Posted in Personal Stories

Pray It Up…

We head to the airport at 4:30am tomorrow. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t sick to my stomach with anxiety. With 16 bags, 6 children, and a bum ankle….it’s not a recipe for fun. Please pray for our travels tomorrow and for our big tent city giveaway on Thursday.

Posted in Personal Stories


Yesterday we were driving to Walmart to get some last minute things for our trip to Haiti. We were at a yellow light and the car behind us started honking – mad that we weren’t running the soon to be red light. After the light turns green the car zooms around us and flips us off.  A few lights later and the car is in another lane – back behind us. So what was all of that about?


By Lillian B. Wolff

Have you ever felt that way?  Anger is something we all experience from time to time.  Even the tiniest baby often feels anger.  But uncontrolled anger is very destructive and can have very devastating results.

The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that over half the fatalities are caused by someone not controlling their anger.  Angry drivers, with lost tempers can cause the loss of life. It might be even their very own.  Have you ever heard of “road rage”?  It is estimated that 80% of all homicide victims are killed because of someone being angry and not being able to settle a quarrel in a civil manner.   It often starts with nagging hostility, sarcasm, resentfulness, slamming doors, shouting at the spouse and children.  Even the dog and cat can be victims.

Is it wrong to be angry?  No, not when it is controlled and doesn’t linger on.  The Bible says, “Be ye angry and sin not.”    So there is room for getting angry or upset.   The really good news is that God has a powerful plan for our managing our anger and not allowing it to get out of control.

It is certainly possible to learn to harness anger and use it for good.  A few pointers I would offer.   First of all, recognize the power of anger and also those things that fire up your indignation.   Perhaps you may meet some folks who are upset and angry with you.  Learn to respond to them in a right way.   The Bible also says “a soft answer turns away wrath”.    Sometimes it just helps to postpone or dismiss the anger.   Have you ever heard of counting to ten?   How about counting to fifty?  Laugh!  God’s Word is a handbook for all situations and it says, “Don’t let the sun go down on your wrath.”

Dr. Tim Clinton says, “Resentment is anger with a history.”  Isn’t that the truth?   The longer we mull over something usually the bigger it becomes until our whole outlook on life is filled with anger, resentment and bitterness

Someone has said that quite often we think of what people should have done and how our situation would be better.  We think of what they owe us.  It is like a stack of IOUs.  The only way to get free of them is to, one by one, tear them up.

If you are waiting for someone to pay up for what they have done, you might be waiting a very long, long time, with no effort on their part. We need to let go of it. God’s Word says in Hebrews 12:15NASB-  “See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled”


Posted in Personal Stories

An Ankle Sprain? How Insane!

Late last night while getting up from the couch – I tried to stand up but my foot had fallen asleep. I mean it went completely numb. We heard a loud pop and my foot went in a direction that’s not normal. It swelled up like a softball and is now about the size of a golf ball.

I thought it might get better with a little rest but sure enough – it’s sprained. I cannot put any weight on it right now and we’ve got a lot to do in the next two weeks. I can’t imagine wearing a baby on my back and using crutches at the airport. But like I’ve always said – there’s never a dull moment in our family!

If it didn’t hurt so much I would laugh at the fact that this happened a week before we fly into Haiti. Seriously satan? Is this the game you’re going to play?

Well then – – – GAME ON!

Posted in Mission Stories, NW_Personal Ministry Update, Personal Stories

We Couldn’t Be Mole Ready To Go Back Home…

One week from today we’ll be back in Haiti! We cannot wait! Thank you so much –  For your prayers! For your encouragement! For the food you’ve brought by! For mowing our yard!  For watching the girls! For visiting us in the hospital!. For the random gift cards that show up in the mail! For just loving us and sticking with us on this unexpected journey!

We are already starting to pack the 16 bags that we get to bring back in! Don’t you wish you were flying in with us! Yeah – I see you guys crossing your fingers hoping my clan sits nowhere near you on the plane! Sometimes for fun I pretend to walk past your aisle and as soon as I hear you breathe a sigh of relief – I back right up and say – I think we are sitting here. Love to watch your face turn red!


Many of you have asked how little Asher is doing. He has been seizure-free for two weeks now. We are told however, not having seizures here and not having them in Haiti are two different things. Haiti is a totally different environment and if the seizures are heat-sensitive it’s possible they could return. So please keep him in your prayers.


