Hispanic Leadership Initiative Update - December 2016

Feliz Navidades de East Lake! 

Quieridos amigos, I am so glad we are enjoying one of my favorite months of the year! Diciembre typically means many things to me; warm sweaters, my birthday and my mom’s (respectively the 2nd and the 3rd), and my family’s annual trip to Mexico. Diciembre also welcomes in the 8th month of my two-year HLI internship. The Lord continues to confirm my call to ministry and I praise the Lord for this, but I ask that you join me in prayer for post-apprenticeship plans as I still seek his wisdom in this. 

There are always so many things that I want to share with you when I write my updates. I will limit myself to a few so you may join me in sharing my joy and my burdens. I have begun a youth girls Bible study with plans to start a Spanish co-ed Bible study after the New Year. Last week, I had the opportunity to pray for the assurance of salvation with one of my younger friends, Desi. She has been meeting with Leyda and I in a weekly Bible study, but I invited her out for breakfast the next day for one-on-one time. I asked her if she has ever prayed to receive the Lord for salvation from her sins. She replied that she wasn’t sure, so I shared my own testimony and recited Romans 10:9 “…if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” We then read through 1 John 1. After talking through the passage, I asked her if she wanted to pray for the assurance of her salvation and she lead us in prayer! For this I am thankful. At 14, she is only a year older than I was when I came to know the Lord. I praise our Father for her young salvation and I pray that he keeps her for himself in her days to come. 

Please pray for our Latino community in East Lake as we are in a needy community where many youth arrive from Latin America to work. Recently, a friends’ 15 year old god-daughter, Roxanna, arrived alone in Chattanooga. She is American-born and was sent from Guatemala by her parents to join her aunt and uncle here to work and help her family financially. Her living situation here is far from ideal with a drinking uncle. My friends (the god-parents) are concerned about her living situation and desire to ask her parents in Guatemala for guardianship to enroll her in school. Several ladies from the Latina Bible study have committed to help our friends in this and to be available for Roxanna to connect her to our church. I will keep you updated on her, so please join me in praying for her. 

Recently, several friends have graciously reminded me how privileged I am in having such a certainty of my call to serve the Lord and his people through the church. It wasn’t too long ago that I learned how few reformed Latinos were serving the Lord in ministry in the PCA and how even fewer were women. I am thankful to have found Eunice Mendoza to be my ministry mentor for this HLI Apprenticeship. Many pastors, women, friends and HLI leadership have encouraged me along my journey and for this I want to say thank you as you continue to pray, give financially, and walk alongside me in this process. 

Con la Paz de Emanuel,

Evangelina Castillo

1.& 2. Translating for the Expression Engine children’s concert at Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church. 

1.& 2. Translating for the Expression Engine children’s concert at Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church. 

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Leyda and I skating for my birthday.

Leyda and I skating for my birthday.

Making Christmas gifts for our ESL volunteers with Susi.

Making Christmas gifts for our ESL volunteers with Susi.