We Will Follow…WHEREVER You Lead.

If you had asked me last year if I could write a blog like I’m getting ready to write – I would have thought you were crazy. Personally – I still think you are! LOL! Maybe I am too!

Since the quake happened – God has really been stirring in our home. Having spent that first week not knowing if Jose was really okay or not – seeing how quickly everything can change – we learned what really matters in this world.

So Jose and I began to pray for God to really use us. I mean to REALLY USE US! We thought that prayer was answered when we met the little boy in the red shirt – Juvenson. We have felt His presence with us every step of the way. Having spent time in the tent city – we have rekindled the passion we have for the people here. Yes – it was probably one of the most frustrating times trying to feed them – but the fellowship we had with them was priceless. Telling them about Jesus and how much He loves them – it made us feel ALIVE. I haven’t felt that alive in a long time – probably because I’m always pregnant! LOL!

ANYWAYS – We believed our prayers had been answered. So when Jesus started “calling” us about a new project back in January – we were totally shocked. The following calls happened from January-March (if you will).

Call 1

This Is Jesus. I’d like to talk to you about some mission work….

I’m sorry God. I think you dialed the wrong number. You dialed 011 and I think you meant to dial 001. That’s the country code for the USA. We are ALREADY missionaries. Please hang up and dial again.

Call 2

This is Jesus. I’d like to talk to you about moving your family to….

Sorry to interrupt God but I believe your prayer-wires have been crossed. This is the Castillo Family from St. Louis du Nord. I did not subscribe to a prayer about moving. You might try The Bay. That’s where the Indiana-Jones Missionaries live. Please put me on your “Do Not Call List”.

Call 3

Is this Jody?

Sorry. Me no speak English.

Call 4

This is Jesus.

Seriously? Fine…. LA LA LA LA LA.  I can’t hear you!

Call 5

This is Jesus. I’m trying to reach the Castillo family. I got a text about them wanting to be used. I really need to talk to someone.

I’m sorry. You’ve reached a number that has been disconnected or is no longer in service.

*******

Is that not how it really is? Do we not begin to pray for something and then when God starts to talk to us about it – we stick our fingers in our ears!

Jose and I prayed to be used and He began to answer us. The problem was – we didn’t like His answer at first. In fact – once we heard it we quit praying about it! LOL! Isn’t that how it always works? We thought perhaps if we ignored it then it would go away!

Like a mosquito bite on your arm – God gave us an itch that would NOT go away. We had asked Him to lead us and He wouldn’t let us forget it. I mean I changed numbers. I got a new sim card. I refused to pick up the phone. BUT HE KEPT CALLING. Where is the whale that swallowed Jonah? Does he have room for a family of 9?

Seriously Lord – stop. Stop calling me. I cannot do what you are asking me to do. I can’t. This life is all I’ve ever known. Please – call someone else.

Jose and I have been married 9 years and have spent our marriage right here in St. Louis du Nord. This is also where I spent all my time growing up as a child. I was a 5 year-old playing with the kids in the nutritional program. I know the people here like I know my own personal family. That’s what the people in this area are to me – they’re family. Every time an illness/pregnancy takes me to the states I fight to get back to them.

So – when God revealed to Jose and I that He wants us to move – we were not hearing it! We are comfortable right where we are. We are established right where we are. We are home – right where we are.

*****

God just wanted us to hear Him out. So we quit fighting and really started to listen. We began to study God’s Word – and week after week we began to have peace. These are just a few scriptures that God used to speak to us:

Numbers 10:11

We studied the part where the Israelites were approaching the promise land. Moses sends out the leaders to spy but the spies come back with discouraging reports. So the Israelites made up their minds and began to complain. As punishment for their lack of faith, God condemned them to wander in the desert for 40 years.

Here is what my Study Bible says about this story: Those who travel, move, or face new challenges know what it is to be uprooted. Life is full of changes and few things remain stable. The Israelites were constantly moving through the desert. They were able to handle the change only because God’s presence in the tabernacle was always with them. The portable tabernacle signified God and his people moving TOGETHER. For us – stability does not mean lack of change – BUT MOVING WITH GOD in every circumstance.

Do I think that God is going to punish my family if we don’t follow him by having us wander around Haiti for 40 years? No. But does he have a work for us that we are missing because we’re too scared to follow? Maybe. Will we not be traveling with His Holy Spirit – together? Yes.

