Monday, February 8, 2016

Interns Change Lives


As a Casas por Cristo intern, you have the chance to make a big impact in the lives of families.

Did you know?.. 
  • Every week our interns get to build a home for a family in need.
  • Our interns get to experience new cultures first hand.
  • Casas relies on the help of interns to handle the large number of summer builds.
  • Our internship develops leadership skills.
  • Most of our current missionaries started out as an interns.
  • The memories made during an internship last a lifetime.
We are still looking for servant-hearted individuals who are willing to commit three months of their summer to building homes for families. Our internship offers a great opportunity to expand your faith to new heights and to have a deeper understanding of other cultures. Plus, it is an extremely fun and rewarding way to spend three months! So, if you or someone you know would love to take the next step towards a summer of a lifetime, click on the link below to apply. 

Applications are due by April 1, 2016.

915.778.0046 |  

Monday, February 1, 2016

Missionary Spotlight | Brandon & Heather Culp

Meet Brandon and Heather Culp. Brandon has just been named the Director of Juárez after serving as the Director of Guatemala for three years. He has faithfully served in many roles at Casas por Cristo since he came on staff in 2008. He oversees the Juárez Field Department and makes sure our operations in Juárez run smoothly.
INTERVIEW WITH BRANDON
1. Tell a little bit about yourself and where you're from.
  • I am from Kiowa, Colorado, and I studied Construction Management at Colorado State University. I grew up in a Christian home and have a wonderful family that has encouraged and supported me before and during my time here at Casas.  
2. What made you choose to serve at Casas por Cristo?
  • I went on my first Casas trip when I was a senior in High School. I still remember every detail about that trip. It was the first time in my life that I ever experienced poverty and saw how serving was one of the most powerful ways of sharing the love of Christ with others. I decided to use the Casas internship to fulfill the requirements for my Construction Management degree. After my second internship with Casas, I felt like God was calling me to serve with Casas por Cristo full time.
3. How have you seen God through your ministry at Casas por Cristo?
  • One of my favorite parts of serving with this ministry has been how God has used the people I serve along side, the groups I build with, and the families we build for to shape and mold me into the person I am today. Last week, a brother of the lady we were building for had been deported, totaled his vehicle, had a dislocated shoulder that needed surgery, and was only able to see his family once a week. His sister was a single mom barely able to feed her children. He wanted her to have a home and to come to know Christ so badly that he purchased the land for her house with the little money he had, spent months preparing it, and even helped us build it. At the dedication she told us she was most excited for the Bible she had received and that she was going to start attending church with her brother. The brother never once mentioned all the struggles he was going through. We were only made aware of those later, but I share this story because this particular week I saw God in this man's servant heart. I have countless stories like this one over the years and that is one of the reasons I love this ministry so much.
4. What has been your biggest challenge so far?
  • Three years ago we moved to Guatemala. We left family, friends, and comforts behind. While we were there we formed relationships and bonds that we never expected. In September we moved back to the States. Saying goodbye and leaving the people who had become our family proved to be more difficult than our initial move to Guatemala. We are excited for what God has next, but this has been our biggest challenge so far.  
5. What are some things people can pray for on your behalf?
  • We ask for prayers as we continue to adjust to living back in the United States and for a smooth transition as I become the Director of the Juárez Department.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Experience Service in 2016 | Internship Opportunity

2015 Summer Interns
As a Casas por Cristo intern, you have the chance to make a big impact in the lives of families.

Casas por Cristo Needs You
Every summer Casas por Cristo hires interns to help us through our busiest season of the year. So far we have hired eight interns for summer 2016, but to meet the needs of our ministry our goal is to have twenty-four. If you have a heart for helping families in need and sharing Christ's love, then consider joining us! Our internship offers a great opportunity to develop leadership skills and experience new cultures. It will stretch you in your faith and be one of the best summers of your life.

The deadline to apply is April 1.

