“I will rise when He calls my name”
Emilia Castaneda was born on March 8 th , 1961 to Angel and Madeline Castaneda in Havana Cuba. When she was a child; she enjoyed chasing lizards, watching her brother, Angel Castaneda and her cousins climbing trees, and spending time with her grandma, Emilia. She was a quiet daughter who loved spinning around in dresses and seeing chicken eggs hatch in her grandma’s house.
Through a migration lottery, she immigrated to America quickly with her family. After a few stops, the family settled in Brooklyn, New York on September 25 th , 1967. She was 6 years old. She later shared that it was the most traumatic experience of her life. None the less, it shaped her character greatly and prepared her for future difficulties. She excelled in schools with ease, despite her tendency to be a class clown. She loved spending time with friends. She preferred doing more practical activities. Her academic gifting got her into Styvanstant High School in 1975. While, she did not finish high school; she would later on get an associates in biblical studies and loved learning about adolescent issues in Nyack College.
She gave her heart to Christ when she was 19. She started attending the Brooklyn Tabernacle in 1980. Soon, she made new friends and would sing with the choir at times. Additionally, she met a man named Jacinto Marquez. They became quick friends and eventually married on September 18 th 1982. Although their union was not long; one hot summer day in 1986, they became parents to Cristina Marquez. She would often say “that was my gift.” In reference to her daughter.
As she raised her daughter; she became the rock of the family. She assisted her mother, brother, nieces, and nephews with various issues. She had the uncanny ability to find a solution for most family Crisis. She was also a joker, singer, and comforter to those who felt alone in the family. Her nephew Anthony recalls how she would sing “groove in the heart” while she cleaned the house at times. Her Brother recalls how she helped her niece, Justine in times of distress.
After a season of Wondering, she returned to her first love- Jesus Christ. She started to share the gospel with all whom she met. Her passion for souls continued to lead her to leave the marketing world for Prison Ministry. In 2004, she started working for Prison Fellowship as an executive administrator. At the same time, she continued her church ministry in Bay Ridge Christian center. She helped organize the Hope Festival, facilitate trainings for others in prison ministry, and continued to visit the prisons on her personal time. As a member of World Harvest Community Church, she was a Sunday school teacher to the teens, a translator for the preaching in the afternoon service, and facilitated the Angel tree program at times.
In her last days, she learned to enter into His rest. She demonstrated steadfast faith and continuous hope in Jesus during her battle with cancer. The law of kindness was on her tongue and the Spirit of the Lord shined brightly in her. She shared and showed the love of God with everyone in the hospital.
On February 4 th , 2018, the Lord took His daughter home with her family by her side. She is survived by her daughter, Cristina Marquez; her brother, Angel Castaneda; Her mother, Madeline Castaneda; and her nephews: Carlos Castaneda, Anthony Castaneda, and Angel Castaneda Jr. among other relatives.