Hispanic Leadership Initiative Apprentice serving at New City East Lake

Hola amigos!

I began my HLI apprenticeship with New City East Lake on June 1st! I am very glad for the opportunity to be mentored by Eunice Mendoza and Pastor Jim Pickett. A year ago, I hadn’t expected to be in Chattanooga for my apprenticeship, yet God has worked all this out so that I am here for the next two years. So much has happened since my last update and though there is much I want to share with you I won’t be able to. If you ever want to know more about my ministry, I welcome your calls, texts, Facebook messages, and emails!!! My number is 770.539.1808. Seriously, feel free to reach out!

Recently, HLI and I were able to attend the PCA’s General Assembly. This was the first time that HLI has had denomination-wide exposure. It was also the first time that I met my director, Gene Bowman in person. There were three other HLI representatives besides Gene and I at GA and our time together was fun and refreshing. I was encouraged to meet the other representatives who are committed to serving the church of Jesus Christ and Latinos through their ministries. We were able to meet many people and share HLI’s vision to raise up Latino leadership for the PCA. On a side note, the biggest highlight for me was hearing my favorite Christian author, Pastor Tim Keller, preaching in person during evening worship… all in all, it was awesome!!!

During my time back from GA, I’ve been able to spend some one-on-one time with some younger Latina girls and proposed to each that they consider a day during the week when we can meet for reading the Bible and hanging out (I’ve included a picture of my Guatemalan friend, Kailyn, below). My prayer is that I may continue gaining their trust and that God would use me to encourage their spiritual growth and a deeper love for Him. I’ve also been translating at Lifespring Health Clinic, a New City ministry for the inner city poor.

Last week at Lifespring, I was serving the role of translator for a new patient. She was an older teen, recently emigrated from Guatemala, and was seeking healthcare for her frail toddler. The mom was visibly distraught about her toddler’s health as she was neither eating nor at ease. While treating the toddler and speaking with the young mom, I came to understand that she is a believer and fled Guatemala to find work to help her family pay evil extortionist’s fees. The doctor wanted me to assure her that Lifespring is a place of faith and safety, leading us all to tears and we prayed for her. We prayed for her toddler’s health, that the US courts would allow her to stay legally, and that she would find comfort in Emmanuel, Dios con nosotros. After scheduling a follow-up appointment, Eunice (my ministry mentor and also Lifespring’s “Community Health Promotora”) later followed up by finding and donating a car seat.

I wanted to share this for the encouragement of your faith and my own. I learned a principle in a class on the Book of Deuteronomy while at Covenant College. God not only asks his people to be just towards the widow, the sojourner, and the fatherless, but also to be generous to them. Dt. 15:11 “For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy, and to the poor in your land.’” Our Lord has been immeasurably generous to us, his people, how can we withhold generosity to others? I am learning that only in recognizing His generosity will we be able to extend it to others.

Thank you for your prayers for my ministry in Chattanooga among the East Lake Latino Community as well as for the financial support you bless me with.  Please continue to pray for my time in Chattanooga and for me. I will continue to pray for you as my ministry partners.

Con la Paz de Emmanuel,

 Evangelina Castillo