Thursday, September 20, 2012

The September Update from the Casteels!

I am so blessed by the Lord! This has been an amazing season for us. Five days ago, I became the father of little boy! His name is Brave Benaiah Casteel! I look at him and I still can't believe I have a son. I get to raise this little boy in the way he should go. We named him Brave as a declaration of who he is. Every day, when we say his name, we are speaking bravery over his life. He will walk his life in nothing but bravery. He has brought so much peace and joy to our family! I have seen Shiloh and Arrow come to life with having a little brother! Shiloh has stepped into new responsibilities. She has wanted to help Shannon more than ever. She wants to wash the dishes, clean her room and most of all hold the baby all of the time. Shiloh is an amazing big sister.

Arrow, well, Arrow is still an amazing handful from God. Arrow has no idea how rough she is with Brave. I think that is my fault. I wrestle with her and tickle her all of the time. Arrow is our family comedian. She has tons of question about Brave. I had no idea how big she had gotten until Brave was born. Anyways, she has been very excited about being a big sister. She wants to help with Brave all of the time as well. It has become a competition between her and Shiloh. They are also becoming very close in other ways. They are learning how to enjoy each other which is a very nice for Shay and I. I just can't believe we have three kids now! It is amazing!

Other news, we are still here in Kona Hawaii working with YWAM. We are in such an amazing spiritual environment. We have had the privilege of leading the Leadership Track for the last nine months. The Leadership Track is an open ended, one-year minimum training track designed to create radical, presence centered leaders who walk in integrity, holiness and in His presence. This is a second phase program designed to bring in DTS staff 3 months prior to their schools starting and train them to be the greatest leaders they can be. We have seen tremendous results in their lives. We also put a high value on community in the track. It is very important for us to be a family that is always bringing in but always willing to release individuals into their dreams!

The Leadership Track also has a desire to send out communities around the world. We have a whole crew in the track that is planting community in South Africa in January. We are so pumped about this. We believe that planting presence centered communities in different nations and cities around the world is an amazing way to make Jesus known. We send people out to commit to these communities for at least 2 years. We have another crew that is going to plant in Pasadena in November of this year! This is very important to us.

I do want to get back to the topic of community plants, but I do want to make a quick rabbit trail. The family and I were so blessed to be able to go home for a month in late July to mid August. It was a great trip home. We were able to connect with friends and family in Charlotte and Greensboro. We drove down to Atlanta to see my old boy Heath and our good ol' Athens friends. I then flew to Kansas City to go to the Circuit Riders for 5 days and Shay made a nice little drive with the girls to see our Myrtle Beach Family! Shiloh got to see her friend Blaise and Arrow was able to make a new friend in Posie, Blaise's little sister. Shay was so happy to be with their mom and good friend, Maeve. This is a brief overview of our time on the east coast. After spending one more night with my amazing in laws, the family and I flew to our favorite city on the earth, San Francisco.

I cannot express to you how much we love San Francisco!!! I know that Jesus is still in love this city. It is by far the most diverse, beautiful city that I have been to. There are amazing parks for the kids(that I liked more then they did). The city is home to some of the most unique coffee shops I have been to. The public transportation is amazing! We LOVE this city! The girls talk about San Fran everyday! We connected with an awesome pastor and his wife and the Ywam leader there in San Fran. It was good to see some of the believers is in this very tolerant city. We were able to see old friends and make new ones.

Going back to the community plant topic! Shay and I are looking to plant community in San Fran. We have been praying into this for the last 5 years since Shay and I were there as friends on the Summer of Love Tour! We have wanted to move there ever since. Every time that we would pray about it, we always knew that the timing had not yet come! Last year, I was talking with my friend telling him about our heart for San Fran. He was so pumped to hear this. Fire and Fragrance, which is the DTS I did in 2011, has been wanting to launch a community into San Fran. We are praying into this even more with our leaders here. We are still not sure what it all looks like yet.

With all of this being said, Shay and I have committed another year to leading the Leadership Track. We believe this is the best training for us to go and one day plant this community in San Fran. We also really love being a part of the track.



There are now 5 of us Casteels. As many of you know, having a baby makes things a little more expensive. We have amazing monthly supporters but we need a few more. YWAM is a volunteer missions organization so none of us are paid. We are currently living off of $800 of monthly support. With rent, bills, gas and necessities we need at least $1500 of monthly support. We have had random blessings each month that has helped us a ton. I have also been able to help some friends out renting their vehicles. We would not be able to be here without your prayers and support! If you would like to give, you can give by PayPal, mail a check and or give to our missions account through YWAM. Iyou would like our address to mail a check or to know how to give through our missions account, please send me a response. Thank you for taking the time to read this!

