Posted in Mission Stories

A Prayer For Grace…

I wanted to thank everyone for the way you’ve surrounded us with your love, prayers, and support.

Jacques Update

I wanted to update you and let you know that Jacques is doing much better. His blood pressure has stabilized for the most part. But it does jump up when he tries to sit. He can “feel” his left side – but he can’t move it. He has absolutely no strength. We have a missionary in St. Louis – Autumn who is an OT – working with him. He’s having to learn how to sit, how to roll over in bed, etc. I know Jacques and my dad are a lot alike. They find their worth in what their hands can do. My biggest prayer request right now is that Jacques doesn’t lose hope and doesn’t lose who he is in Christ because of his physical setback.

Levi Update

This past Thursday Levi’s cast had become loose so we took him to St. Louis to have it re-casted. We also got another set of x-rays.  It seemed as though his bones were growing at a 40 degree angle which isn’t good. We thought we were going to have to fly to the states for another urgent surgery  – – one that would require us to break his bone to reset and then another 6 weeks with a new cast.  My poor child. Goodness gracious.

I can tell you that my nerves were absolutely shot. I called my mom on the phone weeping –  asking her to fly out with Levi and me. I didn’t want Jose to come and the kids be left alone.

We had arranged for another MAF plane & were looking at tickets. In those hours of shock – I cried out to God. I just couldn’t understand the drama – why so much drama? I felt so helpless.

So I’m just about to purchase our tickets on AA – and literally while I’m finalizing the purchase….and in the midst of my tears & anguish…. I get a vox with a 2nd/3rd opinion. The doctors said he was okay. On second look it wasn’t as bad as they thought. There’s no need to fly out. And then I weeped again.


I know for most of us – when we cry out to God –  it can feel like He’s taking too long to respond.  Sometimes it’s weeks – months – years… before we understand… before we feel like He’s really heard us and answered us.

Sometimes I feel like we just live crisis to crisis. And many times I cry out – goodness gracious. 

The past few days I’ve been thinking about those words I say in frustration – goodness gracious.

You know how you say something over and over again  – and all of a sudden you’re not even sure what you’re actually saying?

So I started researching online to see what it means….these words I cry out.

Goodness Gracious is an interjection expressing surprise

Good graciousgracious sakes. Exclamation of surprise, dismay, or alarm.. Both goodness and gracious originally alluded to the good (or grace) of God,  which date from the 1700’s.


The more I reflected, the more I realized that as I called out these words in surprise & tears – what shouldn’t be surprising and what I always seemed to forget about….  was the never-changing, steady, dependable, everlasting goodness and graciousness of God. A God who wipes away my tears every single time and holds me close.

When I got the vox that Levi was okay – I of course immediately thanked God for being so good. Right? It’s so easy to thank God when things are good. But yet in my state of alarm – I never think about the grace & goodness of God. How easy it is to forget and take for granted.

Then I wondered what about when others are in a state of alarm? When they cry out goodness gracious? You know that happens everywhere and every day.   Every day is a crisis for someone.

Do I offer them grace in the same way I crave it? Do I show them God’s goodness? When I have the ability to extend grace to someone who may not deserve it – do I give it? When it’s in my capacity – when the decision is in my hands – do I respond with the same grace & goodness God pours out on me? Do I answer back as quick as I can – or do I make them wait for days & weeks for answers I know today?

Just something I’m reflecting on as I look back these past few weeks…. as I clearly see God’s fingerprints in the smudges of my life…



If I could make just one request that would mark all the days I have left,
I’d rather not be known for treasures and fame or trophies and accolades I know will fade.

Instead I would rather be known by the kindness and love that I show,
To be known for patience and long suffering; a giver of life by the words that I speak.

So with every breath You give to breathe, I pray it’s your glory that they see.
And of all the words this world could say, may they say I am full of grace.

I’ll be the first to confess I’m not always found at my best.
But Lord be my strength in those moments I’m weak and
I’ll keep on giving the grace I’ve received.

So with every breath You give to breathe, I pray it’s your glory that they see.
And of all the words this world could say, may they say I am full of grace.

And finally when I see your face and I’ve reached the end of my race,
I don’t want to be known for finishing strong.
But as someone that Your grace carried all along.

Posted in Mission Stories

Fight Back With Joy…

Two Weeks Ago….

Our Dame’s Group celebrated the end of our Hosea Bible Study with a picnic on the beach January 9th. I blogged about this fun adventure on the Mole Ministry Blog –

I then took the rest of the month off from leading so I could pray about what study I wanted to teach next. I wanted time to find a study and work through it myself before I taught it. You know – you need to eat it before you tweet it! I wanted to absorb it first before I taught about it.

With no bookstore around – I looked online for possible studies. I downloaded samples of 8 different studies. I honestly wasn’t drawn to any of them. Makes it hard to teach about something you don’t feel connected with.

While looking through possible studies I came across a book called Fight Back With Joy. I was drawn to it immediately. Who doesn’t want more joy right? So I downloaded the book on Tuesday January 19th.

On January 20th, Levi fell and broke his arm. I can honestly say it was an unexpected nightmare. Watching him in pain and not being able to help him – it broke everything in me.