Matthew 8:19

This is when Jesus teaches about the cost of following him. Verse 19 – Then a teacher of the law came to him and said – Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go. Jesus Replied: Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the SON OF MAN has no place to lay his head.

What my study Bible says: Following Jesus is not always easy or comfortable. Often it means great cost and sacrifice, with no earthly rewards or security. Jesus didn’t have a place to call home. But while the cost of following Christ is high, the value of being USED BY HIM is even higher.

Matthew 9:9

This is where Jesus eats with the sinners at Matthew’s house. He sees a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth – “Follow me,” he told him. Then Matthew got up and followed him.

What my study Bible Says: When Jesus called Matthew to be one of his disciples  – Matthew got up and followed – leaving a lucrative career. When God calls you to follow or obey him – do you do it with as much abandon as Matthew? Sometimes the decision to follow Christ requires difficult or painful choices. Like Matthew – we must decide to leave those things that would keep us from following where God calls.

Do I believe that God has truly called us to minister in another area? Yes. Does it mean I have to make some painful choices? Yes. Does it mean I leave my established and comfortable home? (Yeah…..it kinda does).

Luke 9:23

If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it but whoever loses his life for me will save it.

What my study Bible says: Consider this: do you think of your relationship with God primarily in terms of what’s in it for you (which is considerable) or in terms of what you can do for him? Are you willing to deny yourself and take up your cross daily and follow him? Anything less is not discipleship; it’s merely superficial lip service. If this present life is most important to you, you will do everything you can to protect it. If following Jesus is most important – you will find yourself in unsafe, unhealthy and uncomfortable places. Nothing material can compensate for the loss of eternal life. Spend your life serving God and His people.

Proverbs 19:21

Many are the plans in a man’s heart – but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

My plans were to live in St. Louis du Nord until I was old enough to join the granmoun home. I could wake up in St. Louis every day for the next 30 years and be content right where I am.

Psalms 139:7

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens you are there. If I make my bed in the depths you are there. If I rise on the wings of dawn – if I settle on the far side of the sea – EVEN THERE – your hand will guide me. Your right hand will hold me fast.

God is omnipresent – he is everywhere. Because this is so – you can never be lost to his spirit. The good news is to those who know and love God  – because no matter WHAT WE DO OR WHERE WE GO – we can never be far from God’s comforting presence.

**************

I have to tell you this – be careful what you pray for – and be ready for the answer when it’s revealed.

God has been stirring our hearts like a big bowl of  boullion soup. We can no longer simmer on the sidelines. So about 3 weeks ago we approached Janeil and shared what God was telling us. God has asked us to follow Him…..all the way to Mole St. Nicolas.

I can’t explain it except to say that it’s totally out of our hands. We placed it in His hands and we refuse to pick it back up. I would love to layout this beautiful time-line of when I think everything will take place but the truth is – God’s agenda and mine have NEVER matched.  It could be as early as July – should God line it up that way. While I’m unsure about the timing – the outcome remains the same. Jose and I will move our family to Mole St. Nicolas to start a new campus plant. Beth Lockwood – our home schoolteacher – has been praying about where God might be leading her. When she learned how she could help mold the hearts of hundreds of children… it was hard to say no!

The mole is about 5 hours from St. Louis du Nord. It is on the far tip of the northwest zone. Much like the St. Louis campus – there will be a clinic, school, church, granmoun home, an orphanage for 300 children (many displaced from the quake), and a group center.

Because I am a nurse, Jose is the jack-of-all-trades, we speak Creole fluently, and we have spent most of our lives learning the Haitian culture – we should really thrive in this setting. With Beth’s love for scripture, teaching, and little children – she will be a natural fit!

Here is the amazing thing about following where Christ leads –  after you give up the initial shock – and let go and really listen  – He whispers peace into your heart. God has given us a peace that truly passes ALL our understanding. What once was fear has now turned into excitement. In fact -we haven’t been this excited in a very long time. We know that starting a new campus won’t be rainbows and sunshine – but we are ready to fight on His behalf. We are SO ready to be the face of Jesus…even if it’s on the furthest tip of the island!

Please pray for us as we begin this new adventure. We are leaving the comforts of our home and starting from scratch – with 7 kids! We actually have nothing in place there yet – no place to stay/electricity/water, etc.  But God told us to go. And FINALLY – we are listening! There is a lot to do and many people (family) to say good-bye to. We will still be ministering in the tent city. I will still be booking all the plane tickets/travel arrangements for the Americans coming into Haiti. BUT –  a new Haitian ministry now awaits us. AND….we couldn’t be more ready to follow!