Blessings to all of you!

Blake, Shay, Shi, Arrow and Brave!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Life, Prayers, Babies and Need

What a day to update all of you on how the Casteels are doing! We are quite well. Shannon is beautiful as always. She is 5 months pregnant with another amazing, beautiful child. We are waiting until the baby is born to find out the gender. Shiloh is practically taller than me and only growing to be more beautiful like her mother. Arrow is the funniest person I have ever been around! It is never a dull moment with her. She is growing in Shannon's beauty as well, Thank God! She does have my amazing eyes. I just wrote that to make myself feel a touch better.

The Lord is so good to us. We have been through the fire this last year but it feels so good to say that Shay and I are more refined than ever. My Selah Praise, although lost for now but rescued by Him, is one of the greatest gifts of my life. I will never forget her beauty and that the way I remember her now is not the way I will see her in eternity. I know the Lord is her joy. The Lords joy is in her and her joy is complete. Shay and I are steadfast and found faithful. We miss our daughter but we love the Lord in greater measure than ever!

Shay and I wanted to update you all on our lives, our family and our needs. We are currently leading the Leadership Track here on the Kona Ywam base. It has been such a privilege to run with all of those in the track and on this base. The Lord has blessed with this amazing opportunity. We are helping to raise up radical leaders that are going to be capable to lead anywhere and in any situation. The 40 that are in the track right now are coming alive in scripture, knowledge of Christ and community. We are only growing in this time. The Lord is so good to us.

We do have some needs that we would like to bring before you all. Our commitment to this base is, at least right now, until December. We are praying that we will have the opportunity to fly home in July to visit family and friends. Currently, we do not have the money to be able to do this! However, it is much needed as we have been here since october with no break and the baby is coming in september!   We know that this will be a good time to meet with supporters concerning what we have been doing for these last 7 months and what we believe we are doing the rest of this year.

As some of you know, the Lord has put it on our hearts to go and plant a community in San Francisco. I know what some of you are thinking, but the Lord desires San Francisco to be revived. We pray for this city daily. We believe that we are called to be some of the righteous people to live in this city and pray in the change. We want to establish community, get jobs in the city and get to know those who need Jesus and family. Shay and I have such a heart for this city to know the Lord. We are hoping to take a scouting trip there this summer. We have a few contacts that we want to get to know and build relationship with. We believe that it is important for us to do this to see what is already established and to know what we can and need to do. We have about six people right now that plan on going with us to plant next year.

I am also praying about going to London in July to help with the London Circuit Riders. This is a 2 week school to prepare youth and young adults to go and preach the gospel effectively just as the the circuit riders did in the 1700's. This is a desire of mine. We will be sharing the gospel at the Olympics this summer. We believe this is a very strategic time to preach the gospel because for a month, all of the nations will be in one city!

We are asking you to please pray about a role you can play in seeing the Kingdom advanced through Shay and I and our dreams. We are needing more monthly support to live with the baby coming in September. With the travels we are hoping to go on this summer, we need $8,500. We now have to buy a plane ticket for Arrow since she is 2yrs old and no longer can be a lap child. Would you please pray and see if the Lord would like you to help us in this season? We do need monthly support but, if you would rather, we would absolutely receive one time gifts. You can give to us on our PayPal link or you can mail checks to:
Blake and Shay Casteel
75-5851 Kuakini Hwy #372
Kailua-Kona, HI 96740

Thank you all for supporting us these last 7 months with your prayers and finances.

We love you all.

The Casteels


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

One Favorite Memory! And some good news!

Hey Dear Friends!

I want to start this off by sharing some amazing news. We have recently found out that we are going to have another baby. We are so excited. Please keep us in your prayers. We are full of faith. We know this baby has a great destiny to live out. I love having kids and I cannot wait to have this next little one in my arms.

Our families have been so instrumental in us being here. They have supported us through and through. We are so grateful for the prayers of Shay's mom and dad. They have been behind us the whole time. Their faith has been such an example to us of what faith really is. Johnny and Melissa were here just after Selah died. Thank God that the timing was that good. My mom, sister and aunt keep sending the girls goodies and cards. We have amazing family. Our lives are so blessed by you all.

My life was forever changed when I was 11 years old. My 2nd cousin, David, was in the hospital in Dallas, TX. My papa knew that David was on his death bed and he could be gone at any moment. My papa invited me to go with him on the 4 hr drive to Dallas, which would only be 3 hrs if he didn't drive so slow. I without any hesitation wanted to go. I thought all we were doing was going to say goodbye to David. I was wrong.

