Saturday, October 31, 2009

First International Casa Shalom Assembly - a review

This past weekend, Casa Shalom held its First International Assembly! Attendees came from all across Gautemala and the USA to hear about Casa Shalom's history, current status and needs, and our plans for the future. With over 200 attendees, the event was a huge success. We appreciate all your prayers for this event. Enjoy some pictures and video of the conference.

Jessica served as one of 2 translators for the conference

Many of the kids, like Martin, got all dressed up!

Alex and Ana show off their new Casa Shalom polo shirts

Casa Shalom founders Jan and Rick Waldrop gave a moving presentation on the 2nd day of the conference

Some of the older children prepared a song and dance for the conference

The youngest children sang "Jesus loves me"

Monday, October 26, 2009

First Annual Casa Shalom Assembly

This Wednesday and Thursday, we will be hosting the First Annual Casa Shalom International Assembly. We are excited to host participants from all over Guatemala and the United States during our two-day event. At the conference, we will be discussing the history and finances of Casa Shalom, as well as presenting our 10-year plan for the orphanage's future. Watch for posts from the conference this week!

Friday, October 23, 2009

This week is the final week of classes at Colegio Shalom, as the Guatemalan school year runs from January to October. In celebration of the end of the school year, check out the latest photo of all the students of Colegio Shalom!


This weekend, Colegio Shalom celebrated the graduation of the students from the preparatoria grade. Preparatoria is a special grade that Guatemala has created to fit in between kindergarten and first grade. Over 20 students graduated, including 3 from Casa Shalom - Ana, Cesar and Brandon Sergio. Check out the pictures and video from the graduation ceremony.
Ana and Cesar pose in their caps and gowns - Brandon was so excited that we couldn't get him to stand still long enough for a photo!

The Casa Shalom kids performed a special song and dance during the ceremony

The pre-K and kindergarten students dressed up for a drama during the ceremony - with their teacher Miss Illceth are from left: Evelyn, Jose the bear, Alex the Cheetah, Cesar the villager, Ana the townsperson, and in front Obed the dog and Antonio the elephant.

The pre-K kids perform their dance and song. (The boy who runs through the song and dance numbers is Brandon Sergio - he played a Pinocchio-style character who just wants to be accepted by his friends, but ultimately finds acceptance as a child of God)

Another song and dance
The children from the HIV/AIDS hospice who attend Colegio Shalom dance to "Trading my Sorrows." Listening to them sing about trading their pain and sickness was a very touching moment.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A shot our friend Matt took of us with Cesar, Sarai, Alex and Jorge. What great kids! (Click on the photo to enlarge)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Short-term missions opportunities

We've had several people express making a short-term missions trip to Casa Shalom in 2010. There are still many dates still open, and there are many kinds of projects available for teams to complete! Whether you can paint, build, repair or minister, we have a project for you! For more information regarding making a short-term missions trip to Casa Shalom, please email us at

Sunday, October 18, 2009

From left: Tony, Waltercito, Ana, Anggie and Alex enjoy blowing bubbles and eating some candy!

Sarai displays the results of all the candy eating.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Chicken farm!

The plumbing has been installed, the feed purchased, wood shavings laid....and today, the first chickens were introduced to their new home at the Minnesota Chicken Farm at Casa Shalom! The 50 yellow chicks are the first to inhabit the farm that was built this summer by the team from LifeChurch in Minnesota. The chicken farm will be a huge blessing to Casa Shalom, as raising our own chickens will allow us to save over $600.00 per month! Check out the photos of the new chicks!
Edgar and Director Jorge Mario unpack the chickens.

The baby chicks in their new home.

Edgar and Clemente are among the teens who will be responsible for running the chicken farm. This will allow them to master a skill that they can use after the leave Casa Shalom as adults.

Clemente hand feeds some of the chicks.

Jessica with one of the new chicks.

Josh feeding some of the chicks under a heat lamp.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

143 million

We were recently made aware of an organization called Catalyst - this group works in many ways to care for widows and orphans all around the world. According to Catalyst's website (, there are currently 143 million orphans worldwide. What a huge, staggering number! Check out Catalyst's website to see how you can make a difference for the millions of children in need around our world.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Well, we arrived back in Guatemala a week ago but we haven't been able to update you until now! As many of you may have guessed, the internet has not been working at Casa Shalom for several weeks and due to the many technical issues, it will likely not be fixed for some time. We will try to update the blog as often as possible, but if posts are few and far between, know that we are still here and working hard!

We are happy to be able to update you on all the happenings since we arrived last week.
On Saturday evening, we celebrated the 15th birthday of Clara Alicia. The fifteenth birthday party, called a quincienera, is a very important event in the life of a young lady in Guatemala and we celebrated with a ceremony, dinner, and cake! Enjoy the photos from Clara's party.

Clara's mother, younger sister, and 2 cousins were able to attend the party to celebrate with Clara!

Clara is all smiles as all of Casa Shalom sings "Happy Birthday"

Another change has been the addition of a new baby in the baby house. Baby Monserrat came to Casa Shalom last week, after being hospitalized. She was abused so badly by her mother that she had to hospitalized and had surgery to relieve pressure and swelling of her brain. Baby Monserrat has metal staples in her head to help her wound heal, but they should be removed this week. Please pray for Monserrat that the Lord will heal both her physical and spiritual wounds.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Back to Guatemala

We are headed back to Guatemala today and we couldn't be more excited! We have had a fast-paced last few weeks in the USA, and we'd like to thank all the congregations that allowed us to share our ministry with them in the past 2 weeks, including the East Point Church of God, Myakka City Church of God, and Living Oaks Ministries. We've had a blessed and fruitful trip and we thank you for your prayers and support during our travels! We ask that you continue to pray for our safe return. We are excited to be able to update you on Casa Shalom, and we will post an update in the next few days (if the internet is working at the orphanage!)

~ Love Josh and Jessica

Friday, October 2, 2009

Some scary statistics

We recently came across an organization called World Food Programme, that seeks to fight hunger and poverty across the globe by providing food, health care and education to the poorest of the poor. On The WFP's Guatemala page, we came across a fact that startled us - According to the WFP, Guatemala has the 4th highest rate of chronic malnutrition in the world. Not just in Latin America or in the Western Hemisphere, but in the entire world! We knew that poverty and malnutrition were grave issues in our adopted country, but I don't think even we realized the extent to which Guatemalans suffer. According to the WFP, poverty in Guatemala is most serious in rural areas, where 7 out of 10 children suffer from malnutrition. The organization says that many factors contribute to this high rate, including lack of health care, lack of clean water, inadequate food supply and natural disasters (in fact, Guatemala was hit by an earthquake today - a 4.9 in strength, but everyone at Casa Shalom is ok!) Take a moment to read up on Guatemala by clicking on the following link, and be in prayer about how you can change the future for Guatemala's poorest kids:
WFP Guatemala