Comments

  1. Lindsay Nation says:

    WOW! What an amazing testimony your family has, Jody. Thank you for following God’s call, even if it did take a few tries. 😉 I will continue to lift you all up as you start this new and exciting journey. Love you!

  2. Seriously? I know this is a great deal for the mole but I’d be lying if I said I am not completely bummed for St Louis. Last summer wasn’t the same without you. We are really going to miss you. There aren’t many people like you guys out there. Praying for you and hoping you’ll take groups in the mole soon.

  3. Kevin H says:

    Thank you for sharing your heart and struggles. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a phone conversation with God quite explained like that and it was such a great visual of what we all do. Promise us you’ll find Internet out there so we can still hear what God is doing. Guess my group needs to start planning for the mole! Love you all.

  4. It would have been less surprising if you would have said you were pregnant. I’m honestly completely shocked. Does St louis know your leaving. Jody Beth, they will be devestated. I know i shouldn’t be negative but you have a repore with the people that no one else has. Praying for peace for everyone.

  5. Michele ven. says:

    So how do we move the baby orphanage to the mole? Where He leads you…I’ll go too 🙂

  6. That is awesome! I would love to come help. Let me know how and when and I will start praying, working to lead a group, pray hear, what ever! Praise God!

  7. Tracy Weller says:

    Wow!!…….Wow!! When God calls…….we have to listen, but we keep trying to put God on hold or to transfer Him to someone else. I will be praying for you all as you begin to prepare for your new adventure. Love you!

  8. Diane Cornelius says:

    Go Jody and Jose!!! Go God!!! Great things will happen at the Mole. Praise God from whom all blessings flow and boy are they going to flow! Woo Hoo Girl

  9. Diane Cornelius says:

    Ring ring ring…Hello. Diane, this is God, Yes God, I want you to go to the Mole and spend time with Jody and have a BIG wedding celebration…OK God, I’m on it! 😉
    And bring Ruth too.

    See you soon!

  10. Why do I feel like this is just your way to get out of playing volleyball with us? I’ve been waiting for a re-match now for 3 years! I guess we’ll have to bring our team to the mole. Hopefully you won’t have time to stack your team with the tallest and strongest Haitians like you did last time. We definitely have to find a new referee – someone not on your payroll!! LOL! Maybe volleyball on the beach? I heard the Mole has amazing beaches. Love you guys.

  11. Love this blog! I laughed and cried through the whole thing! It’s your gift to bring out several emotions every time you write. I felt your struggle as I read and yet was cheering you on the whole time. It’s quite a shock for sure. But I’ve been battling my own conversations with God and you totally just exposed that in my life. I didn’t even realize it. We’re not coming in this summer but would love to plan our group out at the mole for next year. We are thinking of spring break time.

  12. Wow Jody! That really is a testimony if I’ve heard one. Not too many of us are willing to put our struggles out there like that but that is what makes you so unique. You are always exposing your beautiful heart – even if it has a few scars. I have never imagined you living anywhere else because the work you do in St. Louis is a good work. I remember seeing the welcome-home you got when you were gone having the twins. I’m sure the people will be heartbroken but don’t be discouraged. When God says go – you have to go. Love you all. Guess I’ll have to start penciling the mole in on my schedule.

  13. We are praying for you and Jose. We know that with God everything is possible. I imagine after a year or so that the mole will be just as alive and busy as St. Louis. It’s important to follow God where He leads – especially while you’re young and have the energy to do it. I hope the kids really thrive there. I know this will give you a chance to really have some family time before the groups start pouring in. Very proud of you all for stepping out on faith.

  14. I’m right there with you. I thought your call was answered working in the tent city. I don’t know too many families that would uproot their 7 kids and take them into the middle of nowhere. I constantly remain amazed at the ministry your family is doing. I know this has been very hard for you all but you’re being immersed in prayers. God will protect you when you simply lay it down and follow.

  15. How inspiring! Thank you for sharing what God is doing. You are never far from our hearts no matter where you go. You wil be missed so start building that group center so we can work with you!

