Pacific Southwest District Supervisor and LPC alum Fernando Castillo remembers the exact place he was on campus when God showed him how to begin his ministry. Fernando says places like the one he remembers now exist throughout the beautiful campus and he is pleased to say he had a part in creating some of those special places.
Fernando Castillo remembers the exact spot on the LPC campus when God called him to leave Southern California and begin ministry in Hawaii. “It was on a second floor patio just outside a building that houses classrooms and faculty offices,” Fernando recalls. Each time he returns to the campus in San Dimas, he likes to visit this spot and remember that moment in time.
Today, there are many places on campus where God can speak to students and Fernando says they were intentionally placed there. This was not so in 1997 when he first arrived in San Dimas as a 24-year old college graduate with an earned degree in architecture. LPC had only recently relocated from downtown Los Angeles to San Dimas and the campus was undeveloped. Dr. Dick Scott, then-LPC president, had a vision for the space and welcomed the architectural skills of Fernando, a young Colombian who was about to have an encounter with God.
Together, Dr. Scott and Fernando, among others, designed pathways, landscapes, volleyball courts, a gazebo, as well as placement of future buildings that were only dreams at the time. “Dr. Scott had a passion for students meeting God on this campus,” Fernando says. “Every tree, rock, bench, and path was intentionally placed to encourage students to pray and seek God in an inviting and open space.”
Plans were underway at the time for a new gymnasium and basketball court and Fernando was in the right place at the right time to contribute ideas and architectural drawings for the project, and for the larger Roy Hick’s Student Life Center that was designed to wrap around the gymnasium and the future Ron Mehl Court inside.
Although Fernando already had professional training as an architect, “God wanted me to attend Life Pacific College to work on my values,” he says. “My time on campus allowed me to become more aware of my strengths and weaknesses, to embrace humility, and to make decisions about the person I wanted to become.”
Still, Fernando says he could never have predicted he would plant a church, live in Hawaii, become a pastor of a thriving multi-site congregation, and later become the supervisor of the newly formed Pacific Southwest District of Foursquare Churches.
Today as a husband and father, Fernando prays for the future of his own teenage sons. He wants them to encounter God and to know His plan for their lives and leadership. Looking at his boys, Fernando realizes in an entirely new way why these places of connection with God are so important for young men and women who attend LPC.
“The preparation I received at LPC made a difference in my ministry and in my marriage and family,” he says. “LPC gave me a strong foundation to build upon as a husband, a father, a minister, and a servant.”
But to Fernando, nothing replaces those special moments when a student personally hears from God.
For him, it all began with a prayer on a second floor patio. Fernando is grateful for his time as a student at Life Pacific College and he knows he is not alone. The places on campus that he helped create for students – spaces where they can sit on a rock or on a bench and hear God speak – will be places students remember for the rest of their lives.