A testimony of faith by
our founding pastors
Germán & Margarita Castro
How God led us to plant this church
May of 2004
Our first and most dramatic encounter with God's call happened during a music conference in the year 2004, where we received a prophetic word about our pastoral ministry. A pastor prayed over us saying "You are pastors". While he anointed us with oil, a woman was praying over our feet and spoke: "The Lord says he is preparing you to cross a great sea; do not fear because either he is going to part the waters for you to walk through or he will allow you to walk on water.
"The Lord spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the tent of meeting, on the first day of the second month, in the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying, “Take a census of all the congregation of the people of Israel, by clans, by fathers' houses, according to the number of names, every male, head by head. From twenty years old and upward, all in Israel who are able to go to war, you and Aaron shall list them, company by company. And there shall be with you a man from each tribe, each man being the head of the house of his fathers."
We had been seeking the Lord in prayer for several days. This morning each of us went to spend some time alone with the Lord, in different rooms. Later we shared what the Lord had spoken to us individually and to our surprise, He had told us the same thing. In his word he revealed his plan of a multicultural church, with many nations represented and the name that this new church was going to have.
May of 2005
The Lord promise was he is going to be with us each time that the tabernacle is raised.
Números 1:47-49, 51, 54
"But the Levites were not listed along with them by their ancestral tribe. For the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Only the tribe of Levi you shall not list, and you shall not take a census of them among the people of Israel. When the tabernacle is to set out, the Levites shall take it down, and when the tabernacle is to be pitched, the Levites shall set it up. And if any outsider comes near, he shall be put to death. Thus did the people of Israel; they did according to all that the Lord commanded Moses."
By faith we did what the Lord commanded us. We went to walk around the building that we found and prayed the Lord would deliver it into our hands.
"The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, “The people of Israel shall camp each by his own standard, with the banners of their fathers' houses. They shall camp facing the tent of meeting on every side."
"from thirty years old up to fifty years old, everyone who could come on duty for service in the tent of meeting—"
The promised priestly blessing
The congregation would bear his name - El Shaddai.
The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them, The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance[a] upon you and give you peace. “So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.”
The confirmation of our name
2 Chronicles 6:7
Now it was in the heart of David my father to build a house for the name of the Lord, the God of Israel.
"When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty*; walk before me, and be blameless"
*Translation of Hebrew word “El Shaddai”.
Taking the step of faith
Without money or credit history we set outselves to buy the building we had found.
"I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel, and they shall rebuild the ruined cities and inhabit them;they shall plant vineyards and drink their wine, and they shall make gardens and eat their fruit. I will plant them on their land, and they shall never again be uprooted out of the land that I have given them,” says the Lord your God."
May 16, 2005
We started knocking on doors of financial institutions to help us buy the property the Lord promised to give us.
The Lord's comfort for Zion
"Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness, you who seek the Lord:look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were dug. Look to Abraham your father and to Sarah who bore you;for he was but one when I called him, that I might bless him and multiply him. For the Lord comforts Zion; he comforts all her waste placesand makes her wilderness like Eden, her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of song. “Give attention to me, my people, and give ear to me, my nation;for a law will go out from me, and I will set my justice for a light to the peoples."
May 20, 2005
We learned of a building that God had for us had been in the market for more than two years and had not sold. Time was running out and they told us that if the church was not sold at the end of the month, would recall. We did not have a penny with which to buy the building, but in faith we fast and asked the Lord that if he had promised us start this church and was asking that we planted, he should confirm and provide the necessary finances.
On the last day of fasting, someone donated the money needed to sign the contract of sale. And as we prepared to sign the purchase contract, God gave us a vision. Here is the letter that tells this beautiful experience:
What I will say is to give testimony of what your gesture represents today. Today was the last day of prayer and after being fasting for 15 days we will finish with a prayer vigil all night from 10:00 pm.
As I briefly expressed before, this morning, after about 2 years of serving the Lord with a Latino congregation, the Lord has put in my husband and my heart go out by faith and plant a new church.
