Current situation

Help us make Casa de Esperanza 


Last May we signed a contract to purchase our present house in San Pedro Las Huertas, a small community outside of Antigua, Guatemala.  We moved in Oct. 26 with the help of a team from all Nations Church, having made a down-payment of $40,000.  We have been renting the house as we continue to raise funds to cover the balance of $130,000.

In the ensuing months, we have raised and paid and another $13,000, bringing our current balance to $117.000.

We're loving it . . .

This house has proven to suit our ministry needs in almost every way.  While the condominium struggles to accept our young men (there is still much discrimination against the disabled in Guatemala) the town itself has received our guys with open arms and they are enjoying the freedom and peaceful environment we have in this smaller town.  Moises and Osmi have started studying in a private school here (the only which would accept them) and are well accepted by the staff and students.  We a small connection group, members of our church in Antigua who live in San Pedro, who meet here each Friday evening.  God has just begun to use this house for his purposes and to reach San Pedro.

Our final payment is due next month,
and we are still short about $100,000
balance due.

We have met with the attorney for the owner, asking for an extension.  We should have the answer soon.  There is a possibility that we will have to nullify the original contract and find somewhere else to live, but we are earnestly praying that the owner will work with us to find a mutually agreeable solution.

Do I believe we have made a mistake in moving to purchase this house?

Absolutely not!

I believed in April that this was the house God had led us to, and continue to believe this.  I have counseled with fellow missionaries who have many more years of experience in ministry and fund-raising and they, too, agreed we should move ahead with the purchase in April, and still believe we should expect God to do a great thing.  I can do no more than believe Him and be obedient to his leading, even when it feels like foolishness.

Foolishness to the world . . .

And I do feel foolish right now, if I'm completely honest.  I am someone who likes to have their ducks in a row and craves security.  God is again teaching me to relinquish control of every aspect of my life and ministry to Him, and Him alone.  He is teaching me more firmly that my only security is found in Him, and in my obedience to His will as I understand it.  This is humbling and scary.  I have asked His forgiveness for anything I man have done to impede His movement.  

I continue to trust His goodness and great love for us.

Want to get involved?

We have a number of suggestions for you.

There is nothing more powerful than when the people of God join together in placing a need before God and surrendering it to him.

Contact one of the many restaurants that partner with non-profits to have fund-raising nights where a portion of the profits are donated to the organization.  In the Omaha area there are a variety of establishments which do this, including Texas Steak House, Chik-fil-a, and Le Peep.  Check out this list to see if your favorite restaurant is one of these.

Contact the individual restaurants for their requirements, and get in touch with me to let me know what we need to do to empower you to host the evening, and serve as a liaison between the restaurant and the Josiah Foundation to assure the funds are received and credited to our ministry.

Host a Missions and a Movie Night

Is there a new release out on video that you believe everyone has got to see?  Host a "Missions and a Movie Night" at your home. Invite your small group, even your neighbors, to join you for a movie and give folks the opportunity to make a donation to our ministry. You can even "sell" candy for donations if you choose.  It's a great way to build community and help us at the same time. Contact me at for more information and possible movie recommendations.

Spread the Word

Tell others what God is doing in the lives of the disabled through Causa de Esperanza.  Share with them how they, too, can partner with us in prayer, encouragement and financial support.  

Not sure how to do this?  Visit our blog and website to become more familiar with what is happening here in our ministry.  Talk about this with family and friends as God leads you to share.

 I'll be in the US in April.  Invite over a few friends and let me tell them about our ministries and our residents.  Talk to your pastor or small group leader about allowing me a few minutes to share our ministry with your church and/or group members.  Know someone who would be interested in what we are doing?  Invite us to lunch--I might even pick up the tab!  

This is NOT about asking for money.  It is about celebrating God's work in Guatemala, in spite of significant obstacles.  The Israelites joined together regularly to celebrate the great works of our God.  So should we!

A Week of Sacrificial Eating

Talk with your family about foregoing your usual weekly menu and eating only beans, rice and tortillas for one of more meals a day.  Remember us in prayer as you are eating this simple food, which is the typical diet of the people of Guatemala. Many cannot afford the beans and rice and subsist only on tortillas, and are grateful when there are a few beans to eat with them.

If you choose, you can take the money you have saved and donate it to our building fund.  Again, the money is secondary to the prayer and increased awareness in your family of the needs of those living in poverty.


We are in need of a team of  "Ambassadors" to keep our ministry in the minds of those living in the US.  With the daily rush and pressures of life, it is hard to remember that there are those in desperate need, not far from the borders of our own country.  

We need people to help with organizing our annual Taste of Guatemala dinner, managing our silent auction, cooking and serving the food, and helping with clean up.

We need others with expertise in graphic design and communications to help us improve our presence on the internet and in print.

