Thursday, September 5, 2013

Hello Friends,

I wanted to share with all of you about my most recent travel. At the beginning of August I was blessed to be able to go be in my amazing friend Noel Johnson's wedding in Lancaster, PA. It was amazing. I love seeing the joining of two friends in marriage. Noel and Renee you are amazing friends and may your marriage be blessed in every way.

After this wedding I was able to be a part of the Lancaster Circuit Riders. Friends, I was so blessed to be a part of this. I was undone by the generosity of friends to get me there. My life was forever changed by several things that I saw the Lord do.

On the Monday night meeting there were about 1,200 people in attendance. This shocked all of us!!! about half way through the meeting, the speaker was sharing how the passivity that we, at times, walk in was never a characteristic of Christ. To show this he began reading the paragraph headings in Mark. These headings say things such as "Jesus Heals", "Jesus Prays", "Jesus Feeds", "Jesus Predicts", "Jesus Dies"etc. None of these action verbs indicate any passivity in Christ's life. He was fully courageous in all of His Leadership. The last heading that he read was "Jesus Rises From the Dead". At this,  the crowd stood up and began to worship the Man Jesus that was raised from the dead for all of us. It was the most spontaneous thing I have ever seen. It went on for 40 minutes. I am still in such joy about it. These words do the Holy Spirit no justice!

The following day our team went for the first outreach of the week. I was with 2 of the people on my team. The very first guy we walk up to, named Sammy, had never heard the Gospel. He listened and was so encountered by the love of God that he was saved right there! It was so encouraging.

The next two guys we approached were young hispanic guys. They both had little children. I began to tell them about how much I love my children and how I would do anything to save my kids. I begin to share how Christ has done this for us. I let them know that every action we take is a choice. A choice to be good fathers and a choice to be saved by the Son of God. They both received Christ right there. This was obviously very encouraging.

We then began walking down the street. I forgot to say that this was all in the very ghetto part of Lancaster. As we were walking towards this store, a young man walked out of it. I asked him if he had a minute to talk. He didnt. He was in a hurry he said. I then asked him if I could walk with him. He gave me a nod that indicated it was ok to. I began to share Christ with this guy. He listened so intently. After about 5 minutes of me sharing Christ and about my children, he put his face in his hands and began to cry. He looked up me and said, "I need to be a better father to my 3 kids so I need to give Jesus my life!". I was so shocked. I led him to his Savior right there! I walk back to the group with an unbelievable faith in Jesus. More than ever before. Nothing was going to keep me from talking to anyone about the Lord.

As we were returning to the convention center we passed 2 single mothers. I began to share the story of my wife and oldest daughter Shiloh. One of the girls didnt really care. Tayvon, the young girl that could not look away from me, listened intently. She was undone by Shannon's story and could not believe that a savior wanted to save her and be her new foundation. The other girl was smoking a cigarette and gave it to Tayvon. Tayvon just held it in her hand and didnt think about it once while we were talking. She was so undone by the love of Jesus. She gave her life to the Lord on the steps of her house.

These five salvations changed my life. I was so grateful that the Lord sent me to Lancaster to be a part of these peoples lives. Thank you Lord!

I just wanted to share these few stories with all of you. Thank you for your prayers and support.

Shay and I do live off of the financial support of friends. If you feel compelled to begin to so into our lives as we train young leaders here in Kona, please contact me.

Blessings to you all!!!

The Casteel's

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Faithful and Called!

Hello Friends,

I hope you are all doing very well. Shay, the kids and I are doing amazing. I must apologize to you all for the length of time that has gone by since we have updated all of you! Please forgive me. We love you and are so grateful for your prayers and support. We are a truly blessed family. 

Shannon is such an amazing mother to our 3 kids and, of course, an amazing wife! She loves so well and leads amazingly. She is looked up to by all of the women at the Ywam base here. She is about to speak in the largest dts of this quarter. They have asked her to speak on redemption. She is the perfect person to teach on this! Praise God for the redemption over her life.



Shiloh is growing so fast and has far surpassed my intelectual level. She love reading and is becoming quite the amazing artist. Arrow is the funniest little girl I have ever been around. She keeps all of us here in some sort of laughter. Our favorite thing is when she starts dancing. She loves looking up to here amazing older sister. Brave is already almost 10 months. This dude is growing so fast. He is crawling so fast and is starting to get ripped from it. He is so strong. He is quickly learning that it is hilarious to take stuff from his sisters. Our kids are such an amazing blessing to us.