The girls will be starting school immediately upon our return. Miss Beth is already in the Mole waiting for them! In fact she’s been there for over a month! We are so incredibly blessed by having her. The kids cannot wait to see her. It’s hard to believe after all our praying – next week we’ll finally be home together for the first time!


A week from tomorrow we will be doing our BIG TENT CITY GIVEAWAY! We are a little nervous about it which is why we want to ask you to start praying for it right now. If you haven’t read our previous tent-city related posts – I should tell you that giving things away in Port-au-Prince isn’t easy. It seems like it should be – but nothing in Haiti is easy.

We have over 10,000.00 worth of donations to pass out.  On September 2nd we will be giving away charcoal stoves, pots, tubs, tents, rice, beans, oil, toys, blankets, medicine, etc to 50 needy families.  We have confirmed a hotel about an hour from PAP where we will give out all the donations. We have decided on renting trucks instead of a bus because of how much stuff we have to give out. We are taking the 50 families out of PAP so that we can give them everything without a mob scene.

Andy Olsen, the mission’s Media Director, will be with us documenting the event! I won’t write too much on here so you can read about it in the mission’s next newsletter. But please begin praying for this very special day.

September Women’s Conference:

We have begun making plans and lining up speakers for the 4-day Women’s Conference starting on September 19th. God has laid a theme on my heart that I will share with you a little later. We believe this is going to be a life-changing event for so many. Please continue praying for the hearts of those that attend.

Posted in Personal Stories, Top 10 List

Top 10 Highlights From The Ky State Fair…

I LOVE going to the KY State Fair! We try to go every year if we can. My parents used to take me when I was little. I remember being in the 4th or 5th grade and dressing up like a HOBO and singing Step Into The Sunshine on one of the stages! There’s a picture at the bottom of Rosie in a sun costume. One of my friends dressed up as the sun. Got 1st place! 🙂

The Ky State Fair has a mix of all my favorite kinds of people!  Yet – WE – get more looks and stares at our rainbow-looking family than a one-legged rat. We took the kids today along with my parents and Momma Gigi.

I thought I’d just share with you The Top 10 Highlights Of Our Day….

10. Malaya throws up 3 times before we ever arrive (and we have no plastic bag in the van).

9. We pump the children up about all the animals they’ll see today. But today there are only pigs and sheep. Malaya says, “This is no good. This is just like Haiti. Where are the real animals?”

8. We got the pleasure of pushing 3 double strollers all over the fair grounds and in the process lost two shoes and it’s not a pair! (Gabriel and Asher lost one each).

7. It’s 24.00 per wristband to ride all the rides – but my children are too short for 2/3rds of them. (Twice the price and half the fun).

6. It’s 4.00 per drink and Gabriel dumps the whole thing on himself before we ever get a sip.

5. Mikela gets confused and starts following another lady who is twice my size. She tells me very innocently, “I thought that was you. Just like Asher and Levi. She’s like your twin!”

4. After successfully not “touching” anything in the porta-potty – – I drop my phone on it’s floor! (Yuck)

3. They have free samples of ham in one of the exhibit halls. Rosie is eating it and my dad points to one of the big pigs and tells her she’s eating it’s brother. Rosie spits it out an immediately starts WAILING!

2. Momma Gigi has more men hitting on her than Ali did on the Bachelorette.

1. An elderly lady on her scooter tells me, “It’s really great what you’re doing for them colored kids”.


Posted in Personal Stories

Choose What Is Best For Your Life…

My father recommended I read a book called Three Edwards by Thomas Costain. I was very moved by this story and wanted to share it with you. This is a TRUE story.

During the 1300’s a duke named Ranald lived in the region now known as Belgium. Ranald was very obese, in fact he was often known by his nickname Crassis which means in Latin simply “fat”. Eventually Ranald actually became king, but his brother Edward was very jealous. After a long quarrel Edward rallied a group of people together and led a revolt taking over the castle and kingdom.

Everyone assumed Edward would now kill his older brother Ranald, as was often done. But somehow he took compassion on Ranald and instead – built a unique dungeon for him. Edward removed Ranald from the throne and built a large circular room. It had 1 doorway but no door.  Inside the room was a bed –  a table – and all the bare essentials Ranald would need.  But the doorless doorway was a regular-sized doorway and Ranald was too big to fit through it.

Edward told Ranald, “When you can fit through the doorway, you are free to go”. Every day Edward would have his servants bring to the room  – plates full of pies and pastries, piles of meat and delicacies.

