Why yes – that is Malaya on the cover of God Girl Magazine!
You know how God works all things together for His good? Well… this is another one of those examples.
In October – while sharing about the difficulties of the Hurricane & Flooding – we were contacted by the editors of this magazine. They asked if we would consider being the Featured Article for their Spring Edition! We happily accepted. 🙂
Malaya has a 6-page spread – sharing about her life growing up as a missionary in Haiti. We are so thankful for the opportunity to share her story with other girls her age. We hope & pray that those who read are encouraged & challenged by her journey.
God Girl is a Christian magazine founded by a 12 year old girl named Alea. The magazine is now published by two sisters: Abigail (13) and Grace (12).
This weekend for Children’s Church we taught about David – how he loved & cared for his sheep. I told the children how David wrote many of the Psalms. I asked if anyone knew Psalm 23? All of our orphans raised their hands… more than half knew the entire passage & the rest knew the first several verses! This brought me SO much joy. I love that our Mommas are teaching them scripture!
Asher & Rosie took turns leading our Jesus Aerobics.
Rosie & Malaya helped lead our games. For the first game we made two groups. One group was the green sheep and the other group was the orange sheep.
They lined up in their teams 2×2. One person was the shepherd and the other person was the sheep. We blindfolded the shepherd and they had to hold onto their sheep. We placed green/orange sheep all over the cafeteria. The sheep led their blind-folded shepherd to the right color.
For the next game we scattered 140 sheep all over the courtyard – 70 orange & 70 green! They had 2 minutes to go and collect as many sheep as they could!
For both games – Malaya’s team – The Green Sheep – won! But everyone had a great time! We had a coloring contest & then ended our time together doing line-dances while we waited for church to let out.
As we walked back home…
Asher said: I really like it when we do children’s church as a family. It’s so much fun.
Levi said: Yeah I think God likes it too because everyone knows the same Bible stories… and God really likes the Bible.
I realize it’s been several weeks since I’ve posted anything on the blog. It’s been an eventful month!
I know not everyone is on Facebook – so if you aren’t – below are some of my posts so you can be “Caught-up with the Castillos”
I’m SO excited… though we started digging the footers last summer – today we “officially” broke ground for our Granmoun Center.
This center will not only serve the homeless elderly in our community… but it will also double as a Family Refuge Shelter. If a mother is in trouble she can bring her children to the shelter until she’s out of immediate danger.
My dad built our church foundation which is the ONLY building on campus that didn’t flood….so dad’s back at it again to ensure we have another strong solid foundation!
I’m so thankful to have him here this week and that my boys get to make more memories serving alongside their papaw!
Since the November flooding – God has placed our staff’s children on my heart. I can still picture their faces & their distress from that night… when they were carried to safety while the river RUSHED through their homes.
I told them one night a month I wanted to do something special with them… just so they know they are seen & loved.
Tonight was BINGO night! I had 17 teenagers over for pizza, chips, brownies, & soda! Then we played several rounds of BINGO. Winners chose gifts from our prize table! Then we ended this great evening with a movie!
Tonight we had a PJ Party with the orphans! Diane brought every child a new set of pajamas! They’re SOOOOO cute!!
We held a little fashion show before they came over….or I should say we “TRIED” to have a fashion show! LOL! You’ll see some of the kids didn’t quite “get” how to strike a pose! They’re still adorable!
Tonight we watched The Secret Life of Pets and enjoyed popcorn, chips, & juice!
While visiting a church in the states several years ago – the kids went to Children’s Church with grades 1st-6th.
The children’s minister asked: What are some things that keep you from going to church?
A few kids raised their hands and said things like: sometimes we sleep in, sometimes we go to sports games, sometimes the weather is bad, sometimes I’m sick, etc.
Mikela’s hand raises: Well one time we were going to church but there was a cow’s head on our porch and dead animals on the street. They had their body parts hanging from trees. There was blood everywhere. So mom said we can’t go to church today. (There was a 3-day voodoo service in front of our home).
Then Malaya: yeah and I don’t like to go to church when the Mardi Gras come out because they work for Satan and they chase you around town and sometimes they have machetes. (Picture of one below)
Oddly enough… we were never invited back. Lol!!
Truth be told – that’s reality. Those are a few of the reasons that children don’t make it to church in Haiti.
Kind of makes you think twice about the excuses we give…
The greatest work you will ever do will be within the walls of your home.
– Harold B. Lee
This quote and the pic collage below came up on my timeline as a memory from last year.
It’s been an incredible year with Fabi. I still remember when her mom came through our clinic completely overwhelmed. Fabi was 9 months old … too weak to hold her head or track my finger with her eyes.
I knew with God’s help I could make her life better – give her therapy, meds, food, and lots of love. I knew with time I could train the momma on how to care for her too.
I was prepared to make her life better – but I wasn’t prepared for how much better she made my life…. how much healing she brought Jose and me.
Having suffered through 6 miscarriages in the previous two years – it was not only hard on my body – but my heart was severely damaged too.
The other two pics? Well they were taken yesterday…. when Fabi slept in her new home for the first time.
She lost her first home in the hurricane. We finished her new home this weekend. So yesterday marked the official start of her transition back home.
We are leaving each other better, stronger, healthier, and happier than when we started this journey.
God knew we were exactly what each other needed – and our lives will forever be connected and changed.
