Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Who Am I?

Who Am I?

I am your constant companion. I am your
 greatest helper or heaviest burden.
I will push you onward or drag you down to failure.
I am completely at your command.
Half the things you do you might just as
well turn over to me and I will be able to do
them quickly and correctly.

I am easily managed - you must merely be firm with me.
Show me exactly how you want something done 
and after a few lessons I will do it automatically. I am the 
servant of all great individuals, alas, of 
all failures, as well. Those who are great, I
have made great. Those who are failures,
I have made failures.

I am not a machine, though I work
with all the precision of a machine plus
the intelligence of a human. You may run
me for profit or run me for ruin - it
makes no difference to me.

Take me, train me, be firm with me,
and I will place the world at your feet. 
Be easy with me and I will destroy you.

Who Am I?

P.S. Find out on next week's post.

Pr Luke Castro.

Friday, March 26, 2010

True Life Story

Dear Pastor Castro,

Below is my testimony from the Youth Power Group. I appreciate all that God has done through the YPG, so that's why I decided to write this below. If you like, you can use it someday and cut and edit a few things at your convenience, so it can be readable. At least, it will be posted on my facebook. Thank you. This pic - I appear with my graduation cap and gown - is from when I was 20 y.o. - 3 years ago - I barely got my Associates in Arts degree. Everything was going really smooth, until I got sick and tired of life just because IT IS BORING. EVERYTHING started to bore me. Nothing amused me because everything looks mechanical and it starts with one day I am born, then I grow up, then I'm supposed to have friends, give myself to friends and family, marry one day, have children, raise them, grandkids and all THAT effort to die. Well, it ALL changed when I had an encounter with God. It wasn't easy. Believe me. I went to church every Sunday for three years and my life was the same: dull, lifeless, sad, depressive, EVEN jokes, friends or going outs didn't help. It was until I made the decision to give ALL OF MYSELF to God: dreams, goals, fears, doubts, EVERYTHING! I started to trust God THIS time, so I knew that the YPG would help me. Today, I can't wait for my major graduation in Dec., of 2010 for an English with a focus in Literature and a minor in Media Analysis. PLUS some background in Journalism classes, and ESL classes (English as a Second Language). All these will count for 7 1/2 years in college. I'm already dizzy by saying all these things... well... the thing is that I'm impressed of myself because I thought I would never get ANY TIME TO STUDY, just the way of how I was before... uh oh. Lazy, party girl, drunkard, excessive fun - which was temporal - to the point that I would not care about important stuff and my obligations, and other things that I prefer to not state now for the sake of my fingers pressing the keyboard - as of this writing -, but you get the idea. What can I say today? Thank you, God and YPG for helping me out! I never thought I could EVER reach THIS far today in the U.S.... by being a college student and BE happy ... I'm aware that I still have to learn a LOT to become a succesful woman. By succesful, I don't mean to have money, houses, car, but the INTERIOR. One needs to start with the interior self - spiritual -, so the goodness can be shown throughout the exterior. "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well" (Matthew 6:33). I'm not lying, it says on the Bible. Why do you want external things if you're interior is not good? If you want to take a closer look at this, just look at those rich people's actions and the kind of rewards they receive. Did they do good deeds and received So what I'm doing right now is to get closer to God... closer to Him in prayer, fastings, faith, in my behavior, in my attitudes, etc. God and His church is my Father, Mother, Family, Best Friend. He is my everything.

Marcia del Refugio Quijada Ruiz
YPG Phoenix, Arizona

March 26 at 3:28am

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Drastic Plea!

My name is Patricia and I’m 17 years old. I’m very weak right now so I’ve asked my friend, Nurse Dani, to help me write this letter. I want to address all the young people of Brazil before it’s too late:

“I used to be a vivacious teen, raised in an excellent upper-middle class family in Florianopolis, Brazil. My father works as an electrical engineer in the largest power company in our state and always provided the best for my two brothers and me, including the freedom I never learned to appreciate.

At age 13, I participated in a modelling contest for a well-known agency and won. I went far in the competition and in the end a couple of girls were chosen to be game show assistants. I was also chosen to be booked for another modelling agency in Sao Paulo.

My beauty made me stand out. Heads turned wherever I went.