We talked about everything from horses to the 1st and only time my papa played golf. He shot an 88. Let it be known that my papa is still one of my favorite people to talk to. We then made the stop at Braums to get that very needed burger. I never thought to ask him the full reason of us making this drive. We, of course, got into terrible Dallas traffic. I noticed that my papa's urgency to get there had only risen. He was more frustrated with the traffic than usual. He is the most patient man I know so this was quite weird to me. I realized that this was a very important trip.

Finally we got to the hospital. This hospital was huge. It felt as if we were never going to get to Davids room. We eventually found the room and inside was David. I didn't think he looked to bad for being on his deathbed. We small talked with him for a bit. He asked me questions about my playing basketball and my family. He was always a very nice guy to me. Then with no hesitation the real reason of the trip came out. My papa, with full boldness, looked at David and said, "David, do you know the Lord Jesus as your savior?" I was instantly amazed by the love that my papa had for his family. I knew that he would have driven to the Pacific Ocean if that would have been where David was. I was taken back. I will never forget the love that was slung from my papa's heart strait into David's life. It was the love of Jesus. My papa had the love of Jesus to give David.

David said that he had given his life to Jesus in his earlier years. They discussed this for a little while. We stayed and talked to David for a bit and then papa prayed for him. We then said good bye and were on our way. We began the journey back. My papa had a smile on his face. I knew he had been obedient to what the Lord had told him what to do. He has always been a man who would give his life for his family. He has told all of his family about the Lord. Not one of theirs ears has not heard my papa's voice share the gospel with them. He speaks and lives it.  He is man that is respected among generations before and after him.

Soon after this trip, David died. My papa made sure that David was going to see Jesus. My papa is one of the reasons I do what I do. I will never forget this time of the gospel being preached and the impact it had on me. I want my kids to always see this side of me. The gospel must be spoken and heard no matter what.

My papa is still alive but I wanted to share this story that is so vital for me being were I am and doing what I do.

I love to tell the lost about the love of Christ. I pray for 2 of my friends all of the time. One of them told me that it would take a lobotomy for him to believe in a God or a Jesus. He doesn't know what I know. A simple encounter with Jesus will do it all. Keep praying for you lost friends. I believe my friends will one day believe.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog.

Love,
Blake, Shay, Shi and Arrow

Thursday, February 2, 2012

What's happening with the Casteels!

Hello to you all. We hope you all are blessed and thriving. We know the Lord is doing so much in so many of our lives. Thank God that we serve an amazing God that does amazing things in our lives. I am so glad that we get to receive the love of Christ in every part of our life.

We have been so excited to hear such amazing news from back home. We love life and are so happy that so many of our friends have just had babies, are about to have a baby and have just found out that they are going to have a baby. What a privilege it is to be able to bring children into this world and be able to train them up in the way they must go. I am so happy for you all. Being a father has been one of the greatest representations of Jesus that I have been able to be to another person. It is by far one of the hardest representations of Jesus I have tried to be. May the Lord continue to bless all of us fathers with more grace and joy in our fatherhood.

Shannon and I have been helping with the local Salvation Army every Wednesday afternoon. Every day of the week, the Salvation Army is bringing local Marshallese kids that have no parents and no place to go after school. They feed them and give them rides after dinner to their homes. Yesterday, I was playing basketball with some of the boys. Shay came late because she had to pick Shiloh up from school. When they arrived I went over and loved on them. Shi and Arrow would keep coming over to me to ask me questions and give me hugs. Seeing this, one of the younger Marshallese girls came up to me and said "Why do those little girls keep coming up and hugging you?". I said to her, "Because I am their dad". She could not believe that their dad was with them and interacting with them in love. One of the Lieutenants was sitting next to me and heard it all. She told me that most of these kids either don't have fathers or have no relationship with their fathers. She was so happy for these kids to see the definition of a father the way Christ meant it to be. It has been so amazing to press into these kids.

It is so important for us(the Church) to reach the orphans(James 1:27). We must do a greater work in this injustice. We must press into adoptions. I heard a statistic the other day that said if every church in America was able to fund an adoption for a family in the church that there would be no need for the foster system until next year. What if the church was able to clear out the foster system every year? We would see these kids saved and redeemed just as we all are in Christ. I believe this has become so overlooked by us. With so many kids in the foster system, this becomes justification for pro-choice laws to stay in place. If we truly want to see abortion ended we must see adoptions happening with us Christians. We have been praying against government funded abortions(which will happen if we don't keep praying) and believing for church funded adoptions. This might be an offensive statement to some of you but this is what has been on our hearts.