Here we were – in a hospital room – with no Internet service, nothing to distract Levi, nothing to even distract ourselves – nothing to do but wipe Levi’s tears and cry some of our own.

In the wee hours of the morning I pulled out my ipad and there was the book I had downloaded the day before. With nothing else to do – I began to read through the pages. I found myself completely engaged, as the words seemed to be speaking right to me.


Some days I feel isolated. Some days I’m discouraged. Sometimes I just feel restless and anxious. But Joy is a gift God wants to expand in your life. You can be more joyful tomorrow than you are today.

We are called to see and obey God but we are also called to enjoy God and partake in the most satisfying pleasure imaginable – a joy that can only be found in Him. When we find our joy in God – we bring Him glory. That’s like saying that every day you walk in joy – you put a smile on your Heavenly Father’s face.

God is wildly generous with His joy and He doesn’t keep it all to Himself. He desires to share it with us. God wants His joy to become our joy. In fact – an abundance of joy is a powerful witness to the beauty of a relationship with God.

The announcement of Jesus came like this….

Luke 2:10 – I bring you good news that will cause GREAT JOY for all the people.

And Before leaving our world, Jesus made this promise to the disciples

John 15:11 – These things I have spoken to you so that MY JOY may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.

Jesus arrives in joy, departs in joy, and calls us to great joy through unbroken fellowship with Him.

I want us to begin asking God to increase our desire and capacity to experience more of the joy that He wants to give you.

You and I are called to a life marked by gladness, rejoicing, blessedness, happiness, and much – much more. As children of God we are meant to radiate God’s joy. We are meant to do more than mimic Jesus – we are to manifest Him.





Coincidence? I downloaded that book & the Bible Study to go with it –  the day before I would need it! Only God.

Little did I know that this book would not only help me get through Levi’s broken arm….but now with my brother Jacques who is fighting for his life in the same hospital the ambulance took Levi to.


I know many of you aren’t on Facebook so I wanted to update you on Jacques and ask you to please pray for Him.

Will you also pray that each and every one of us will FIGHT BACK WITH JOY through this difficult situation and with each new one that arises? I’m finding when I look for it – God drops Joy Bombs every single day.


Jody Owen Castillo shared Diana Owen‘s post.

Diana Owen

We need your prayers once again. Jacque St Charles has had a stroke. We just visited him at La Pointe hospital. He has no feeling in his left side. His bloodpressure was 200/180. He knew us but has trouble talking. Jacque was one of our very first orphans and we dearly love him like a son. Jacque is 49 years old and has been working beside us for many years. Thank you for your prayers.
Jody Owen Castillo with Diana Owen.

Yesterday at 3:05pm ·

 My parents flew to PAP with Jacques this morning where they’ve run several tests. When mom gets internet access she will give an update.

It seems like he has an active bleed in his brain & lots of edema. His blood pressure won’t come down at all. He’s still paralyzed. It’s pretty bad. We’re not sure he’s going to pull through….I can barely type for the tears.

Many of you remember Jacques from picking up teams in Port-au-Prince. Many of you have worked alongside him doing construction. Many of you have traveled in buses with him for 20 years!

I just know him as my brother – the first boy my parents took in like their own. We grew up together. We teased each other. We laughed together. We were apart of each other’s important moments in life. He has done so much over the years for my family – my children love him so much. He has 2 children of his own but his house is FULL of children he cares for. I can’t even imagine what our lives look like without him.

We have prayer services happening across Haiti and we ask that you too pray for him. God can do miracles – I’ve seen them. Praying for a miracle today.



Jose and I flew to PAP. We are spending the morning with Jacques and my parents at the hospital.

I tried to be strong but seeing him lay there so lifeless is heart wrenching. I asked him if he knew where he was and he just stared at the wall. I asked him if he knew his name but he just stared.

I asked if he knew who I was? He didn’t look at me but he squeezed my hand and softly said: my sister. (I just sobbed).

I went through his chart and they’ve tried 8 different blood pressure meds but it still averages 220/150. His sugar yesterday was 430 but today it’s normal. His O2 level fluctuates between 82-89%.

I haven’t seen the neurologist to ask about the brain bleed …the only thing the doctor said was that they haven’t been able to stop it.

He still has no feeling in his left-side. His eyes can’t focus and he seems to be in a daze. He does hear us and he does try to respond…..he just can’t always put the words together.

I’ve patted down the sweat from his head, told him I loved him, and prayed for God to do a miracle. It’s all I know to do and yet feels like it’s not enough….

Please continue to pray for him. We are not ready to let him go.


Jody Owen Castillo This morning the doctor told me not to leave anything unsaid. While sitting in the waiting area dad and I began down the path of next steps….making funeral arrangements with tears streaming.

When we went to lunch we rallied together sharing stories as mom, dad, me, jose, Conjae, Andre, and Antoine ate together.

Then late this afternoon things begin to change. He’s no longer just staring at the wall. He’s hungry. His blood pressure finally begins to lower. He’s coming back to us….

Wait. What? What is this? It’s what happens when all of us pray and lock shields together.

It’s the beginning of a miracle…..

 · 52 mins