915.778.0046 |  


Monday, January 18, 2016

Pastor Spotlight | San Raymundo, Guatemala

Pastors 2.JPG
Pastor Juan Elvira is 4th from the left in the middle row.
"When teams are here, I feel like I am not alone. I feel like as Christians, we're all in this mission together - the mission of reaching the lost and broken-hearted for Christ." - Juan Elvira

A Pastor's Perspective

In the years before Casas por Cristo came to Guatemala, we did VBS for the children and families within our church. Although I felt like this was an effective method to minister to those already in the church, I was looking for a way to reach those who did not yet attend. I first learned about Casas por Cristo's wish to come to San Raymundo from David Robertson, Executive Director of Casas, and Queno Nij, President of the Guatemala Pastors Committee. I had already known David from attending Bible College with him in Eagle Pass, TX. I was intrigued at the possibility of Casas coming to Guatemala, so I went to the first meeting they had and discussed the ministry with them and their hopes for coming to San Raymundo. At first, I'll admit, I wasn't sure of the impact Casas would have here. But when I received the first application of a new home for a family, my mission became reality as I now had an effective way to minister to new families outside the church. The first build impacted more than just the family who received the home; it reached the entire community as families upon families came to see what was going on - some even heard about it up to 30 minutes away and came to see. From this point on, I began to use the home applications for two groups of people - families of the church who have been faithful but are struggling economically, and non-Christians in hopes of reaching them with the love of Christ. People continued to ask me about the homes and Casas por Cristo, and as time went on, more people began attending my church. To this day, when people ask about receiving a home or how to apply, I tell them it isn't a requirement that they attend church, but I do ask permission to enter their home in order to share the Gospel and do a Bible study with the family. Since I began working with Casas, five entire families have been baptized in my church, totaling almost 25 people. In fact, Mission Builders from Eagle Pass, TX, built me a new church in order to accommodate all the new people that started attending church through my partnership with Casas. 

The families are also taking it upon themselves to go out and share the Gospel as we're commanded to in Matthew 28. After receiving a home from Casas, one family then went out into the community and brought three additional families, who weren't Christians, to church. As a pastor, for me and my church, it is a huge blessing that the families are picking up their own crosses and following Christ. Through the gift of a home, and witnessing the actions of the group during the week, families are grasping the Gospel and combining action with belief. Since there aren't near enough applications for every family to receive a home, it is all the more important for the families themselves to reach out and share the Gospel.

In addition, a home also has the potential to improve the financial standpoint of a family. Now they have a place to work out of, can save money from not having to rent, and the perspective of other people in the community is that Casas helps people from all walks and paths of life. It ties people from all backgrounds together in communities. For example, there is one family I sponsored a home for, and their son wanted to go to secondary basic school (6th grade). The family makes baskets for income and couldn't afford for the son to continue his schooling. They told him that he had to stay home and work. After the family received a home, I told the family that God has given them a blessing, and they need to make a sacrifice for their son to go to school. Due to not having to pay rent anymore, the family is saving money and using it to send their son to school. This was a non-Christian family that is now one of the most faithful families in the church. They have been attending for four years and the son is now in high school.

One of my favorite memories of a build with Casas was the action of a particular group. Most groups bring toys for kids in the village, which the families and children love. But one group washed the feet of the people from the community who attended the dedication ceremony. As a result, people began asking questions about why Americans were doing such a thing, and it struck the interest of people in the community. I viewed this as an opportunity to share the Gospel and explain why Jesus washed his disciples' feet.

As a pastor, there is nothing I enjoy more than reaching people for Christ. And since Casas has come to Guatemala, it has been the medium that allows me to do just that. It offers me a doorstep into the lives of the families to share the Gospel. When teams are here, I feel like I am not alone. I feel like as Christians, we're all in this mission together - the mission of reaching the lost and broken-hearted for Christ. I know that God is always with me, but when groups come, it is like God is saying, "Here is an additional partnership for reassurance, just so you don't doubt me."

