Posted in Mission Stories

Castillo Kids Are Circling Prayers…

Last year during our big Christmas Feast – I shared with everyone all the answered prayers from our 2012 Circled Prayer List. We as a staff had gone through the book by Mark Batterson called the Circle Maker. Then I had each of the employees tell me the things that they want to begin praying about.

I sent them away with chalk and it was beautiful to see the things they were literally drawing circles around. All of them had drawn circles in their homes too where they prayed every day & night.

As we saw God’s great provision & the way He answered 2/3’rds of our prayers already- I decided to give our kids the same opportunity.

So today we held our own church service this morning. We read the children’s version of the Circle Maker. Then I asked them what they thought we should spend 2016 praying for. Some of their answers were really sweet, some made me teary-eyed, and some made me laugh!

So that you can be praying along with our kids….I wanted to share with you the things that are on their hearts as we head into this brand new year.



  • That I won’t get in trouble much at school.
  • That Nana and Papaw move to the Mole.
  • That the boat won’t sink again.
  • That more groups come because it’s lonely.
  • That everyone plays outside more and doesn’t fight.
  • That the orphans don’t get sick.
  • That I will grow up in Haiti
  • That God will protect our campus and all of the people on it.
  • That Auntie Lolo will come visit us in the Mole
  • That we won’t be poor. That the people in Haiti won’t be poor.



  • That I stop biting my brothers and getting in trouble.
  • That people will have water and won’t have to walk a long time to get it.
  • That we will have a good school year so Miss Beth will always stay and be our teacher.
  • That the fishing villages know God.
  • That momma and daddy will have another baby.
  • That we will always have food & shelter.
  • That mommy won’t be sick.
  • That we will have money to go to the states every year to visit.
  • That sad people will find joy.



  • That I do better in math, spelling, & reading
  • That I fight less with my brothers and sister.
  • That I’m alive when Christ comes back so I can see Him come.
  • That Nana and Papaw live long enough to see my children.
  • That T-son & Rosie’s Granny will be blessed since they were treated so bad for a long time.
  • That Miss Beth will have a good English class so they can know Jesus.
  • That we see Auntie Lolo more.



  • That we see Nana, Papaw, & Mamita more.
  • That Uncle Billy’s family wouldn’t be sad this year without Billy.
  • That Ruth will live along time and be healthy enough to come visit the Mole at least one time.
  • That I will grow up and be a great lawyer and can come back to Haiti and teach the Haitians how they can be one.
  • That Uncle Christian, Ledhis, Mamita, & Uncle Jose grow close to the Lord and know He loves them. That they won’t be sad.
  • For the family of the little boy who was stabbed in Versailles.
  • That Kathie’s (cooker) feet won’t hurt so she can come to Haiti more often.
  • That everyone would grow in their card-playing & dancing abilities so there’s real competition! 🙂
  • That we will have more babies come through our home like Fabe so we can take care of them and give them a better chance to survive.
  • That Papaw gets a little bit sane! (LOL)
  • For Nana who gets lonely and has to take care of papaw.
  • For Momma Gigi’s blood pressure.
  • Mme Nene will have enough money for her kids to all go to college.
  • That mom/dad will stay together forever & not be sick.
  • That we had enough funds to complete all the projects we want to do on campus.
  • That more teams come.



  • That the boys don’t pass me in schooling and I can be smart.
  • That granny would be able to hear & to speak so she can know Jesus.
  • That Miss Beth won’t be lonely and will have more fun.
  • That Bena would know Christ.
  • Elirose works so hard & is tired. That she will take care of herself and not be lonely.
  • Tizzie is always traveling for the orphanage. That she will be safe.
  • That Fabe would be okay.
  • That Isebelle will be healthy and always be her sister.
  • That I would control my anger.



  • That everyone on this campus will really know Christ as their daddy.
  • That Novenson (employee son) would be more active in church.
  • That Fabe would start to grow and have a good life.
  • That girls who are traded for sex wouldn’t get pregnant or diseases.
  • That I will be a good police officer and stop abuse in this country.
  • That the police in Haiti would do a better job at stopping abuse & punishing people who do bad things.
  • That the orphans have everything they need and they stay healthy.
  • That this campus stays healthy.
  • That the mission will always be here & have what it needs to help others all the time.
  • That people who struggle with life would find peace.
Posted in Mission Stories

Things That Make You Go Hmm…Meet Fabi

Things That Make You Go HMM…..

Three Weeks Ago…
Three weeks ago Fabi was brought to my clinic. Her mother has a learning disability and was completely overwhelmed. It was very clear this mother loved her baby and was doing all that she knew to do… she just really didn’t know/understand/have the resources to care for her baby.

Fabi was lethargic. She could not hold up her head. Her eyes would not track my finger. She did not reach for anything. We started her on formula – believing it was simply a malnutrition issue.

Two Weeks Ago…

She came back for her follow-up visit and the baby was very alert! She was reaching for my finger and tracking every movement in the clinic. So we gave her formula again. She’s 7 pounds. Perfect size for a cute little 2-month old baby! Yeah we win she’s going to be okay!

This Week…

This week she came back. The mother had been given enough formula to last her two weeks but she came back less than 4 days later. She said she was out of milk. She said the baby was constantly throwing it up. A conversation exploded in the waiting room where the patients/people waiting to be seen – began making fun of the mother. To the point that now the mother is sobbing.

