Posted in Personal Stories

Walk to the Market…

This is a blog from my momma about our Women of Worth Retreat –

Please join our family for an incredible experience serving Him while loving on our beautiful Haitian sisters!

Walk To the Market…

I love the many facets of being a missionary but I have to say my favorite is ministering to the women of Haiti.  I always have said the burro is not the beast of burden in Haiti; it is truly the women that carry the heaviest load.

I am amazed at how they get up each morning  – as early as 4 a.m. to take their goods to market.  Some ride donkeys but many carry their goods on top of their head.  Their minds are troubled with the need to sell everything in their bucket. They are constantly crunching the numbers in their mind. How much do they have to bring home to feed their family for one more day? Many ladies have sick children at home. They are praying that they’ll have enough for desperately needed medicine.  Their troubles and worries are magnified with every step they take away from their hut and towards the market.

As I look into their faces throughout the week, weary souls emerge exasperated at trying to provide for their family.  But come Sunday, the faces tell a different story.  Those same ladies come ready to Praise the Lord.  For just a couple of hours they can get lost in the songs, the prayers, and the preacher’s message.

Her self-worth doesn’t exist.  She feels used and abused.  She feels the weight of the world on her shoulder. She is rarely affirmed. There are few kind words that ever fall upon her. What can we do to change this?  The Women of Worth Retreat is designed to plunge head-on into the lives of these Haitian ladies.  We will pray with them, teach them, work alongside them, and empower them!

Five days of sharing and caring will lift their weary Spirits!  It will give them a new memory to take home with them.  Can you imagine that same walk to the market after this retreat? What will they be thinking NOW as they walk to sell their goods?

Ladies came all the way from the USA to love me on me? ON ME!?!  I really do matter to others! There is a loving Papa that calls me His own! God I know You will provide my needs!  God I know You have a purpose for my life! God I know that I am precious in Your sight. God I know that I am covered by Your grace! God I have to tell others at the market about my newfound Hope!”



(Diana Owen)

Posted in Personal Stories

Deck the Halls…

Deck the Halls with wooden walls! FA! LA! LA! LA! LA! –  LA!  LA! LA! LA!

After being gone a week – we just spent the afternoon on the construction site with the boys! I was SO SURPRISED to see how far along they were! They’ll start putting on the roof tomorrow! There’s still a lot of work to be done – but they are flying through it!

The kids have been dreaming and talking non-stop about finally having their “own” home. Right now, 6 of the kids sleep in one room. They drive each other nuts which in turn drives us nuts! We can’t wait to separate them out some!

We have to be out of our rental by the last week of June. We are currently 9K short on completely funding our home/school/Miss Beth’s apartment. Right now we don’t have enough to purchase all the windows. If it weren’t for the fact that windows keep rats and bugs out – I wouldn’t mind so much! Praying for God’s divine intervention!

Either way – It’s home! 🙂

Posted in Personal Stories

Construction Update…

One side of the house has ALL the walls up! WAHOO!!

The girls cannot wait to move….they want the house to be done already. They keep talking about how cool it is that they are so close to the orphanage! The kids already feel at home there.

The employee homes are just a stone-throw away! The kids are loving that they can see them anytime they want! Which is great for the kids…..but maybe not so much for the staff! 🙂

The boys are REALLY enjoying the “process” of building! They ask every day if they can go to the construction site and see the men work! It’s so funny to see how interested they really are. Every time the men put up a panel they clap their hands and cheer them on!

Jose & I are headed to INDY for a few days for the mission’s board meeting. It was SO HARD to leave! We LOVE watching the daily progress! I’m thankful Miss Beth is there to take the boys to the site and to watch the progress!!

Posted in Personal Stories

Climbing The Walls…

What an amazing Mother’s Day! After spending a blessed morning at church – I spent the afternoon with all my little ones!

They each came up with their own way of gift giving! The boys are always hilarious and creative in their gifts! All three of them had a promise of no bed-wetting or dirty diapers! If only every day was Mother’s Day!

I was most touched by Rosie’s thoughtful gift. She took her sensory brush and brushed my arms, legs, and back – just like I do for her. She said every time I brush her that it shows her I love her. So this was her way of showing she loved me!

I couldn’t have asked for better gifts…but God certainly sweetened the day with the arrival of 5 trucks full of supplies!

Three trucks were carrying all the panels/walls of our home along with boxes of supplies for the orphanage. This was shipped from the states at the end of March and it’s already here!

The other two trucks contained all our roofing, plywood, & building materials!

This week we will start putting up the walls to our home! I can’t believe I get to say that!! Let me say it again. THIS WEEK we will begin putting up the walls to our home!

It should take about 2 weeks to build the home & roof it. Then we have electricians coming into Haiti at the beginning of June to put in all the electricity!

As you can imagine – even in the states  – building a home requires a lot of patience and there’s typically a ton of problems throughout the process! Everything has to line up just right to even get started. I honestly wasn’t sure if we would even be able to start building in May.

Everything in Haiti takes about 10 times longer than the states. We have been hitting our knees hard and praying for God’s divine intervention. It is a MIRACLE that everything has arrived here and we’re still in May!