  16. Your Favorite Iowa Group says:

    It was great getting to know you this year. So what will St Louis do? I have laughed until I cried with your family. You can make first timers really feel like family even when there are dozens of us.  I appreciate all you do. What a gain for the Mole. Let us know when you are set up. We’d love to minister there with you all!  I can’t wait to hear what God does.

  17. Matt Matthews says:

    Ditto for my calling here. He’s been working on me since 2002 and He finally got me in a headlock and made me come.

  18. Jody – thank you so much for your sharing your faith with all of us. I really think what you’re doing is amazing. I don’t know how many 30 year olds would change their entire life for the call of Christ. Your such an example.

  19. WOW! That’s surprising. You will do great. I have heard a lot about the mole and I know that you’ll do an amazing job running that campus just like you’ve done in St. Louis for years. Make sure you build a guest room! I can’t wait to come and see what God is doing with you there.

  20. So proud of you for listening to God’s calling. It’s going to be so rewarding. Please let us know how we can pray for you or support you in your work. God doesn’t give us the call without providing the means. Let us know how we can rally behind you and further your ministry.

  21. Misty Reed says:

    I have been following your blog for months. I saw you on the weather channel and have one of your biggest fans ever since. When I have a bad day or think that life is hard – I read your blog and it humbles me every time. Know that someone in Atlanta is praying for you and your journey. Who knows – maybe one day I’ll finally meet you in the Mole.

  22. I’m so excited you are going out west! Tell me how our church can help! I can see the excitement in your blog and I’m so happy for you guys. I can’t think of a better couple more equipped to be used by Him in the middle of nowhere! God will give you the strength you need and seeing how He works in you – gives me the strength I need. Thanks for following His call.

  23. Shannon Meade says:

    I found your blog after the earthquake and read it every day. It’s actually killing me that you haven’t blogged something in the last few days. It’s become my habit to check your blog while I drink my morning cup of coffee. I check it right before I begin my bible study. Praying for you and all that God is doing in your life.

  24. Brandon S says:

    Hey Jody and Jose. Thanks for showing me faith in action. I have no reason not to be doing what I know He wants me to do when your lives are living proof of the blessings He has in store.

  25. Kimberly C. says:

    Tell me you are not going to be in the Mole this summer! I have been waiting since last summer to meet the legendary Jody! I was talking to the interns last year and they went on and on about how funny you are and how the summers are so different when you’re there! Your writings are so inspiring and SO FUNNY! I’m coming back and I have to meet you! How do I get to the mole?

  26. Good for you guys! I hope you are able to get in some family bonding time. I know when Jose was in PAP it was very scary for you all. I hope the campus moves a little slow at first so you can soak up the family time. But get ready – people are going to be flocking to the mole to minister along side of you. I have such a friendship with the people in St. Louis but there’s no way I’m coming to Haiti and not seeing everyone! Can you leave at least one or two kids? It’s going to be way too quiet without them.

  27. Andrew Johnson says:

    Seriously? You are leaving us? NO! St. Louis will not be the same! I am going to miss Comedy Night at the Apolo! No one rocks the mic like you do! So when will you start taking groups again? Im there…just let me know when!

  28. It’s so hard to decide what to do. I have so many friends in St. Louis but Haiti is not the same without you. Every time you are pregnant and out it is SO obvious that you aren’t there. Things just don’t run the same. So what’s the policy on taking a few of my Haitian friends out to the mole with you? That would give me the best of both worlds! Wait. I think that’s a Hannah Montana Song! LOL!

  29. NO!! DON’T GO! You guys are so much fun! You have to take us with you! Have room for a group of 40? No…what about just me? I’ll take whatever you give me!

  30. You guys are such an inspiration. I’ve re-read the words about 15 times. You are going and you have no place to stay. You have no electricity or water. Who takes their family of 9 to a place that has nothing set up? Your faith is much more than a muster seed. I don’t think I could do it. I’m just in awe. You have 8 month old twins and yet people say how they can’t do mission work because they have a 5 year old. You have such small kids. It makes me a little nervous knowing that you’re not by a hospital yet your faith is so strong you say even without anything – you’ll go. Jody – that’s HUGE. Do you even realize that? You expose your heart and are transparent to us all. Who does that? Your family is not like anyone I’ve ever met. I don’t know how NWHCM found you but they better never let you go. God bless you and I cannot wait to read about His leading in the Mole.