Also, one of my favorite things about Casas por Cristo is that neither the ministry, nor the pastors, ask for anything in return from the families who receive a home, just like Jesus did during His ministry. In Guatemala, there are some government missions that have approached non-Christians and said, "If you come to church you'll receive more blessings and more money." Basically, they tell people whatever they might want to hear in order to get more people to attend their church. But then they don't keep their promises to the people, and the people have become distrusting as a result. Casas por Cristo has helped to change that mindset, and people are impressed when they find out the house is free. It gives us pastors the opportunity to share the truth with them about Jesus.

- Story by Juan Elvira, Sponsoring Pastor in San Raymundo, Guatemala



800.819.8014  |  questions@casasporcristo.org   casasporcristo.org

Monday, January 11, 2016

Missionary Spotlight | The Dockery Family


Meet Pete and Abby Dockery and their children: Eden, Charlotte, Ezra, Solomon, and Samuel. Pete has just been named the acting Director of Guatemala after serving as the Director of Juárez for three years. Pete has faithfully served in many roles at Casas since he came on staff in 2001. He looks forward to moving with his family to Guatemala in the near future to oversee operations there.

INTERVIEW WITH PETE

1. Tell a little bit about yourself and where you're from.
  • We both hail from the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia. Our families still live in the Atlanta area, and we still love Waffle House and Chick-fil-A. We both attended Point University to pursue studies in cross-cultural mission work. I graduated and began serving in Juárez for Casas por Cristo in 2001. I married Abby in 2005, after which she moved to El Paso and finished a degree in nursing from UTEP. We both love ministry and kids and felt the call to adopt after our second child was born. We now have five children, two of whom joined our family by way of God's grace through adoption.

2. What made you choose to serve at Casas por Cristo?
  • I grew up attending church and from an early age felt a call into full-time service. In college, that call became louder and more clear after a week long trip to an Apache Indian reservation in Arizona. It was the intermingling of a life's passion, construction, with serving God that really lit the fire. Growing up working with my hands alongside my father I learned all about construction and really loved making things. After learning of the Casas por Cristo internship from a college friend, I knew that I had to give it a shot. Now, over 16 years after that first internship, I am preparing for the next chapter of ministry with Casas.
  • Abby knew from a very young age that she wanted to be involved in cross cultural missions. Before marrying me, she spent a summer in Costa Rica and Venezuela doing ministry, helped build a house with Casas, and also spent seven months in Ivory Coast, West Africa working in a clinic. What made her choose to serve at Casas por Cristo was that she fell in love with a guy who was in love with Casas. She is thankful to have married into a life of service with Casas and loves being a part of bringing Jesus to people in México, the Dominican Republic, and Guatemala.
3. How have you seen God through your ministry at Casas por Cristo?
  • There is no way to quantify the ways we have seen God through the ministry of Casas por Cristo. What seems like such a small, insignificant sacrifice for us is a blessing beyond measure for the families we serve and the pastors we partner with. God has shown up innumerable times in our fifteen years here at Casas. We have seen hard-hearted Mexican men break down at the gift of love and hope. We have seen single mothers explain how they didn't know where their next meal was coming from or how they were going to make it through another cold night. God is big, He is our provider, and He loves His children.
4. What has been your biggest challenge so far?
  • The biggest challenge is the dichotomy of living in the United States and serving people just a few short minutes from our home who are living in poverty. Knowing that only by chance we were born in the country we were born in with the freedoms we have versus the circumstances of the families we serve weighs very heavy on our hearts. We know and believe that ALL people are created by God and in His image. We know that ALL people have value and worth. That is why we do our best to serve these families through Casas por Cristo.
5. How do you feel about moving to Guatemala?
  • We are really excited about the opportunity to serve in Guatemala as a family. Since Casas first began serving in Guatemala in 2011, God has been tugging on our hearts to move there and serve the pastors and families in San Raymundo. Life situations have temporarily slowed us down, but now we feel like God has re-opened that door for us. We are looking forward to serving as a family, meeting the needs of the families in our own community. Our kids love working and serving every time they can, and this will allow us to more fully engage as a family.  
6. What are some things people can pray for on your behalf?
  • We've had a crazy few years with some major changes in our family, primarily adoptions. God has seen us through without a doubt. We know that he has called us to Guatemala, and we are relying on Him to meet our needs there. We have so many mixed feelings about leaving the place we love, our friends and church family, the teams we have served with faithfully for the last sixteen years, and the pastors we have shared in ministry with. We are praying that our time in Guatemala will also yield those same fruits. Our biggest prayer is for the adjustment our children will be making to a new culture, new language, and a new life.  

