Sunday, September 29, 2013

A Father's Musings

Throughout Gabe's life, and especially since he received his mission call, I've had powerful feelings that Gabe has an important role to play in fulfilling the purpose of the Book of Mormon.  The title page of the Book of Mormon says it is written "to show unto the remnant of the house of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers; and that they may know the covenants of the Lord, that they are not cast off forever—And also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ..."

When Gabe was set apart as a missionary his blessing said he was called to take the Book of Mormon to his brothers and sisters who are, like him, the children of Father Lehi.  Teaching the gospel to the descendants of the Book of Mormon people is one of the primary preparations that must occur before the second coming of the Savior, and Gabe has a very personal part to play in this preparation.  Here are some of the scriptures that have come to my mind as I have pondered this:

Enos 12-18 - The Lord covenanted with Enos and his fathers that their record would be preserved and brought forth to their descendants when the time was right.

1 Nephi 15:13-14 - Nephi saw in vision that the fulness of the Gospel would be brought by the Gentiles to the remnant of his seed.

3 Nephi 16 - Christ tells how the gospel will be brought to the descendants of the Nephites and Lamanites.

Mormon chapter 7 - Mormon testifies directly to the latter-day Lamanites.

Gabe, the work you are doing has been foretold for centuries.  It is a critical part of the history of the world.  Be strong and courageous.  God is on your side.


Half Way Through the MTC

Here is the email we got from Gabe this week.  The  frightened boy we dropped off at the MTC  has become  a confident, articulate and spiritually powerful man.

Hey, Dad!

        So I have had a great week. You are welcome. Thanks. I got the cookies. Thanks! They were good. I am actually trying to get fit and loose weight. One of the elders in my district is good with personal training and hes pretty buff. haha. So yea I am actually sore from last night and this morning. My body is a temple and I really need to take care of it and attend to it. So also we had a companion switch in our district. I switched companions and I have Elder Misalucha from the Philippians! he is so cool. We work so well together. So basically if I were to have really taught some people the gospel I would have baptized 2 already. My old companion is with our district leader. He is cool and he went to AF.  He knows a lot of my friends like Brad and Kimball. and Braden.

Tell our ward they're awesome. tell them the MTC is fun and its not what most people expect it to be like. When we really study the book of mormon and really dig in. It makes so much more sense. So I am so glad to be here. It is hard. I miss friends and seeing everybody and I MISS my FAMILYs! but its what is right. One of Brynn's friends works here at the wyview campus in the creamery and I get to say hi. Also today we went to the temple and I saw old friends and they are friends with Brynn.

Dad I love you and I miss you. You are the best dad. I know a lot more about the church here and it is making me grow a stronger testimony. This church is true. I don't know how a young uneducated boy can make up all that stuff. or even like a dream and he saw all that cause thats one heck of a dream. haha. I know this church is true. It is so much easier to teach and stuff. I can teach really good without a book. I am apparently the best one in our zone in Spanish so everyone asks for help. Haha its a good feeling. Well Time to go.I will talk to you next week. Tell mom I love her. Shes the best mom. She has been their for me. I love you all. Keep suzy going get her reading and praying every day. Satan will do all he can to stop here. She is at  a hard time especially at school and trying to fit in. I can't email everyone now cause we got a busy schedule so sorry! I love you all. Adios! 

Elder Castleton 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Backing up.....

I need to back up today and post some pictures from before Gabe left.  The weekend before Gabe went to the MTC, his birth mother, Maria, came to visit for a few days.  We had a great time, and enjoyed getting to know her.  Maria, thanks for coming.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Actual letters this week!

We received an actual pen-and-paper letter from Gabe this week.  It arrived with a package of things he sent home.  Here is a transcript:

Mom & Dad,
I can't tell you how much I am happy & blessed to be here.  I know I've been here for 2 weeks and I love it.  I have never felt the spirit so strong....I'm so happy.  Love you both.  Thanks a ton!