We also got confirmation of a rumor about little Fabi. Fabi is not a perfect little 2-month old. NO. Fabi is 9 months old – born in May of last year.

WHAT? Can’t be right.
Nope. That’s right.

This perfectly proportioned – seemingly perfect little newborn baby – has only grown about 2 inches in 9 months. I feel like if she was born a decade ago we’d be putting her in the circus and you’d be paying a dollar to see her!

As many of you know – I’ve had over 17 children pass through my home – needing extra medical attention. All of the came from my clinic. Some stayed for a few weeks, some months, some years, and 4 I call my own! I have seen severely malnourished/failure to thrive babies. Gigi was 2 years old and 7 pounds. But her arms, head, & legs grew. Mikela was 10 months old and 4 pounds…and she measured 10 months old.

This little baby is simply not growing. She doesn’t show any signs of typical dwarfism that we can tell. So on Monday we brought Fabi home with us from the clinic so I could just monitor what she does all day. How much does she sleep? How much does she drink? Can she sit or roll over.

I still have some baby things from Isebelle…..which was ultimately from Asher/Levi. It’s not like I can go to Walmart here. But I found Asher’s pacifier that he took until he was 3. I have no idea why I saved it but we found it in a tub with their old clothes and baby items. We also found his picture with that same pacifier!! SO I cleaned that sucker off and BOOM – Fabi is hooked!



Here’s what I’ve learned…..

1) Our kids love babies! I can’t believe how much Gabriel and Asher fight to hold her.

2) Having Chronic Insomnia is really an asset when monitoring a baby at night…. just don’t take a 5-hour energy when you really don’t need it…..makes for a jittery/miserable day.

3) I forgot how much I love the smell of babies and how good it is to hold something small that doesn’t bark or talk back!

4) I forgot how much I love my job…. putting my medical thinking cap on – – measuring inputs/outputs & sleep/activity…..trying to find ways to help little ones thrive regardless of their disability.

Here’s what I have tracked/done….

Day 1
She only slept 3 hours total. She only drank a total of 12 ounces of formula…no more than 1 ounce at a time about every 85 minutes. She did not have a wet diaper until 16 hours after she was in my care. She’s not a fussy baby. She keeps her knees bent and her arms tucked close to her. She wouldn’t stretch her legs out…she won’t put her feet down for you to try and have her stand. She cannot sit by herself. She cannot roll over. But she’s actively watching everything around her. In fact she’s actually glued to the TV already!! LOL! AND SHE LOVES THAT PACIFIER!!

Day 2
Now drinking 2 ounces per sitting but still only 12 ounces for the whole day. When swaddled up & with a pacifier – BINGO – baby slept 14 hours this day. She’s now passing stools & we’re regularly changing wet diapers. I spent 15 minutes – 4 times a day – stretching her legs.

Day 3
Now drinking 3 ounces per sitting….but still on track for 12-13 ounces for the day thus far. Spending 15 minutes – 4-5 times a day helping her sit on her own. AND she’s starting to do it some! 🙂 Her sleeping is more balanced today. AND she’s stretching her legs out now all on her own.

I’ve contacted a few doctors who are trying to help me diagnose her – she just doesn’t fit any typical case they’ve seen! Please if you know anyone who could help – share the story! We’re driving ourselves nuts trying to research it online.

Just like any child we’ve taken in…. I don’t know exactly how long she’ll stay….  sort of depends on her progress and the mom’s understanding of how to care for her. BUT – we are excited to help her thrive any way we can.


Posted in Mission Stories

A Castillo Christmas 2015…


The internet has been really slow so I haven’t been able to upload a lot of pictures from our family Christmas!

On December 22nd we were SO blessed to have Chrystian & Mamita come to the Mole. This is Jose’s brother & mother. We haven’t seen them since Christmas last year. Too much time has passed. We didn’t realize how much we missed them until we finally got to hug and squeeze them. Family is SO important. I have learned over the past few years how quickly our lives can change – so make sure you reach out to your loved ones as much as you can. You never know when God will call them home. Leave no regrets….make every effort to show your love.

I have shared this post on the Mole Blog about our Staff Christmas Dinner on December 22nd. Be sure to check it out! It was a wonderful event.


On December 23rd the children got to open the gifts they picked out for each other. Levi was the funniest kid to watch. No matter what he opened – he would scream with glee – SO excited for what he got it. No matter how big or small – his face just lit up!

I can’t say that every child had the same response…. the boys aren’t necessarily in tune with what their sisters might actually like. They’re learning to work on being grateful in all things.  But regardless – there was certainly a lot of joy expressed that night! Levi sets the example of how all of us should be when we are given a gift!

Although Nana wasn’t here to bake cookies with the kids – Jose led the way! They loved making cookies and spent 30 minutes trying to decide which cookies would be for Santa.

On December 24th we were really busy. We passed out food to the granmoun who came at lunchtime to eat. Right after that we brought Christmas gifts, crafts, and cupcakes to the orphans! Shortly after that it was time to get dressed for our Christmas Eve Service. We had an amazing turnout out – the cafeteria was completely crowded.

Here’s a link to the Granmoun Feeding…


Christmas Eve Night…

Around 8pm the kids were taking their showers and putting on their Christmas pajamas. We had the reindeer food ready to go. The kids meticulously scattered the reindeer food all over the yard and then went to our back bedroom to wait for Santa.

