Posted in Personal Stories

Life Interrupted…

For the last several weeks, Jose, Beth, and I have been studying the book of Jonah. Priscilla Shirer has a bible study called Jonah. I remember learning about Jonah and the big fish back in preschool! I can picture the felt boards right now! Jonah definitely had his life interrupted when God called him to minister to the very people he despised.

Priscilla’s take on what a Life Interrupted looks like has really been speaking to me. I no longer see Jonah’s story as that – simply a story. There is so much more going on in those 4 chapters than I ever realized.

We all know Jonah was running. His drastic actions though make it hard for us to relate. None of us are jumping on a boat or a plane trying to hide from God. Yet all of us have something we’re hiding or running from!

There are 4 principles that we focused on this week.

Jonah 1:12 – Acknowledge Your Sin
Jonah 1:15 – Accept the Discipline
Jonah 2:2 – Ask for Forgiveness
Jonah 2:9 – Act on God’s Direction

Of those 4 principles the last one has really been weighing on me. Priscilla gives a story about her grandmother’s old toaster. Her grandma would burn herself on it nearly every time she used it. It was very old and barely worked. So she bought her grandma a new microwave! As she was getting ready to throw out the toaster oven the grandma stopped her and said – WAIT! Put it downstairs in the basement just in case. Don’t throw it away!

God has given His children so many new things to get excited about. His spirit lives in you, and the divine opportunities beckon you to complete your purpose. Along the way you may be tempted to store old habits, preferences, hindrances, and sins – just in case. Why would you hang onto anything old when the new has come? (2 Cor. 5:17). The old might be comfortable, but it’s not useful. Today is the day for us to confess and move on.

Many of us are driving down the free-way going in the wrong direction. We might be willing to admit we’re going the wrong way but we’re not ready to stop doddling, exit, and turn around. Something I never thought about is the longer I wait to exit – the more ground and time I lose. Plus I’m tired of burning my fingers on the same thing over and over again! I think it’s time to let my blisters heal!

God is willing to take the old and replace it with the grand newness of life in Him. We don’t have to go one more day or even take one more step with the shame of yesterday’s choices and unwise decisions weighing us down. He was willing to honor Jonah’s desire to yield despite past failure, and He is willing to honor ours as well.

So the question for all of us – Is any old comfort or sin keeping you from yielding to God’s Divine Intervention?

Posted in Mission Stories, Personal Stories

Understanding Cholera…

I have received many emails from groups wondering if it’s safe to go to Haiti during this Cholera Crisis. I think it’s scary because you don’t really understand it. You hear about it on the news and it’s frightening for the HAITIANS  – who have little ability to change their style of living. But for you as an American visiting Haiti – Understand this:

How can I avoid getting cholera?

The risk for cholera is very low for people visiting areas with epidemic cholera. When simple precautions are observed, contracting the disease is unlikely.

All people (visitors or residents) in areas where cholera is occurring or has occurred should observe the following recommendations:

  • Drink only bottled, boiled, or chemically treated water and bottled or canned carbonated beverages. When using bottled drinks, make sure that the seal has not been broken.
  • To disinfect your own water: boil for 1 minute or filter the water and add 2 drops of household bleach or ½ an iodine tablet per liter of water.
  • Avoid tap water, fountain drinks, and ice cubes.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and clean water.
  • If no water and soap are available, use an alcohol-based hand cleaner (with at least 60% alcohol).
  • Clean your hands especially before you eat or prepare food and after using the bathroom.
  • Use bottled, boiled, or chemically treated water to wash dishes, brush your teeth, wash and prepare food, or make ice.
  • Eat foods that are packaged or that are freshly cooked and served hot.
  • Do not eat raw and undercooked meats and seafood or unpeeled fruits and vegetables


What is the treatment for cholera?

Cholera can be simply and successfully treated by immediate replacement of the fluid and salts lost through diarrhea. Patients can be treated with oral rehydration solution, a prepackaged mixture of sugar and salts to be mixed with water and drunk in large amounts. This solution is used throughout the world to treat diarrhea. Severe cases also require intravenous fluid replacement. With prompt rehydration, fewer than 1% of cholera patients die.

Antibiotics shorten the course and diminish the severity of the illness, but they are not as important as receiving rehydration. Persons who develop severe diarrhea and vomiting in countries where cholera occurs should seek medical attention promptly.


Should I be worried about getting cholera from others?