We knew we had to find a home for this church, and through my new job, I found this opportunity of a historic building build in 1840. Realizing that we had no income to buy, we ask the Lord to give us a response continue with the purchase of this building.
What you did today with the donation of $ 2,000 was the amount we had to take to sign the contract, the seed represents the beginning of the answer to our prayer. I was amazed at what was being unfolded before me. When I got into my car to go to my office, I turned on the radio and the most wonderful music concert began to play. While I was driving, I was thanking the Lord, and in the background I could see the thick cloudy sky. While listening to the beautiful music, a wonderful vision came to me, I felt a great commotion in heaven and it was as if many kings and princes, came out, wearing their beautiful long white dresses adorned with gold thread and carrying banners, trumpets and instruments . Everyone was preparing for something big and wonderful.
Like the army of God, they rushed to prepare a great event. Against the background of Spanish castanets and guitars a heavenly orchestra was honoring the nations of Latin America, with what we call the music of Mother Spain. God was saying these are my children and I love them too. And I'm getting ready to bless. This happened on the dense clouds over us. You could almost hear the stampede of this great parade, while all these princes and kings gathered for something magnificent.
The music was so portentous while these powerful men were unshakable. When I was nearing the end of my trip near my office, I said, "I can not stop and end what God is giving me." So I continued the journey on the road waiting for the orchestra to finished until the end. When I reached the end of the street, Granny White, was an old church very similar to those of the 1800 historic church, dressed all in white, with colored glass, lovely gardens, an old church bell and an ad that told the story more than a century of its existence. The music began to disappear. It was a confirmation to me that the Lord also give this American congregation, a place like this for His Church, to continue his work to go to all nations and to the end of the world. In my littleness I stood there, stunned and I felt so honored to have been chosen to be a tiny part of the Great Commission.
Thanks for letting the Lord use you as his vessel.
We signed the agreement on a lease with option to purchase, knowing now that God would provide the finances to purchase the building. We had 6 months to get a bank to approve the loan of an old and abandoned building. It happened our second financial miracle. After being rejected by several banks someone called us and said he would help us without guarantors. We just had to have the 25% down payment.
May 26, 2005
By faith we embarked on the acquisition of a building for the church. And the Lord continued giving us words of comfort and tranquility that He was with us.
"Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to herthat her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for,that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.3 A voice of one calling:“In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord[a];make straight in the desert a highway for our God.[b]4 Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low;the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain.5 And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together.For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
November 20, 2006
Four month passed and we work hard to adapt the building and doing all kinds of activities such as selling flowers, food sales, garage sale, car wash, the offering and the tithe of our people, all this to get the money for the down payment that was our financial goal to acquire the church building. But our goal was so high, we knew that only a divine intervention would lead us to where we needed to go.
The pastor said prophetically
“One day someone will come down that road and give us the money that we need and that the Lord has sent us”.
And one day a messenger arrived through which whom the monies were given one month before the deadline.
"Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations you do not know will come running to you,because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor.”
The Lord promised about all the families of the church
That they would come restore the old building… Each doing their job, with their family’s banners:
“All the men from thirty to fifty years of age who came to serve in the work at the tent of meeting,”.
The Lord spoke and said that we would have a great party
To witness what he had done and that we prepare a big tent, for a great party on the 23rd day of the seventh month:
2 Chronicles 7:10
“On the twenty-third day of the seventh month he sent the people to their homes, joyful and glad in heart for the good things the Lord had done for David and Solomon and for his people Israel.”
And here we are a year and two months later
Telling the story of a powerful king and his mercy.
Our precious old building is full, after having been converted into a wonderful congregation of more than 250 members, of whom half are children. A congregation composed of more than twenty nations, growing, building lives, and preaching the gospel to the poor.
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,”
We are very grateful with our All Powerful God, because he has shown his faithfulness and his covenant with us day by day. Now we prepare ourselves for greater and bigger challenges.