People accused Edward of being cruel to his brother, but Edward had a ready answer. “My brother is not a prisoner. He is free to go! Indeed his room hasn’t even a door!” Ranald remained in that same room, a prisoner of his own lack of will power – for more than 10 yrs.

Edward died in battle and so his brother’s room was knocked down and he was able to leave.  By then his health was so far gone that he died in a year.

It was never that he had no choice, but only that he would not use his willpower to choose what was best for his life.


I’m sure your initial reaction was like mine – how ridiculous!! Seriously – 10 years spent in a prison because you couldn’t fit through the door?  Yet are we not like Duke Ranald in many ways?

We might not be a prisoner in our room – but we certainly have addictions that keep us in one place. But let me tell you what God showed me about a week ago that raised some  RED FLAGS for me…..

Episode 1:
I was sitting at a restaurant with my husband. He was on his phone and I was on mine. There was no conversation between the two of us.

Episode 2:
Malaya and Mikela wanted to play with our phones. They started texting each other. Granted – none of it made sense  – since they can’t read – but none the less – I watched them. I remember as a child saying – let’s play “house”! We would all pretend to be parents and babies. My girls told me they were playing “phone”. What happened here?

Episode 3:
The girls wanted to play dolls in their room. I had just sat down to relax. I told them I’d be up there in 10 minutes. I got my computer out – decided to do a quick facebook check and 15 minutes later – I’m still sitting on the couch. Mikela tells me – “You’re always working!”


Feel the breeze? That’s my God waving His Red Flag right in front of my face and I could not look away anymore.

Now I’m not saying I’m cutting off all communication with the real world or even the cyber world. As a representative of God’s work and our mission travel agent, I would not be following the Great Commission or doing my job if I locked myself away completely.  As with the story told above, it wasn’t that Ranald couldn’t eat at all, it was he needed to moderate what he was eating. I’ve decided to put myself on a cyber diet. One of those fatty areas for me happens to be facebook. Just like I have trouble eating just one sugar cookie – I have the same problem with even just ten minutes of facebook time. So, facebook has to go for me for now. My blog posts are automatically generated and posted there but I believe God is telling me to take a break from the hourly status updates.

I don’t know where your battle lies. If you are like me, it’s probably more than one area.  It could very well be the church. Catalyst speaker Andy Stanley says he refuses to sacrifice his children on the altar of ministry. How many of us have done that for the good of our brothers and sisters in Christ but the detriment of our family?

When Christ died on the cross and rose again – His power was given to all of us. There is no pattern of thinking that is beyond His Power. Christ died to free us from the bondage that we (alone) couldn’t overcome.

Christ says, “I stand at the door and knock.” I’m thinking if Ranald had known that Christ could help him through the door, he would have escaped his torment.

Posted in Personal Stories

Essence of Jesus…

The last two days I have had a non-stop migraine. So last night, Jose surprised me and bought some lavender candles! He filled the tub up with bubbles and had a cold glass of milk (my favorite) waiting for me.

Oddly enough – we did not have a match in the entire house! There was no way to light the candles. So I sat in darkness. Such is life…

As I was sitting there in the dark though – I started reflecting. I might have the prettiest candles  – the best smelling candles – but if I can’t light them – what use are they?

I started thinking about my fellow Haitian friends and acquaintances. Were they sitting in darkness with me at that moment?

We know that Jesus is the light and we’ve moved to the Mole to be that light. BUT –  in “their” eyes – are we simply a candle without a match? You see if we show them anything less than JESUS – we are just that – a simple, flameless candle.

I’ve been praying for the hearts of those in the Mole – that they’d be open to receiving the word of God. There is a heaviness in my soul – knowing that so many have no idea that there is a way out of darkness. Or how beautiful the light could be.

I feel like God is telling me: We can’t  just offer them the smells and beauty  – the “essence” –  of Jesus. But we’re to offer them the wholeness of Jesus. If there is any part of us that isn’t real and genuine – we are going to leave them sitting in the dark.  Not because we don’t have the lantern – but because we can’t find the spark….

Posted in Personal Stories

Our Little Girls and Their Big God…

I really want my girls to thirst after Jesus – just like He thirsts for them. So a while back we started doing prayer journals. Every night we sit together and talk about what we did that day. We list all the things we’re thankful for. If we went swimming – then we’re thankful we went swimming. If we got to drink a Sprite that day – then we’re thankful for the Sprite. We try to name as much detail as we can.