We have just started the 7th quarter of our leading The Awakening Leadership Track. We just did orientation yesterday. Shay and I are very excited about this new crew. There is such a hunger and expectation for the Lord. These guys and girls are hungry to see the Lord and do what he does. We are all in an understanding that we must only do what Jesus did. It is amazing to lead guys and girls that have an understanding of the fear of the Lord and know the gentleness of the love of Christ at the same time. So much can come from a community that walks in this! We are and will always be at His righteous disposal. We are all in. We must see the Gospel penetrate the lies of the enemy and see souls saved around the world. This is a desire of all of this crew. We are some of the laborers being trained for when He decides to thrust us into the nations. Please pray for us(Matt. 9:38)! We are being prepared. 

The Lord is unfolding a major destiny and purpose in our lives. The Lord has brought us to Kona to train this young YWAM staff and to prepare them for the times. He has also brought us here to be trained in leadership for when the time comes for us to be launched into the nations. We know that the enemy hates this generation. This generation has so easily given their lives to things other than what the Lord has. Passivity has rapidly grown in the lives of teenagers and the twenty somethings. The Lord has brought Shay and I to this place to train up leaders that will no longer live lives of passivity and thinking the Lord will just take care of it. He longs for us to conquer the enemy with Him. He created us for partnership. In this partnership, we of course rely on Him, but we also step into an understanding of doing things for His glory! I believe we are to walk in the same understanding that Jonathon and his armor bearer had. They knew they would be called up by the philistines. They knew that when they were called up by them that they would have to finish climbing that cliff. Only then would the Lords hand kill those philistines. He used those 2 young men to do for His glory. The enemy was slaughtered by the Lord through the young generation. The Lord longs for this to still happen. 

It is time to see this generation walking in the lifestyle of Holiness. Compromise is no longer an option. What did Jesus do? He healed the sick! He spoke truth to the sinner! He cast out Demons! He poured His life out to 12 men! Those men, with their knowledge of Christ, just happened to change the whole world by speaking the word of Christ, stepping in holiness, never allowing fear to dictate and walking in the fullness of faith! These were men who truly understood what it meant to be like Christ. We want to live this out in our lives and train young men and women of the importance of this. Jesus went to the Father so we must do our part and do what He did and greater!

shifting just a little but, we are excited to announce an opportunity we have to go and be a part of the Circuit Riders in Lancaster, PA! Circuit Riders is a training week for people to come and be trained to preach the gospel. Andy Byrd, Brian Brent, Lou Engel lead the Circuit Riders into full understanding of the simple gospel and send them out to take the truth to the lost. Circuit Riders happens each year in 5 to 7 locations. Lancaster will be the 4th one of this year. There have been thousands of salvations that have come as fruit of these Circuit Riders events. Shay and I are hoping to fly out to Pennsylvania July 31st to be at one of my best friends weddings and then staff this Circuit Riders from August 3rd to the 10th. I know that this is all last minute but we believe the Lord has spoken to us to go. Please pray and ask the Lord if you may be able to help in support of this last second opportunity. Here is a link for a video that will give you an idea!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lJ5pvsDI4M

Please continue to stand in prayer for us. We do raise support for us to be here in Kona. If you would like lto begin supporting us monthly you can do so through our paypal and or send it to our missions account(I can explain that if you are interested). This would be such a blessing  for us. We know that this is what the Lord has called us to. 

Thank you for reading and I pray that the Lord would speak to you as you ponder on these words.

Love,
The Casteels


Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Lord, the Family and the Opportunity

Dear Family and Friends,

We hope all of you are doing well. Thank you for all of your prayers and support of our family doing what the Lord has called us to do. We are doing so well as a 5 person family. Our kids are coming alive every day and we are seeing amazing fruit in their lives. Shay and I, as parents, are so happy to see this happening in our children's lives.

