Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Cesar's new job

Tonight, our oldest child Cesar came to us with some great news. A few months ago he secretly applied to be a judge's assistant in Quetzaltenago, where he is from. Cesar is studying to be a lawyer and out of all the applicants was selected 
for the job because of his great grades and his ability to speak both Spanish and the local indigenous language, Quiche. Cesar will be moving and starting his new job in January and will be able to continue studying on the weekends. While its hard to see him go, this is exactly why Casa Shalom exists. Cesar is leaving here as a Christian young man who is educated and who has the possibility of changing this country. This is why you donate, this is why you pray and this is why we do what we do! Vaya con Dios Cesar.

Friday, December 7, 2012

November newsletter

To read Casa Shalom's newsletter from November, please click on this link: Casa Shalom November newsletter. To receive the newsletter in your inbox each month, click on the link and the click the "subscribe" link in the top left corner.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Child of the week

Meet our Child of the Week, Enma! Enma has lived at Casa Shalom since she was a little girl, when she was removed from her mother’s house due to the abuse of her brother, who no longer lives at the orphanage. Enma has grown into a smart, funny young lady and she’s quick to make new friends. Enma is currently in her final year of high school. In Guatemala, high school students must choose a specialty to focus on, and Enma has chosen physical education. She hopes to one day be a physical education teacher.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Welcome, Kevin!

Last night, Casa Shalom welcomed a new child. Kevin, age 9, was recently orphaned and he needed a place to call home. After eating a hot meal , Kevin's first event at Casa Shalom was last night's church service, where he was greeted with hugs and applause by all the children. We are asking the Lord to be "Father to the fatherless" to Kevin - Psalms 68:5.

Friday, September 14, 2012

A colorful celebration

Tomorrow is Guatemala's Independence Day and to celebrate, the children's schools have asked them to attend school all week dressed in various traditional outfits.  Back row, from left: Chepe, Santiago, Keily, Layo, Omar and Donaldo. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

New photos are up!

We've uploaded brand new photos of all of Casa Shalom's children, like Magdalena, left, to the orphanage's website. To see photos of all the kids, visit: www.Casashalom.net/Children

Friday, August 31, 2012

An identity for Yennifer

Another Casa Shalom child has gained legal standing and a legal identity! Yenifer, age 4, came to Casa Shalom in early 2012 after being physically abused by her mother.  Yenny's mom never registered her with the Guatemalan government, and because of that, Yenny had no legal identity or protection.  We were recently able to register her, and today, she received her brand-new birth certificate.  We are grateful that Yenny will now be able to attend school, and one day get a good job and vote, which are all privileges that come with having a legal identity in Guatemala.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Mynor's forever family

 Many already know the story of little Mynor, who came to Casa Shalom as a newborn 2 1/2 years ago, after being abandoned in a ditch in Guatemala City.  We are so excited to share the news that today Mynor is being adopted and will be leaving Casa Shalom to live with his new mom and dad!  We will miss Mynor greatly, but we thank the Lord that He has provided a wonderful forever family for this precious little boy. It's a very happy ending to Mynor's Casa Shalom story.

Left: Mynor with his new family and below: Mynor as a newborn baby at Casa Shalom.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A special visit

Yesterday, we were privileged to receive a visit from Olga Gonzalez, a former director of Casa Shalom. Hermana Olga was director many years ago, but we know that she touched the lives of countless children who came to Casa Shalom during that period of time. We are grateful for all the previous directors, staff and volunteers who sacrificed and paved the way for Casa Shalom to be what it is today!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A beautiful mural

The toddlers pose in front of the incredible new mural in their living room, which was painted by last week's short-term missions team from Wings of Faith Church in Ocala, Florida.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Keily's big day

It is a big day for Keily, age 12.  Today is the day that she leaves the house of the "Estrellitas," the young girls at Casa Shalom. She will move in to the house of the "Estrellas," the teenage girls. We are proud of Keily and the beautiful young woman that she is becoming!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Guatemalan garage sale

This is what a Guatemalan garage sale looks like!  A few times per year, we collect all the items that have been donated that we can't use at the orphanage (adult clothing and outdated items) and we have a yard sale that's open to the people from the nearby village.  This past week, we sold enough items to do some much-needed repairs in the orphanage's kitchen!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Mynor's birth certificate

 For the first time in Mynor's two-and-a-half years, he has a legal identity!  Mynor was abandoned in a ditch as a newborn and was brought to Casa Shalom at a few days old.  He's been with us ever since, but because his mother abandoned him, he was never registered with the government and didn't legally exist.  There are many children like this in Guatemala, and they are vulnerable to human traffickers because they don't exist on paper.  We are so happy to announce that after a long struggle to get Mynor registered, he now has a birth certificate and a legal identity!  This identity awards him full privilege and protection as a Guatemalan citizen. We thank God for this important step in Mynor's life.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Recycling

Here's a new way to recycle - our little boys have been collecting plastic bottle caps to make "racetracks" for their toy cars.  We love when our kids get creative!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Gulf Hammock COG has arrived!