On a different note, the girls are becoming more and more girly and funny. They are also becoming more quarrelsome which is sometimes funny if I were being honest. Shiloh is going to school full days now. When we told her that she was going to be going full days she was very upset with us. Of course, we didn't know if it was going to work or not. So Shay went to pick her up at the end of her first full day. Shay asked her how her first full day was and Shiloh replied "What, that was a full day?". I guess she is enjoying it. Arrow is much bigger in her mind than she is physically. She is not afraid of much. She has taken Shiloh on quite a few times and though being beat, She keeps trying again. I am so proud of my daughters.

February is going to be full but so amazing. My brother in law will be here next week. Arrow and Shi are very excited to see Uncle Johnny. I would be lying if I said I wasn't excited too. The week after, Shay and I have been asked by the leaders of the Fire and Fragrance DTS to travel with them to Maui. They have a ministry called Pure Heart that encourages destinies to come forth through forgiveness and being forgiven by God. It brings forth true freedom for those who chose to forgive and walk in this freedom. We are excited to help them minister tho those at the Maui Ywam base. I went through Pure Heart last year and realized that there were so many things I needed to forgive and be forgiven of. It is amazing.

Please keep us in your prayers. I will continue to keep all of you updated on the things that are happening here.

We love you all,
Blake, Shay, Shiloh and Arrow

Friday, January 13, 2012

Life, Overcoming, Jesus, Family, Needs, Love and Redone!

Hello Everyone,

I must confess, the original version of this blog was quite forced and not fully me. I am sorry to write another one of such similarity, but this one is much more Blake Allan Casteel.


When I write a blog, I want all of you to feel the full passion I have for what I am writing about. I love being here in Kona, not because it is Hawaii but because of these people that I get to have relationship with. I have made some of the best friends of my life in this place.  Shay and I come alive when we are stood with by so many people. 


We are doing well here in Kona. Shiloh and Arrow are growing, of course,  and becoming so much more like their mother. I still do not get many words in conversation while sitting at the dinner table with them. I love it. I will be honest, sometimes I sit and look at them and begin to pray in a little boy. I can't wait until I have him.


Shay and I are stepping into new marital glory everyday. We are becoming each others biggest fans more and more everyday. I am constantly realizing how immature I am and how much more she knows than I. Thankfully, I have amazing accountability and usually feel better after they tell me I am not as dumb as I think. I am a constant  work in progress. Shay is usually a completed work. I am grateful for this.


Shay has been taking on nanny jobs for some extra cash. Because of this, Arrow is making  new friends. She has a new friend Ezra. Ezra is a 2 year old little boy who is very protective of the female gender. He always helps Arrow and constantly warns her of what he thinks might be danger. My kind of guy. 


Yesterday, Shay had to run somewhere so I was hanging with the two. They were sitting in chairs having 2 year old conversation. I was enjoying this. The conversation shifted and they began talking about their booboos. They began to show each other their knee scrapes and elbow scratches. It was quickly turning into the Lethal Weapon 3 scene where two characters started showing their wounds that they earned while on duty as officers. Arrow felt the need to top Ezra. 


The night before, Arrow was on our bed and fell off flat onto her face.  Instantly I picked her up and realized she was bleeding in amounts that a guy like me cannot handle well. Her bottom teeth went strait into her top lip. Arrow was flipping out. Anyone could have easily thought I was beating her by the amounts of screaming that was going on. Shiloh was contributing to the screaming. Shiloh is a lot like me when it comes to blood. So needless to say, Arrow felt as if she won when she showed Ezra the lip booboo! Quite the victory for my sweet little girl.

Yesterday, I was able to go help do some work with the Mashalliese  people down South on the Big Island. These people are a displaced people group. They were brought here, and  other places, because the U.S. used their islands for a-bomb testings. They have been here for years. We pulled up and I quickly realized the 3rd world state of their community. They had built all of their housing on lava rock(this is a horrible foundation). They have to lay carpet down for paths from house to house. Their houses are makeshift and they have no running water. We could not believe it. The people we went with had just finished building a water placement tank so these people would have clean drinking water. We had to lift a half ton lid up and move it to where we could get it on the tank. We did this with the guys from the Marshalliese community. It was great. They were so funny. Most of the time we could not stop laughing because of how hard this thing was to lift. We are hopefully going to be doing more stuff with our new friends down South.

