Our young women at Casa Ester have successfully honed their artisanal soap and shoe-bag making skills and have launched their products in high-end boutique stores. And now they’ve done it again! This time it’s a feather brand-charm to reinforce the shoe bag brand and it becomes a usable key chain once it reaches the hands of the customer.

The high-end shoe store, Big Brands, will now buy the feather key chains to go on their shoe bags. While the more experienced girls at Casa Ester will produce soap and shoe bags, the novices will start by making the key chains.

The majority of the young women at Casa Ester start the program by serving at Oasis in various capacities, working their way up as they learn new skills. Two of our girls recently went to work in the local community, another two graduated from high school (in Guatemala, that is 9th grade, from where they can qualify for university or trade school education).

Marta* graduated with a specialization in accounting, and Laura* completed her pre-university work. Both women will start their Casa Ester exit plans next year.

As Christmas approaches, Casa Ester is preparing to celebrate Jesus’ birth. The residential home decorations are underway with a sense of friendly rivalry on whose will look the best on “Noche Buena” (Christmas Eve).

In Guatemala, Christmas is celebrated on Christmas Eve, and festivities include family, friends, food, fun, and fireworks. All families associated with Oasis will bring their food and share it with each other. A short devotional worship service is followed by the highlight of the evening, a skit competition between the individual houses.

Each child receives a gift and a stocking filled with candies and goodies. The celebration culminates with fireworks proclaiming Jesus’ birth. Noche Buena is celebrated in much the same way as the ringing in of the New Year in other places. The New Year’s Eve celebration this year will be held at Casa Ester, giving thanks for a long difficult year – but one which has also been full of God’s mercy.

We will have plenty to praise our Father for – you and your never-ending generosity and love!

*names changed

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