We’re Jose and Jody Castillo, missionaries in Mole St Nicholas, Haiti. We have 8 children – Gigi (14 years old), Mikela (11 years old), Rosie (10 years old), Malaya (9 years old), Gabriel (7 years old), Levi and Asher (5 years old) and Isebelle (3 years old).
Jose: God, in his brilliant plan, took a little Honduran boy who spent hours playing on dirt roads and climbing mango trees…..to the states for a better life……only to have him return to a village where little boys play on dirt roads and climb mango trees. Jose was born in Honduras and moved to New York when he was 10 years old. Met his wife Jody in 1997 while she was in nursing school. Moved to Kentucky and went to Sullivan University where he majored in Computer Engineering. Currently: Director of Communications, Campus Manager
Jody: Her father, Larry Owen, started the mission in 1979. Her first trip into Haiti was when her mom was 7 months pregnant with her! Her brother, Janeil Owen, is currently the Executive Director of the mission. She spent most of her life in and out of Haiti. She went to the University of Kentucky’s College of Nursing. Moved to Haiti after graduation with her husband. Currently: Campus and Travel Manager
God brought them together – from such different backgrounds and yet both with childhoods where they played with poverty-stricken children on dirty, dusty roads. They were married in Haiti so they could begin their life together with the very people they would come to serve. Praying for God to bless them with children – they had no idea what God had in store for them. Unable to conceive the first few years of their marriage – God opened their hearts and their home to several children who needed love and tender care. Many of these children came through Jody’s pediatric clinic. So many sick children – all needing one on one care. Not all of the children who passed through their home stayed but those that did came with their own heart-breaking story……
GIGI BEFORE PICTURE
Gigi: Born with Rubella. Lived in Heaven’s Waiting Room (Miriam Center) for a year before we took her in as our own. She was nearly 2 years old and weighed 7 pounds. She could not chew & she only drank enough to stay alive. She cannot digest her food very well as her intestines remain inflamed. She is blind in one eye, deaf in one ear, cannot talk, spends most of her time looking at her hand, has the mental capacity of a 6 month old and is our pride and joy. She learned to walk when she was 7 years old.
MIKAYLA BEFORE PICTURE
Mikela: Found her at 10 months old and 4 pounds. Her mother left her on a path to die because she was pregnant with another man’s baby. The new boyfriend didn’t want Mikela. They starved her from 15 pounds down to 4 lbs. We had to feed her through an eye-dropper because she was too weak to eat. She was skin and bones with the most of that 4 lbs being her head. She spent the first year of her life with us wanting to sleep with a piece of bread or food in her hand – afraid she might not eat the next day. She developed an eating disorder from ages 1-4 years old. But now she’s thriving – SO SMART!
ROSIE BEFORE PICTURE
Rosie: Her mom was on her way to the mission to deliver her. She made it as far as the road infront of the mission and gave birth on the dirty road. Rosie’s umbilical cord became infected with the dirt and she contracted Tetanus. 95% of all children with tetanus die. She could not move her arms, legs, mouth, or any other part of her body for 3 months. They say that Tetanus feels like charlie-horses all over your body. She lived through it only to contract Cerebral Malaria when she was 7 months old. She had 8 seizures a day and a fever over 104 for 6 weeks straight. She is truly a miracle child. Rosie is certainly a handful – but – It’s her stubborn attitude and hard-headedness that’s allowed her to live through what would kill most. Rosie struggles in school and was recently diagnosed with Profound Developmental Delay with Sensory Integration Disorder.
MALAYA BEFORE PICTURE
Malaya: Okay…Okay. So her before picture isn’t very convincing! She weighed more than all the children when she was born! She had a healthy childhood. She’s our beautiful little Cinderella! She loves to share with Haitian children that she meets in the street. She’s constantly taking cookies and candy to her new friends. She loves to play outside and teach the Haitian children. She has her own mini-vbs with the street kids! She LOVES math and she LOVES to dance!
GABRIEL BEFORE PICTURE
Gabriel: He was born 8 weeks early and spent the first few weeks in the NICU. He contracted pneumonia at birth, had under-developed lungs, and spent several weeks on a breathing machine. Born weighing 4 pounds – you would never know that today! He is afraid of nothing. He loves to be out and about with the people. He’s a healthy, happy little boy.
ASHER & LEVI
ASHER AND LEVI TODAY
LEVI AND ASHER: They were born 7 weeks early – a surprise to say the least! Jody was hospitalized 18 times over the course of this very difficult pregnancy and spent over 90 days in the hospital. The boys spent one day in the NICU and 5 days in the hospital but they came home right on time!! They are as different as day and night! Levi is a little bully and is the most active child we’ve ever had at his age. Asher is a cuddle-bug but has many health issues including heat-sensitive seizures.
ISEBELLE: While Isebelle’s mother was pregnant she contracted Tuberculosis. Shortly after giving birth, she passed away. When Isebelle came into our lives she was 5 months old & 5lbs. Her father was sick fighting TB himself and was unable to care for her. Isebelle could barely hold her head up & was very lethargic. Today she is able to sit on her own & beginning to thrive!