It has been 2 and a half months since I lost my Selah Praise. There is not a day that goes by that I do not think about her. I daily ask the Lord questions concerning this experience. I try to keep the questions in the "What do you want to do through this?" department. I was quite stuck in the "Why did you let this happen?" department for way to long. That is never wisdom. I don't think I will know why while being on this side of life, but I do believe He makes all things new and that He works all things for good for those who love Him. I love Him. Oh how I love Him. I love Him more today than yesterday. I believe I will love Him more tomorrow than today. I will always miss my little girl but I will always love Him no matter what. He is a good Papa. He makes up for any loss. Satan will never have victory over us. Thank you all for your prayers for us during this time.

We are still staff here at YWAM with the Fire and Fragrance Leadership Track. The Leadership Track is a consistent facilitation of staff members who are not currently in a DTS or on outreach. We are leading and raising up unbelievably crazy leaders. On a daily basis, we fuel the prayer room and serve the base in every way possible!  Shay and I are bringing the community and prayer aspect to the track. We are all going deep into scripture memorization together. Last quarter, we memorized the Sermon on the Mount. This quarter, we are memorizing all of Phillipians. This has been great for Shay and I. Scripture is coming alive more than ever before for me. We are longing for all of us to see signs and wonders just like they saw in the New Testament. We want to see mass revival and reformation among our generation. We believe we are a part of this. We have committed to the track until the end of this year.

We are still in need of monthly support. We currently have $600 of monthly support committed to us. Our monthly rent is $875 alone. We have been making it but we do want to make our situation known to all of you. This is our job for this season! Please pray the Lord would have you partner with us! We are training up young people to be intimate, fiery lovers of Jesus and then taking Him to the nations. We are so privileged to be a part of this! If you would like to give, we have Paypal and a missions account through YWAM which is tax deductible. If you would like more info on the account through YWAM, please let me know.

We love you all and promise to update more frequently.

Sincerely,
Blake, Shay, Shiloh and Arrow

Life, Overcoming, Jesus, Family, Needs, and Love!

Hello Everyone,

We hope you are all doing very well. We are doing well here in Kona. Shiloh and Arrow are growing, of course,  and becoming so much more like their mother. I still do not get many words in conversation while sitting at the dinner table with them. I love it. I will be honest, sometimes I sit and look at them and begin to pray in a little boy. I can't wait until I have him.

Shay and I are stepping into new marital glory everyday. We are becoming each others biggest fans more and more everyday. I am constantly realizing how immature I am and how much more she knows than I. Thankfully, I have amazing accountability and usually feel better after they tell me I am not as dumb as I think. I am a constant  work in progress. Shay is usually a completed work. I am grateful for this.

It has been 2 and a half months since I lost my Selah Praise. There is not a day that goes by that I do not think about her. I daily ask the Lord questions concerning this experience. I try to keep the questions in the "What do you want to do through this?" department. I was quite stuck in the "Why did you let this happen?" department for way to long. That is never wisdom. I don't think I will know why while being on this side of life, but I do believe He makes all things new and that He works all things for good for those who love Him. I love Him. Oh how I love Him. I love Him more today than yesterday. I believe I will love Him more tomorrow than today. I will always miss my little girl but I will always love Him no matter what. He is a good Papa. He makes up for any loss. Satan will never have victory over us. Thank you all for your prayers for us during this time.

We are on staff here at YWAM with the Fire and Fragrance Leadership Track. The Leadership Track is a consistent facilitation of staff members who are not currently in a DTS or on outreach. We are leading and raising up unbelievably crazy leaders. On a daily basis, we fuel the prayer room and serve the base in every way possible!  Shay and I are bringing the community and prayer aspect to the track. We are all going deep into scripture memorization together. Last quarter, we memorized the Sermon on the Mount. This quarter, we are memorizing all of Phillipians. This has been great for Shay and I. Scripture is coming alive more than ever before for me. We are longing for all of us to see signs and wonders just like they saw in the New Testament. We want to see mass revival and reformation among our generation. We believe we are a part of this. We have committed to the track until the end of this year.

We are still in need of monthly support. We currently have $600 of monthly support committed to us. Our monthly rent is $875 alone. We have been making it but we do want to make our situation known to all of you. This is our job for this season! Please pray the Lord would have you partner with us! We are training up young people to be intimate, fiery lovers of Jesus and then taking Him to the nations. We are so privileged to be a part of this! If you would like to give, we have Paypal and a missions account through YWAM which is tax deductible.

We love you all and promise to update more frequently.

Sincerely,
Blake, Shay, Shiloh and Arrow