Monday, January 4, 2016

It's that time of year again...


Register for your 2016 Casas por Cristo mission trip! 
Sign your group or church up today for a mission trip that will meet a family's physical need of better housing in hopes of also meeting their spiritual need for Jesus Christ. We have openings on our calendar for all weeks throughout the year. Contact us at 915.778.0046 or scheduling@casasporcristo.org to check availability for your projected trip dates. Then click the REGISTER button above.


Team Casas - Trips for Individuals
Join with other individuals to build a home for a family in need. We need volunteers for the following Team Casas dates. Click the REGISTER button above to sign up.

The deadline to schedule a trip is 30 days prior to each México trip and 60 days prior for trips to other locations. If the trip is scheduled, new registrations will be accepted until the trip takes place.

2016 Team Casas Schedule
February 5 - 8 | Juárez, México
(scheduled; still accepting volunteers)
March 13 - 18 | San Raymundo, Guatemala
(15 volunteers needed by January 13)
March 13 - 19 | Santiago, Dominican Republic
(Only 2 volunteers needed by January 13)
June 12 - 18 | Santiago, Dominican Republic
(15 volunteers needed by April 12)
June 13 - 16 | Juárez, México
(12 volunteers needed by May 13)
July 3 - 8 | San Raymundo, Guatemala
(15 volunteers needed by May 3)
October 7 - 10 | Juárez, México
(Only 3 volunteers needed by September 7)
December 27 - 30 | Acuña, México
(14 volunteers needed by November 27)
December 27 - 30 | Juárez, México
(12 volunteers needed by November 27)
December 27, 2016 - January 1, 2017 | San Raymundo, Guatemala
(15 volunteers needed by October 27)
December 27, 2016 - January 2, 2017 | Santiago, Dominican Republic
(16 volunteers needed by October 27)



Thursday, December 31, 2015

Casas por Cristo's Top 10 of 2015

We Praise God For All He's Done
  1. In February, Casas began operations in the Dominican Republic, and  we were able to bless 21 families with new homes by the end of the year.
  2. In April, we revealed our new brand identity and logo.
  3. Casas employed 19 summer interns throughout all of our locations.
  4. We began offering a meal plan in our Acuña and Juárez locations.
  5. We partnered with an organization in Guatemala that installs EcoStoves and EcoFilters to improve the air quality, water quality, and overall health of families.
  6. We had our biggest week ever in Guatemala, completing 13 homes June 21-27.
  7. We hired Jake White as a Juárez Field Coordinator and now employ 22 full-time missionaries.
  8. We began plans to build a new office space for our El Paso headquarters. 
  9. We began a partnership with the city of Acuña to provide land and new homes for the families affected by the tornado in May.
  10. We redesigned the house plans for our Acuña location and built the first prototype in October. The new design is more functional for families and includes a living space and two bedrooms. We also made the home more durable by implementing a longer lasting metal roof. All Acuña builds in 2016 will use the new design.

It's Not Too Late
There is still time left to make your year end donation and receive a charitable tax-deduction on your 2015 taxes.
Thank You 
We can't say it enough. Thank you to the best group of volunteers and supporters out there. It is because of your faithful prayer, love, and support that we were so successful this year. We look forward to partnering with you all again in 2016.