A person can get cholera by drinking water or eating food contaminated with the cholera bacterium. In an epidemic, the source of the contamination is usually the feces of an infected person that contaminates water and/or food. The disease can spread rapidly in areas with inadequate treatment of sewage and drinking water. The disease is not likely to spread directly from one person to another; therefore, casual contact with an infected person is not a risk for becoming ill.


Posted in Mission Stories, NW_Frontpage, NW_Personal Ministry Update, Personal Stories

Truly Blind-Sided!

I was outside yesterday fellowshipping with some of the employees. After an hour or so – I went back upstairs to do some work on the computer. So I sit down at my desk and I realize that the screen is really dark. I’m fixing the settings to make it as bright as possible. I can see all the words in the email clearly – but still it’s dark. So I yell for Jose to come and see what’s wrong with my computer.

Jose walks in the door – takes one look at me – and then laughs. I don’t see what is funny at all – in fact I’m a little annoyed. He told me – Honey, take your sunglasses off!!

I hadn’t been to an eye doctor in about 4 years. So this past Spring I got new prescription glasses which I wear almost all the time now. Last week while we were out for Catalyst I decided to buy…prescription sunglasses.

As I write this, I keep thinking of the lyrics from Switchfoot’s Your Love Is A Song. The chorus: “I’ve been keeping my eyes wide open.” And yet, my eyes were wide open the entire time I was adjusting the computer screen. While, I tried to fix the situation I could never bring the screen into full brightness.

The reason: there was something wrong with me –not the equipment. And now I have to think, how many times have I been in the same situation among my brothers and sisters in Christ? Have there been times when I was so busy trying to “fix” a program or a person, that the “fixing” really needed to start with myself? My sunglasses which were intended to protect and shield my eyes from the power of the sun actually became a detriment to me in the privacy of my own home.

I think it’s funny that my husband Jose was the one to “save” me from myself. He pretty much always is…everybody needs somebody to keep them in check. Jose does that for me. He makes sure I stay focused when I feel I am walking in darkness. He encourages me to take my blinders off and not adjust the settings of the world before I adjust myself. Do you have someone looking out for you? As a Christian, you need fellowship with someone who loves you enough to tell you the truth.

2 Corinthians 5:7 says, “We walk by faith, not by sight.” It’s a good thing! If I relied on my eyes and not God, I would still be sitting in the dark.

Posted in Mission Stories, Personal Stories

Baby Rek Sarah…

Just wanted to update you on the mother and baby I had you pray for a few days ago! The mother and baby are now home! The mom received a blood transfusion when she arrived at the hospital. The baby was on oxygen for a day but she made it! She was 5lbs.

This family has been faithful to our church since we started over a year ago. Even while she was 8 months pregnant she came twice a week to the 4am prayer services. They have one other son who is 2 years old.

Their hospital bill is 300 USD. I would like to be able to pay that for them. When I was pregnant with the twins  – my total hospital bill was $120,000.00! For  Haitians – 300 USD might as well be 10,000! They don’t have a dollar in their pocket! With all that they have been through – I would like to relieve this burden for them.

If you want to help them- please let me know!

Posted in Personal Stories


by Lillian Baker Wolff

The words “love as though you have never been hurt” caught my attention.  I heard a television minister speaking of Satchel Paige and it interested me. Those were some of the profound words that Satchel had said in his life time.  I knew that Satchel had lived here in Kansas City and we have a local ball park named after him.  I decided to look up information on him.

He was the oldest rookie player in the league, having started for the Cleveland Indians when he was forty-two years old.  Most players are retired at that age.  He had played, however, in various black minor leagues.  Those were the days when prejudice was rampant.  He was the second black player to be accepted to play in the major leagues.   Satchel did not grow up with riches, but rather poverty.   Like most of us, he had lots of hurts.  Included among those are being rejected because of his race.   Then he married his school sweetheart and that ended in the heart break of divorce.  But he never gave up on life and no wonder he could say,  “Love as though you have never been hurt.”

To love someone, who has brought you hurt, is extremely difficult but it is possible with the help of God.  There are many who have given up on life and more perfectly on people.   Once hurt, the old saying goes, twice shy.   But we dare not give up on life or on people.   There are no perfect people on this planet and of course, people can sometimes be a pain.  Once one gives their heart to others there is the always possibility of having it broken.   Believe me, when I say that a broken heart is worse than having a physical ailment.   It hurts, oh, how much it hurts.

