Preaching on Sunday

I’ve been given the opportunity to preach and share my testimony at my church this Sunday! If you’re in the Austin area you should come this Sunday and cheer me on! If you’ve never come to North Austin Christian Church, then you DEFINITELY have to come! We start at 4:30 in the afternoon.

North Austin Christian Church
1734 Rutland Drive
Austin, TX 78758

1 Month Left

There’s only 1 month left until I head back down to Guatemala for a month! This trip will be to make preparations for moving back permanently at the end of the year. So I fly down on August 15th and return to the United States on September 19th. If you haven’t seen it yet, I wrote about my vision and plans for the future on my main website here.
Here are the main prayer requests for this month before I go:

  • Car to borrow while I’m there
  • Job leads to pursue
  • House leads

Thanks for your prayers and support!

Mario Castillo

mario_christmasMario Castillo was the oldest guy that I took care of back in 2004 when I was living at Casa Shalom, and at the end of the year both he and another guy named Edwin graduated from high school.  In 2005 I returned to school at Georgia Tech for my masters degree, and he moved from the home to live in Guatemala City to work.

The following Christmas I was able to spend my semester break with the kids, and Mario came to stay with us each time he got a break from work.  I distinctly remember our conversation together about how the first year was for him away from the home.  He shared about the confusion about what to do in life, the difficulty in adjusting to a very different lifestyle, and the incredible loneliness he felt living away from the home.

It was this conversation that really made a lasting impression on me about the great need to help these guys adjust to life outside of the home.  Praise God that Mario’s still doing well!  But I want to take these lessons learned with Mario and help some of the other guys who are now getting to the point of moving on.

I distinctly remember how much I missed my parents and family during that Christmas visit, but on the other hand, it meant so much to Mario and the other kids to have me with them during the break.  I often take for granted the incredible blessing that so many of us have of a great family to support me and help me. I want to do that for these guys!

Mario is the guy in the middle of the other kids in this picture from that Christmas morning.  Please keep guys like this in your prayers!

New Blog Location!

I’m still figuring out this whole blogging thing, and I decided on a new one which should be easier for me to update.  So hopefully this new blog that you’re reading will be its permanent home!

This one will allow for comments and more dynamic pages, so now you can easily let me know what you think! And if you use RSS readers, there is an “Entries (RSS)” link at the bottom of the page that  you can use to keep track of the updates.

Josh and Jessica’s Blog

HansonMagnetJosh and Jessica Hanson are a really awesome couple who have lived at Casa Shalom for the past year and help out at the home wherever needed. They do everything from teaching in the school, to helping organize and manage American team visits, to filling in as house parents, to anything else! They have a really great blog about everything going on at the orphanage. I use it to keep informed with everything going on! You can check it out at http://thehansonsinguatemala.blogspot.com/. I know that they’re raising support as they go into their second year, and you can find out more about it on their site.

Yuliza’s New Job

I thought that this would be a good place to write a little bit about my girlfriend Yuliza and how I got to know her.  She started teaching at Casa Shalom about three and a half years ago, and this is a picture of her with her class that year.

In the summer of 2006 I went down and helped out for a little over three months, and during that time, one of my jobs was driving a van to pick up the teachers and some kids from the surrounding areas each morning before school and then drop them off at the end of the day.  So that’s how we first got to know each other, the times in the car each day… but she always says that she didn’t get to know me very well that summer. (I guess that I am a little shy!)

Anyways, we got to know each other some that first summer, and then we started talking more over the next few years as I’ve been living in Texas.  At first it was mostly just emails back and forth, but it slowly changed into more and more phone calls over time.  We then started dating when I went to visit over Thanksgiving.

This past spring Yuli was able to stay with some of her family that lives in South Carolina for about six months.  This was quite a blessing to us as I was able to visit her much more often and she was able to get to know my country and culture. She also took English classes during her time in the U.S. and learned a lot.  She got to meet most of my family in May and did a pretty good job of talking to them.

The school system in Guatemala is on a different schedule from us, and it runs from January until October.  So Yuli had to withdraw from teaching at Casa Shalom this year in order to stay in the U.S. this spring.  When she returned a month ago, it was tricky to find an teaching position that was open in the middle of the school year.  But on Tuesday she was given an offer at a school very close to her house when a position opened up to teach sixth grade, so she took it!

Yuli's Class in 2006Yuli’s Class in 2006

I thought that this would be a good place to write a little bit about my girlfriend Yuliza and how I got to know her.  Yuli started teaching at Casa Shalom about three and a half years ago, and this picture is of her class that year.

In the summer of 2006 I went down and helped out at the orphanage for about three months, and during that time, one of my jobs was driving a van to pick up the teachers and some kids from the surrounding areas each morning before school and then drop them off at the end of the day.  So each day we talked as we went back and forth, and that’s how we first got to know each other. She always says that she didn’t get to know me very well that summer, and I guess that I am a little shy! But I certainly noticed her and saw what a great job she did with the kids.

Anyways, we got to know each other some that first summer, and then we started talking more over the next few years as I’ve been living in Texas.  At first it was mostly just emails back and forth, but it slowly changed into more and more phone calls over time.  We then started dating when I went to visit over Thanksgiving.  A long distance relationship wasn’t really part of my plan while living in Texas, but she continued to impress me in many ways.  And I didn’t want to let her get away!

This past spring Yuli was able to stay with some of her family that lives in South Carolina for about six months.  This was quite a blessing to both of us as I was able to visit her much more often, and she was able to get to know my country and culture. She also took English classes during her time in the U.S. and learned a lot.  She got to meet most of my family back in May and did a really good job of talking to them.  All of this was such a blessing to us as I had no idea how it was going to work out as I started to date her.  We have lots of differences, but I feel like God’s been right there with us every step of the way.

The school system in Guatemala is on a different schedule from us, and it runs from January until October.  So Yuli had to withdraw from teaching at Casa Shalom this year in order to stay in the U.S. this spring.  When she returned to live in Guatemala a month ago, it was tricky for her to find a teaching position that was available in the middle of the school year.  But on Tuesday she was given an offer to teach sixth grade at a school very close to her house, so she took it! Again, it’s been so great to see God provide every step of the way.

First Post

At the top of Volcan de PacayaAt the top of Volcan de Pacaya

Nothing much here… yet! I hope to post all the plans and prayer requests over these next six months of preparation. Let me know what you think!

(He he heh… This picture looks like I’m hiking up to Jesus!)