Alex Castro Costa Rica and Heaven. Memorial Site.

Alex Castro

That they may see and know, and consider and understand together, That the hand of the Lord has done this, and the Holy One of Israel  has created it.
Isaiah 41:20

Fifteen minutes before the most enduring and colorful rays of light disappeared into the western skyline, the children of  the Lord gathered together in one large circle floating on their  surfboards and held fast by each other’s hands, deep over the  waters of Jaco. The people of the village united, with the same  heart and in singleness of mind; to honor and give praise for the  life of Alexander Castro Guevara, a true soldier of the Lord and a  servant of the Most High God. On the 30th day of April 2006, our  God promoted Alex to serve directly underneath him and alongside  his fellow servants the angels, and his soul rested with his  fathers. Unfortunately, those of us who are left suffered a great  loss at the fall of one of our strongest and most beloved soldiers,  and our eternal brother through Christ. Therefore on the holy Sabbath, the 6th day of May 2006, all those to whom Alex had  ministered to through his unfailing love showed up to pay him vows  of honor and respect, and to give him one last goodbye-kiss as a community. He was severely mourned.

Alex walked over the face of earth for twenty-nine years and did  what was right in the sight of the Lord; he was careful to obey his  command and to do according to what he had been entrusted â?” he  strayed neither to the right nor to the left, but instead dedicated  his life to completing the mission. This year the Lord welcomed him  home with a homecoming that a father has for his son, or that a  king prepares for a hero returning home from the battlefield. He  served his brothers diligently; with pureness of heart, abundance  of love and a generosity that is scarcely to be found anymore. He  was generous with his time, with his countless gifts and talents,  his wisdom and teachings, and above allâ?¦ with his love. The following scripture has been heavy on my mind, as it is the voice  of the Lord describing Alex and the joy he has found in him, for he  is proud to call him his own.

Behold! My servant whom I uphold, my elect one in whom my soul  delights! I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the Gentiles. He will not cry out, nor raise his voice, nor cause his voice to be  heard in the street. A bruised reed he will not break, and smoking flax he will not quench;He will bring forth justice for truth.
Isaiah 42:1-3

The humility and grace with which Alex lived his life is something that is not of this world. He was a true scholar and a gentleman, a disciple as well as a teacher, a lover and a strong  fighter. He fought for the rights of his little ones, he fought for  them to have a place to learn, he fought for them to have a place  to skate, he made sure that there was always some sort of surf  tournament for the kids to look forward to, and he fought to show  them true love.

These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is my commandment; that you  love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. These things I command you, that you love one another.
John 15:11-13,17

Brought down to the most basic of principles, I believe with the deepest conviction my of my heart, that this is the  message Alex Castro left behind for us. These words are his voice,  the voice of the Holy Spirit that so naturally flowed throughout  the miracle that was Alex’s life. He lived these words, and he  departed with them as his theme song, as the resounding chorus that  defined his life to those of us who were blessed enough to know  him. What I most loved about Alex’s teachings was the simplicity  of his messageâ?¦ he made sure to keep it clear and simple because  his greatest concern was that no one would be left behind.

I am now ashamed to admit that the pride of my heart once  criticized Alex for his simplistic approach to teaching, the casual  clarity of his loving stories and examples. I believed that  teaching the word of God was something to be feared, and that we  should use the most knowledge, theory, and scripture possible in  order to make our case known. Boy did Alex prove me wrong. He’s taught me that the love of God is something that you wear on your  face, something that is heard in your voice, and that is seen in  your actions. He taught me that the message of the Lord is simple,  and indeed it is something that even the youngest and least experienced can reveal to a â?~seasoned and educatedâ?T adult. It doesnâ?Tt take knowing the Bible inside and out, it is not about  having all the answers. It is simply about having complete humility  of heart, and about living with the love that can only come from  someone who has the peace of enjoying an intimate relationship with our Creator.

God is mighty, but does not despise men; He is mighty, and firm in his purpose. He does not take his eyes off the righteous; He enthrones them with kings and exalts them forever.
Job 36:5,7

I have been with you wherever you have gone, And I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will  make your name great, like the names of the greatest men of the earth.
2 Samuel 7:9

Alexander Castro Guevara surely is a good name, a great nameâ?¦ a name like the greatest men of the earth. Now I understand  what Solomon the Wise was referring to when he stated, â?oA good  name is better than fine perfume, and the day of death better than  the day of birth.
(Ecclesiastes 7:1).

Upon receiving the news of Alex’s death due to severe head trauma, caused by an accident in which a car knocked him off his bicycle on Sunday night the 23rd of April, I was extremely resentful towards God. “Why”, I  thought, “Of all people, why take Alex; how can this be?” Alex was a founding member of Christian Surfers: Costa Rica. Three years ago he came into town with nothing more than a box-full of his belongings, a passion for Christ and the goodwill and faith to bring the Good News to a town that desperately needed it, as it has been described in a recent newspaper article as “The Next Sodom”.