But when we are hurt, we must pick up ourselves and try again.  Satchel went on and found another love and God blessed him with seven children.   He spent many of his days right here in Kansas City and is buried in the Forest Hill Memorial Cemetery.    Think of what he would have lost had he given up on baseball because of being rejected.   Today he is in the Baseball Hall of Fame.   Think of what he would have lost had he given up on love.   Thank God, he didn’t.

Maybe you are about at your “wit’s end” and are thinking of giving up on life and relationships.  You are saying, “I will never trust or love again.”

But I say to you, “Don’t give up.   Sometimes the best things are just around the corner.”   It may not seem like it right now, but God wants the very best for you.   Don’t allow satan to cheat you out of what God has planned for your life.



Posted in Mission Stories, Personal Stories

Praying For A Little Miracle…

Just now, a member of our church brought his pregnant wife to our house. She was in a lot of pain and a lot of distress. The baby’s hand was “out”. The nearest hospital/birthing center is over an hour away on rough, rocky roads. The mother has already lost a lot of blood. We just sent them on the back of a truck! I cannot even imagine. Even in the best of circumstances  – many women in Haiti die during childbirth.

Please keep this family in your prayers tonight. Pray that this tiny little baby will actually meet her momma.

Posted in Personal Stories

Taken From Beth’s Blog About The Kids…

What a blessing it is to be teaching Mikela, Rosie, Malaya and Gabriel… it has been a joy to see God working on their hearts and minds. To have a front row seat to the way He is molding each one. Here are just a few snippets of conversations from this past week. Please keep all the Castillo children in your prayers and for me as I continue to teach them.

Rosie during a game in class(finding the missing number, by 2’s-5’s -10’s) 11, 13,__, 17. She took 2 sec. and said, “ 15 Miss Beth”….Miss Beth, “ Rosie, how did you know that?” (with excited voice :>) Rosie, “ God helped me.” This was such a great opportunity to show the girls how he helps them and reveals himself to them. She gave three more answers like this that just blew me away. This little girl makes strides everyday and it is such a joy to see the Lord at work in the heart and mind of this little girl. Learning does not come easy for her and there are days we go backwards, but there are also days where you see Him working in tangible, physical ways. Every week we have scripture to learn and every week she struggles, but today she said the verse we had 4 weeks ago. We haven’t been practicing it, but she just came out and said it. You can’t tell me God isn’t writing His scripture on her heart. She may not know it for classroom time, but His time. His time is so very perfect. She also said today’s verse!!! Go Rosie. We walked to the soccer field today to run a bit and we lined up at the soccer goal and the girls said let’s run to the other goal. So I said, “alright! Ready, set, go !!” You would have thought Rosie had a motor on her. She took off and left us in the dust, literally. This girl can run…I mean really run…I really might need to begin a track team…LOL…seriously:>)

The other day the girls came down to my room and asked me to come upstairs. My first thought was…is someone hurt or is something broke (Jody and Jose are out for a conference this week). They brought me upstairs and I kept asking, “what happened? Is someone hurt? What is broken?” They opened the door to Gabriel’s room and they quietly said, “look his room is all clean”. They had quietly cleaned his room while he was sleeping…Amazing!!! Then they took me to their room and opened the door. “Wow girls this room looks great.” “ Look at the living room Miss Beth and Mommy and Daddy’s room. “ They had picked up all the toys and cleaned them all, plus made the beds and dusted. They even did the twin’s room, but by the time I had gotten there they had pulled some of their toys out, but it was still clean. I could tell they had put things in their spots. “I am so very proud of you girls. You cleaned without anyone asking you or telling you to help our Madame Ne Ne. What a blessing.” They grinned from ear to ear. It was a priceless beautiful picture.

I took Gabriel out for a run the other day to give Madame Ne Ne a little break and to wear out a boy who has much energy. We put his sneakers on and took off. Now you would have thought “Oh we are just running out the boys energy,” but he showed me more of his little heart this day. Every time we came to a cross-road he would say, “Miss Beth, stop.” and then he would put his hand out as if to stop me and then he would look both ways. Then I would ask him, “which way should we go, sir?” and then he would choose. We ran all over town and to the soccer field, to the ocean, then back to the soccer field. He would stop when he saw letters and we would practice saying each one. We finally made it home after zigzagging all over town. He went back upstairs and an hour later I found out he put himself to bed. To cute. Later for dinner the dogs were crowding around me and I was trying to get them to go. He came over and stood in front of them and told them to go. I told him “thanks big boy for protecting me today and right now.” ….”your welcome.” (eyes went big and huge smile :>)



Posted in NW_Personal Ministry Update, Personal Stories

Walk Like A Hebrew…

Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did. 1 John 2:6

I have just spent the most incredible week at Catalyst. It always seems to breathe life back into my marriage, my work goals, my desire to be a better mother – in short  – it revives me!  Catalyst is always very challenging as my mind and heart is challenged with every sermon I hear and every moment of worship I have with my Lord.

