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  • "If I am bound to the belief that God is in control of the cosmos, and miracles can and do happen, then there is no 'hypothetical situation' wherein God's ability to perform miracles through the faithful actions of the merciful ceases to be a possibility."

    Joshua's above words continue to resonate with us, his family, friends and acquaintances seeking to live out that same belief. Though he is no longer with us bodily, we strive to faithfully remember and testify to Joshua's witness among us, through the establishment of The Joshua Casteel Foundation and other initiatives on which we will continue to provide update through this website. Thank you for joining us.

    "The just man, though he die early, shall be at rest." (Wisdom 4:7)

    Joshua was diagnosed in early November 2011 with stage IV lung cancer (adenocarcinoma), which ultimately took his life on August 25, 2012 at the age of 32. The many of us who survive and love him will continue to pursue the heavenly justice to which Joshua (in life, and now in death) testified.

A Quick Switcheroo!

Hopefully this doesn’t cause too many problems, but we’re going to switch back to Caring Bridge temporarily. The updates come out quite a bit faster (I don’t usually get my updates til the following day on this website), and with Josh’s current condition it is nice to know people are getting the info/prayer request/etc. soon after its put out. So, if you click on the link above that says CaringBridge Posts, you will be directed there, and if you’re not already signed up, create a quick account and you can go right to his page. Thanks everyone, and when we are ready to switch back we will let you know!

December 16, 2014 - 3:55 PM

Amber Hunt - I’m a journalist who happened to be looking at my archived stories from long ago in the Cedar Rapids Gazette. I stumbled upon this lede, and it triggered a memory of being floored by Joshua Casteel a show I reviewed: “‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’ is Joshua Casteel’s debut production at Theatre Cedar Rapids, and TCR will be lucky to have him back.”

I Googled to see how his life played out, and, while I’m not surprised to learn he made a lasting impression before his departure, I’m sorry to learn of his passing. The story, in its entirety, is posted below, just in case you’re feeling nostalgic.

Best to his friends and family. I’ve known loss, and I send my sympathies.

TCR’s ‘Joseph’ is fun and full of energy
Amber Hunt Gazette staff writer
Published: July 18, 1999

“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” is Joshua Casteel’s debut production at Theatre Cedar Rapids, and TCR will be lucky to have him back. The 19-year-old, cast as the musical’s title character, received a well-deserved standing ovation at curtain call. His sensitive yet powerful solo, “Close Every Door,” is alone worth the $17 to see this production, which runs through Aug. 1.
Luckily, however, Casteel’s not the only draw.
When done well, a musical like “Joseph” is the perfect night at the theater for those who choose not to go often. It’s short – barely more than two hours – and full of energy.
Well, TCR has done it well.
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Joseph” tells the biblical story of Joseph and his 11 brothers. The brothers grow jealous because Joseph is their father’s favorite son, so they sell Joseph into slavery and tell their father he was killed. Years pass, however, and Joseph fulfills premonitions of greatness by becoming the Pharoah’s right-hand man before forgiving his brothers.
The play features several incredible solos, including “One More Angel in Heaven,” sung beautifully with a country-and-western flair by Zach Parker. There also are the hilarious “Those Canaan Days,” performed by Danny Johnson, and “Benjamin Calypso,” by Jason Coyne.
Christy DeMeulenaere is wonderful as the Narrator, who ties together the scenes through song. DeMeulenaere has an incredibly strong voice, but her acting doesn’t stop when she’s out of the spotlight. Her facial expressions throughout the show help keep the story rolling.
Everyone did a great job, but it’s Casteel who makes your jaw drop. His four years of show choir at Washington High School definitely serve him well here, as his voice shifts deftly from trembling and defeated to triumphant and powerful.
The musical also features 36 children, to whom the Narrator tells the story of Joseph. A couple of the kids have learned the fine art of over-acting at an early age.
There were a few other minor glitches as well, many of which can be attributed to opening night problems. Faltering microphones detracted from a couple of solos, while the Elvis Presley-drawl of The Pharoah, played by Richard Akers, is funny but sometimes too thick to understand the words.
Still, this production is a treat. Steve Smith’s lighting adds great depth, and the gaudy, Las Vegas-styled costumes are great eye candy.
It’s fun, energetic and incredibly sung. You can’t ask for much more than that.

thank you

I just want to say thank you to those of you who have recently written in response to Joshua’s latest battle with pain and now his surgery. I’m reminded of Moses in the scriptures who had his arms held up to keep blessing and victory flowing to the Israellites, but I think we are being held up completely by the love and support of so many. The scriptures, poems, words of encouragement all serve to hold us up and keep us going. We really feel that we are not in this alone. How gracious God has been and is to us. I pray for each of you in your personal struggles, which I know we all have, that God will give you strength and encouragement from others and in many other creative ways that only He can.

