- Theodor "Paco" Castillo
Prisoner and Student Paco Castillo Reflects on the TUMI Curriculum
Hello, my name is Paco Castillo. I am a 52 year old Hispanic man who has been incarcerated for 24 years. I have also been walking with the Lord for the same amount of time...24 years. Relinquishing my life to God the night of my arrest, I was 28 years old and illiterate. I learned to read and write using the word of God. The Bible was my first book I ever read, and it was my first dictionary. Since that day I have received my GED, along with several diplomas and certificates from other institutions, with thousands of hours of studies from one program or another. I have drunk in the blessings of the Lord as much as possible.
The TUMI curriculum was introduced to me just about a year ago. I, and another brother "Mo," had been praying and seeking God's guidance with two programs which had been on the horizon: TUMI, and another that the pastor at LCF [Limon Correctional Facility] had wanted to bring in. The Spirit moved and the TUMI curriculum was gracefully presented without much red tape.
We reviewed the material, the level of study expected, sought the Lord, and waited for the Lord to move. With much pleasure we were able to move forward. Our first class was Module #5, "Bible Interpretation." The syllabus was not vast but the demands clear. It would be top level of studies for top level returns - with the "real" message of Christ and His kingdom revealed. The whole of that class, and those that followed, birthed in us a fire that will never go out: to take the gospel from our own core and breathe it out into the world near and far. Our very selves have been moved to a higher awareness and ownership of all of God's house. We have been called to come, go, preach, teach, baptize and love the most precious part of God's creation - the souls of men.
The vision TUMI has, along with The Cell Church ministry, is not their own. It finds its origin within the heart of Christ. It is a mandate that all Christians should cling to so tightly, that it oozes out of every pore. The message of love and redemption is not our own; we are not to hurt it nor hide it. We are to hold it out and light the world on fire through it.
Out of all the schools that I have been affiliated with, The Urban Ministry Institute holds its own, and would be an asset to all who would have the opportunity to study under their tutelage. Amen.
Thank you for your time and attention. - Paco