  31. Are you serious? I’m reading this thinking you can’t be serious. You have a beautiful home. You spent a lot of money fixing it up. You are going to some place you where you don’t even have a house? Tell me the kids are not going to live in a dirt hut? I worry about you. You have such a poor immunity and are always sick. Who will take care of you and give you an IV? I’m so worried about you. I know God will provide but I cannot grasp what you are writing. I love you all so much. St. Louis has always felt like home but it’s because you are there. I cannot imagine being there knowing you no longer call that place home. Love you guys and praying for understanding.

  32. Theresa S says:

    Love you guys. Love what you’re doing. I don’t normally post but wanted to let you know that I completely support you guys. Let me know if there is something our church can do to help? I hate to think of you all in the middle of no where without a place to call home. You deserve a place to call home. I know that God will take care of you but let us know what your needs are.

  33. I thought you were amazing just working in the tent city. To think of you taking 7 children out west when all the luxuries of St. Louis are there in your home? How do you do that? I am so inspired. I am simply amazed by your faith.

  34. Love you guys. Love your faith. When will you have a surgery center out there? I hope that’s in the plans.

  35. Eric Manchester says:

    You were there on my first trip to Haiti. I had no group to come in with. I was just a “straggler” as you called it. I wasn’t sure how I would fit in. You stood up in front of us going over the rules and made me laugh so hard I forgot where I was. I’ve been to many camps and I know what it’s like to hear the dean talk. You not only made me feel comfortable but you made me feel apart. I listened to you cry when there was someone you couldn’t help. I thought to myself. She sees this every day. How can she still be moved to tears? It’s because your heart is so genuine. Your love for the people has not faded even after all your years of service. That is amazing to me. That even in your day in and day out – you still carry a burden for the people instead of being worn out. The people in the mole have no idea what a jewel they are getting. Thank you for making me feel like family. Thank you for your love for the people. Thank you for showing us what real-life faith looks like.

  36. I have been on spring break all week. I went to church tonight and your phone call conversation was actually read out loud to the congregation. It was used as an illustration. I have to tell you that people were laughing out loud. That’s the most raw and honest thing I’ve ever read and yet the funniest at the same time. I never knew what it was in reference to. So I had to come here myself to read it. I cannot imagine you leaving us but I’m so excited for you. Who else could run that kind of campus there? I have been coming to Haiti for 10 years and seen the fruit of your family’s labor. I can’t wait to see the seeds grow in the Mole. Thanks for just being you and for not being afraid to bare it all in front of the world.

  37. Love you guys. Can’t wait to see your work out west.

  38. Is it wrong that I’m totally bummed you are leaving? I hear so many people saying how excited they are for the mole and can’t wait to follow you out there but I’m really heart broken. I look forward to seeing you and your family every trip. I love your kids. They make every trip memorable. Rosie has my heart and Malaya has the sweetest little personality. I hate the thought of not seeing you all every day. Selfishly I really hate you going to a new campus. We will miss you more than you’ll ever know. There is simply no replacement for your family.

  39. Praise God! Let me know how we can help. You guys do so much for my faith. Thanks for your transparency and for continuing to speak into our lives.

  40. Just wanted to say that the church prayed for your family today. Thanks for sharing with us what God is doing in your life.

  41. Love you all. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t shocked that you guys were leaving but I have heard a lot about the mole. There isn’t another family who could go out there and really start a campus plant quite like you all. Your experience in Haiti is perfect for this adventure. It’s a lot to take 7 kids – I wish I had the strength you have to uproot the family. Thanks for showing us what real faith looks like.

  42. Steven J says:

    Hey Jody Beth! The church was talking about your family today and I thought I should check out your blog and see what was going on in your world. You are right – there is never a dull moment in your family. Thanks for sharing your stories with all of old-timers!

  43. An inspiration! Simply and Inspiration to us all.

  44. I’m so happy and sad at the same time. I’ve been to St. Louis when you’re there and when you’re not. I definitely prefer it when you are. I have so many friends at the compound it will be hard not to see them if you take groups to the mole. I had heard that people had to decide one way or another – go to the mole or go to St. Louis. You’re going to have to start allowing for us to do both! There will be too many people who want to see you guys AND their friends in St. Louis! I hope we never have to choose!! Love you guys.

  45. Way to go girl! I’ve been on spring break and just now catching up on your blog. Guess we’ll start going to the mole from now on! Let us know what your needs are. We are excited to start this new ministry alongside you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: