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I Now Have A Relationship with God

Martin struggled through life with an abusive father, a broken family, and going to churches that had no real faith. Then he accepts an invite to the INC.


I Now Have A Relationship with God

Martin Castillo: My dad was very abusive. He used to hit my mom. Just remembering the pain…and the sufferings. You had to worry about getting beaten or yelled at all the time. Day by day, you just go do what you got to do.

I was struggling really bad.

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Stories of Faith

My name is Martin Castillo. I’m 47 years old. I was born and raised in Wailuku, Maui. I am Protuguese-Filipino.

In Maui, it was simple life—not too busy. I am the eldest of four. I was the oldest, so I always had to take care of my other siblings. Make sure they eat, make sure they do their homework. My parents [were] always working. My stepdad was in the military. He was a Catholic.

We went to mass maybe once a month and on Christmas Eve. I went through their Bible studies. I even became an altar boy at a point. I did those things because that’s what my parents wanted me to do.

My teen years were busy. I started a newspaper route. I continued to do my studies in high school. From there, I graduated [and] worked at McDonald’s and take care of my siblings while mom goes to work.

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Emotional Roller Coaster

When my mom married my stepdad, I believe I was maybe 5 or 6 [years old]. My stepdad, he’s a good guy but, you know, he got into trouble—alcohol, drugs. But he taught me a lot of things. He taught me how to fix cars. He would be drunk all the time. And if the car didn’t do what he wanted it to do, he would get mad and throw the beer at the car or truck, whatever we were fixing. You know, he had a really bad temper. My mom even found cocaine under the bed and my mom confronted him.

At that point, she already got divorced from my dad, so basically, I was the man of the house so I had to help.

After they got divorced, it was still stressful because my dad would, you know, make you feel bad, “Oh how come you went with your mom? How come you’re not with me? Your mom is the one. Your mom is the bad person.” Emotional roller coaster.

Just remembering the pain…and the sufferings. You had to worry about, you know, getting beaten or yelled at all the time. Really, I just didn’t care anymore, you just… day by day, you just go, do what you got to do—go work. I tried to, maybe not come home as much. You go home, you go work. But during the time that my parents were married, I did, you tried more or I tried more to help with the house. So that, you know, my dad wouldn’t be mad. He would be…he would be happy.

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Money Was Everything

I was struggling really bad. Money was everything at the time, so that you could buy stuff that you need, put gas in your car. I used to dig into rubbish cans at the tire store just to get new tires for my car, because I couldn’t afford it. My mom, she had to provide us food, medical. My dad, he wouldn’t go to work so that he wouldn’t have to pay child support.

At that point in my life, I didn’t really socialize that much. I had friends. We used to go drink after work. That was my way out in life at that time—to go drink with my friends, hand out, play video games at the pool hall, and then go work again the next day. All I did was work, go to school. I did go to church with mom and that’s how I met people.

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It Wasn’t Really Faith

My mom took us to two different churches during that time. That church, it was a moving church. I think we were there maybe a year or two. We had to help put up a tent. We had to set up the sound equipment. There was a female pastor and a male pastor. It was one of those churches where you could dance around. Much later, after I left the church and didn’t hang around anymore, the pastors killed themselves. They were embezzling money from the church.

For me, it wasn’t really faith. It was, I guess bonding—to see other people, you know, believe in God or believe in Jesus Christ.

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Something Felt Different

I was introduced into the Church Of Christ by a close family relative. He kept asking me to come to a worship service. I said, “No, I’m okay.” And eventually, I gave in and said, “Ok, I’ll come.” So I went to a worship service. I was, at first, surprised because the sisters would sit on one side and the brothers would sit on one side. And I thought that was strange at the time.

I kept going back to the Church Of Christ because something felt different. I can’t explain it. I just remember even going to Bible studies and the minister, you know, when he would teach, he would teach from the Bible. He would even show you the verses. You could see the truth, not just being told it. The lessons are geared towards understanding the Bible. Because you can read it like a book and you [won’t] understand it.

And by going through the Bible studies, you get to learn the things that were wrong in my previous religions like, you know, why the Catholic Church uses the big cross in the front and statues of different apostles around the church, Mother Mary.

The minister showed me the correct verses where you don’t worship idols. The only one that should be worshipped is our Almighty Father.

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“You shall have no other gods before Me.

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image

any likeness of anything that is in heaven above,

or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water

under the earth…” 

[Exodus 20:3-4 New King James Version]

The things that I liked about this Church was that the things were read straight from the Bible, you had the answers from the Bible. A lot of the teachings just kind of clicked in your head that this is right. All that stuff played into my…thinking of where, “This is the one. This is the true Church. The Church Of Christ.”

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Martin was baptized in the Church Of Christ on July 27, 2002.

Looking back at my life, I did have religion but I didn’t have that relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ and God. Now, you have that relationship with our Almighty God. With that, the Church taught you how to be a stronger family by boning. Take that time out of your day to connect with your child, your wife. I believe in the teaching that there [is] a heaven, a place that we can go to with no hardships.    

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Straight From The Bible

I would encourage people to give the Church Of Christ, at least, a chance. I went to many different churches myself, and for me, the Church Of Christ teaches straight from the Bible. It encourages family, it encourages a relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ and our Almighty Father.

I guess my greatest fear is that when I speak to my mom and she doesn’t respond, my fear is that she will, ultimately, someday pass away and not find the Church or find the true religion that she’s seeking for.

For me, God is my Father—someone that you can talk to, someone that you can cry to. Only in the Church Of Christ, they teach you how to pray to God and to have that relationship with God.

I believe if I had the Church Of Christ when I was growing up, I would have probably gone through struggles knowing that you could pray to God and He would answer your prayers. Knowing that someone is there to lead you in that direction, I think would be so much more easier than the way I did it.

My story of faith is…never give up. No matter what you’re going through in life, keep seeking, keep looking, keep praying, and keep praying.   



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I Now Have A Relationship with God