Santa was running a little late this year. He normally hits our house around midnight but he must have had weather delays. He didn’t arrive until 3am! So we ran to the back to tell the kids that he was here. The girls immediately jumped up and ran to the front. We had to SHAKE all the boys to wake them up. Asher & Isebelle were still sound asleep.

So the first set of kids ran to the front room and started opening up their gifts. About 45 minutes later we shook Asher & Isebelle again and they finally made their way into the living room! It actually worked out nice because instead of 8 kids unwrapping gifts all at one time – we actually got to enjoy watching just a few of them at a time …..which allowed us to truly focus on each of their smiles & excitement as they opened. Rosie likes to take her time. She said she wants Christmas to last as long as it can. So even Christmas Day she still had a small stack of gifts to open.  She’s a lot of fun to watch because she gets excited over the simplest things. There’s a beautiful child-innocence about her that I hope she never loses.

They all said it was their best Christmas…..which always brings great joy & peace to Jose & I.


After all the boat drama and the repacking and re-buying and totally stressing out – – –  we had no clue how this year would go. After dropping off our christmas crates in Miami – we were told that boat dock we left the crates at would not make it in time for Christmas.

We were so “done” and felt so “spent” trying to make this holiday be what we wanted it to be. I can’t even tell you the tears cried as we felt so defeated. We thought we would have to fly to Miami and repack those gifts into luggage to bring in on planes.

But Jacques found a friend who had a boat leaving the first week of December. All we had to do was move our crates from one dock to another. We found a company willing to do it and 10 days before Christmas – our supplies arrived in the Mole!! PHEW!! PRAISE THE LORD!

We doubted, cried, freaked out, and stressed out.  But as always – it all came together just like it was meant to be!

We just want to thank you all again – for those of you who personally purchased gifts for our children – for those of you who gave us extra funds to replace items lost. What could have been a devastating Christmas for our family- turned out just like God planned! We should never doubt His goodness & the way He provides.

Hope you guys had a Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year!

Tomorrow we’ll post pictures of our New Years Eve Activities! We are planning on doing a bonfire on the beach & celebrating our first official service in our brand new church!

Here’s a few picks from our Family Christmas! I wish I could load up more – but the internet is not my friend today! Also below the pictures are some posts on Facebook from our last few days! Jose dressed up like an Elf while we showed the movie Elf on December 23rd! You know anything to add smiles to faces! Smiling’s our favorite!


Love it when the mailman comes 🙂 kids are excited about how they will spend their Dollar Club funds for the orphans in 2016! Can’t wait to show them!

***The kids want to do some renovations to the orphanage dorms. Through your $1.00 Club donations – they will have a way to do their ministry to help the least of these. You can send a card to the following address (add the child’s name to it). Then we hang up the cards in the orphanage as they love the bright colors. The funds are then used to do ministry for them.

Jose Castillo/Kid’s name
3170 Airmans Drive 2189
Fort Pierce, FL 34946


It’s really hard to get a picture that shows just how beautiful my little Gigi girl is! She loves to stare at her hand which often blocks her face. But not tonight! I think it might be the boa! She’s really loving it!

Gigi came into our lives when she was 2 years old and 7 pounds. We were told she’d never live to see 5. She turned 15 on December 18th. Praising God for giving me such a beautiful family and for giving me the chance to love this girl like my own.

Merry Christmas from Gigi!




Jody Owen Castillo added 10 new photos.

December 24 at 4:11pm ·

Christmas Eve Lunch for the Granmoun – Check

Christmas Craft Snowflake – Check

Orphan Christmas/Cupcakes Delivered – Check

Peanutbutter/Bread & Hot Chocolate Ready for tonight – Check

Reindeer Food Ready to be scattered at bedtime – Check

It’s been a busy day – but one full of great joy! It will probably take all day to upload the pictures to the blog but I’ll post once it does! 🙂

Pierre shared during lunch about the birth of Christ and I shared about the expectation of Heaven. I LOVE talking to the granmoun (elderly). They were dancing and yelling amen! They’re so much fun! After we fed them, we passed out gifts. Again – everyone so appreciative.

In other news – we are a little concerned that we will not have enough room for everyone in the cafeteria tonight. We can fit 300 comfortably but the staff think it could be as many as 500! So we’re ordering more bread & making more hot chocolate -also trying to find more benches & chairs! It’s a great problem to have!

Tonight Pierre & I will share again at the start of our Christmas Eve Service. Our ladies choir will sing some songs and then we’ll pass out the food and start the movie.

For some this could be their FIRST chance to hear the Good News about the birth of Christ. We take for granted that everyone just “knows” the story. Last year we found out that many knew it was Jesus’ Birthday but didn’t actually know the Nativity Story at all. There’s something so incredibly wonderful about sharing Jesus with people who really only know of His name and not of His heart.

#‎christmasinhaiti #‎joytotheworldthelordhascome



Jody Owen Castillo added 5 new photos — with Jose Alexander Castillo.

December 24 at 11:12am ·

Last Night we showed the movie Elf. Buddy also visited our campus!

What can we say? We love to create extra smiles…. Smiling’s my favorite! 🙂

And yes….that is fleece pajamas in Haiti! #‎humanraisedbyeleves #‎sweatingforthechildren

#‎betterthanelfontheshelf #‎10nightsofchristmasmovies


Jody Owen Castillo added 3 new photos.

December 23 at 4:35pm ·

Malaya and Susan have been leading our Christmas Crafts every day with 50 children! They made Jingle Bell necklaces today.

Tonight we’re showing the movie Elf. Jose may or may not have an Elf outfit to wear when we show it! 🙂

It’s going to be a busy Christmas Eve! We will deliver the orphan Christmas gifts & cupcakes tomorrow, we’re feeding 200 granmoun/elderly at noon, we’ve got Christmas Crafts at 2pm, AND we’re expecting over 300 people at our Christmas Eve Service at 6pm….we’ll serve hot chocolate and peanut butter sandwiches followed by the Nativity Story.

I LOVE Christmas in Haiti!! Please pray for us tomorrow – that through these ministries we will be able to bring smiles, plant/water seeds, and bring people into a deeper relationship with the King of Kings! #‎haiti #‎christmasinhaiti #‎itsthemostwonderfultimeoftheyear


Jody Owen Castillo

December 22 at 9:10pm ·

Mamita & Chrystian are in the Mole! We are so excited to have them over Christmas again this year!



Jose Alexander Castillo with Jody Owen Castillo.

December 22 at 8:41pm ·

The men of the house.


Posted in Mission Stories

Christmas Eve Service…2015

It’s taken a few days to upload the pictures from our Christmas Eve Service. The cafeteria was packed with people – many having to stand in the back. Pierre shared about the birth of Christ & I shared about what the people of the Mole mean to me & the anticipation of Heaven.  The women sang Thrive as their music special. Then we had two ladies lead the congregation in a few Christmas songs.

After the “service” part of the program – we passed out hot chocolate & peanut butter sandwiches. Then we showed the Nativity Story.

Here’s some pictures from our Christmas Eve Service – and a few extra ones of my kids! 🙂


Posted in Mission Stories

Special Christmas Delivery….2015

The Castillo Clan is at it again! This afternoon we headed to the orphanage to make a special delivery! We brought a snowflake craft, cupcakes, and presents! The kids are ALWAYS so well behaved on Christmas Eve! 🙂

My kids took a lot of joy and pride in buying the orphans their Christmas gifts this year. So when it sank on the boat they were devastated.

But thanks to several teams who traveled into Haiti this fall – we were able to replace all of the gifts and get them to Haiti just in time!

It was just as much fun watching the children eat their cupcakes –  as it was to watch them open their gifts!

Hope you all have a Merry Christmas!

Posted in Personal Stories

December 2015 Recap….

I just realized that I’ve been doing most of my blogging on our ministry website and not my personal one! It’s been a busy month already!

Here’s a few links from our ministry blog:



Jody Owen Castillo with Jose Alexander Castillo.

December 2 at 5:00pm ·

This morning Malaya & Gabriel made Jose breakfast! They cooked bacon & the cheesiest omelet you’ve ever seen! I seriously think they put a pound of cheese in there! smile emoticon

We have a white chocolate double-layer birthday cake for him too. The kids decorated it!




Jody Owen Castillo

December 6 at 9:58pm ·

Whoa! You sure know how to make someone feel special on their birthday! With the quirkiness of the internet – it was so much fun to watch the comments randomly pop up! My life is certainly enriched by you all!

I share my birthday with the most amazing mother Diana Owen! She not only made me – but she helped form the woman I am today. She sets the bar pretty high when it comes to being a Godly momma & wife!

Today is also the birthday of Mole St Nicolas! I like to think there’s thousands of people in town today for me – but deep down I know the truth. Deep deep down.  

Thanks for the birthday wishes! It was a fantastic & fabulous day!


Jody Owen Castillo updated her cover photo.

Sending you WARM Wishes & a Merry Christmas!



After a day at the beach it’s Double Feature Movie Night!

Tomorrow morning we will divide everyone up into 4 groups before breakfast. Just like at camp the team that makes the best line or circle will get to eat first.

Then we have crab-walk soccer and a line-dancing competition tomorrow.



Jody Owen Castillo

December 12 at 10:04am ·

While waiting to play crab soccer – we pumped up the music and did some dancing with the girls! SO proud of Malaya for leading! All year we’ve tried to get her to dance in front of people but she won’t!

We are breaking down the kids tonight by age and teaching them dances. Then each group will compete to see who can do it the best. Winners get prizes!

Malaya is teaching Cotton Eye Joe to the 14-17 year olds tonight.



One of these things is not like the others. One of these things just doesn’t belong…..and yet they are all alike!



Just finished our dance competition! GOD BLESS Susan Mary O’StranderBeth Lockwood, & Malaya who rocked it with every group all the way until the end!!! I don’t think anybody can walk now – but those kids had a blast! smile emoticon

I thought for sure the kids would be ready for bed but they’re watching Home Alone right now & telling us they still want the 2nd movie!

I’m going to upload some video & pictures tonight to the blog….but here are a few for you to enjoy! smile emoticon There are 3 photos with 3 girls in each one. They are the top 3 winners for their age group.



Who knew you could get hot stone massages in Haiti? Guess I’ll have to get in line with everyone else.



That’s right! The 2 Christmas crates & pallet of large Christmas displays just arrived in the Mole! Jose, Asher, & I packed these up the last week of October in Georgia- and they finally arrived just in time for Christmas! I am SO excited we will now have the industrial popcorn maker…. especially since 10 Nights of Christmas Movies begin Tuesday!