He was fluently bilingual, a talented surfer and orator, and just an extremely cool and humble guy. He welcomed me into the group as I was, and always had a word of encouragement that brought true peace into my life. He was the glue that united teenage surfers with business professionals, drug addicts with clean and healthy people, Costa Rican locals, with English-speaking foreigners, the lost with the found. We all came for him. Deep down I believe that somewhere inside, we were all intuitively going to the Wednesday night Bible studies just to spend some time with Alex and enjoy the company of the Lord.

He spent seven days in deep sleep on a hospital bed, and at seven o’clock on Sunday (the last day of April) he was taken up before the presence of the Lord. Resentment. Hurt. Crying. Confusion. Anger. Fear. More resentment. Mourning. Confidently I  believe to be summing up just some of the most powerful emotions that we have been grappling with as a community, and most certainly on a personal level, due to the transpiring events. Our only consolation comes from knowing where Alex dwells at this moment, and the fact that not a single leaf shakes on a tree apart from the will of God. The purpose behind this tragic event will be unfolding for years to come, the ultimate will of the Lord will be fulfilled, and we can rest assured that Alex Castro’s life and death will have never been in vain. He was pure, honest: a person of the highest integrity and transparency in his living. God had prepared  him well for what was about to happen to him, because in the last  few weeks of his life, Alex Castro was running around and serving every one of us, in any way he could.

On Thursday night during Easter week, I saw Alex and Coky (his best friend and fellow missionary) exalted with a 10 minute primetime news special highlighting the Christian Surfers Organization and the amazing work these guys had accomplished during such a short period of time in Jaco. The week before that I had the pleasure of sitting before Alex with a bunch of our  disciples as him, Coky and Rebecca read the sacred words of the Bible to us and in front of the National Surf Circuit contest booth, an event that Alex had been asked to host and narrate. This only gives you a slight peak into the type of person he was, and  just how beloved he had become in the last short years of his precious life. The very last time that I had the honor of serving  alongside him as his English interpreter, he took the time to sit me down
after the study and say his goodbye. He didn’t say it directly, but the mood and tone of our conversation confirmed it. I remember thinking, “Wait a minute Alex, why does it feel like you are bidding farewell”? All I can say is that somehow, he knew.

Promptly at four o’clock on Saturday we held a small and intimate memorial service for our brother and pastor on the very property that he had worked so hard to build. The Lord showed  compassion on us and provided a dark and gloomy afternoon full of  heavy clouds and rain showers. And the people showed up. The place  was packed! Our little palapa-style meeting place had an overflow going all the way back past the driveway and practically out into  the street. With a mixed spirit of praise and weeping, our small community endured the weather and gladly attended his farewell ceremony, packed in like a bunch of wet sardines (just the way Alex would have liked it).

A police unit slowly led the way as an assembly of about two hundred souls walked somberly behind it on course to the beach. This is the place where his ashes belong, on the shores of  Jaco. For long before his ashes were spilled, he had poured out the whole of his heart and soul all over the people of this beautiful town. All who had taken their surfboards with them laid them down  on the beach in the form of a giant cross, extending about fifty feet in one direction and about eighty in the other. It was now late evening, and the sky was of a pinkish-blue hue, with the storm clouds now dry yet looming in the background. His mother and Coky held his ashes at the center as our large community of surfers and non-surfers, both great and small, held hands and blessed the Lord for Alex, and because we had gathered in his name. It was an impressive sight for all who were present, for we had formed a giant circle all for the glory of the Lord.

Mrs. Guevara then proceeded to distribute his ashes in small plastic baggies to those of his closest friends, and in a loud and pleasant battle cry we all ran in for our surfboards, took hold of our bag and paddled out into the dark and intimidating lineup. It was a day of great swell, yet at the prayer of one of his sons the Almighty stilled the waters, and the ferocious waves of the sea were calmed in order to make way for his people. By this  time we were more silhouettes than surfers, warm bodies instead of people, and brothers instead of friends.

We held hands and worshiped the Lord for Alex, and gave glorious praise; for the will of the Lord had been accomplished. In a single motion we tossed his ashes into the middle and the remains of our beloved became one with the ocean indeed, one within all of us. In one of my most memorable teachings from Alex he had us all read, sing aloud and worship together to the sound of a guitar, as in unison we repeated  over and over:

Psalm 100

A Psalm. For giving thanks.

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; Come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, And we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter  his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks  to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness
continues through all generations.

Luis Fernando Herrera
Christian Surfers / ALO Foundation
Jaco Centro, Costa Rica.

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