Friday, February 17, 2006 (Original Post Date)
You are reading this message because you play an important role in our Lives as individuals and as a Christian Couple! We have been disturbed (an understatement) by the Lord's Spirit and have opened ourselves to be a "Laborers in God's Harvest" and have been accepted! We will be sent on a 2-year mission in South Africa beginning this March 2006!
Luk 10:2 "Then He said to them, The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray to the Lord of the harvest that He may send forth laborers into His harvest."
Jesus's missionary call began a full Chapter before, back in Luke 9, where he gave his disciples the power to heal and the commision to move into every town and Proclaim the coming of God's Kingdom! This call remains relevant today!
As early as I was Grade 4, I vividly remember wanting to serve the Lord in any way possible, be it as a Priest or a Lay Person... I believe he chose me to serve him as a Married Lay Person, whose vocation is the Sacrament of Marriage! Then again in College, I asked one of my elders if being a missionary was the "best way" to serve the Lord. His answer, I will never forget, was " that there is no best way to serve the Lord!" So then, it must be about serving him in the best way you can at every specific milestone in your life! We are called to grow where we are planted and some of us are planted in other countries, yet all under the same dominion of Christ!
The Lord's calling and choosing cannot be denied... Just the other night, my wife and I were having our regular "Hearties" (Our 1-on-1 Heart to heart talks) and we were discussing that we sometimes feel lost in this World, not knowing where and what we should really be up to... Some are chasing their careers and their financial freedom... but I believe theirs is a ladder on the wrong building... We agreed that the reason we felt lost in this world is because we are only "in this world" and not of it! We are Citizens of Heaven! We are all passing through to Learn about how much God Loves us and how blessed we are t o be able to love the people we have in our respective lives! That's why we're probably "the New Nomads" of our Generation, shuffling from one place to another... with ease, I may add. Thanks in part to our families who have been moving us about all our lives, (I count 5-7 different homes and schools from the time I was born, my wife count is about the same and together we have moved into 4 different places in the Philippines) This is where the "moving experience" plays to our advantage! Praise God!
Here's a little something about ourselves to refresh you that are wondering how we came to this choice. I will not try to explain our choice, but rather share our position and faith! I will first talk about myself and how I joined the community, etc. then move on to how my wife got into the community and finally to how we got into CFC and what led us to choosing this Path.
I am 29 years young and have been serving in the community for 10 years. I joined YFC DLSU in Nov. 1995 and helped establish the Campus Based YFC Program in De La Salle together with Kuya Raymund Sucgang, Cocoi Javier and Marco Flores. I served as the head for evangelization during this time and helped YFC-DLSU more than double its Rate of Evangelization by being extra agressive in our evangelization efforts.
Cristina is 28 years young and has also been serving the community for 10 years. She joined YFC Community based through the South Sector in Pilar Village, Las Pinas at about the time her parents were serving in Las Pinas. We met during the 5th YFC ILC held in Iloilo CIty and got married last November 11, 2000. We completed our CFC CLP on May 27, 2001.
As soon as we completed our CLP, my Leader, Jigs Quiaoit- currently the SFC CDO Provincial Head, signed me up to help out the SFC CDO Transparochial Chapter, where we initially served as Household Heads, moving up to being Unit Heads, before being assigned as the Chapter Heads in Nazareth Chapter, one of 6 Chapters in the Cluster Jigs handled at the time. In September 2003, as Jigs was designated to lead the SFC Provincewide, We were made Cluster Leaders of SFC. During the time we handled the Nazareth Chapter and the Cluster, we worked hard with the other leaders to ensure that we would be able to RAISE NEW LEADERS! This became our focus during this time and the Lord blessed us with success as we were able to increase the number of Leaders and Members of each Chapter in the Cluster to ensure continued growth.
In mid-2004, we were already pondering on whether we should take the challenge and Go on Mission for the Lord! What held us back then was our concern if Cristina got pregnant in another country. (Africa being a Developing Nation and Democracy, the Political and Economic situations are often likened to what we have here in the Philippines) While I understood these concerns before, I see this in a different light now as we cannot wait for our baby before deciding to serve the Lord as Missionaries in another Country. The Baby will come at God's perfect Moment and the last 5 Years were clearly not "Baby Time" for us. This concern is understandable but We feel strongly about our choice and the fact that God's Work cannot depend on waiting on a promise we know will be fulfilled in due time.
Rom 10:13-15 For everyone, "whoever shall call on the name of the Lord will be saved." How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without preaching? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace and bring glad tidings of good things!" (emphasis mine)
Many are called and few are chosen, our Lord said. We have been chosen to Proclaim his Kingdom to the believers in Capetown, South Africa! And we are accepting his call and anointing! The last verse really did it for us, cementing the calling of the Lord!
The Faith of my Mom, and her fervent prayers when we were young have finally bore fruit! The Challenges of her Generation brought her up to speed with Political Activism at a young age (not even done with High School, I believe)! Back then, this bore fruit for their Generation!
However, we currently live in a World dominated by the Internet, Participation and a World Record number of Millionaires and Billionaires we have ever seen! The Rise of Super Powers and Mega Corporations are growing... yet the number of Hungry people, Homeless people are currently at alarming rates? Should we wait for the Global Superbodies of Aid (Development Organizations based in may Developing Countries such as ours) to do their thing? Should we, the Youth of this Generation be left as mere spectators, happy living our lives in our own little "Fishbowls" and not wanting to take to the Open Water?
I am not asking you to go on Mission as well, rather I am requesting for Prayers that will help bring the Lord's Master Plan into fruition! The Harvest of Souls is Ripe, Ready, Waiting.... Help us Pray to the Lord of the Harvest, God the Father, to disturb others in my generation to take up the call and enlist in God's Army... so that people will know that the Victory has been won by Jesus' Death on the Cross... We Need to be available for God's Purposes and Plans!
Join me in praying the following (Hoekstra's Prayer in the Feb 16 Devotional)
O Lord, giver of every good and perfect gift, remind me to look to You for abounding grace in every trial and in every opportunity. Lord, I know that I need You in the delightful times, just as much as in the agonizing times. Use me for implementing Your will in this rebellious world. I praise You that finding the grace I need for serving You depends on Your ability, not mine. Pour out Your grace, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.
UPDATE: We just found out Neng is Pregnant last February 28! God was just waiting for us... she conceived about 2 weeks after we had decided to Go on Mission! Praise God! Also, we just came from the Gynae and found out were having a Bouncing Baby Boy sometime this October! Prepare to welcome into our World Joaquin Gabriel Dela Cruz Castillo (or just Gab) hehehe!
God Bless You,
Sar, Cristina and Gab (our baby boy in my wife's womb) Castillo
2Co 9:8 "And God is able to give you more than you need, so that you will always have all you need for yourselves and more than enough for every good cause."
P.S. We set up this blog and THIS BLOG>>>(http://castillomission.blogspot.com)<<<>
On a separate note, should you have any prayer requests that you would like us to include feel free to email these to us at this email address.
You're also free to send us any kind of token and/or messages to help us in accomplishing the Lord's Work where we are.
Important Contact Info:
Yahoo ID: sar.castillo (so we can chat and talk)
Google: sar.castillo at gmail.com & cristinacastillo at gmail.com (chat and talk the google way)
Skype: sarcastillo (skype me! Free VOIP or Voice over Internet Protocol for Non-Techies!)
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or click on this link: http://www.friendster.com/profiles/sarcastillo