The items we packed in Kentucky are now in Miami. My parents had to order a 53-foot container to take theirs/ours supplies down there! We couldn’t fit it all in our normal uhaul! Talk about God providing!! WOW!



We started off with 120 people and right when we thought we had enough popcorn made – it jumped to 200!! Good thing we had our new popcorn machine so we could quickly crank it out!

It was a very successful 2nd Movie Night. We showed the Christmas Story. Love to hear the laughter and see the joy of so many in our community! ‪#‎haiti‬‪#‎10nightsofchristmasmovies‬



Tonight’s feature film was Mr Bean’s Holiday! It was another successful evening with around 200 folks! They REALLY loved this movie! I’m so happy that we are able to offer this community something fun to look forward to!

The staff was telling me about a helicopter that passed by here a few days ago. When they saw all our Christmas lights they came right back and hovered over the property! ‪#‎haiti‬ ‪#‎10nightsofchristmasmovies‬



The team arrived late morning and by 1pm were already busy at work running an eye clinic. We also did crafts with 50 kids at 2pm.
Last night we showed Home Alone. Tonight we will show Home Alone 2 and pass out another bundle of clothes for each person that attends! #haiti#10nightsofchristmasmovies12391994_10153733199595758_7187669290847440465_n

We welcomed a team from K.C. this morning and they have jumped right into action. Seeing patients for eye clinic, sorting meds, playing soccer with our staff kids and this afternoon they did crafts with our kiddos. Fun with paint!!! #forHispurposeandglory#buildingrelationships #itsallaboutJesus 


1 hr ·

Table set for 40 people! Thanks to Cathryn Moyes Team and other generous supporters we were able to replace lost party supplies, presents, and food for our Staff Party!

Don’t trust that my boys won’t knock over our pretty glasses or other table settings so I’ll add the final touches Tuesday night right before dinner.

We will also reveal our Secret Kindness Partner at our party! Each person drew a name and had to do three acts of kindness without getting caught! If you guess correctly then you get a prize. If you guess wrong then the person who had your name wins! It’s a beautiful thing to watch and be apart of!  ‪#‎haiti

I really love to host and Malaya really loves to help. We make a great team. She’s already working on ways to decorate the chairs once we bring them over.

We are doing 10 nights of Christmas Movies so we can’t take them yet from the cafeteria. Tonight we showed Narnia and we had around 300 people attend!!

The kitchen staff have already started working on the food. Everyone is in a festive mood!

Posted in Mission Stories

SO Thankful Replay…Day 30

It’s hard to believe that this month has come and gone.

We began the month in the states repacking crates & barrels. We ended it with our Annual Women’s Conference in Haiti!

Reliving, replaying, & elaborating on each of the things I’m thankful for has been SO good for me. I think it’s really important for all of us to count our blessings – not just this month – but EVERY single day!

They said satan sank our boat but God was faithful. We needed a miracle to replace everything we lost on the boat……and we got it! I doubted and God was faithful. I got frustrated and God was faithful. I lost sleep and God was faithful! I was afraid and God was faithful. I had panic attacks BUT God was still faithful!

We wanted to make His presence known in this village through this tragedy – but honestly – I think one of the biggest things He did was make His presence known to my family. 

The way that everyone reached out to us – people we’ve never met – people we’ve known our whole lives. God used you in such an incredible way to show us His never-ending love, compassion, mercy, grace, & faithfulness.

Throughout the entire year – we’ve been wonderfully blessed by the love & encouragement of our faithful supporters. I don’t know where we would be without you all.

Jose & I have been married for almost 15 years. We held our wedding in Haiti because we wanted to share this day with the people we would spend the rest of our lives serving. In lieu of wedding gifts we asked for support to build our home in St. Louis du Nord. AND we’ve been SO blessed by those of you who’ve walked hand & hand with us ever since. You believed in us before our family even started. Through good times & bad – over all of these years –  you have offered your prayers, support, encouragement, time, & love! This is something we have treasured so much.

Since moving to the Mole we’ve also been blessed by the new friends God has brought into our lives. During a time when ministry was so lonely & so difficult – seemingly out of nowhere – we were embraced & loved in a way we had never experienced before. God has used you to fill in the gaps  – in each & every way – and remind us that our ministry is worthy of the calling.

So today I am SO thankful for the supportive people God has surrounded us with. People who’ve made & continue to make – so many sacrifices just so our family can serve here.

 Thank you for loving us – listening to us –  embracing us – praying for us – encouraging us – and giving towards our financial needs!


SO Thankful…Day 30

It’s the last day of the month! November has flown by! We had an incredible time in Haiti with the Maple Ave Team at the beginning of the month and Jose’s family here at the end!  We’ve got so much planned through the month of December – it’s crazy!!  God is SO good!

People often ask me how can they help us? I know many don’t have the funds to support us financially and so they feel like there’s nothing they can do! What they don’t realize for most missionaries serving all over the world – the biggest support we need is prayer! We face many battles every single day! Battles that can’t be seen. Battles that we don’t blog about. Battles that we’re still trying to make sense of.

There is something so special when I get a note from someone praying for us! One of the best things you can do for a missionary is pray for them. I’m not talking about simply running down a list of names and asking God to bless them. I’m talking about being very specific with your prayers. Missionaries need wisdom on who to help and how to help them. We need wisdom to know which decisions we need to make and which ones He needs to make. We need wisdom in knowing how to help those we’re serving without hurting them in the process.

