With years of experience as a pastor and a missionary church planter, Tom Castor is thrilled to step into the position of Executive Director of Missionfest Manitoba.
When Castor moved to Vietnam in 2013 with his wife, it was one of his connections with Missionfest that brought him there.
"Little by little, as I watched, listened, and heard testimony and sat and ate dinners with missionaries and mission leaders, I began to think, maybe there's one more adventure in me."
In the year 2000, Castor attended his first Missionfest where John Piper gave his famous message 'Don't Waste Your Life.'
Grant Memorial was the hub for Missionfest in the early 2000s.
"I started in Manitoba in 1978 when my wife and I moved to Tadoule Lake in Northern Manitoba. Then eventually in 1998, I came on as staff in Grant Memorial Church in Winnipeg and in 2002 I became senior pastor."
Members of the church started taking up the call to go into missions around that time.
"We had people in our congregation, staff members and deacons, that were saying 'I think God wants me to go.' We had people head off to China, Ethiopia, and I began thinking what about me?"
Castor already had a connection with Vietnam as he had been teaching there on and off since 1999.
"I had some friends who were trying to plant an international church in Saigon. They said we need somebody that has tenacity, who doesn't give up too quickly. My wife and I prayed about it."
By the end of 2012, Castor preached his last Sunday at Grant Memorial and by the end of January 2013, the couple were living in Vietnam.
"My task was to build a church planting team and then help them to call a full-time pastor and work through all the red tape. We were able to do that in two years and we established the Well International Church."
Brian Hamilton was the previous Executive Director of Missionfest Manitoba. He recently resigned to move to the U.S.A. with his mission organization.
"We're assuming Missionfest 2022 will happen as it has in the past. We have over half of our exhibitors signed up already, we have the facility secured, we have three of our major speakers who will be confirmed next week. However, we're also making some preparations to be able to have a hybrid event to do live streaming if we can't meet at all," says Castor.
Missionfest was cancelled for the 2021 event but will be moving forward in some capacity in 2022, regardless of restrictions.
"The theme was chosen in 2021 and we continued to hold that theme. The focus will be trying to help people see the heart of Christ for the world."