Since the girls are still learning to write – I have to make the list and then they pick and choose off the list and copy it onto their notebooks. I love  how excited they are to pray. As soon as it’s dark outside – I have three girls begging me to help them with their prayer journals. I love it!

Sunday night I was able to participate in this conversation with the girls during our Journaling time:

Mikela said: We need to list things we need help with too. Not just things we’re thankful for. He’s a big God and needs to help us.
Malaya said: Well I need patience. I already know that. You tell me that every day. So how you write Patience?
Rosie said: Well Mikela needs to learn to listen.
Mommy said: But what does Rosie need help with?
Rosie said: I need help to not be afraid.
Mikela said: I KNOW I need help listening.
Rosie said: So how we write that for Jesus to see it?

Don’t you wish we all were just so open with what we need help with? That we could write all our faults in a place where Jesus could see it?  Yes – He knows everything already. But what if we didn’t make him have to look for it but just put it right there in front of His eyes?

Rosie is 6 years old and is a little behind for her age. Having tetanus, cerebral malaria, and typhoid  – all as a little baby – we were never sure what exactly we should expect from her. She has Sensory Overload Disorder on top of it. Our Homeschool teacher – Beth – has really made huge strides with her over the past year. This is a picture of her little journal:


Yesterday the girls were especially precious to me. The three of them came to Jose and I and told us they had something important to talk about. Normally when they do that  – it’s to tell us they want to go to Nana’s house or they want something they saw on TV. But today was different. They NEEDED Bibles. Now I can’t tell you how many times I’ve bought them Bibles and they’ve lost them. But they told me that it’s important to read God’s Word everyday. They were very serious! So yesterday we headed to Lifeway Bookstore to pick out Bibles.

Rosie and Mikela were outside playing yesterday afternoon. But Malaya had decided to play in her room. So Jose went upstairs to check on her and found her sitting on her bed with her Bible open. Malaya is 5 years old. Jose asked her how she was reading it and she responded – “I’m just reading it in my mind”. So Jose asked her if she wanted Him to read some with her? Yes! So Jose wanted to start with the first page but Malaya said she’d already read that page in her mind and was on page 47!! LOL!

If Malaya has asked us once – she’s asked us 20 times to sit down and read her Bible with her. She gets so excited when we take 5 minutes out to read one of the Chapters. She asks us questions when she doesn’t understand and copies down verses that she really likes.

It’s been such a joy for Jose and I to watch the excitement our girls have when they talk about Jesus. I love their innocence and willingness to give up playtime  – to make time for Him. They continue to teach Jose and I everyday. We are so very blessed  – so very, very blessed.

Posted in Personal Stories

Amazing Weekend…

Where to start? Hmm. This entry will probably be all over the place. I don’t think I’ve slept more than 4 hours since Friday. I’m still processing things – even as I write them now.

I am always so careful when I write that something was life-changing. You see it’s not really life changing if your life doesn’t change – if it doesn’t “hold” the change. It’s like thinking you kicked gossip only to find yourself caught right back in it 2 months later. (I’ve been there).

So to say this weekend was life-changing – it makes me nervous. But none the less –I believe that it is. I am choosing to cut-out some pretty big things in my life. Things I never knew were there – and things that distract me from Him.

My mom and I went to a 2-day Beth Moore Conference. Now I know some people love Beth and others – not so much. I was introduced to her through our Women’s Bible Study this past spring. Sometimes her videos are a little dramatic – but she was RIGHT ON IT this weekend.

The conference’s focus was on the book of Jeremiah. The topic – Eat, Pray, Love. I’m going to pull out just a few things from Eat and Pray – because those things touched me the most.

God brought us into a fertile land to eat its fruit. (Jeremiah 2:7).
When your words come, I ate them and they were my joy and my heart’s delight. (Jeremiah 15:16)

Even when we’re in a desert – God can take that land and make a garden. If we will lay ourselves open – He will pull things up by the root and plant good things in their place.

Those weeds He’ll pull up – things of lies, unforgiveness, thoughts from generations before us, those things that we want to hide from our Father, those places we don’t want Him to go – – – – HE WILL PULL UP THOSE THINGS IF WE WOULD LET HIM.

He wants us to feast with Him. We have been chosen and anointed to bear fruit and eat it. He has promised to stay with us. God will put words in our mouth – will we choose to eat them?

You will call up on me and come and pray to me and I will listen to you. (Jeremiah 29:12.)
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9)
Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. (Jeremiah 33:3)

He wants us to let go of our game. No more pretending. No more pretenses. We will never be free. Any part of us that is not real – that part is in bondage.

