Sunday, June 28, 2009
Saturday, June 27, 2009
The birthday girl in her new dress
Director Jorge Mario played the role usually played by the father, and escorted the birthday girl to her party.
Alejandra's house mother Beatriz, some of her house mates, and director Jorge Mario pray for Alejandra during the ceremony.
Everyone enjoyed a very special dinner of tamales - (L to R) - Celia, Florentina and baby Fatima, Ada and Sonia.
Cesar enjoys his tamales, which are cooked in banana leaves over an open fire.
The candles are lit
Friday, June 26, 2009
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Photo 1 - The teen boys enjoy a good laugh (L to R - Edgar, Cesar, Elias, Vinicio, Hector and Santos) Photo 2 - Juan, Clemente and Vinicio trying to be cool guys Photo 3 - Jenny, who house parents the teen boys with her husband Walter is expecting a baby in November, poses with Clara Alicia, Flora and Eliza. Photo 4 - The view from the church roof Photo 5 - Benjamin being goofy with Edwin and Justin, a team member from TN Photo 6 - The TN team with the kids Photo 7 - Eliza gets tired of being pestered by the boys around her Photo 8 - The TN team leader is Mrs. Jan Waldrop, Casa Shalom's founder! She spoke for a brief time during tonight's church service
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Friday, June 19, 2009
A few weeks ago, we posted that Channel 27, Guatemala's very-popular Christian TV station, recorded a series of programs about Casa Shalom on the orphanage property. The first of the programs aired last night - we aren't very high-tech here in Guatemala, but we wanted to be able to record the program. So we used our little Flip video camera and recorded the TV screen. Laughably low-tech, we know, but we wanted to share a few short portions of the program that featured the Casa Shalom kids. Enjoy the videos!
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
On a personal note, today marks one year of our ministry at Casa Shalom. One year ago, we had no idea what was in store for us, but the Lord has blessed us more than we could have imagined. We are excited to begin year 2 of our ministry at Casa Shalom!
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Last night, while attending a post-church service reception, I met Omani, a 33-year-old pastor from Cuba. As Pastor Omani doesn't speak a lot of English, I took advantage of my ability to speak Spanish, to give him a chance to have a good conversation. He began to tell me about his coming to the U.S. - he tried for nearly a year, and was finally accepted on a 1-month visa. He's being hosted by a pastor here in Florida. He told me that as a pastor in Cuba, he can be put in jail for the slightest infraction, as the government closely watches him and his family. According to Pastor Omani, the only churches that are officially allowed to exist are those that were in existence before Fidel Castro's rise to power in 1959. Home churches, he says, are allowed but groups cannot grow larger than 12 people or the church members will be jailed. He says that pastors' sermons are closely monitored and that he has many friends have been beaten and jailed for years for saying things the government disliked.
Pastor Omani says that the Cuban government strictly controls not only religious freedoms, but day-to-day life in the average Cuban's home. He received permission to build a small, one-room addition onto his father's home, where he, his wife, and their 2 daughters could live. But it took over 6 months to get a permit to buy cement, and they were not allowed to construct a kitchen. The pastor says that when his oldest daughter turned 7, the government told him and his wife that the little girl was too old to drink milk and their permit to buy milk was revoked. The same thing happened with his younger daughter, except the government took her milk away when she turned 2.
Pastor Omani makes a salary of roughly $17 per month, an amount chosen as suitable by the Cuban government. He is delighted to have been able to recently purchase a 1948 pick-up truck, with most of its parts from Russia or China. It was the only car the government would allow him to purchase, but he feels fortunate to have it.
The conversation with Pastor Omani affected me deeply. I rarely think of Guatemala as privileged country, but I see that despite the country's overwhelming poverty, Guatemalans are still free. They are free to worship as they choose, they are free to live where they choose, and their children experience personal freedom in a way Cuban children do not. Please join me in praying for the persecuted church in Cuba, and around the world. Please pray that the Lord will bless the church in countries where the people cannot freely worship, that the Lord will bring an end to their oppression, and that one day, they would know what it is like to praise the Lord when they want and how they want.
Monday, June 8, 2009
We would also like to present another prayer request to you - many of you will remember Sarai, a special 3-year-old girl who lived at Casa Shalom until recently, when her father was awareded custody of her and removed her from the orphanage. While we are usually happy to see the kids reunited with their families, it was difficult to say goodbye to Sarai because her father struggles with alcoholism and cannot hold down a job. Late last week, director Jorge Mario visited Sarai and her father in their one-room shack on Guatemala's coast. He reported that while Sarai is in good health, she has been acting up and her father says she wants to return to Casa Shalom. Jorge reported that Sarai's living conditions are very poor and that the home has no furniture and very little food. He encouraged Sarai's father to ask a family court judge to please return Sarai to Casa Shalom.
We ask that you please keep this precious little girl's situation in your prayers - that her father makes a decision with her best interest in mind and that the Lord's will is done in her life.
Photo: Alejandro, 14, chews on a very realistic mouse-shaped toy!
Saturday, June 6, 2009
Ana gets a crown from Pollo Campero employee.
Angel loved the ball pit!
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Monday, June 1, 2009
Speaking of the cooks, we were also happy to be able to bring a small donation to bless the 6 ladies who cook the breakfasts for the children. We recently discovered that the 6 ladies, who arrive at the feeding center at 3 a.m. Monday - Friday, have worked for over 7 months without receiving a single cent in return! That level of dedication is astounding and we were happy to be able to give them a small offering, thanks to another donor in the United States. Please keep Rio Bravo's feeding program, as well as the very needy kids it serves, in your prayers. If you'd like to get involved with making a difference in the lives of the kids of San Jose Rio Bravo, email us at TheHansonsinGuatemala@gmail.com
Photo: Bob, a local missionary, and Hugo (right), a worker at Casa Shalom, unload the new stove.