IGNITE Class 13 intern, Julio, has just finished three months of training in Guatemala. He shares about how the program has impacted his life and thanks those who support the work of Potter’s Field Ministries.
Dear Potter’s Field Sponsors:
My name is Julio André Castillo and I´m 20 years old. I was born and raised in Guatemala in a town called Morales, Izabal, but for the last 11 weeks have been living in Antigua, Guatemala. For this part of my life, I am going through IGNITE Class 13 during the training phase. I got to know this ministry last year by my friend Natalia Navas, a staff member here in Antigua. While she was sharing her testimony with me and all that God has done and still was doing in her life, I found myself in awe. It was surprising to see the change in her life after a few months of IGNITE; it was something I didn’t expect from her. Seeing her face shine as she shared and knowing how God was using her life for His work started to move my heart. During that time, I was finishing my second year of Business Engineering in Universidad Francisco Marroquin. Without a real relationship with God, I was surviving, not living. Through some struggles of lacking purpose, purity, and self-identity, I didn’t care for His will. The only thing that remained was what I knew from Him since I was a kid: the desire to be His servant and something great for Him. My heart and prayer has always been the dream to live for God, but fear has been my obstacle. Although there were times in which I would try to commit myself to Him, I couldn’t endure and rapidly burned out.
This past June was a changing point in my life. I was still struggling with the same problems and it was so tiring physically, mentally, and spiritually in a way that nothing in my life looked to be working out. When suddenly, thanks to Natalia, I met Austin and Shannon Hiatt. That afternoon I had the opportunity to share some words with Austin and open a little bit of my heart to him. Not even knowing what was coming, Austin invited me to be part of IGNITE Class 13. I felt like all my prayers were answered. In spite of being afraid and doubtful, I left my school and family and accepted the invitation.
Since then it has been an eye-opening time. At the introductory lesson with Pastor Michael, I knew that for the first time in my life I was in the right place at the right moment with the correct people. Watching the potter demonstration, a movie of all my life was playing through my mind. I saw every moment of love, hardship, suffering, joy, and sadness. God told me that every day of life was required and assigned in His plan so that I could be there that day in Antigua. It didn’t matter my condition or sin; He had my life in His hands.
It is amazing how big the ministry is, and I would have never imagined there could be something like this here in Guatemala. It is a blessing what Potter’s Field is doing here with us; a blessing for my life and definitely for other Guatemalans too. God has used every classmate, lesson, staff, and pastor to speak to my life in a way I would have never known.
It is amazing the growth of my relationship with God in this process, I have shared the gospel more in the last eleven weeks than I ever did in all my life. In outreaches, hospital visits, or Kids Club, He is working in me. Before I wanted a god for my life, now my life is for God. The revelation of His sacrifice has set me free from my anxieties and fear, and I am walking in His freedom! It is a constant surrender of myself to the Lord, in my will or desires, because my love for Him has grown to a level in which I want to please Him. My heart now is breaking for the souls out here in my country. I want to be a vessel in His hands that He can use to reach people and share His love. I know that God is in my country and that He loves us. I know this first for having all of you with Potter’s Field, and because of testimony after testimony in the outreaches. We have been able to witness God´s faithfulness.
I thank you very much for all your incredible support. Your help has been used to build His kingdom in this amazing country. Your seeds have planted more seeds of salvation and joy in kids, young adults, and older people. I ask that our Lord bless each one of you by name and that He would give you back all you have planted with increase.
With much love,