Following God's Call
Why devote our lives to missions? In 1956, John Casto gave 10 reasons in response to this question on his missions application.
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By JoLene Lampinen
I was moved when I reviewed John’s application paper and read his responses to the question of why he was applying for service with China Inland Mission (CIM/OMF). These were his reasons:
Obedience to our Lord’s commands.
Constraining influence of the love of Christ.
Guiding hand of the Spirit.
Knowledge of the greater need out there and the few who are responding.
Desire to see the Lord glorified through the salvation of souls and the establishing of living bodies of believers.
The Lord’s blessings and mercies to me, not the least of which are eternal salvation and a strong healthy body with which to glorify Him.
Desire to endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
Nothing in the homeland to hold me back.
Nothing else to live for, but Christ and His Kingdom.
I cannot do anything less than volunteer for the “front line” after all he has done for me.
From the Military to the Mission Field
After being discharged from military service in Hawaii, John had a growing conviction that God wanted him to be a missionary and he made a public announcement to this effect during his second year of college.
Circumstances forced him to stay out of school for a year, but during that time, the conviction only grew stronger in his heart that God had his hand on him for overseas mission service. With this in mind, John applied to the CIM in 1956.
“My heart and mind have been drawn back many times to the people I came to know and love in Hawaii, and then beyond them to the peoples of Southeast Asia. With confidence in the Faithful One, I now look forward to service in the Far East in the Fellowship of the China Inland Mission.”
Evangelism and Church Planting in Thailand
In May 1957, John traveled to Singapore and then on to Bangkok for language and orientation training. In December of 1957, John continued language study and served in hospital evangelism and follow-up at Manorom Christian Hospital. At the hospital, John met Virginia who he married in 1959.
For two years the Castos served at Tatago in evangelism pioneering; two more years were spent in Paknanpho in evangelism and church work, followed by a year in which they served in Bangkok where John served in the office.
Back to Manoram they went from 1968-71 as John served as Coordinator of Evangelism and served as a Field Council member. From 1972-1979 he and his wife served in rural church planting and evangelism in Uthaithani prior to moving to Lopburi for pioneering church planting and evangelism through July of 1990. They completed their field service in 1993 in Ban Rai (Uthaithani) serving in evangelism and church nurturing.
Leaving a Rich Legacy
The many field director reports during their years of service in Thailand spoke of John being a faithful and effective worker; with God’s grace they were seeing steady growth among the Ban Rai churches. The Castos were good church planters who were appreciated by their team. John’s solid, faithful, loyal, reliable work and diligent service resulted in church planting success in Central Thailand.
While John suffered from health issues when he returned the US, his faithfulness to the Lord remained unswerving. His was a life well lived and he left behind an amazing legacy.
I began working with OMF in 1991 as the Assistant to the Administration and Finance Director. In 2005 I moved to Pennsylvania to live with and care for the last 28 retirees at the OMF Lammermuir Community until it’s close in 2008. Upon returning to Colorado, I was allowed to create a new position to care for all of our OMF retirees around the US. In 2014, I decided to really get serious about the Retiree Care position, and I married one of my retirees! We moved to Loveland, Colorado in 2017 to help care for my aging parents and are still residing here.