This afternoon, the short-term missions team from Gulf Hammock Church of God in Gulf Hammock, FL, arrived safely at Casa Shalom.  According to Senior Pastor Eddie Johnson, this is the church's first international missions trip! We praise the Lord for sending the team from GHCOG to Casa Shalom.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The gift of coffee

Yesterday, Casa Shalom received a great blessing in the form of 400 pounds of coffee!  The beans were donated by the Church of God in the Guatemalan region of Huehuetenango, which is known for producing some of the best coffee in the world.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Hard at work and play!

The short-term missions team of alumni and chaperones from Life Academy is doing great!  The team members are working hard painting and laying brick and are enjoying reconnecting with Casa Shalom's kids.  Please continue to keep the team members in your prayers as they minister at the orphanage.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Life Academy is on the way!

We at Casa Shalom are excited about and ready for today's arrival of the short-term missions team of the alumni of Life Academy in Bloomington, Minnesota.  The team will be starting some brickwork on the orphanage's bakery, painting, and possibly laying some paving stones on the work-in-progress road that runs through the property.  Please keep the team members and chaperones in your prayers as they minister to Casa Shalom's kids!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

No more widow makers!

Great news for the many people who have planned a short-term missions trip to Casa Shalom:  the "widow makers" (electric shower heads) in the team bathrooms are no more!  Yesterday, we installed 2 gas water heaters and there's no longer any risk of getting "zapped" while taking a shower.  A big thanks to missionary Bob Kornegay for donating one of the heaters.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Creativity with cardboard!

Yesterday, some of Casa Shalom's boys got creative with spare cardboard and made an "airplane." They packed as many inside as possible and "flew" around the world!










Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A great quote passed on by International Orphan Support, one of Casa Shalom's main supporting organizations:

"Compassion changes the world, one life at a time."

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Four years ago today, we moved to Guatemala to begin what we thought would be a one year stint on the mission field.  4 years later, we are still ministering to the wonderful children of Casa Shalom and we couldn't be happier.  We feel blessed to be able to serve the 62 amazing kids that call Casa Shalom home.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Brothers reunited

Brothers Juan Jose, left and David were recently reunited when David joined his brother, who has lived at Casa Shalom for nearly a year. After their mother passed away, the boys' elderly father became unable to care for Juan Jose and he came to Casa Shalom. David remained at home with their father until he became to ill to care for his younger son.  The brothers are excited to be reunited - please pray for David, as he speaks primarily the indigenous language Kaqchikel and very little Spanish! For now, his big brother will serve as translator until David learns Spanish!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Keily, age 9, and Carlos, age 7, came to Casa Shalom late last night after being removed from a bar, where they were with their parents, who were very drunk at the time.  After police took the children away, their parents returned to the bar to continue drinking. We are very sad that the children have been exposed to this lifestyle at such a young age, but we are grateful for the chance to show them Christ's unending love!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Casa Shalom's new website!

We are excited to announce that Casa Shalom's newly-redone website is now live! Please check out www.CasaShalom.net to see photos of the children who call Casa Shalom home, as well as info on how to take a short-term missions trip to the orphanage!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Enma's silver medal

We are so proud of Enma, 19, who placed second in her gymnastics meet yesterday! She's studying to be a physical education teacher, and was selected to participate in a special extra-curricular gymnastics program after showing special talent in her regular classes. Way to go Enma!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Marlon the chicken butcher

A young man with a wheelbarrow full of chicken - now there's something you don't see every day! Marlon, age 15, has been participating in the butchering of the latest batch of chickens at Casa Shalom's chicken farm. These chickens, already butchered and plucked, are destined for the cooking pots, to be enjoyed by all the orphanage.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A special prayer request

We are asking for special prayer for Marina, one of the weekend house mothers.  She was diagnosed with osteoporosis yesterday and needs a special healing touch!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Edwin's talent


A few months ago, we hired a new tutor to help our children reach their academic potential. The tutor is also a professional painter and began giving some of the children and teens painting lessons. It turns out that Edwin, age 16, has a gift for painting! Pictured is his first painting! He entered it into an art contest at his school and won 1st place! We are so proud of Edwin and his God-given talent. He plans on creating many more paintings in the near future.

















Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Birthday celebration!

video
Yesterday, we took all of Casa Shalom's children who have birthdays in March and April to a favorite local restaurant to celebrate! They ate lots of fried chicken, french fries, and ice cream, and enjoyed a birthday song from the servers. The youngest in the group, Michelle, turned 5 while the oldest, Edwin, turned 16!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Nothing but a rain shower!

Casa Shalom's boys aren't going to let anything like a little downpour keep them from their favorite pastime, soccer!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Fresh paint!

Yesterday, all 3 of the boys' houses got a fresh coat of paint thanks to a group from Canada Amistad! Thanks for a job well done!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Tortilla duty

It's been another blessed day at Casa Shalom! Karen and Colim were on tortilla duty - we at Casa Shalom make over 500 tortillas every single day!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Best friends

Best friends Yohanna and Maria stroll arm in arm on this beautiful Sunday afternoon!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Catalina, age 5, shows off her new sunglasses, a present from the short-term missions team from Christian Life Church that is spending the week serving at Casa Shalom.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Benjamin leaves the nest

Tonight, the Casa Shalom family said goodbye to one of it's oldest members. Benjamin, now 22, arrived at Casa Shalom as an 8-year-old who had been abandoned by his mother and who sold gum on the streets to make a living. Benjamin has spent the last 14 years of his life at Casa Shalom, completing high school and then eventually his degree as an accountant. A few years ago, Benjamin transitioned from child to staff and became a house parent for Casa Shalom's teen and later pre-teen boys. Benjamin recently obtained a job as an accountant with a good company in Guatemala City. We are so proud to see him leave Casa Shalom as a successful, well-educated, Christ-loving young man and we've encouraged all of Casa Shalom's children to follow in his footsteps. Go with God, Benjamin!
Left: Casa Shalom's children pray a blessing over Benjamin as he moves on to life beyond the orphanage.





















Benjamin with Marina, who was his house mother when he arrived at Casa Shalom at eight years old. Marina is a wonderful servant of the Lord and is still house mothering to this day!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Welcome Candelaria, Wiliam and Roxana!

Tonight, 8-year-old Candelaria, 3-year-old Wiliam and 1-year-old Roxana joined the Casa Shalom family! They've been living on the streets with their parents who made them beg for money and wash car windows for spare change. Candelaria has never been to school and the children are all malnourished and small. We are thrilled by the chance to minister to these precious little ones!




















Friday, March 2, 2012

Faint paint fun

Twin sisters Candelaria, left, and Magdalena, right, and their big sister Viviana, middle, spent the afternoon with Casa Shalom's psychologist in an early-learning session that included face paint!

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Mejia Lux siblings, one year later

Just over 1 year ago, late one night, we posted an urgent prayer request for a group of 8 children we'd just taken in. The kids, ages 2 - 12, had been abandoned by their parents months earlier and had been trying to survive on their own. 12-year-old Maria tried to keep her siblings alive by feeding them raw tortilla dough and the 3 boys worked long days in the coffee fields to provide for the family. The children arrived at Casa Shalom near starvation, filthy, sick and lice-ridden. None had ever attended school or been to a doctor. What a difference a year makes! Now, the 5 oldest children are attending school and the oldest 4 are literate. All have received quality medical and dental care and the oldest 3 have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior! A big thank you to everyone whose donations and prayers have allowed us to minister to these amazing children for the past year.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Welcome David and Maria!

Meet little David, one of Casa Shalom's new children. David has been hospitalized for extreme malnutrition since October of 2011 - his doctors said that in October, he arrived at the hospital as a 1-year-old but was no bigger nor more advanced than a newborn. David's 7-year-old sister, Maria, was hospitalized along with him for the same reason and the same amount of time. The children's mother is mentally handicapped and didn't realize that her children were near starvation. The two were released from the hospital last week and came to Casa Shalom. We are happy to report that while both are very small for their age, their health is improving. We thank Jesus for the chance to pour into these two precious lives! Please pray that God will bring healing to these children in mind, body and soul!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Layo and Santiago come to Casa Shalom


Last week, two new children came to Casa Shalom from the town of Alotenango. Brothers Layo (pronounced Lie-oh) and Santiago were removed from the home of their alcoholic and abusive parents by social services this morning. Social workers report that the family's home was constructed entirely of cardboard with a dirt floor and was in the worst condition they'd ever seen. The boys are malnourished and have only ever worked instead of attending school. They will start school this week! The boys have already said that they don't believe in Jesus and that their parents have taught them that God doesn't exist. We are thankful that we have the chance to minister to these precious boys and we are praying that He reveals Himself to them in a powerful way!