Depression opens door to life

Nomer discovered that religious studies could not save him

Nomer Castro
Nomer Castro says allowing God to change the heart, not following rituals, is the way to heaven

Passionate since age four about becoming a priest, Numeriano Castro Jr. (also known as Nomer) never imagined he would suffer a nervous breakdown and emerge truly assured that he had eternal life.

After beginning at seminary, Nomer’s convictions about his calling were suddenly shattered when a friend questioned him: “If you died today, where do you think you are going: heaven or hell?”

“I laughed and told her, ‘Of course I am going to heaven,’” Nomer recalls. “I am studying to be a priest aren’t I? Don’t all priests go to heaven?”

However, inwardly it disturbed him that he had forgotten to ponder this question.

“My family said, the good news is we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour. But the bad news is, we now have a different faith to yours.”

Nomer remembers feeling shocked, because “I would not be ordained as a priest if my parents were not the same faith with me.”

Unable to eat or sleep, Nomer became so distraught and hyperactive that his best friend had to stop him from jumping out of the upper story window of his room.

After being sent home, Nomer was diagnosed with severe depression.

His family chose to care for him at home, including feeding, bathing and administering anti-depressants. Sometimes he would roam the streets at night and talk to strangers, which meant he had to be restrained.

“My family’s prayers, love, support and care truly contributed to my full recovery,” Nomer says gratefully.

He began attending his family’s Christian “born-again” church that had been praying for him and his family.

Through other young people there, he learned about knowing Jesus Christ personally and why He is the only way, truth and life (John chapter 14:verse 6).

“At one of the youth camps, I decided to be baptised,” he remembers.

This water baptism was a public declaration that he trusted in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour, a decision that Nomer says brought about “wonderful new beginnings and new experiences”.

He initially pursued a college degree in Political Science, before an opportunity to enter the Philippine Military Academy came up. Intially, he found it a blast, before deciding his conscience could not bear saluting anyone but Jesus Christ. He returned to complete the political science course, then felt God direct him to a mission school.

“In a breeze I finished two years of missionary training. I was willing to serve God wherever He wanted me. But that was not enough. I learned that surrendering your life to God means total surrender.

“A part of my life still revolved around the girl I had met in the academy. She was then a nurse in the United States.”

During a trip to Thailand to help in a refugee camp, Nomer says God spoke to him.

“As I ministered there, my heart broke for the young children. They are all hungry, not just for food, but especially the Word of God.”

“God said to me: ‘If you love me that much and you are willing to go anywhere with me, you have just one thing to give up. It’s her.’”

The end to their relationship that had lasted over eight years came as a dramatic shock to his girlfriend as they spoke by phone.

“She couldn’t understand, and I explained that I love her so dearly, but I just have to obey God first.”

A couple of months later, he learned that she was engaged to another man.

“I dealt with the pain of this darkest hour with help of family and friends, and, most especially, by communing with God.”

Nomer is now part of the admin staff at the missionary school, where he mentors future international missionaries, joins in local and overseas mission trips and preaches.

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