The boys want to go to the property every chance they get. When they heard the “big trucks” were here – they begged to go to the property and watch them unload! I am so thrilled for my boys to have such a large playground! Today they were literally climbing up our walls! Hopefully that won’t happen once they’re actually up!

As you will see below…little LEVI is so excited to show you all the supplies that have arrived!

Posted in Personal Stories

Playing House…

Today we went to the property with sidewalk chalk to outline the rooms so the kids could imagine what our home would look like! The panels/walls should be headed this way in the next few days! YEAH!

They were SO excited as we began to draw the outline of their rooms!  The boys were running all over! They told me that we don’t even need walls just to leave it all open like that!  It really felt like home….Asher was already telling Gabe to stay out of his room!

We pretended it was night-time and we all laid down where our beds would be! It was funny listening to Gabe tell everyone to be quiet so he could sleep! I have a feeling with wooden walls – we’ll all be yelling “shhh…..” just like Papaw does!

The kids cannot wait to move….neither can we! I love the fact that we are right there by the church, orphanage, employee homes, school, clinic, etc.  It will still be important to walk through the town though….we never want to lose touch with the community! I love that the boys who desperately need a safe place to rip and run – will finally have a huge area to play in. At least if they jump on our neighbor’s beds this time – it will be our own Mission Staff!

The children enjoyed playing so much today that they didn’t want to leave when we were done drawing everything out! Mikela said, “We’re using our imagination and we’re not done thinking”!

The kids pretended to have class where their school would be! Finally  there’s a place big enough for 6 little kids to learn. Asher and Levi just started going to school this week! I asked Levi how old he was and he told me GREEN! So they’re starting school just in time! 🙂

We drew out Miss Beth’s room & even got her to pretend she was laying in her bed in HER room! 🙂

It was a fun-filled family afternoon…playing house!

Posted in Personal Stories

On Fire For Jesus!

After a short month of visiting friends, family, & doctors – our family is happy to be back in the Mole!

We have really missed our two girls –  Gigi & Isebelle.

It was really precious to hear some of the stories about Gigi. Each time that we leave, Gigi stays with her aunt who works for the mission. Her aunt now lives on the property right beside the orphanage. So I told her instead of watching Gigi at our house the whole time – let Gigi hang out at the orphanage with some of the other kids.

Gigi actually let some of the little orphan kids sit in her lap!! She won’t even let my kids sit in her lap! Gigi and Fedna have become fast friends! She gives Fedna high-fives every time she reaches out for her! Fedna will just sit with her for hours on end  – both of them looking at their hands! Fedna will even bring her toys and when Gigi throws them – she will go get them and bring them back to her.

My little butterball Isebelle is all about dancing and singing for Jesus! She loves to raise her hands and say in Creole – “Praise the Lord”! If you tell her it’s time to pray  – she will put her hands together and say  – “AMEN”!

So now that we are home – I wanted to take a few moments and share some updates with you!

Housing Update

I want to thank everyone who sacrificed so that our large family could have a place to call home in Mole St Nicholas!  We’ve had a lot of sleepless nights ever since we found out we had just a few months to vacate our rental. We honestly had no clue how we were going to raise the funds in such a short amount of time. God revealed to us – it’s not about who WE know  – but it’s all about who HE knows!

Thanks to your donations –  we have finished the foundations for our home, the school, and Miss Beth’s apartment. Our container of panels (the walls for our home) is in Port-au-Prince right now and we are expecting them next week. I have some pictures below of the construction on the foundations. 

Our renters are giving us through the end of June to move out of our current home! Otherwise we would be packing up RIGHT NOW and moving into the school!! Praise the Lord for small miracles!

If you are wondering where our home will be on the property – we made a road on the far left side of the church – towards the end of our property line. The road goes all the way to the back of the property. Our home is in the back left-hand side… right before the mountain starts. 

Several have asked if we have reached our goal? Yes and No!

Our original estimate of the house didn’t include the windows, doors, plumbing, electrical, shelving, kitchen counters, etc. So while we met our original estimate – we are still a little short on fully funding the housing complex. But our God has performed non-stop miracles for us this past month and we know HE will continue to provide.

This Summer:

We are gearing up for our summer groups – expecting over 150 travelers in the next two months for our campus alone!

Our Mole Service Projects will include: building the medical clinic, clearing out land for a soccer field, painting the school, building our home, & digging the foundation for our church.

Never A Dull Moment:

I always say there’s never a dull moment in Haiti…. yesterday was no exception.

While we were in church we got a phone call that there was an explosion in our children’s bedroom. The twins were home with the babysitter so we hurried to the house.

The boys were in the living room when it happened and were okay. One of the Ryobi batteries that were charging exploded and then caught on fire.

Luckily someone was there to hear it or the whole room would have burned. Our babysitter ran and got the neighbor and they threw sand on the fire to put it out. God REALLY  protected our family and our home from something that could have been devastating.

I guess you could say that the Castillo Clan is – ON FIRE FOR JESUS!