GRTS Alumni Stories

Andy Castillo (B.A. '01; M.Div. '05)

Why CU & GRTS?
Because of some difficulties in Honduras; also someone that knew the father of a student at CU told me about it.

Your Story
Who would have thought that a college like CU or a seminary like GRTS would have been that important in the life and work that I do today? My wife and I are both originally from Honduras, we both graduated from CU. In my specific case I came from a schooling background where Christianity was the joke of the day. Very secular, but in the midst of that environment I was able to make it through as a Christian. When I first came to Cornerstone, I did not know what to expect. However from 1997-1999 I had a terrific time just being able to be around godly people The change of atmosphere from a very secular arena to a (in many ways) "Christian bubble" was helpful. I had the encouragement to live a godly lifestyle while still receiving education in a secular area such as business management.

My personality has always been very introverted. I could have never thought that God would be willing to use me in full time ministry. Being very shy, the last place that I saw myself was in ministry; however it was just before the last semester of college that God began to do a wonderful work to lead me in the working environment that I find myself now 7 years later. As we returned to Honduras to prepare our wedding in 2000, we had no clue what God would do that year. I was having the desire to serve Him in ministry, however I did not know how, specifically because of my weaknesses. Then as we were in Honduras something happened: At the age of 21 when I was about to marry the love of my life God reinserted the idea of being in full time ministry through a friend of my wife. The first week of January this missionary met with me and questioned me in every way possible (he was friends with my in-law’s) with reference to being in full time ministry. He said, "Andy I know your fiancé very well. Since she was 13 she has been praying for her future husband, that he will be in full time ministry and He will honor that." One day later, I was kidnapped with Carmen and her little sister Melissa. They were both released, but I was held hostage for ten days. Now, I cannot go into the details of it all because of space, but in those ten days, I spent nine of them questioning God. "Why? Why have you allowed this to a child of yours? Why not someone else? I have a future ahead of me, why?" The last ninth afternoon was spent realizing who God is. Through a child playing outside of the four walls holding me hostage. I realized that God is in full control; neither I nor my kidnappers are not. So I turned to Him, placed my life in His hands. I did not ask Him to release me, but I asked Him that whatever He wanted for my life would be done that day. If His will was for me to be before His presence, I was ready. If His will for me was to live, I would serve Him every day of my life.

After that experience I was led into seminary life, to change from being in Business Management to going into ministry. At first I wondered why in the world I should attend Seminary. I can read the Bible! Or so I thought. However, after just one day of classes the professors basically (metaphorically speaking of course) took the foundation of what I believed and literally brought it down! After that first day of classes I did not know whether I should continue taking classes. I was afraid that they were going to simply tear it all apart. However, I praise God for the professors who came behind me to simply help me understand what I could not. As I was still finishing my degree at GRTS, God opened doors for me to be the pastor of a Hispanic church in Grand Rapids. Soon after, we felt God leading us back to Honduras to do primarily two things: (1) Be involved in the local church, and (2) be involved in leadership development through the Mobile Bible Institute. This is a training degree that takes about 10-15 classes in a two year period, and we the missionaries travel to three sites, two in Honduras and one in Nicaragua for one week and teach a course to pastors and lay pastors who are in ministry but do not have any Bible Training whatsoever. We have been doing this for the past four years and we are currently here on furlough until the first week of June.

Fast Facts
Break Point Team during college for a semester. Internship at Calvary Church
Favorite Place
Bernice Hansen Center
Last Visit
Two years ago
Favorite Professor
Dr. Meadors
Favorite Memory
I had decided that I would serve God by going into the counseling degree. However, with being an international student, not being able to work off campus, and the need to support my family, God opened the doors for me to do my internship at Calvary Church. Since my internship was in the missions department, I had to change from counseling to M.Div. Best Decision ever! Peter Osborn was key in that switch.
Favorite Food