I attended the best college in Florianopolis and all the guys at school were at my feet.

On weekends, I went to the mall, the beach and the movies; I hung out with my friends and did all the things life has to offer beautiful people.

But life threw me a curve ball and my luck began changing in October 2004. I went with a group of friends to Oktoberfest in Blumenau (Santa Catarina, Brazil).

My parents trusted me and let me go without much concern. Everything seemed so fabulous in Blumenau. To get things started off that night we had some drinks at Bude a famous bar on 25th St.

Later that night, we went to ‘Proeb’ where the band ‘Cavalinho Branco’ was putting on an awesome show in the Galician Pavilion.

The crowd was rocking out with excitement.

I had already experimented with a few drinks. Without my mother knowing, I used to drink some Amarula liquor, but never enough to get drunk.

I got drunk on beer for the first time on Thursday, the first day of Oktoberfest.

I was smashed the whole night; what a cool sensation! I kissed like 10 guys. My friends mixed soda and beer in a baby bottle to fool the cops because we were minors and couldn’t legally drink. But we drank all night long and those idiots didn’t even notice.

At about 4’o clock in the morning, I was taken to the Emergency Room by some fire fighters because I was going into an alcoholic coma.

They immediately treated me with glucose injections. I almost threw up my guts when I got back to the apartment, but I must admit that I definitely took advantage of my freedom.

The next day, my body was sore and I had a horrible headache; it felt like premenstrual cramps.

On Saturday, we met a group of boys from Sao Paulo that happened to be renting an apartment in the same building as us. Never in my wildest dreams, did I imagine I’d meet my killer that day.

I drank a little on Saturday. The party wasn’t that good, so at about 5:30 in the morning, we decided to go back to the boys’ apartment and just relax for the rest of the morning. A little bit of everything went on that night and I was finally got to try out a joint.

At first I said, “No” but everyone started calling me a wimp. They made so much fun of us, we ended up trying it. It gave me a weird sensation, like a gloomy feeling, but I smoked some more the next day before leaving their apartment.

Marcus, one of the older guys in the group, formed some lines with a white powder, which I later found out was cocaine, and snorted it. They offered me some but I didn’t have the courage to try it that day.

When we got back home to Florianopolis, I noticed a change in myself. I felt the need to try new things and it wasn’t long before I met back up with my murderer: DRUGS again.

Gradually, those I considered to be close friends wouldn’t come around anymore because I was hanging out with a bad crowd, and without noticing, I became an addict. Drugs became part of my daily life.

I went on hallucinating “trips”, smoked weed laced with horse manure and tried cocaine laced with a whole bunch of junk.

We found out that if we mixed blood in with the cocaine, it had a stronger effect. Soon, we not only shared a syringe, but we also shared blood to dilute the powder.

At first, my allowance pretty much covered the costs because we would split the drugs among ourselves and we could afford it. I started buying coke for about $6.00 a gram, but it wasn’t long before I could only find the good stuff for about $12.00 and by now I was using at least five times a day.

I would go out with my “new friends” on Fridays and only come back home on Sundays. Sometimes we bought ecstasy and danced the whole night at the hottest spots… what a blast!

My behaviour at home also changed. My parents quickly took notice, although I tried to hide it at first and told them to mind their own business.

I would steal small things from around the house to sell or trade for drugs. Little by little, the money I was coming up with wasn’t enough so I started sleeping with these old guys in exchange for money. They paid well.

The thought of selling my body made me sick but I had to do it to get the money. With time, my family was being torn apart.

I was admitted into drug rehab treatment centres several times. With much love, my parents spent a fortune trying to reverse the situation.

I would be fine for a couple days after leaving the centre, but eventually ended up sticking myself with needles again. I abandoned everything: school, good friends and family.

In December 2007, I was given my death sentence. I found out that I had contracted the AIDS virus. I don’t know if it was from shooting up drugs or from the unprotected sex.

I must have passed on the virus to a lot of people because men paid more for sex without a condom.

Gradually, my values were faded: family, friends, parents, religion, God—even God—nothing seemed to have a point, it was ridiculous.

I’ll never stop loving my mother and father because they tried everything to save me. They gave me the most precious gift: life and I threw it down the drain.