We need people willing to send out mailings twice a year, updating our ministry partners on what has been happening here in Guatemala.

We need people to represent us at missions' conferences and churches on their "missions Sunday" activity when we are not in the US

We need. . .you tell me!  What are your ideas about how we can better spread the word about the work of Causa de Esperanza, to the glory of God!

Write me for more information.  Or call my Skype number: 402-557-0353 (this is a Nebraska number which relays toll-free to Guatemala) and share you ideas with me.  If I don't answer, leave a voicemail message and I'll call you back!


From experience, I know God will call some of you to invest financially in what we are doing, either through a one time gift to our building fund, or on a regular basis to cover our general ministry needs.  We are grateful to those of you who take of this challenge.  You may think you can't offer much, but your small donation is honored by God.  He puts together many "widow's mites" to provide for us daily.

You can send a check with your donation to:

The Josiah Foundation
Attention: Mission Guatemala
2112 S.163rd Circle
Omaha, Nebraska 68130

Please note on the memo line of your check your desire for the funds to be used for the Mission Guatemala Building Fund.  

You can also donate on line by clicking the button below.
The Josiah Foundation is a recognized 501 (c) (3) organization in the State of Nebraska.  All donations to the Foundation are tax deductible. Contributions are solicited with the understanding that the Josiah Foundation has complete discretion and control over the use of donated funds.  The Foundation has completely supported our ministry since its beginning in 2010.   

Christmas Eve in the Village

Christmas Eve day found Dick, six of his boys, one "girlfriend", and me on the way to a small aldea outside of Tecpan, about an hour and a half from San Pedro. 

We joke that this is the "Aldea of the Marias,"  because we have long time friendships with five widows who live here, all of whom are named Maria (with another name accompanying it.)  Having visited here the previous weekend, and were stunned at how conditions had worsened.  A number of the kids told me they had no food in their homes.  

I couldn't imagine being barefoot up here.  \
The temperature was very cool, if not outright cold,
and the wind was wicked the day we visited.

Dick immediately felt called to play “Santa Claus” in earnest, and decided we needed to go back with some food for the families of the widows, (if I count right there are 23 children among them) and to have a Christmas party with the kids in the area.  

Samuel's mom couldn't stop crying and repeatedly thanked us for the single roasted children, dried food and blankets we had brought.  They had nothing to eat for "Christmas dinner" and were thrilled to have the special treat a chicken.  Samuel and his brother (ages 15 and 12) have quit school to work in the fields to help support their mom and three siblings.  Samuel earns about 30 quetzales a day ($4) a day, and his brother who is younger makes only about 15 quetzales ($2) for a day's work because he is younger.  That is, they earn this IF there is work.  Right now, the cold has curtailed the harvest and they struggle to survive.

The kids in this aldea seldom leave their small community, and even more rarely see or talk to "gringos."  It is always a thrill to see them come running to us yelling, "Dick" and "Paty."  They are just as excited to see us come when we only come for a visit was when we bring gifts (which is very seldom.  Food perhaps, but hardly ever toys.)

What do you do when you can't afford a Christmas tree?  Cut down a cedar branch, hang bottle caps on it, and call it good.

Cesar, one of “our” boys (he lived with me for a year to go to school, so I claim him, too), and his girlfriend Gema coordinated the games and activities for the kids, and the other boys helped out in various ways. 

Dick and I respected our age and watched form the sidelines.  This little girl was new to us, and somewhat shy at first.  After a short time, she became my "shadow" for the rest of the day!

We had great seats, sitting on the side of a hill, watching the girls and then boys play soccer in a rocky field.  We did have to move once, though, when the bull tethered near us began to think we were just a little too close.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Between games, we passed the time taking pictures, with the children learning about "selfies" for the first time.  The older girls brought these two little ones to me to photograph, saying they wanted me to save the picture to show it to the little boy and girl when they were older and getting married. LOL.  Even in poverty, romance exists among teenage girls!

The kids were very excited about the pinatas we'd brought--
one for the little ones and one for the older children.

While some of the children were initially a little hesitant,
this little guy had no trouble getting into
the swing of things!

And if you were just too tiny to reach,
tender-hearted Cesar was ready to assist.

After the games were over, we passed out cookies and juice with the help of Dick's boys.

Brian passed out cookies
Eber poured Pepsi
And I handled the juice.
We were surprised how many kids chose juice over pop.
Maybe it's because Pepsi is a common drink
 (it's cheaper than milk or juice)
in their homes
We finished by giving each little girl a small stuffed animal
and each little boy received a small car.
Praise God, we had enough that even the bigger kids received a Christmas present.
In all, we served over 50 children this day.
And I have to admit I was astounded
at how orderly and patient the children were
as they waited for their snack and gift.
They didn't need adults to enforce order.
The older children helped the younger be patient.

