Friday, July 11, 2014

Mission Trip Scholarship

We are proud to offer scholarships to teams who need financial support!  It’s strange how life works.  Sometimes you have plenty and other times you have to scrape by.  I remember a time when Casas por Cristo (CpC) couldn’t get enough teams to come build, and as a ministry we had to ask our staff for voluntary layoffs in order to stay afloat.  This greatly affected me personally because my husband and I felt we were in the best positions to take the layoffs, considering we had just sold our house and didn’t have any children yet to hold us here. 
We recently returned to the ministry and have found that the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction for CpC.  Many of the teams that were scared off by the violence in México have started to return now that the violence has calmed down.  Since we left, CpC has expanded to two new locations and is about to add a fourth.  After not being able to allow more than a few interns per summer, we were able to accept 19 interns to help us with the influx of summer builds this year.  And this week alone we have received enough funding for four different houses for teams that cannot afford to come on their own from Kingdom-minded individuals and churches.  This was not something that CpC was seeking, but rather something that God dropped in our laps. 
            A few of the staff started brainstorming about what could be done with the extra funds from these individuals and churches.  We came up with the idea of starting a scholarship program for teams.  We created a scholarship application for prospective teams to fill out.  Once we review the applications, we are going to select a few scholarship recipients so that those groups that wouldn’t otherwise get to be blessed by going on a CpC mission trip will finally have that opportunity. 
You see, we firmly believe that coming as a team member on a CpC mission trip is a life-changing experience.  Spending a week away from the culture and comfort Americans are used to in order to serve the needs of a family in another country somehow awakens people to God’s leading and will for their lives.  At least, it did for me.  I was fourteen years old when I came on my first mission trip with Casas por Cristo to Juárez, México.  God used that week to take hold of my heart and guide me down the path on which I am still walking.  We want to give that same opportunity to individuals and churches that may not otherwise be able to come on a trip simply because they struggle with funding.  Thanks to God’s provision through the generosity of a few Kingdom-minded individuals, that is now a possibility. 
If you feel that your group or church would benefit from receiving a CpC scholarship for a mission trip, simply click on the link below and fill out the application by the August 31, 2014 deadline.  CpC will review all applications and award the recipients by September 30, 2014.  If you feel led to give to support other groups with their funding through the CpC scholarship program, follow the link to give and write “Scholarship” in the comments section.
-       Roberta Sanders

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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Prayers for Guatemala

Our summer interns Jake, Christie and Tyler are well into their second week in Guatemala and getting more and more familiar with their new home for the summer. Learning three builds in three weeks in two different countries and cultures is a lot, but we know that they are capable and that God will provide all that they need. We want to lift up their specific prayers requests this summer as they soak up all that is Guatemala! Will you join us in praying for them?!

- For Christ's leadership through me as I lead teams
- God's direction in all things this summer
- That God would use these experiences to mold and transform my life for all He has planned
- That the families and teams would come to see Christ in new ways through their experiences

- Strength for the long time I am away from home and for all the hard work that will be done
- That God might use me to bless teams and families every week
-Thanks for this opportunity to learn and to love

- God's direction for Casas' ministry as a whole
- That the families we serve may know we build for them out of love for Jesus Christ and because we care about their eternal salvation
-For God's direction in my life as I seek possibilities of long term service in Guatemala
- Safe travels for the Casas staff and teams that journey to Guatemala
-That the people of Guatemala & México may believe in God, hold onto the Word of God, and realize that anything can happen

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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Stepping Out... On Faith

After almost 10 years on staff with Casas por Cristo, Brittany Girle is stepping out on faith to follow where God is leading next. Read her last newsletter here and continue to follow her next steps at Confidently Wandering or leave your e-mail address in the comments to be added to her mailing list.

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Team Casas Guatemala

We want you to meet Vilma and Oscar Reyes and their children Frandi (5) and Arely (8). They are 33 years old and Oscar is a truck driver.  Right now they are renting a place to live, but praying that they will soon have a home to call their own.  We want to help make this prayer a reality. The week of June 23rd we are still looking for volunteers to join us for Team Casas in San Raimundo, Guatemala.  If you've been considering organizing a trip to Guatemala, this would be a great opportunity to experience it first hand. Grab a friend and join us this summer for a week in Guatemala!

Cost: $675 (excluding airfare)
When: June 23rd-29th

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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Girl On A Mission

Read the story of how one 8 year old girl from North Carolina is using her entrepreneurial spirit and ingenuity to help raise money for her youth group to build a home with Casas por Cristo in Guatemala. Cecilia's story inspired us, we have no doubt it will inspire you too!!
(This story was originally written by her parents here.)

I’ll just go ahead and say it…this post is unabashed praise for my sweet little girl. Uh huh, my peacock feathers are WIDE open. At 8 (and a 1/2, she will remind you) our youngest dauther, Cecilia, has shown us just how incredibly huge her heart already is by taking on a task born in her own head, to help others.