Our heart is lying to us. Our heart can keep grabbing us by the heels and start sliding us back into that pit. Somewhere there is a lie in our heart causing destruction. That lie causes us to lie and exaggerate.

The heart can get gravely ill – dangerously ill. The way we start to detect that lie is when we hear it on our lips. Quit saying we’re delivered when we’re not. Quit it. Walk in the truth and we WILL be delivered. Pray and He will hear us. Pray and He will heal us.  Pray and He can change us. WE ARE THE MIRACLE HE’S BEEN WAITING FOR. HE CAN SET US FREE.

We need to believe we are worth getting back up. We need to know when we pray – He hears us. We need to believe that He can change us. It’s His job to come after us in that pit. Sometimes He has to allow really hard consequences, scarring, getting burned, and pain – so that we will run after Him again. He allows us to get messy so we will “want” to come back HOME. He can make the devil sorry he ever messed with us – if we let Him.

I am telling you right now – there are places in the depths of my soul that I believe are of no use. They cause repeat offenses. It’s no good to even look at them – because regardless – it’s never going to be better. It’s like a diet that won’t stick. I might lose 10lbs but 3 months later I gained 15lb. Know what I mean??

My insecurities will never go away. No matter how hard I try – I always slip right back into the pit. The only thing that changes is how long it takes for me to fall right back into that habitual sin.

But I really see now that- THIS IS NOT TRUE. I see that there are many lies in my heart – very destructive lies. I am letting God plow those areas for the first time. I mean beat those areas with the biggest stick He can find. AND – in doing that – I am finding myself feeling this amazing freedom – a very different freedom – a freedom that I have never felt before.

I am now taking steps to cut out some things that lead me back to paths of destruction. I KNOW that He can change my heart. That He can replace those ugly weeds with unbelievable amounts of fruit. I know I am the miracle He’s been waiting for.

I am SO GRATEFUL! GRATEFUL – That He came to find me in that pit each and every time. That he is willing to cover that pit back up with dirt so I don’t fall in it again. For His patience, His grace, and His mercy. For thirsting after me. For allowing me to see the lies in my heart. For loving me enough to search for me. For freeing the inner depths of my soul.

I. Am. Free.

Posted in Personal Stories

Hearing His Voice In The Silence Of My Heart…

“Be still and know that I am God”.

As I have been studying the Word – trying to prepare for the Women’s Conference in Haiti – He has really been speaking to my heart. What I’m realizing is that I cannot hear Him in the midst of  the noise and the thunder of the world.  I find myself asking – do I love him enough?  to be silent enough?  To be still enough? To let go of everything? To follow Him through total surrender in obedience?

You see – I don’t want to talk to the women in the Mole about their hearts  – if mine is not as it should be.

From the Cross, Jesus cries out,  “I thirst”. His thirst was for souls – even as He hung there – dying alone – despised. Who will bring those souls to Him? to satiate the thirst of an undying love?

I must monitor and keep the silence of the heart with greater care. So that in the silence I can hear His words. I will rid myself of self – so that in the fullness of HIM I can comfort Jesus –  in the distressing disguise of the poor, hungry, and unloved.

Mary pondered His words in her heart. We too  – like her  – must learn that silence will enable us to ponder His words in our hearts and so grow in love. We cannot love nor serve unless we learn to ponder in our hearts. Knowledge of Christ AND seeing Him in the poor –  will lead us to personal love. This love only can become our light and joy  – in cheerful service to each other.

The fruit of silence is prayer. The fruit of prayer is faith. The fruit of faith is love. The fruit of love is service. The fruit of service is peace.  – Mother Teresa

You see – it all began with silence. If we are hungry to hear the voice of God – we’ll hear it. We have to cut out everything else though to hear it. We have to be willing to sacrifice who we are – for what we might become.

For me – it means sacrificing my nosiness of other people’s lives so that I can spend that time in silence. It means closing my ears to things I should not hear – so my heart will not be able to absorb anything else but Him. It means holding my tongue and not claiming my rights. It means quenching the thirst of a Father who cries out to the lost.

It  means –

“Jody Castillo –  be silent for I have much to say to you. Search Me and you’ll find the answers you need. Rid yourself of the noise around you. That peace that we all long for – it starts in the stillness and the silence of your heart. Are you hearing what I want to say to you today? I have so much to share. Jody – are you there?” – Your Thirsty, Peace-giving, Full of Mercy and Grace, Loving, – Father in Heaven.