There’s a verse of scripture I have always loved and have desired for it to be true in my life and in those around me. But it is not easy to live nor is it always apparent in our churches and communities. “And they will know that you are Christians by the great love that you have for one another”. And, of course the more well known verse, “faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is love.” God is making these truths a reality in our lives and we feel very very blessed. But it is because of all of you and your selfless acts of kindness on our behalf. Suffering is made so much more tolerable in the midst of love. I so pray that God is building this truth into my heart and soul…but I know we will NEVER be able to repay the kindness and love we’ve received. It has truly been “above and beyond all that we can ask or think”.

Both Joshua and I are nervous (you can see I am still awake at 2:30am and he just got up to check on me and fix his sweaty sheets) but we both know that this new experience of surgery is surely going to create some anxiousness. How fortunate we are to KNOW that we have a God who is is total control. Our anxiety would be much greater, to say the least. Feelings come and go, but our faith lasts forever.

I will let you all know how the surgery goes tomorrow and hopefully I will have a good report with the word ‘pain’ absent from the description. (that might be a little too much wishful thinking, especially right after surgery, but at least the pain that he has endured from this latest ‘find’ of cancer be substantially reduced). Who knows…God may surprise us!

Love to you all,
Kristi and Joshua

May 11, 2012 - 9:34 PM

Elizabeth Moriarty - Dearest Joshua (and Kristi), the people in darkness have seen a great light. Truly you are the light for so many! Tears of joy and prayers are flowing for you. Deep peace and much love, Elizabeth

Week’s Lesson…Stay Flexible!!!

Well, this am. I got a call from Dr. Seigal’s office letting us know that Joshua’s surgery time has been changed again. (I heard Dr. Seigal is very very busy and if I were him I’d rather be out to dinner with my wife than in the operating room anyday).

So the new time is now still Friday (thank heavens) but at 2:00. We check in at noon, which means less wait time so I guess that’s good. And Joshua isn’t unhappy about it being earlier at all. So we’re counting it as a blessing. Just thought we’d let you know!!

If we get a call telling us to come in today, you’ll probably hear from us after it’s all over and done!!!:-)

Sending our love to you,
Kristi and Joshua

Change in Surgery Date

Just wanted to let everyone know that there’s been a change in the date of Joshua’s surgery. Instead of Thursday at 5, it will be Friday at 5-ish. The Dr. had a conflict in schedule. So everything else is the same…we’ll check into Mercy Hospital at 1:00 and have the afternoon to get him prepped, blood work etc. So just one additional day to put up with the pain before what we hope and pray to be relief. Again, thanks for your prayers!

Love to all,
Kristi and Joshua

May 10, 2012 - 8:08 AM

Joseph - Thanks for keeping us posted, Kristi. We are praying fervently here in Princeton every day. We are praying for a successful surgery on Friday, for comfort and pain relief for Joshua today, and for healing in general. Lord hear our prayer! We love you guys so much and are with you in spirit.

Surgery…and hopefully relief and healing!

Today Joshua and I met with Dr. Seigal, a neurosurgeon, to talk about his latest MRI which showed cancer on his spine in the lumbar region, the source of his most recent pain. Unfortunately by the time we had our appointment he was in a lot of pain. We had been worked into the doctor’s schedule and Joshua was his last patient…quite a long and uncomfortable wait. But it was well worth the wait as we both were very impressed with Dr. Seigal. He reminded us of Joshua’s pulmonologist, Dr. Cowden whom we like so well. He was attentive, very competent, and took the time to explain fully what the problems are and also the options we have for treatment. His recommendation was to have the least invasive surgery to strengthen and stabilize the bone sections that are cancerous by injecting cement into them…can you believe that? They should be more than strong. He will also remove some malignant tissue that is extending into the spinal canal which may also be interfering with some nerves…potentially causing some of his present pain. He has done many of these surgeries and has had very good results, so he gave us some much needed confidence in the midst of this new problem. And he was very positive about the healing that can take place in the absence of any future cancer…his back regaining its strength. Of course we discussed the risks and the inability to ‘guarantee’ success or the lack of potential unforeseeable problems as is true with everything in life we know. So we would appreciate your prayers of course. He goes into the hospital Thursday afternoon as it stands right now and the surgery is at 5pm. The Dr. also said that he could start radiation within a few days. He will have 14 treatments like the first round on his thoracic spine, I believe. If we start right away and need to have the treatments uninterrupted we won’t be able to go to the North Shore at the end of the month as we had planned. That’s disappointing, especially to him as he was so looking forward to it, but there’s no question in anyones’ mind what is most important. We may be able to go in the Fall.

I think that about covers things for now. I have to say that once again God transformed my fear and nervousness into hope and confidence through the gift of what seems to be one of the best neurosurgeons in our area. (the woman who transcribes for him said he’s the best around and we were fortunate to have gotten him). I’m sure she’s a little biased, but I have to say we were equally impressed…he just exudes confidence. And most importantly, Joshua feels good about him and his abilities…that he can entrust himself into his hands (literally).

Of course we all know who’s hands he’s really in! Without that reality I don’t know where we’d be right now.

Love to you all and thank you for your continued prayers and love,
Kristi and Joshua

May 9, 2012 - 12:57 PM

Chad - Great news, overall. We’ll be praying for the surgery tomorrow.