the most interest in the bakery and have been in charge of making the bread for the home. Their efforts are saving the orphanage hundreds of dollars per month, plus the kids are mastering a very valuable skill they can use to make a living when the eventually leave the home. Enjoy the video and photos of our special bakers. (The video is a bit dark to begin with, but lightens after a few seconds!) Photo above: Alejandra, Flora and Alejandro prepare rolls)

The 4 bakers hard at work

Eliza and Flora prepare rolls

Alejandra makes cookies!

Alejandro with a tray of his cookies

Eliza is proud of her baking accomplishments.

Hard at work!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

August newsletter

To view our most recent newsletter, please click on the link below. It's full of the latest info and photos from Casa Shalom! Forward the link to a friend today!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Tonight, we took the toddlers to McDonalds for a special treat! Enjoy the photos of the kids enjoying the food. 1 - Director Jorge Mario praying for the meal. 2 - Ana enjoys her burger. 3- Evelyn and Cesar chow down 4 - Alex, Sarai and Jose 5 and 6 - Jose really likes his burger and orange soda 7 - Tony 8 - Even little Anggie got in on the burger action 9 - After eating his burger and fries, Cesar enjoyed some ketchup all by itself 10 - Director Jorge Mario and Jose

Monday, August 10, 2009

We're still working on Antonio's basketball skills, but it seems he still needs a few tips - like putting the ball in the basket instead of his head!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

New sweaters from New York

This week, we have had the pleasure of working with a group of young people from Trumansburg, New York. They have worked extremely hard all week building retaining walls that will keep soil from eroding during the rainy season and have been doing lots of painting! They have also bonded with Casa Shalom's kids - bubbles with the babies and lots of soccer with the teens!
They brought for the babies adorable sweaters made by the ladies of their churches' knitting circles. Enjoy the photo of the babies in their new sweaters, and a photo of the babies with the Trumansburg group.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Goodbye to Angel

Yesterday we had to say a bittersweet goodbye - little Angel was awarded his family and left Casa Shalom. Angel has been at Casa Shalom for several years and has been in an orphanage his whole life. His family recently came forward and said they would like to get custody of him and raise him.
We will miss Angel's adorable smile and his laughter, but we are glad that he will be able to grow up surrounded by his loving family. Please pray for Angel that the transition into life with his family with be smooth and joyful.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Presenting the Colegio Shalom School Sponsorship Program

We have an exciting development to share with you regarding the Colegio Shalom school! This month, we will be launching the Colegio Shalom School Sponsorship program, which will pair students from Colegio Shalom with students in the United States.

The program will work to help reduce the budget deficit of $1,500 that the school currently has each month. This deficit is caused by the school's status as a social program, which means that tuition is set low enough for the area's poorest families to be able to afford.

Colegio Shalom is currently providing an excellent education to around 150 students, grades pre-K through 9th, including 40 students from a local AIDS hospice. While Guatemalan public schools only run from 8 am - noon each day and offer only basic math, reading and a little science and social studients, Colegio Shalom is able offer much more - including gym, Bible classes, English classes, computation, art, and accounting. Classes run each day from 8am - 3 pm.

In order to help Colegio Shalom continue to offer a quality education to the children of Casa Shalom and the surrounding areas, and to expand the horizons of Colegio Shalom's students , we are launching the sponsorship program. The program will work primarily with schools in the United States, where a class will be able to sponsor a child their same age, like Rosa Patricia above, who is in the 5th grade, or Alan, below, who is in 2nd grade.

The Colegio Shalom student and the class in the United States will be able to communicate via emails, letters and photos, a unique opportunity which will allow students to learn a great deal about each other's cultures. This opportunity is open to all schools in the U.S.A (both public and private), so if you or a teacher you know is interested, please visit the Colegio Shalom Sponsorship Program website: or email us at

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Teen Night

Last night Director Jorge Mario, his wife Noemi, and their daughter Maria threw a very special party for all the teens of Casa Shalom. Noemi led a devotion for the girls and Jorge had a message for the guys - afterward, the groups joined together for games, contests and a yummy dinner of fried chicken! Enjoy the photos from Teen Night (you can click on a photo to see it larger).Elias challenged Clara Alicia to an arm-wrestling contest, and to keep him from embarrassment, I won't tell you who won!

I made the teens give me at least one good photo...

...then they were free to make their funny faces!

Clemente, Edwin and Vinicio - always hamming it up.