On March 20th, 2013, right around 5pm, we pulled into the back driveway of a snowy Lake Ann Camp, having just completed a 2,500 mile van ride from Salem, Oregon. We had spent five days on the road seeing family along the way, and the kids looked at their new home for the first time (Traci and I had seen it just once before). We were all nervous, we were all excited and we were all…VERY hungry! We grabbed dinner at Papa’s J’s pizza across the street and spent the first night in our new digs. No mattresses, no couches — no furniture of any kind — but a lot of hope and energy about our future in God’s grand plan.
Today, one day shy of what would have been our second anniversary at the camp, we’re officially launching the next phase of our lives and ministry. Who knew that two years ago today, we were already preparing for this moment?
Traci and I have been on this wild journey, and we count it a true honor that so many of you have journeyed with us! When we left Salem in 2013, we left behind a great church with awesome friendships and meaningful relationships, and we headed to Northern Michigan, unsure of what was waiting. Our hearts truly ached to leave a place that had been home for over 12 years to our family, a church that had been the only ones our children knew and a city where most of my family still lived. Montana was the furthest “east” any of our family had settled.
On March 20th 2013, Lake Ann Camp became our new home and we quickly settled into life and work God had so clearly called us to. Although our time at LAC ended abruptly with heart break just two years later, the time of ministry God gave us was awesome! We wouldn’t trade it for anything. And clearly, through it all, God was already preparing us for this day.
So today, we are excited to officially launch Overboard Ministries, full-time, and begin chasing after the big dreams that God has placed in our hearts.
Back in April of 2011, I published my first book, Project Joseph. In the process of writing the first manuscript, I began researching how to get the book published. I read blogs (started this one, too), interviewed authors, called publishing companies and submitted several letters with a copy of my book. Through many rejections, one letter was returned by a publisher that had clearly done two things: first, the respondent had actually read my book and second, he had taken the time to send a personal response.
I know publishing houses don’t have time to read every submission and don’t have the man-power to personally respond to every request, but I was grateful for this one letter. In it, the reviewer of my book encouraged me to complete the manuscript and finish the project to completion. He told me that his company published a very narrow style of book, and my writing wasn’t in that style. However, he assured me that it was a book worth writing and that I should pursue it all the way to publishing.
That letter is one of the main reasons Overboard Ministries exists.
As we approach the four year anniversary of Overboard Ministries this April, we have published 9 books by 8 authors, and 3 more books will be out within the next month or two. We have several projects lining up in the ranks, and by the end of 2015 it is likely we will have close to 20 books in our arsenal! But publishing books is only part of the dream of Overboard Ministries.
Honestly, when Traci and I first began to dream up the Overboard Ministries concept, we hoped that the publishing arm would become a financial tool by which we could fund other facets of the ministry. We thought Overboard would involve:
- Speaking to high school and middle school students
- Investing in couples and marriages through classes, seminars and retreats
- Ministry to those in ministry — coming alongside pastors and their wives
- Mentoring youth pastors and those going into full-time student ministry
- Publishing books that are intensely biblical and intensely practical.
But these things aren’t being done to simply maintain the status quo. Overboard Ministries is about helping believers live their God-designed lives out of the comfort of the boat, and out on the water where Jesus is building His Kingdom. We want to challenge students to live-out their faith in radical ways on their school campuses, sports teams and in their own homes. Traci and I have a passion to see couples put faith in to practice in how they approach every aspect of their marriages. We know too many pastors (and wives!) in ministry who have been so beat up and wounded, that they’re simply existing day-by day; we want to encourage them and help restore their passions to dream God-sized dreams for their organizations! I have met too many youth pastors who fit the young youth pastor stereotype (it’s not a good one!). I love to help young guys develop a faith-driven philosophy of ministry that will challenge students — and parents! — to put faith into practice every day, while also helping these guys develop long-term ministry strategies. And our books must continue to be intensely biblical and intensely practical, challenging readers to make their faith an everyday experience.
As God has walked us through this amazing journey together, and brought us to the place of taking this thing full-time, Traci and I know that Overboard Ministries will only be as strong as the team He continues to put around us. So many of you have encouraged us over the past two months with financial gifts that have brought us to tears, and many more have overwhelmed us with words of encouragements, powerful passages of Scripture and timely texts. THANK YOU.
So we’re asking you to continue your relationship with Overboard — with Traci and me — as we move into the next phase of this ministry. We are looking to gain true partners in ministry in two main areas: prayer and financial support. First of all, we know the heart of Overboard is going to be our prayer team. Not just people who say, “hey, I’ll pray for you…” (I’ve been guilty of that more times that I care to admit!), but people who will add us to their daily prayer list, will read over our regular prayer updates and will ask God to do amazing work in, and through, us. CLICK HERE to be added to the Overboard Ministries prayer list.
Secondly, we are anxious to find people who believe in Traci and me, and the vision we have for Overboard, and who will come along side us with monthly financial support. We have supported friends in the past, so we know what a huge commitment this is, and yet we also know the joy of sharing in the work of others through our financial gifts. While prayer is the heart of Overboard, monthly support is the backbone. Would you consider supporting Overboard Ministries with a monthly gift? Whether it’s $10 a month or $1,000 a month, your investment in Overboard is an investment in the work that God is going to continue to do through this ministry. (Maybe for you, you’d like to make a one-time gift to help jump-start our work today. That’s awesome!) All gifts are tax-deductible through our partnership with Ripe for Harvest, and if you want to be a part of our monthly support, click HERE. (choose one of the payment options, and then select “Joe Castaneda” from the drop-down list)
I believe God loves it when His children step out in faith and express audacious goals! Our audacious goal for raising support is this: we want to find at least 100 monthly financial partners between now and April 30th (just six weeks away!). That number seems so obnoxiously large to me, but our God is so obnoxiously bigger than anything I could ever dream up! A big verse for me the past few years has been Ephesians 3:20 (in The Message) “God can do anything, you know, far more than you could ever imagine, guess or request in your wildest dreams…” I love that! Our audacious goals are nothing in God’s eyes, and so even as we set this one, we know He can do more.
And as our team, our Overboard family, grows, we long to keep our relationship a two-way connection. Traci and I are already preparing a prayer wall where the names and faces of our supporters will be prominent so that we remember to pray for, and support, you, too. From day one we want to build lasting relationships so that all of us can share in the great work that God will do as Overboard Ministries moves forward.
I can’t wait to share with you all that God is going to do, and I can’t wait to hear about all that God is doing in your life as you come along side and partner with us. If the past few months have been any indication of what He has in store…then the next part of this journey will be an adventure worth sharing!
Go ahead and take the plunge, life is always better on the water!