I’m SO thankful for the Haiti 323 Project! We’ve got 36 children who will need new uniforms this fall!
Haiti requires uniforms for every child that attends school. Not only can these mommas make them for our orphans – but they can make them for their own children too. It’s a pretty big deal for the Mole – especially since you typically have to travel hours to get them made.
Since the hurricane, our clinic has been OVER-FLOWING with patients. We’ve had families walk as much as 8 hours to reach us. We see 60-90 patients each day we’re open and we turn dozens away as well.
Many of you have heard my testimony – how God called me to the medical field… I was just 9 the first time a baby died in my arms from wet-malnutrition. I knew then as I rocked her little swollen body that I was called to medical ministry. Her mom was so struck with grief that she couldn’t find the strength to hold her baby. So I held her close, and with tears streaming down my face, I sang her into heaven.
I remember so vividly the mother falling to the ground – weeping with every ounce of sorrow in her…unable to compose herself. It completely altered my life. I shadowed every medical team that visited Haiti from that day forward. I graduated high school in 3 years – just so I could get a jump-start on nursing school.
A few months ago I had another mother come to my clinic with her 5 children. They walked 5 hours in flip-flops to find us. The youngest child was just 2 years old and all 5 children had typhoid. How they found the strength to reach us? Only God. The mother didn’t have enough money to pay for all her children to be seen. She had gone from clinic to clinic for 5 HOURS! So when we told her we would see ALL of her children for free – she fell to the floor weeping.
Here I am – now 27 years later – watching another little mother lay in the same position – face to the floor – weeping with everything in her. Only this time – they were tears of joy! This time I wasn’t a little girl unable to do more. No, this time was different!
The mother in front of me was weeping with everything in her because on that day – she didn’t have to look her sweet little kids in the face… she didn’t have to choose which of her children would receive care and which would continue to suffer.
So why do I share this part of my testimony today? Well….we received INCREDIBLE life-changing news this past week.
First United Methodist Church in Durango, Colorado held a special Christmas offering – something they do every year to bless others outside the walls of their church. Our Mole Clinic was one of the projects chosen.
SO THIS SUMMER WE WILL BEGIN EXPANDING OUR CLINIC!
Thanks to their generous giving – we will nearly double our clinic space… allowing us to effectively treat & better care for the people in the Mole & the surrounding communities! AMAZING! ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!
When I shared this news with our Haitian staff – they broke out in song & danced a happy jig! The hurricane brought SO much sorrow – but I’m seeing things happen here – blessings that can’t be explained outside of Jesus. It’s humbling….so very humbling that He chooses to use our family.. that He allows us to join Him in the work He’s doing in Mole St Nicolas.
Tout Bagay Deja Byen…
Pwoblem nou yo rezoud…
Maladi yo geri..
Sunday night we celebrated Rosie’s 13th birthday and Isabelle’s 5th birthday! This year’s theme was Disco Divas! We had glow in the dark bracelets, hair clips, rings, & necklaces. We also had 5 different disco lights that swirled rainbows of color on the walls and ceiling.
The party started at 5pm and ended at 7:30pm. Rosie & Izzy invited 20 girls to the party. Tom Snivley & my parents got to attend the party too! 🙂
THE PARTY SCENE….
The party started in the cafeteria. We didn’t want to take up space in our living room with tables – so it made the most sense to start the party there. As children arrived we painted their nails with glow in the dark nail polish! Susan also put make-up on each of the kids too!
Then everyone got to eat a HUGE helping of spaghetti and hot dogs!
START OF THE NIGHT….
After everyone ate we headed over to our house – to the Disco Scene! As the children arrived we passed out their goody bags. Each goody bag had glasses, a retro scarf, & lots of glow in the dark jewelry!
Prize Pong Game
The first game we played was our versionof a carnival fish-bowl game. We put glasses in the middle of the floor. Using glow-in-the-dark ping-pong balls … you had to throw the balls until they landed in a glass. Under each glass was a number that corresponded with our prize table. So if your ball landed in a glass labeled #2…. you got prize #2.
Then we played our version of musical chairs. Everyone stands in a circle and holds hands. You walk in the circle until the music stops. When the music stops you have to run and stand-on a glow stick. There aren’t enough glow sticks for everyone to stand on. So if you didn’t stand on one – then you’re out. You continue playing – taking away glow sticks – until there’s only one person left.
Then we took the kids outside to play color tag. Everyone had different colored necklaces. They stood in a line. Rosie & Isabelle were “IT”. When Susan calls your color – you have to run from one side of the yard to the other without being tagged. Last person left wins.
We have a plinko board that’s labeled 0-5 at the bottom. You drop a wooden chip at the top of the board and wherever it falls – that’s how many pieces of candy you get!
We had a butterfly piñata. We played two rounds – the smallest kids got a chance to collect the candy first. Then for round 2 we dumped the remaining candy out and the older kids got to scavenger for it.
We also had several dance competitions – whoever danced the best won a prize! We also had 3 dozen balloons that we threw onto the dance floor! The kids got to dance and throw them around – kind of like a Rave!
Between the swirling lights of the disco floor & the light-up jewelry that the kids were wearing – it was hard to get clear pictures & videos. But I think you’ll get the idea of how awesome it all was just the same! LOL! 🙂