It was a great way to spend Christmas, especially when I had a chance to share with the kids and their moms why we had come. . .
because Jesus had come to love and save us

The hardest part was leaving--
especially driving out without any kids hanging on Dick or his car!

 I think this will become an annual occurrence, and I how to involve the guys at Casa de Esperanza in this project next year.

About my first family

Jeremy, Lindy, Zach and Nate

As though of you who regularly follow my blog know, twice each year I return to Omaha to celebrate the birthdays of my two grandsons.  These dates just so happen to coincide with when I need to leave Guatemala to renew my visa.  Isn't it great how God plans things years in advance to bless us?

This September I returned home to celebrate Nate, who turned 6.  This is a milestone year for him, since he started kindergarten in August.  He seems to love school, and often would play teacher, wanting me to be the student in activities such as "write the room." (For those non-teachers, this is where problems/words are posted on the walls of the classroom and the children take clip boards and walk around the room and solve the problems or write the words.  For this very active little guy, this is a perfect activity.)

Zach, who is now in fourth grade, has taken on his father's love of singing, and dislike for reading.  He is such a little philosopher at time, too.  I am so proud of the young man he is becoming.  Good job, Mom and Dad.

Mikayla is now Mrs. Bryan VanSlyke.  On October 10, she and Bryan were married at St. Mary's Church in Bellevue, Nebraska.

I think she has found her perfect match and soul-mate in Bryan.

I pray they will always be as in love as they are today.

One of the sweetest moments at the wedding, though, involved not Bryan and Mikayla, but Jeremy an Lindy.  I watched them dance together, and I could see them looking at each other with the same love and affection that I saw when they danced at their own wedding more than ten years ago.

Mikayla has been teased in our family that she is a walking accident waiting to happen.  Well, her wedding proved no different.  When she and Bryan were moving into their new home, she dropped the couch on her foot and broke it.  She was still in the "boot" at the wedding.  Typical of the unique ability Mikayla has to make lemonade out of lemons, she dressed up with purple floral leggings along with her wedding dress.

Jonathan, who is now out of the Marine Corps and working in California came in for the wedding.  He was only in Omaha for two days, but it was so wonderful to see him.  It's been four years since we've both been home at the same time, and it was an added blessing at the wedding to have all four of my kids together. Jon has made the next step into adulthood, and while not committing to a woman, yet, has committed to a house.  He officially became a home owner earlier this month.

Since neither Mikayla or Bryan like cake, they had a rice crispy treat "cake" at their reception.  Bryan's mother, however, found this cake irresistible for a groom's cake, and had it for the reception.  Nate seemed to agree with her, and could not wait for them to finally cut into it.  I think he showed tremendous restraint!

I always knew Zach liked littler kids, but the rehearsal dinner and receptions showed me just how much!  Every time I turned around it seemed that he was playing with one of the toddlers in attendance.

And, while he balked at the idea of dancing with Aunt Mikayla, he was only too happy to dance with Aaliyah, the daughter of Joel's girlfriend Christina.

Speaking of Christina, Joel is in a very committed relationship with her and her four children.  He thinks of them as his own, and I am so proud of the love an commitment he shows them.  The three boys all have varying degrees of autism, and I can't imagine how Christina would handle all this on her own.  She's done a tremendous job of it up to his point, however, Joel is a great support and joint caregiver for them.

I can't believe how well behaved they are.  The boys made it through the whole wedding ceremony without a hitch, except for Treyton and Aaliyah struggling to both sit on my lap at the same time!  They're great kids and I really enjoy them.  

This wasn't how I expected to get a granddaughter (I didn't think I'd ever have one) but I am happy to serve as her "adopted grandma."

I am so very fortunate in the partners my children have chosen to share their lives with.  They really feel like my children, and accept me into their hearts and families.  That's not easy when I am so far away, but they manage it well.

Jeremy and Lindy
Mikayla and Bryan
(So many times it seems they share the same facial expression,
even when they're not looking at each other!)

Joel and Christina
The last bit of family news is about Jeremy and Lin and their family.  Jeremy has been working the last five (?) or more years for Blue Buffalo Pet food, and has ended up traveling two or three weeks out of every month.  While Lin has handled this very well, I could tell it was taking a toll on their family.  Jeremy was a great dad when he was home, but that was not often enough for his liking.

Here Jeremy was answering work questions, even at Mikayla's wedding.

Skinner Baking in Omaha recruited him to join their ranks and he has changed jobs.  It's a much smaller company with less "prestige" but is located in Omaha and will enable him to be home almost all the time.  I can tell you how proud I am of my son who would choose his family over his position.  I couldn't resist bragging on him just a little!

So that's about it for the Forster-Duff family.  Would love to hear how your family is doing!