I had made the decision early on that we wouldn’t be giving anything away on the street. This has been a beautiful thing. We don’t have the begging like other places in Haiti. Since we don’t give anything away – the kids normally won’t even ask. You see if they ask you for your watch and you give it – you’ve taught them how to beg. By not passing things out on the street we’ve allowed the kids to just be kids. They’re not worried about which American looks like they might break the rules and give something. They’re not sizing each one of us up. They’re playing with us! They’re allowing us to love on them without placing a value on materials.

So I was pretty proud of myself for really being strict about that rule. We see it’s fruits every day. But what I didn’t think about was when we visited the fishing villages and passed out things during VBS. Karenage was used to teams visiting and passing something out. So what happened when we went there just to play with the kids? They were upset! They wanted us to give them something. Before we passed things out  – we could visit them without them asking for anything. But afterwards we realized we taught them that we’re only there to pass out trinkets and it actually hurt our cause.

It was something I didn’t see coming and I wished I had the wisdom and foresight to see it. Now we’ve changed the way we visit villages and handle organized activities. We’ve talked to all of the villages in detail about why we’re here.

I’ve been in Haiti all my life and yet there is just SO MUCH to learn! I need prayer warriors that are on their knees on behalf of the Mole Ministry and Castillo Family who are praying for our health, for wisdom, for peace that passes all understanding, for strength to go to battle every single day, for endurance, for patience, for tolerance, & that we might sense His presence in all we do!

It means so much to know that there are people out there praying on our behalf! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve received an email or a note of encouragement RIGHT when I needed it! There are times I don’t have nickel in my pocket and we’ll receive an unexpected donation. No doubt God uses His people to reach out to me and remind me that He’s got me!

So today I’m thankful for all my supporters – personally, emotionally, and financially.

For their prayers, notes of encouragement, generous donations, and sacrifices so that our family may serve in Haiti!

Posted in Mission Stories

SO Thankful Replay…Day 29

Whenever I’m stateside and people ask me about our living conditions  – they’re baffled when I say we have a generator that powers our home & campus.

Think about your life right now. How easy is it for you to just flip on a light? Yes the power you use does increase or decrease your electric bill –  but it doesn’t take a lot of work on your end to make things happen. It’s just a bill you pay online.

For us – each month we have to go to Port-de-Paix (4-5 hour drive) to buy 5 barrels of diesel, two tanks of propane, & 15 gallons of gasoline. This is what it takes to run our campus each month. Even still – we can’t afford to run our generator 24-7.

We typically run our diesel generator from 8am-12pm & 5pm-midnight.  The propane gives us hot water & allows us to use our stove. The gasoline runs a smaller generator that we can run when solar dies.

If we don’t plan just right – if we run the generator a little longer than our typical hours – we won’t have enough fuel to get us through the month. If the military truck isn’t running – and can’t pick up the fuel – that causes a whole other slew of issues.

Yet all that work & planning – is SO worth it!

Asher has heat-sensitive seizures. Being able to turn on an AC to cool him down is priceless. Being able to make ice – having something cold to drink – flipping on the light late at night – plugging in fans – charging computers & phones  – having internet –  watching TV – decorating an entire courtyard in lights – plugging in our Christmas tree – running our clinic equipment – being able to print & make copies of needed documents….these are a few of my favorite things that electricity provides!

So today I’m thankful for electricity! I’m thankful for the way God provided us a generator when our other one exploded last year. I’m thankful for the people he’s sent to provide maintenance on the one we have now. I’m thankful for the way electricity literally brings light into our world! For all the different ways it brings comfort to our orphans, staff, family, & friends.


SO Thankful…Day 29

Whenever we visit the states it always takes a few nights to remember that we’re not in Haiti anymore! One night while we were sleeping Jose accidentally unplugged the fan. My first thought was – OH NO – the solar batteries have died!!  Then I realized we’re not in Haiti and we could simply plug the fan right back in.

It’s simple things really – like being able to turn the light on whenever you want. Sitting without sweating – since we have AC in the states. Not having to unplug your fridge/freezer every afternoon and evening so it doesn’t drain your solar batteries. Not having to time your showers to match when the sun is out so the water isn’t freezing cold! Actually being able to cover up at night with a pile of blankets – my favorite!

We talked to the Mole Staff yesterday and found out we’re down to our last barrel of diesel.  They’re running the generator just 3 hours a day. That means only 3 hours of real electricity. When Bena told us that I have to admit – my first thought was – I’m so glad I’m not there right now! I HATE IT when we don’t have electricity! I know as missionaries we are supposed to sacrifice without thinking. I’d like to say that’s as easy as pie. But honestly – there are some days that I struggle with not having the simple things like – – hot baths – – cold drinking water – – electricity.

Bena told us with the power being so limited the staff isn’t able to fully charge their cell phones and other batteries. I never really thought about what our mission in the Mole provides! We constantly have village people plugging into us when the generator is on.

Electricity is just something we take for granted here in the states! I know when I’m here I relish every moment of it! Hard to imagine how the Haitians deal without it every single day.

Right now I’m sitting on my bed – covered in blankets – ceiling fan on – computer plugged in – cell phone charging – while drinking an ice cold glass of milk! It’s the little things……

So today I’m thankful for electricity!

That for the next month I’ll have total comfort without worrying about how long the power will last!

