Trusting God in a Year of Surprises and Challenges: The Word of Hope Ministries Story

January 13, 2015

Trusting God in a Year of Surprises and Challenges--The Word of Hope Ministries Story
Ellen Castillo

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Ellen Castillo

Trusting God in a Year of Surprises and Challenges--The Word of Hope Ministries Story

A Message from Your BCC Team: At the Biblical Counseling Coalition, we love using our “megaphone” to fulfill our BCC mission: to advance the ministry of the biblical counseling movement. Each day this week our megaphone will help you learn more about a vital biblical counseling ministry—like today’s post from Ellen Castillo, Executive Director of Word of Hope Ministries.

Word of Hope Ministries provides biblical counseling on the Central Coast of California as well as online. They also provide biblical counseling training for men and women locally. In addition to counseling and counseling training, their heartbeat is for intergenerational ministry. They believe this is at its best in the context of the local church. They are passionate about serving the younger generations; because of this they also provide a unique Biblical Mentor Training course for women. You can learn more about Word of Hope Ministries by visiting their About Page. To access their Biblical Mentor Training, please visit here.

Reflections on Year-End Reflections…

Year-end reflections are beneficial for a variety of reasons:

  • It is good to look at where we have been fruitful as a ministry (although difficult to determine exactly how to measure fruit.)
  • It can be just as good to look at areas that could use improvement.
  • It is very important to look at whether or not we have fulfilled the mission that God has called us to.
  • Most importantly it is critical to look at the year in review so that we maintain a heart of gratitude. We must never forget that anything good that comes from our ministries is from God. Anything that needs improvement is also from God as He works sovereignly in our lives and in the lives of those we serve. We are simply stewards over what He has entrusted us.

A Pivotal Year

Word of Hope Ministries found 2014 to be a pivotal year. It was a year full of surprises, challenges, and gratitude.

In the past year, we have gone from being a one-woman counseling ministry to becoming an approved 501c3 nonprofit organization with a great Board of Directors to lead us into the coming years of ministry. Our heart’s desire is to spread the ministry of biblical counseling and training throughout our local region where there is a great need for biblical help for those who are struggling in our churches and in our community. We also have a desire to help and train people globally through our online presence.


At the beginning of 2014, our newly developed Board discussed the need for more counselors to work with Word of Hope Ministries locally. At that time, we planned to encourage those we knew who were interested in biblical counseling to look into getting training somewhere on their own. We had no intention of providing training ourselves because we never thought of it as an option. Through a series of circumstances, God revealed a bigger plan than ours.

By the end of the 2014, we completed the first portion of a biblical counseling training class with 16 men and women in attendance! We also became approved as an IABC (International Association of Biblical Counselors) Training Center as God opened that unexpected door.

It has also been a surprise as a biblical counselor (whose priority ministry is to help hurting people) to find myself learning how to be a businesswoman and nonprofit leader. This was never in my plan, and I would not be doing this without the nudging from my Board and a clear calling from God. An even bigger surprise is how much I am enjoying learning about the business end of things!

We should never really be surprised that God surpasses our dreams and goals:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD” (Isaiah 55:8).


Our biggest current need is for male counselors. We often turn couples and men away due to our lack of a male counselor in our local area. We also have a need for more female counselors. We hope that some of our training students will move on to certification in order to serve alongside us in the coming year or two. We appreciate prayers for our training students and students everywhere who desire to serve in one-another ministry.

Finances are also challenging. The reality is that it takes funding to run a 501c3 ministry. This is an area we hope to learn more about and focus on carefully in the coming year. Please pray for us and many other smaller ministries like us who are in need of provision to fulfill their mission.

We hope to add one or two more Board members who are savvy business people with marketing talents. We offer some resources for counselors and mentors and have the desire to produce more and gain a broader reach. There is much work to be done and not enough laborers to do the work. Please pray for me and for counselors everywhere who are working hard in the trenches and spinning many plates. We need wisdom regarding priorities and time management.

We believe that God has positioned Word of Hope Ministries for growth in the coming year, realizing there are likely to be more surprises and challenges ahead. Please pray for our Board and all those who work behind the scenes in biblical counseling ministries everywhere. They are critical team players in our ministries that serve to reach hurting people with the help and hope that the Gospel provides.

We trust God’s plan for us, knowing He is a great provider:

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).


At Word of Hope Ministries, we are grateful this year for:

  • The Word of God that truly is sufficient. This is the backbone of our work. Thank You, Lord.
  • The Gospel that applies not just to our salvation, but also to our sanctification. We have a unique opportunity every day to share this Good News. This is the heartbeat of our work. Thank You, Lord.
  • The opportunity to serve beyond our own plans. To be able to counsel and train others to counsel and mentor is our passion and privilege. Thank You, Lord.
  • The opportunities He has brought to network, serve, blog, and partner with leaders and others in the biblical counseling movement at conferences and various online venues. These opportunities have turned in to friendships that are both supportive and iron- Thank You, Lord.
  • The fruit from the unique “Biblical Mentor” training we offer that makes Word of Hope Ministries unique. It has equipped many women for one-another ministry who would not choose to do a full biblical counseling training program. Many are serving actively as mentors in their churches. Thank You, Lord.
  • An upcoming new version of our Biblical Mentor Training that will be geared towards teenagers and co-written by my 17-year-old daughter. Together we hope to eventually write several resources for counseling and mentoring youth. Word of Hope Ministries has a passion for intergenerational ministry. It is a privilege to mentor the next generation. Thank You, Lord.
  • And finally, we are grateful that God has allowed Word of Hope Ministries, Inc., to serve in this season of unifying and supportive collaboration in the counseling movement. When I began as a biblical counselor on the Central Coast of California a decade ago, I found very little personal support. That has changed due to technology that allows us to connect with like-minded servants all over the globe through organizations such as the Biblical Counseling Coalition. Thank You, Lord.

Thank You Lord, for the opportunity to serve You in 2014 and again in 2015!

“O give thanks to the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endures forever” (Psalm 136:1).

Join the Conversation

How have you been trusting God in a time of surprises and challenges?