Shay and the kids took me to a local seafood restaurant called Bite Me for my birthday this last month. This was amazing. They were so excited to celebrate me on the beginning of my 28th year. We had sat down and were in the process of deciding what we all wanted to eat. Shiloh was looking at the live Lobsters in the tank at the front of the restaurant. The hostess walked next to Shiloh as she was walking back to our table. We noticed a smile on the hostess' face. We asked Shiloh what she had to said to the hostess. Shiloh asked her if the owner of the restaurant was a believer in Jesus Christ. Shiloh has gotten so bold. Her boldness has truly spurned us on! How can we be so timid at times when our 7 year old is like a lion. Shiloh does this more often than I can tell you. I am proud of this young women!

I just recently went to Oklahoma to see my family for a few days. This time i went without my family. This was, of course, a bummer to all of my family. The second day I was in Oklahoma we decided to Skype Shay and the kids. As usual, the kids decided to take up this entire Skype conversation. Arrow was so excited to see me and talk to me. She could not stop laughing and being overcome by joy when she saw my face on the computer screen. It was so cute. She said to me, "Oh man, I'm so nervous right now" and  "Oh man, I'm so sweaty right now". Then she proceeded to wipe her armpits out. This made me laugh so hard. Arrow makes Shannon and I laugh all of the time. She brings so much joy to us.

Brave is growing so fast. He will be 5 months next week. This life goes by so fast. He brings so much hope into our lives. He is the sweetest little dude ever. He has started kissing Shannon on demand. This blesses Shannon and makes all of us laugh. He is such a great little guy.

Shannon is more beautiful than ever! The Good Lord has truly blessed me with my amazing wife. She is such an amazing influence to the young ladies on base and in the community. She has been such an inspiration to all of us. She is a true champion in life and has showed true endurance in every aspect of life. When I thought she might quit, she didn't. When I thought she may break, she stood strong. My wife has not only inspired others, she has stirred me on. I am the man I am because of the Lord and this woman! Thank you Shannon for who you are to all of us!

We are seeing amazing young men and women raised up to go and preach the Gospel in every nation on earth. We are about to see 7 teams sent out from Fire and Fragrance DTS at the beginning of April. All of the staff that are leading those teams were in the Leadership Track the 3 months prior to them staffing.

Shannon and I thought that you all might want to know exactly what we are doing. We are full time staff with one of the largest missionary organizations in the world, Youth With A Mission. It is a non-profit, support based ministry committed to fulfilling The Great Commission. For the past year we have been leading the Awakening Leadership Track. The Track is a leadership development course designed to prepare mature and effective leaders. These young leaders walk in great integrity and Godly character. We are training them to staff DTS(Discipleship Training Schools), lead outreaches, plant presence centered communities and pioneer DTS schools in any culture or circumstance.

We have over 35 people in the Track this quarter. Some will be going in to staffing dts this April while the others will continue on in the track. We have a clear word from the Lord to take the crew remaining in the track to Amsterdam. We are going for 2 weeks in March. Our objective is twofold- first to build relationship and prepare the way for teams going into Amsterdam for months at a time. Second, to pray on the ground concerning the possibility of a future Fire and Fragrance DTS at the YWAM base in Amsterdam. We will be meeting with key Ywam Amsterdam leaders to pray concerning these possibilities. We will also be linking with the 24-7 prayer room, which is inside the Red Light District, and working with an organization call Serve the City Amsterdam.

Our family was in Amsterdam in 2011 and we saw the desire of the Lord over this city! We all were so stirred to love the unloved. We saw so much fruit for the Lord. We loved being there, immersed in community with the broken and have been longing to go back ever since. To lead a team there is so exciting for us.

We have to purchase our tickets soon. We have to get $2000 to the travel agent tomorrow. We really feel that our whole family is meant to go. It will be roughly $9000 for our whole family to go. This includes flights, housing, transpiration and food. Brave is, of course, free! This is a huge step of faith as we believe for this money to go to Amsterdam.

Thank you all for reading this and praying about supporting us financially for this purpose. You can give to us on paypal.com using our email: blake.n.shaycasteel@gmail.com. Or you can mail a tax deductible donation with our missions account #5706 on it.
Mail to:
Blake Casteel
75-5851 Kuakini Hwy #372
Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
If you mail a donation, you will receive a receipt at the end of the year for tax purposes!

Thank you for considering the possibility of supporting us!

Sincerely,
The Casteels