Posted in Mission Stories

SO Thankful Replay…Day 28

It’s amazing how a song can take you on a journey – snap –  just like that. Whether you’re driving, sitting in a restaurant, waiting inside an elevator, or staring at your Christmas tree  –  music has a way of instantly transforming our minds & bodies to another place – another time.

When we were in the states we drove to Kansas City to see our friends. Each of us took a turn picking out a DVD to play in the van. We often rent DVD’s at Red Box but we also have slew of DVD’s we’ve collected since the girls were little.

So when I looked through our old DVD collection – I had to smile when I saw we still had Hi-5! For Mikela’s 5th birthday we took the girls to see them in concert in Louisville, KY. My mom & Angel went with us. How is it that it’s probably been 6 years since the girls have watched that DVD but as soon as it came on I instantly knew all the words to their songs!?! LOL! My mind took me to a place before there were little boys in our world. A home that was ALL about Disney Princesses, Barbies, and baby dolls.

I have a crib that every single child in my home – starting with GIGI – has slept in. I remember coming home after a long day in the clinic – when we were living in St. Louis du Nord.  I walked into the girls’ pink & white princess room. Malaya couldn’t walk yet but she was sitting on the floor clapping her hands. Gigi was bouncing in that crib like Tigger from “Winnie the Pooh” while Rosie & Mikela were dancing to Hi-5!



When it was my turn to pick a DVD again – I smiled when I saw we still had the Wiggles Christmas DVD! My nephew DJ was consumed with the Wiggles. He took a blue, red, yellow, & purple crayon everywhere he went. They were the Wiggles to him. It makes me feel SO OLD but those memories are priceless.

My girls were still pretty little but they too loved the Wiggles. My mom, my sister, DJ, Jose, & all my little girls went to see the Wiggles in Concert in Columbus, OH. As the girls grew out of their “Wiggles Phase” the boys entered into it. I STILL love watching their Christmas DVD. I know all the words to it too. My favorite it Henry The Champion Christmas Wrapper! He’s an octopus so just imagine with 8 arms how quickly he can get the job done! I always wished I could be as fast and do as good of a job as good ole’ Henry!



Memory Lane continued when I saw we still had the Doodlebops! They were on the Disney Channel too. In fact when we went to Disney World – we were able to sit first row for their concert. Angel was with us again. Angel and the girls – including Gigi – were all dressed with pink hair & the purple costume. I wish I could find their pictures.

MY GIRLS WERE ON A DOODLEBOPS COMMERCIAL! The Disney Channel was there filming commercials for the Doodlebops and our girls got interviewed! Of course they did – they were such little cuties!



Those are just a few of the wonderful memories that took me to another time & place –  as I read through my blog below.

So today I’m SO thankful for music. For the way it allows us to express ourselves. For the way it can brighten up a cloudy day.  For the way it can bring forth so many emotions – both happy & sad. For the way it paints my memories – some of the happiest days I can remember.


SO Thankful…Day 28

We left NYC Saturday at 2:30pm and pulled into my parent’s house in KY around 4:30am. It was a LONG but smooth drive! We had to make several stops along the way  – but that’s to be expected with our party of 9!

Around midnight the kids had all fallen asleep. So finally I could shut off the DVDS and play the radio. I rarely get to listen to what I want so I was excited! As I drove through the night the radio signals would disappear and I would have to switch stations frequently. I don’t like to spend a lot of time fooling with the radio while I drive – – too much precious cargo in the back. So I often just click seek and listen to whatever comes on.

Throughout those last 4.5 hours I listened to a variety of music! Have you ever listened to a song and it immediately reminded you of something? I traveled back in time during those short hours as my mind drifted to those wonderful memories!

I found myself on a country station at first. Garth Brooks – The Thunder Rollsbegan to play. My mind drifted back to the 6th grade. My brother Bud took me to my first country concert and we had great seats up close! It was the first time we had ever done anything together like that. I remember my brother dressing like a cowboy (which he still does now) and standing in line with him to get Garth’s autograph. I had totally forgotten about that until the song came on.

I flipped to another station and caught the beginning of When You Say Nothing At All. I hadn’t heard that song in a few years. When Jose and I got married 11 years ago  – we made a video with pictures from our childhood and then of us together. That was the song we put the pictures too. Wow – I totally relived our video. I could remember the pictures and I remembered when it played at our Wedding. I spent a few moments thinking about that wonderful day in Haiti! You know I was still decorating the courtyard with candles just 2 hours before the ceremony started!

I then found myself on You’ve Made This A Christmas To Remember – Dolly Parton/Kenny Rogers. Now that my folks is the Owen Family all time favorite Christmas album! We played it as we decorated our house each year. We played it on our tape player when we traveled at Christmas time. We played it in our house while we played cards or stared at the tree. My mind drifted to all of our holiday traditions.

The next memory came when Bust A Move began to blare through the radio! I immediately went back to high school. I was a freshman when Janeil was a senior. Janeil had a van that looked just like the Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo – – except it was brown and rusty! We called it the Hoopty! The Hoopty wasn’t much to look at but it had an amazing speaker system in it (until it got stolen). Anyways – Janeil and I rode to school every day together and that was “his” song. I heard it on the way to school. I heard it on the hour drive to New Albany, IN every weekend!

