Student Dream of Pastoring Is Closer to Fulfillment

Student Dream of Pastoring Is Closer to Fulfillment

Smith Castillo is one step closer to becoming a pastor.

Smith Castillo’s family immigrated to New York City from the Dominican Republic when he was a baby. His father, who’d never gone past the second grade, worked hard as a cabdriver to support his family and give them a better life and opportunities he’d never had. Raised an Adventist, Castillo says he dreamed of becoming a minister since he was very young, but because of a leg deformity and a stutter, he thought he’d never be able to be a pastor.

When he was 12, his father was murdered while driving his cab. His family went through some difficult times, but Castillo’s mother always reminded him that his father wanted a better life for him. His family moved to Florida when he was 18, and Castillo took general classes at several different area colleges, but dropped out after becoming bored. The desire to be a minister was pushed to the background. He was active in his church, though, and began his own business. He met and married a young woman. But within a month of the wedding, she told him she’d made a mistake and filed for a divorce. Soon his business began to fail, and within a year, it, too, was gone.

His mother encouraged him to keep active and make new friends. He signed up for, and made a friend who lived in Dallas, and he also kept the commitments he’d made to his local church by attending the August 2009 Oshkosh Pathfinder Camporee with his Pathfinder group, and it was there, while listening to the theme, “Courage to Stand,” that he decided he needed to follow God’s calling for him be a minister.

“As soon as I got home, I asked God where I should apply. I was impressed to apply at three places, and Southwestern was one of them. I told God that I would attend the school that called me first to let me know I’d been accepted.”

The day after he submitted the application, his friend, Rosalba, dropped off a cousin at Southwestern’s campus for the beginning of the fall semester. While she was there, she asked an enrollment officer to contact Castillo.

That call cemented his decision. Within days he was enrolled, but there was a problem.

“I didn’t have any money, because my business had failed. I checked my bank account two days before registration and there was a negative balance. I got on my knees and prayed and I could hear God telling me to check the account again. I did, and there had been a deposit in just the right amount that I needed. “

“I love being at Southwestern. I’m enrolled in the student pastor program, and they introduced me the first Sabbath at my new church as an associate pastor. I didn’t know how to take it – if they would accept me with my disability. I’ve joined the spiritual development team also, and will be helping with programs on campus, and I’ll be the student association religious vice president next school year.

Castillo says that Southwestern helped him discover his two great loves, the ministry, and Rosalba. They married in December of 2009, and she is also now a Southwestern student. Castillo says that after he graduates, he’ll do whatever God wants for him, he’s done putting obstacles in God’s way.

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1 Comment

  1. Cindy
    January 26, 20:44 Reply
    We are so proud to have you as a pastor!! We love you and Rosalva :D

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