In less than a week, I will be sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner in my home in Haiti. It’s true that I will miss my Mom’s homemade lemon pie and my sister’s apple tarts. Even now my eyes well up knowing, I won’t be able to hear my Daddy pray the blessing. But deep inside – behind the sentiment for my family – there is great thanksgiving for this house that God built. This house I live in, raise my children in, minister in…this house designed and built by the hands of church folks who made sacrifices for me to be here –this house is a home built on blessings.
While there have been many blessings, this year has been a bit of a roller coaster. Being a servant for the Lord does not make one immune to hardship. I am thankful that my family is well. I am thankful for the home we live in. But this has been a growing year for me in my faith. Having been married & living in Haiti for 13 years, I have seen times of prosperity for the mission and times of famine. This year has been one of famine for our budget. My heart is anxious, as our monthly budget has lost $550 a month due to natural attrition. While I know God will provide, the angst of not knowing how has me doing more pacing than Jose does when he asks me to cook!
$550 is not an obscure number to us – it’s benevolence to our Haitian friends. To us, its school supplies for our children. To us, it’s diapers and special food for our oldest daughter Gigi. We realize we must make sacrifices. We knew that when we first answered the call to ministry.
To be real here, we cancelled bringing the kids out in October due to our budget concerns and now there is a good possibility we will not be able to bring out our family in April. We stay in Haiti over Christmas not just to be with our Haitian friends but also because it is just too costly to do Christmas in the States.
As our children get older the schooling budget for their books alone is now at $1500. Our care for Gigi’s special needs is now $270/month. This is the time of year I love most in Haiti, but in reality I’m saying “No” much more than I ever thought possible.
With every knock at our door, I get a knot in my stomach knowing the Castillo budget doesn’t have the extras this year. We have even cancelled our staff Thanksgiving meal. Just typing that brings tears, as I love inviting 30 staff members to our home for a feast. They fill their bellies till they bust out of their clothes and then take home heaping plates of left-overs for their families. This has always been a great time of celebration but the money was not there for us to buy the extra food.
I know my family is not making any sacrifices that others before us have not already made. As my Daddy would say, “You’re not special” – meaning my needs and dreams are no more or less than the next person in line. So therefore I appeal to you who have at one time resonated with what I’m going through, there is need all around me and I can do nothing.
While, it would be a blessing to recover the $550 monthly for our personal ministry – I’m most overwhelmed by not being able to personally provide the following:
$500.00 – Christmas Church Revival and Outreach
$4000.00 – Shipping bill that my parents are carrying (it helps being the favorite but I’m sure they would like to be paid back).
$400.00 – Special Christmas Eve Meal for the street kids
I am thankful to be in Haiti. While we were not able to purchase the food for Thanksgiving for our Haitian friends and staff, we were blessed to purchase gifts for them for Christmas that my parents paid to have shipped in.
For richer or poorer we will do the work and thin the beans if we must. If you can help at all, through finances or prayer, we would appreciate it. Most of all just knowing you cared enough to let me be real is a burden lifted.
Your sister on the field,
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