Pastor Miguel Angel Castillo – Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Miguel Angel Castillo is the pastor of Iglesia Fundamento Biblico (IFB), a church he planted 30 years ago in the poorest district of Santo Domingo. Pastor Miguel is married to Clara, and they have three grown children and five grandchildren.
Pastor Miguel has been a church planter for thirty years, and has been involved in planting many churches and training those church’s leaders. In the last three years, pastor Miguel and the men of his church have planted three churches in three towns in Azua, a very poor rural province in the southwest portion of the Dominican Republic. In those new churches, they have installed three pastors that have been trained by pastor Miguel. With the help of people in the U.S. and the D.R., they have recently built church buildings for two of those new churches, which have both grown to about 80 adult members. Churches have sent short-term mission teams to help with this labor.
Pastor Miguel holds a seminary-level pastoral training seminar every month at his church which up to 150 pastors and leaders currently attend. He provides them with study materials and feeds them two meals. This prepares new leaders for church plants, but is also transforming many existing churches by training the pastors of those churches to study and preach God’s Word accurately. As pastor Miguel receives additional funds, they will expand this work by live-streaming this training to remote training sites in the D.R. to serve other pastors who are too poor or too far away to travel to Santo Domingo each month. The funding for this training expansion will profoundly impact churches throughout the entire county, and is a completely indigenous effort.
The IFB church is active in many mercy ministries that serve to open doors for sharing the Gospel. Through partnerships with international Christian organizations who provide some material goods, pastor Miguel and his church members distribute food, clothing, shoes, medicines, and vitamins to the neediest areas in Santo Domingo and other areas of the Dominican Republic. They are poised to increase these evangelistic outreaches when they have the funds to purchase more goods and the fuel to drive to these areas as they preach the Gospel and establish Bible studies.
With donated building materials, the men of pastor Miguel’s church built a room onto their building that serves as a medical clinic to the people in their district who cannot afford care. Christian doctors and nurses donate their time to staff this small clinic for a few hours a day, and over 100 patients come through each week. Every patient hears the Gospel while waiting for their exam. They need funds for additional medicines and equipment. They also want to expand their medical ministry to include short-term medical missions to other areas of the D.R.
Student Arts and Music Academies – Generation of Change
Franklin Lopez was saved and mentored at pastor Miguel’s church. He started a Gospel arts academy for poor students in Santo Domingo, called Generation of Change (GOC). Meeting once a week, dozens of students have been saved through hearing the Gospel as they learn to draw, act, read music, and play a musical instrument. Several public-school administrators have asked Franklin to host an academy in their schools, but because of a lack of transportation and materials Franklin’s been limited to two academies; one in the IFB church and in one school. They are now preparing to open an academy in a second school, and already over 200 new students in that school have pre-enrolled to participate! This will bring their total number of students to 450! There are plans to expand these academies across the Dominican Republic, when the necessary funds are received.
Miguel’s church holds a Vacation Bible School each summer where 300 to 500 children attend daily in 2 shifts. This takes many adults to manage, and includes a short-term missions team from the U.S. each year. The IFB church members attempt to follow up with these children during the year, to get their families involved in their weekly church ministries. Many who are Christians today are a product of this VBS program. The church also hosts an annual Children’s Christmas Dinner and music program with gifts for 500 children.
After the Haitian earthquake in 2010, pastor Miguel and his men drove into Haiti with medical supplies to set up a temporary triage hospital. They rescued a group of small children whose parents had been killed, and established the Shekinah Orphanage for them in a safer area. They currently have 42 children there, providing them with food and clothing, medical care, and an education. After hurricane Matthew struck Haiti in the fall of 2016 and destroyed part of the orphanage, they rebuilt a much better bed facility, and are currently trying to raise funds to build a bathroom and shower facility for the children.
Recently, three of the original girls have graduated from school and are preparing to attend university in Santo Domingo, where pastor Miguel’s church can host and care for them. The three girls are planning to study medicine, law, and nursing, and have expressed a desire to return to Haiti to serve the orphanage and surrounding community.