Hello and I hope this journal finds you well.
My family and I got back from our first Mission Trip from the Philippines almost 2.5 weeks ago and we have been forever ruined(as our Pastor says). Ruined for the short term missionary life (for life)! Our trip was very transformative. Traveling and volunteering around the world is something that I’ve dreamt about since my college days. The difference now is that during my college days, only the seed of global volunteering had been planted which did not include the seed of spreading the Gospel which takes it up to the next level of fullfillment.
First of all, I want to thank everyone that donated and prayed for our safe return home. We wouldn’t have been able to reach so many people without your giving hearts.
I know you are all busy so I tried to condense my experience via Golden Nuggets. Thank you for taking the time to read how your fruit propelled God’s Kingdom.
Nugget 1: I experienced the PUREST FORM OF WORSHIP
- John 4:24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth
- Those that have less are distracted with less and are able to fill their hearts with more of God.
- On our first day, we attended the service at Camachille Church. There were maybe 20 Aeta school aged children behind me. When we started singing “Here I Am To Worship,” I almost fell to my knees at the sound of all of the kids and their mothers singing in Pure 100% Worship for God! I had never heard anything like it. I thought angels had entered the room and started singing with us in perfect harmony. I am not a very emotional person, but tears started to fall uncontrollably down my face, and when I looked at my husband, he had tears running down his face too. This purity is something I have yet to see here in the US.
- This Purity of Worship was one of the highest highs I’ve ever felt in my entire life! No five star hotel, cruise or a fancy yaught, Michelin rated restaurant, a glass of a high quality wine, the pure 5ml pure rose oil that I own, or first class anything will ever compare to experiencing their heart of worship for God. Many of us escape to drugs, alcohol, shopping, pornography, gambling and other addictions to numb many pains, and never get fulfilled so we have to keep coming back for more getting impacted negatively. But I tell you, seeking the heart of God and serving Him is the ultimate high plus a great feeling of fulfillment at the same time. It does not return void!
- My experience at that moment in time affirmed that I was meant to be there. God has been calling me to that church all along and am humbled that I answered His call.
Nugget #2: Sanctified Relationships
- Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times
- I didn’t know half of the missionaries and wasn’t sure how we would all get along. But God quickly revealed everyone’s beautiful hearts to each of us. It helped that we did daily morning devotions and took turns leading the devotions before we went to serve. We developed a deep respect and trust for one another and created a bond outside of the constructs of the Silicon Valley which sometimes is focused on corporate pedigree.
- Serving with my husband and son strengthened our relationship and got us out of being so self focused. I realized how busy we sometimes get with activities like soccer practice, piano lessons, getting from point A to point B, accomplishing goals, etc. and we forget to have a goal as a family to just be obedient to God and to seek his heart.
- By serving God on the Mission Field, I got to see a million ways my new friends and immediate family LOVES at all times. For example, I saw how Dr. Masada patiently and diligently treated 250+ patients in one day. He gave the 250th patient the same amount of energy and time as his 1st patient even though he was exhausted.
NUGGET #3: Living Out Parts Of The Gospel
- Mark 10:45 The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many
- Matthew 9:37 Then He said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.”
- My spiritual mentors have always pointed me towards the Four Gospels to discover who Jesus is. When you read the Four Gospels, you realize that Jesus is not just a historic figure. He is alive and he is very radical! And then when you actually go out on the Mission Field, you get to experience some of the same things He and his disciples experienced. You get to see what He did (fed, healed, and prayed for many), how He lived (delayed his gratification to save lives, gave up His high stature, missed a few meals to take care of people’s needs, worked long hours), and what He taught (prayer, The Beatitudes, how to get into Heaven, how to live in peace, joy, and love). This rediscovery of Jesus is a great treasure that I will forever seek out. And what better timing that we got to serve right before Easter Season as we are able to tie in how God Demonstrates His Love Towards Us via his ultimate sacrifice.
My family and I are so humbled, grateful, and touched by the outpour of your prayers and donations. Together, we were able to carry out parts of the Gospel just like Jesus did. God will honor you and bless you with many fruits for your heart towards His children. We pray you will continue to partner with us to bring more people closer to His Kingdom. Scroll down for pics.
With Love, Faith, and Hope,
Ralph, Grace and Royce Castro
STATS: Served People From 2/21/16 through 2/28/16
- Preached at 3 different churches
- Dental Mission: treated 30 patients
- Gave away 150 toys
- Fed: 708 people
- Humanitarian Relief: 450 Families
- Gave away 300 slippers
- Medical Mission: treated 875 patients