Love, Elder Castleton

And then another letter written to the whole family:


Hey, how is everyone?  I am so happy here.  I am doing so good.  Lots of Spanish!  I pray in Spanish and bear my testimony in Spanish.  I have felt the spirit more than I have ever felt in my entire life.  I feel the gift of tongues and it helps.  I pray like 20 times a day.  It's weird.  Like wearing church shirts is so normal.  Wearing my p-day clothes is weird.  Family... I have a testimony that Joseph Smith saw God the Father and his son Jesus Christ.  I testify of it.  He did translate the Book of Mormon.  He went through so much.  I'm so grateful for what he did.  This is truly the true church.  I can never deny.  I will take the truth and preach unto every soul.  I feel the Savior's love for me.  I love all you guys.  Jesus loves you!  Take care.  The church is true!  I testify of it.  I am a representative of Jesus Christ.  I am so blessed and proud.

Love you all!!
Elder Castleton

Gabe, I want to stand beside you and testify that Jesus is the Christ, that Joseph Smith is his prophet, and that the Book of Mormon is true!  I am so proud of you.  I feel the power of your testimony in your letters.  I love you!

Love, Dad

Sunday, September 15, 2013

MTC, Week 2

A new email and some pictures from Gabe this week:

Hi, Dad. It is going great! I am so happy and having the time of my life. So we stayed here in the main MTC campus, but then we moved to the west view campus where the family housing is. It is so much nicer. It feels like I'm in college. There's a lot more things we can do and freedom. I have P day every Friday so every Friday I can Email you guys. We had 8 people in our district and now their are 6. We had two get sent off to the Spain MTC. We are all such good friends. They say they are so glad to have me because I can make them feel good and happy when they are down. My companion's name is Elder Hall, then we have Elder Pilkington, Elder Misalucha, Elder Ray, Elder Webster. They are so kind and nice.  I have been assigned to be the Senior Companion. My spanish is getting so good. It is taking me a while to type cause I type in Spanish haha. Well dad I love you and I miss you. Thank you for getting me up so early to get to mission prep. It has been so helpful to know and be prepared. Like what the scouts say " BE PREPARED". I have grown a big testimony and I have learned a lot in just a week. I have practiced a lot teaching investigators and I am so excited to go teach the people of Mexico. I will try to upload fotos so you can see. I will talk to you soon. Te amo mucho. habla en una semana. 

First email!!!

On Friday, Sept. 6, we received a brief email from Gabe.  He is doing very well and loves the MTC.  This went a long way towards easing his parents fears and stopping our tears :)  Here is what he said:

 I am having a great time here. I got to meet all my elders I'm rooming with. My zone. I have a pretty cool companion he is cool and nice. We all get a long great. I have seen a lot of people I know. Everyone is so nice to me and I am doing great. I have learned a lot of Spanish already. I also have felt the spirit so strong here. It is amazing to see all these missionaries. The food is really really good here. The Chocolate Milk! It is to die for. I am afraid I will get too fat because I eat a lot. I need to loose weight. I am having a really good time. Getting up is actually easier than I thought but it's staying awake that's tough. My companion is struggling with spanish and I am helping him. He is very cool and I am glad to have a good companion like him.  I am glad I am not the only one having a hard time studying. Lots of people struggle and its hard for them to concentrate. Some people never have studied for more than 5 mins so it can be hard for them. I am trying hard to do the best I can. I remember Stake Pres telling me that quote. which is..." All I want, Is all you've got" I am so glad to experience all of this. I need to be more effective on my studying. Thanks for everything you have helped me with. 

Elder Castleton

Saturday, September 14, 2013

photo story of Gabe entering the MTC:). By Suzy Castleton for photography class!

Gabe Enters the MTC

Gabe entered the MTC on September 4, 2013.  What a bitter sweet day!  Many tears were shed, but we are so glad that Gabe was ready, willing and courageously prepared to serve.  We love you, Gabe!

Gabe's Mission Call

Gabe received his mission call on May 16, 2013.  He is called to the Mexico Ciudad Juarez Mission.  When Gabe was adopted from Mexico as an infant, he was granted a visa and entered the United States at Juarez.  We know that his call to return to Juarez to share the gospel and testify of Jesus Christ is inspired.

Gabe celebrated receiving his call with family and friends.

The purpose of this blog is to share Gabe's experiences as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Mexico Ciudad Juarez Mission.  We will try to update it regularly with pictures, emails and letters received from Gabe.