Rewind two weeks ago to a Sunday evening youth service. We are so blessed at Mt. Tabor United Methodist Church in Winston-Salem, to have an amazing youth director in Steve Keaton. Our youth group is one of the largest in town and super active, mainly because of Steve and the wonderful youth volunteers. Each Sunday evening our youth group gathers and once a month, instead of the usual gathering, they have their own worship service. On this particular Sunday, I happened to be at church helping to serve dinner to the youth. So when the service started, my two older kids, who are youth members headed into the service. Not wanting to be left out, Celia joined right in. I poked my head in a couple of times amidst the kitchen cleanup and was delighted to see her standing on the front row dancing and singing praise music right beside her big brother. What a treat to see how taken she was with the whole concept.
I knew in advance that Steve encouraged the youth to come to the service because “they would have the opportunity to leave with cash” but I had no idea of what he had planned. Well of course, we had a great turnout…I mean what a fabulous way to attract kids! What the youth didn’t know is that they would be challenged. During the service, Steve spoke to the youth about the Parable of the Talents. And as they left, each was allowed to place their hand in a big box full of cash and pull out a bill. Then they were asked to take that bill and double it and bring it back to the church in a few weeks. All of the money collected would go towards sponsoring some of our youth to go to Guatemala this summer on a mission trip. In the box were 5′s, 10′s and 20′s.
Again, not seeing herself as any different from the big kids, little missy stuck her hand right in the box and pulled out a ten dollar bill. And immediately her mind was whirling and before she even got to the car she had an idea brewing. You see, recently Celia has been taking sewing classes. It has been the most wonderful experience. She is naturally gifted in this area…full of patience, detail oriented and creative. She also has a great eye for color and patterns and just does incredibly meticulous work…especially for an 8-year-old. One of their recent sewing projects was an adorable, reversible headband and she was certain she could make some and sell them to double her money.
So off she went to sewing class the following Thursday with a bag of fabric we had on hand…and she walked out with finished headbands! Over the course of the next two days she made more with other fabric we purchased. By Sunday morning, she had 19 headbands in her bag that she planned to sell for $3 a piece. On the way into the service, I mentioned to Steve about her project and he took a moment during the service to tell about Celia’s entrepreneurial spirit in the name of a cause. Following the service Celia was flooded with onlookers and customers shoving cash into her precious little hands. I wish I had my camera at the time to capture the look and amazement in her eyes. She was overwhelmed…and out almost of inventory! Yep, the end of the day she had turned her $10 into $69!
So needless to say, the Odoms have turned their basement into somewhat of a mini sweatshop. What began as a one-girl operation, has turned into a family project. We have had the most wonderful time working together to support her as she makes more headbands to take to various places this week hoping to increase the amount of money she gives back to the church.
Of course, I had to take a few images of my girl hard at work and showcase some of her fabulous pieces. Yes, folks, you may be looking at the next Project Runway winner!

Love the concentration on her face!
Above, sporting one of her favorite patterns.


Some of this week’s designs are shown above…get ‘em while they’re hot!

A finished piece.

No doubt, we have all learned something from Celia’s willingness to take an idea and literally run with it…never thinking that failing was an option. She jumped right in without hesitation because she knew she had been called to help others. I’m quite sure much of her inspiration has come from watching her older sister, Lydia, as she prepares for her mission trip this summer and I am very grateful for the example she has set for both her brother and sister. It should also not go unnoticed that both of my other children have at least doubled their money to give back as well. But the extent to which Celia took this has been inspiring, to say the least. I’m constantly amazed at how much we can learn and be inspired by our children. Makes me smile!
Also, a huge shout out to Steve Keaton for coming up with such a creative way to challenge our youth! Can’t wait to see what comes of it!
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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Keeping Up With the de la Peñas

Read the latest from Ryan and Leanne de la Peña and follow their work with Casas por Cristo.

We are here!!! It wasn’t easy and the first week wasn’t pretty, but we survived and are excited to call El Paso home once again.  After a six day road trip full of adventures including a snowstorm, late nights driving, more bathroom stops than I can count, and some fun time spent with family and friends along the way, we drove into El Paso during the peak of a nasty sandstorm.  We are so thankful for the group of friends that showed up with lunch, groceries, toilet paper and strong arms to unload the moving truck.  However that first evening several of us started feeling ill.  By Tuesday, Ryan, Leanne and 2 year old Landon all tested positive for a nasty case of the Flu. The rest of the kids have had a variety of symptoms, but thankfully didn’t need anything other than some extra rest.  Once again we watched in amazement as friends brought more meals and even a practically new bed as we weren’t able to bring our old one with us. They made sure that our children were alive and taken care of, as Ryan and I were really wiped out by the virus.  

So here we are two weeks later, thankful to be healthy and even more thankful for all the little and big ways that God provided and protected us during our transition.  Last week Ryan jumped right into building as he and fellow staff member Jason Roth headed to Juárez with Bethel Church all the way from British Columbia, Canada. Despite the wind and rain, they succeeded in building 2 singles with only 10 people.  In March, Ryan is scheduled to build with 2 or possibly 3 more teams in Juárez.  So please pray for us as we continue to settle in and also prepare for the birth of our 7th baby in April. 

To step back for a minute, in January, Ryan was able to fly from PA to El Paso for a short weekend build with The House of God, whom we had both previously worked with many years ago.  It was a joy to be able to give the Vasquez family a home and to connect with some old friends. 

If you have previously made a pledge to support us, now is the time to start sending in your monthly support if you haven’t already. If you haven’t considered coming alongside us financially, we would ask for your prayerful consideration.  We do need to raise additional support and would love to have you as part of our team.  The easiest way to give is through Casas por Cristo staff page. You can set up to make automatic monthly payments or just a one time gift. If you prefer not to use the internet, you can also mail in donations to the office address, P.O. Box 971070 El Paso, TX 79997.  

Thank you to each of you who have given and/or committed yourselves to giving.  We are excited to get back into the swing of things here and to see how God will use us!

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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Summertime and the Living's Easy

But that's not what you're looking for; not every week at least!! Grab your friends, your family or your neighbors and spend a week with us this summer building a home for a family in need. We promise, there is no better way that you could spend your week! 

We have opportunities for you to serve in México and Guatemala. So what are you waiting for? Check out your calendar and join us. Our México and Guatemala trips are right around the corner!

June 10th - 14th | Juárez, México
June 23rd - 29th | San Raimundo, Guatemala
June 30th - July 6th | San Raimundo, Guatemala
August 30th - September 2nd | Acuña, México

For more info check out our Team Casas page or e-mail us at
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