That song made me think about Janeil in high school. He was HILARIOUS! He was part of the school’s media class. We had TV every week in school from the media class.  He was always giving the craziest reports – breakdancing in the hall – doing funny skits – and constantly making jokes. I was always so proud that he was MY brother! The guy that everyone liked and made everyone laugh!

Not sure if you know this or not but two of the members from the Backstreet Boys are my cousins! Yes – I’m serious! On this same radio station I heard – I Want It That Way! Now that took me to my family reunions! Before they were famous – Brian and Kevin often sang a Christian or Patriotic song at the reunions. Now my family (brothers/sister) were always skeptical about whether or not they could make it in the big time. Imagine our surprise when we heard them on the radio a few years later! That song brought me back to those precious reunions when everyone made time to get together at the park! It made me remember all our extended family members who have now gone to be with Jesus! I miss you granny!!

As we began to pull into the drive I found myself on a country gospel station. Don’t ask me how that happened! But I heard the song Master Builder and I began to cry. When we were little Lori, Bud, Janeil, & myself would sing everywhere my parents spoke.  We sang on the back of wagons in large parking lots and on just about every church stage available. The four of us would fight to get the solos! My mom would divide up the verses so each of us got a chance to showcase our talents! We were such hams!! LOL! It was probably one of the happiest times of my childhood. I loved traveling with theentire family. I forgot how much I enjoyed singing with them! We’re all grown-up now and we’ve got our own families now. But I will NEVER forget those times and all the memories my parents created for us.

So today I am thankful for music!

For taking us to special places & triggering beautiful memories!

Posted in Mission Stories

SO Thankful Replay…Day 27

When we moved to the Mole I knew immediately who I wanted to take this ‘missionary journey’ with. I just wasn’t sure if they would want to come with me. Sometimes I think if they knew then how hard it was going to be – maybe they would have had doubts about following me here.

I told the staff that they could take Thanksgiving off and enjoy the rest. As soon as I told them to take the day off they were like “Great. Now we can clean the orphanage depot!’

Wait. What? It’s like they don’t know how to ‘not work’ – how to just be still. FYI – they didn’t clean the depot yesterday but they still ended up spending the day doing their laundry.

If a truck full of supplies arrive at midnight – here they come – helping us unload everything. If a team shows up at 3am – they’re here to help us welcome them. I have never met a group more dedicated or loyal than the staff we have now.

We have SO much fun together. You’ve seen our posts where we play games and most of them cheat! Lol! Yes there are times where we get annoyed with each other, step on each other’s toes, take a joke too far – but that’s with any family. We also show each other compassion, give each other more grace and mercy, and really rally behind one another.

I knew the staff I brought very well but had no idea that I would become just as close to the staff we hired in the Mole. I lived in St. Louis most of my life but there are some very precious staff here that I am very close to. It’s as if I’ve known them my whole life.

I often get the credit for the teams we host, programs we lead, activities we engage in, and the love/compassion we pour into this community. But the truth is – I’m a very small part of our successes. There’s absolutely no way my family could do it alone. Our staff work tirelessly, sacrifice more than is required, and give all they have to this ministry. They take full ownership in playing their part to advance the Kingdom.

So today I am so thankful and so blessed for the staff God has surrounded me with. A staff who would die for each other. A staff who truly beam the face of Christ to everyone they meet. A staff that enjoy and take great pride in being the hands and feet of Jesus!

Pic taken from hide-n-seek game last year. 


SO Thankful…Day 27

When God called us to the Mole we knew we needed “back-up”! We needed a crew of people that would not only see this move as an adventure but as a huge ministry opportunity. I needed to find Haitians that would be willing to be missionaries along with us. That would be willing to make sacrifices by living together (so we could afford their rent). That would be willing to leave everything they’ve known to come alongside us.

The Staff we have is incredible! Their hearts and their love to serve is beyond measure. The staff sacrifices so much for the ministry and here is the CRAZY THING – our staff are treated as outcasts in the Mole. The people charge them more money at the market than their locals. No one will lend them money if they’re a little low. No one will give them “credit” to pay back something a little later. This is something they ALWAYS could do in St. Louis du Nord. When we give things away – the people say that our staff decided who got things and so blame them if you didn’t receive whatever it is we had to give away. They are constantly blamed for everything.

Yet their spirits are not defeated. Mr. Nene told me that Christians have been persecuted since the beginning of time and so why would they expect to be treated any differently!! They continue to rise above it – and little by little they are seeing the fruits of the efforts! They walk the streets and walk to villages just to bring the Good News to their fellow Haitians. They participate in all the church services that are offered all week long. Jocelyn and Pierre lead the youth. They are like Youth Pastors. Momma Gigi and Mme Nene are always singing in choir and leading the Women’s Bible Study Group. Tizzie is showing the Mole how to love on special needs children and will be running our orphanage this spring! Mr. Nene preaches in several churches each month. Our Pastor disciples every single day! Bena – will sacrifice his own comfort and time in order to help us with teams. He’s become a vital part of our team ministry!

We couldn’t pull of the ministry we do in the Mole without this dedicated staff. We learn from each other and draw strength from each other. We are a family! That doesn’t mean we’re drama-free and life is rainbows and sunshine! But what it does mean is that we stick together through the good and the bad! We don’t run away when the ministry feels too much! Instead we rally together – realize who we’re really battling –  and we head to war!

So today I’m thankful for the Mole Staff!

For fighting alongside us everyday so that others may know Him better!