This week’s session was going along pretty good for me. I was feeling like I might be ahead of the curve for once and actually not be as unhealthy as I normally am when I go to these things. And then… Francis Chan had to open his mouth!  As I sat through his sermon, I found myself thinking less and less of myself. (I’m terrible at comparing myself to others.) You can actually read about Francis’ sermon by following this link:

The reader’s digest version is that one of the most successful ministers of the modern evangelistic movement in the United States has decided to leave his church, his home, his salary… everything and pack it up and move to Asia to serve God. He has nothing lined up. He has no plan B. He’s just going.  Convicted by his own sermons about helping the needy and walking like Christ – Chan is going!

Hearing this I should have been the first to stand up and say “You go!” But actually I began internalizing every word he said and it began to convict me. This man is on fire to serve in a foreign land. Yet, I serve there every day and don’t feel that fire. In fact, sometimes my firewood feels like it’s under about a foot of water. I’m tired and weary which normally is accompanied by worried and cranky.

Many of you have been emailing me to write more  – and I have honestly had to take a bit of time just to digest this sermon and make sense of the feelings it garnered from me. And this is what I’ve come up with…

#1: I am overjoyed that there is a brother in our midst who would serve the least of these and sell it all.

#2: Been There, Done That, Got Malaria 😀  My sister had to remind me that I did that too. I told her my dilemma of feeling blue and depressed and she very nonchalantly reminded me that I was like that too when I first went to Haiti. Jose and I were following a dream, we had loaded up everything we had, and had even asked that instead of folks giving us wedding gifts  – that they help us build our home in Haiti. She shared that at that time after being in her own ministry for ten years and following God’s Call for her –  that she felt like her wood was wet too.

#3: It’s OK to have wet wood…that’s when God really shows Himself! 1 Kings 18 is the story of Elijah who himself was a pretty worn out prophet defeating the prophets of Baal. The most exciting thing is to see what God can do with some wet wood!  I Kings 18:38  –  Then the fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.  Elijah had brought a sacrifice to God that was drenched much like the way I feel from time to time. And yet when he called upon the Lord – the altar lit!

I know I should have learned long ago to quit comparing myself to everyone around me. There will always be a better writer, speaker, missionary, toilet bowl cleaner, mother, wife, … the list could go on. But as I leave Catalyst, I have come to know one thing –I am assured that I am walking like Christ.  And, even Jesus had a lonely walk at times. Even Jesus who knew His mission, wept. Even Jesus, who knew the power of His God, filled the night with prayer. As I leave Catalyst I am walking like Christ with my heart sold out to Him and even if my wood is drenched in sorrow, regret, or just plain fatigue – He will light my fire!


Posted in Personal Stories

Catalyst Conference 2010…

We are SO excited to be at Catalyst this year! It feeds our souls like nothing else! Jose and I love worshipping with 10,000 leaders! We love learning from those that have been in active ministry for many years –  like Andy Stanley and Francis Chan.

If you’ve ever heard me speak about the Face of Jesus at devotions – the idea of it came from last year’s conference! I cannot wait to hear other life changing sermons! 🙂

It’s hard leaving the children in Haiti.  We still feel tremors off and on in the Mole. There comes a point though – when we have to rely on Jesus – just like we tell the Haitians to every day. We know that He’s in control. They aren’t only in Beth’s hands while we’re gone – but also in the hands of our Father.

I received a phone call from the group –  Focus on the Family! They have asked if they can reprint a few of my blog entries and want to interview me tomorrow! They had called us one other time when Jose was in Port-au-Prince a few days after the quake. I don’t think anything was ever published though. So I’m not sure where this will go – but still an honor to be acknowledged! Please pray for my interview! I’m a little nervous about it.

I hope to have some great blogs later this week with everything we’ve learned at Catalyst this year! Just like I tell the women in the Mole – our hearts are open and we are ready to grow! Please keep our little ones in your prayers  – while Jose and I prepare our hearts for a great spiritual retreat!