I was admitted into the hospital, weighing a mere 53 lbs.; horrible. I don’t want any visitors because I don’t want anyone to see me like this. I don’t know how long I’ll live, but I’m asking all young people, with all of my heart, don’t go on this crazy trip.

You certainly will end up regretting it just like I’m regretting it now. Although, now I realise it’s too late for me.”

NOTE: Patricia was admitted to University Hospital in Florianopolis. Danelise, the nurse who took care of her, announced that Patricia died from respiratory failure as a result of AIDS 14 hours after they wrote this letter.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Going even further...

There are doctors and DOCTORS...

lawyers and LAWYERS...

athletes and ATHLETES...

cops and COPS... and bakers and BAKERS. Just look at the pictures below.

All you see are cakes that can be eaten without any of it being wasted.

No plastics or any other artificial stuff was used - everything is edible.

All these cakes were baked by Zhanna from St. Petersburg, Russia.

Pr Luke Castro

Friday, March 19, 2010

Go Beyond - ACTION!


The time is now. Take all the information you received through the Go Beyond campaign and ACT upon them.

You should not waste anymore time. Tomorrow is too late.

Actually, tomorrow will come and some will say ‘tomorrow’ again. No more procrastination!

Those who are willing to sacrifice TODAY will reap the fruits TOMORROW.


Pr Luke Castro.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Go Beyond - Be Audacious!

Dare to do it! Dive in, take risks and be bold.

The movie depicts very well Ben Carson’s tenacity in the beginning of his career. He took risks. He wasn’t afraid of failing, especially when faced with a complicated and risky surgery.

You should never diminish yourselves simply because of the fact that they come from a one-parent home, or a poor and uneducated family. The devil uses that to belittle you before society and the world.

Another strong point we can extract from the movie is the support Ben Carson's mother gave him. She supported him big time, in spite of not having any education herself.

She invested in her son’s future by pushing him to go further, always telling him he wasn’t dumb or stupid but intelligent and smart. I've seen many youths ignoring their parents advice. They think their parents are picky, annoying or even too radical because of their constant demands on studies and so on, not realizing that all they want is their well-being.

On the other hand there are those who are unfortunate and don’t get the necessary encouragement from their own parents. If you are included in this group I say you to you: don't look at what you don't have but at what you have, which is faith and God. He will always back you up, no matter what.

You have qualities, skills, talents that no other person has. Do not settle down. You can always pursue greater things.

So, remember, BE AUDACIOUS.

Pr Luke Castro.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Go Beyond - Stir Away From Distraction

Once you begin building this bridge, which will take you where you want to, distractions will come along the way. Whenever working on a building, house, shopping mall, builders are always faced with challenges that can possibly delay the conclusion of that particular construction.

You will have to stir away from any sort of distraction.

The devil will do anything in his power to get you off-track, to make you flinch.

He will try to convince you it's too hard, that you don't have the set of skills necessary to overcome; he will use the so called 'friends' to get you distracted or even a family member to discourage you, yes, someone who you would never expect.

Therefore you need to focus and remind yourselves constantly it’s a dream that must to come true.

Set your eyes on the target and go towards that dream full steam ahead.

Pastor Luke Castro

Friday, March 5, 2010

Go Beyond - Building Bridges

Building bridges

There is a huge difference between a dream - a cherished aspiration, ambition, or ideal - and a wishful thinking - the formation of beliefs and making decisions according to what might be pleasing to imagine instead of by appealing to evidence or rationality.

There are many youths who dream of big things but do very little to get there. They should start building the path now, which will, at some point later on in life, lead them to the fulfillment of that dream.

Joseph had a dream given by God when he was a teenager. He dreamed that he would succeed one day. And it happened. That dream came true when he was at the age of 30.

A lot of things happened along the way that could become a reason for him to give up. He never did. He reminded himself constantly of the that dream. He focused. He did not flinch at any time.

Learn a new language, read books, work on your skills, acquire new ones too. For instance, if you want to become a lawyer then work for a law firm, even if you will have to work as an office boy.

At least you will gain some knowledge on that field. This means that in the future, when you finish college, you will be one or two steps ahead of others.

How about you? What have you been doing about that dream? Are you working towards it or was it just a fantasy?

Next week I will tell you what happens after you start building the bridge.

Pr Luke Castro