When Justin Cueto started following Christ, he wasn’t sure how the Lord was going to use him. But through faithfulness and obedience, Justin started serving with Financial Catalyst. As an Ally, he mentors a group of men through a discipleship program that focuses on applying biblical principles to financial stewardship and decision making. Many of these men live below the poverty line and have encountered difficult circumstances in their lives.
How did you come to know the Lord?
“I was raised in a Christian household and was involved in the church from an early age. Despite this, I never had a personal relationship with the Lord – I didn’t know how to apply His Word to my life. I would check the church box off, call myself a Christian, and try to do the right thing every so often.
“Towards the end of high school, I was very rebellious and thought I knew what would ultimately lead to my satisfaction. After playing basketball in college and finishing grad school, I ended up back in Dallas working my first full-time job. I was working in investment banking, averaging 90-hour work weeks and tried to find fulfillment through the things of this world rather than in what the Lord was calling me to do. My poor choices ultimately were an effort to mask my insecurities. I found myself the furthest away from the Lord I have ever been.
“I heard about Watermark through The Porch, and although I was too busy during the week to attend, I started going to Sunday morning services. I remember sitting in the balcony section, realizing I was so focused on what the world said was good: career success and financial gain. I searched for my identity in the shallow things of this world rather than in the Lord. Seeing people at Watermark who were living authentically and according to God’s Word made me realize there had to be more to this life. I wanted to find true, sustainable joy in Christ and build my life on a firm foundation – one that would never change or fail me (Psalm 16:11).
“Through the grace and encouragement of my community group, fiancée, family, and re:generation, Watermark’s recovery ministry, I was able to process through my struggles with anxiety and crippling insecurity. I found that my identity can only be found in Christ, and that realization changed how I viewed my past. I now understand that God had His hand on me through everything I experienced, through all of my poor choices and all of my struggles. My problems weren’t too big for God to handle. From there, I knew I wanted to spend my time serving, honoring, and telling other people about the Lord.”
How did you get involved with Financial Catalyst?
“When I learned more about how the Lord wants us to use our gifts and passions, I started to look for an area to serve. At a service one Sunday, I briefly heard about Financial Catalyst, a financial literacy, stewardship, and discipleship program. From there, the Lord placed it on my heart to get involved and use my gifts and passion for investing and finances to serve others through this ministry.”
How have you seen the Lord’s faithfulness in your time serving as an Ally?
“Serving with this program really opened my eyes to see how formerly incarcerated individuals are not given much of a chance from society. It seems opposite to what we read in the Gospels. God continues to give us multiple chances and I’ve truly been able to see His faithfulness through this program. The participants are able to look beyond the experiences of their past and find a new chance to steward both their finances and life.
“Similar to my own story, these guys have the chance to find their identity in Christ instead of in what the world may think of them. Most importantly, this program provides people a taste of community and the opportunity to see their future through a biblical lens. They are pointed towards truth found in God’s Word and taught how to rely on Christ for strength.
“More than anything, serving has helped me relate to people from all walks of life and to view others the way God views them. Financial Catalyst is an opportunity to be an extension of God’s heart and apply what I am constantly learning in Scripture. Through the relationships formed with the guys in my group, we have been able to walk through life together and encourage one another in the ongoing work that the Lord is doing in our lives (Philippians 1:6).”
If you are interested in serving as an Ally with Financial Catalyst or one of the other roles offered through the Watermark Community Development Corporation, you can find more information at watermark.org/CDC