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Peace and Perspective: A Life Leveraged for the Kingdom

By Andrew Shaughnessy, May 24, 2018

David Castor’s passion for missions developed early. Growing up as a pastor’s kid in Zephyrhills, Florida, he spent his Sunday nights hanging out at his best friend’s Christian Missionary Alliance church.

“They would parade the missionaries up on stage, and I would just be in a fantasy world hearing their stories about the mission field,” David said.

“That little CMA church gave me my heart for missions. ... To this day when I’m sitting with a missionary team leader, I become like a little kid again listening to their stories.”

Today, David works as a bus driver at Walt Disney World, but every chance he gets he is out on short-term mission trips with Orangewood Presbyterian Church in Maitland, Florida, where he serves as a deacon. By his latest count, David has been on 74 mission trips to 14 different countries. He averages four or five trips per year, and loves every minute.

Even with so many trips under his belt, there are moments that stick: The missionary wife who told him that she had been serving in Japan for five years, but had never been able to worship next to her husband at church until David and his team came to ease the burden at the nursery; the little child at an eye clinic who he helped fit for glasses—her eyes lighting up when she could see clearly for the first time in her life.

“I was born with a birth defect—a cleft palate,” said David. “My parents made sure I got all the surgeries I needed, but to hold a child in Honduras that has a cleft lip and to be able to pray for the mother and refer her to our cleft palate surgical team, that’s very powerful to me.”

David has a way of cutting through the small talk and getting very deep, very quickly with people. It’s a skill that has served him well on the field, and has enabled him to point many to the cross. He loves going back to the same places year after year and picking up with people right where he left off.

But everything can change in the blink of an eye.

A health scare and a timely seminar
Three years ago, just before embarking on yet another mission trip to Europe, David had a bump removed from the top of his head. When he returned from the trip the doctor called: “Drop everything. Get in here now.”

David was diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma. By the time the doctors caught it, the cancer had reached his lymph nodes. Suddenly death became a very real, present possibility. The months to come were filled with endless tests and immunotherapy treatments. Finally, David was declared cancer free.

“When you get a scare like that, you start thinking, ‘Gee, what do I do with all the assets, the gifts, the treasures that the Lord has bestowed on me? ’” David said. “I can’t take it with me.”

Not long after, David attended a seminar at the 2017 PCA Global Missions Conference on “Turning Taxes into Kingdom Treasure” led by MTW’s Director of Estate and Gift Planning Bruce Owens. In the wake of his close brush with death, the seminar greatly impacted David, and he decided he needed to get serious about leveraging his resources for kingdom purposes. When tax time came around, David met with his financial planner, an attorney, and Bruce, and together they updated his estate documents and developed a Donor Advised Fund (DAF), giving David an immediate tax benefit and allowing him to distribute grants from the fund to various ministries over time.

“A huge burden has been lifted from my shoulders,” he added. “I’m so at peace, now that I’ve gotten my house in order. Everything that I’ve acquired on this earth belongs to the Lord. I can leverage my life for His kingdom.”

1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” David has lived his life by that verse, giving his whole self—time, skills, and financial assets—for the advancement of the gospel throughout the world and the glory of the God who has captured his heart.

“They say I’m cancer free,” David said. “He’s not done with me yet. I plan on continuing to go on mission trips as long as I can. I’m 50 years old now. The other bus drivers say, ‘Aren’t you scared to go to these other countries?’ And I always tell them, ‘Hey, if something happens to me on the mission field, know that I died happy.’”


MTW has resources available for donors interested in long-term planning. Visit MTW’s Center for Estate and Gift Planning to learn more. 

 

Andrew Shaughnessy

Andrew Shaughnessy is a long-time word slinger who spent nearly six years as MTW’s staff writer, gathering and telling impact stories from missionaries across the globe. These days, he’s off working as an analyst and editor in the publishing industry, writing fiction, and mountaineering. He holds a B.A. in history and English literature from Covenant College, and an M.S. in political science from Portland State University.

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