Ed is the son of Ralph and Norma Casteel. He was born in Broken Bow, Nebraska and grew up on a farm in Westerville, Nebraska. He attended church regularly as a small child. At age nine, Ed attended an after-school Bible time presented by two missionaries. It was there that the gospel was made clear and he accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior. A few years later, his parents entered New Tribes Mission (NTM), allowing him to become well acquainted with what missions was all about. After finishing high school, Ed felt the Lord leading him into mission work so he entered Bible training. While attending New Tribes Bible Institute, he met his wife, Jeanne.
Jeanne is the daughter of Harold and Thelma Jackson who were missionaries with NTM for 50 years. Jeanne was born in Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania, where her parents served as missionary instructors for missionary candidates with New Tribes Mission. Jeanne’s parents served in Japan and Australia when she was little. Jeanne also accepted the Lord as her personal Savior at age nine in her home church in Wellington, Ohio, during one of their furloughs back in the States. Being a missionary kid (MK), Jeanne was well exposed to missionary life and was challenged in that direction as well. Upon completion of high school, she entered the New Tribes Bible Institute. After graduation, she and Ed were married and then entered further training with New Tribes Mission. It was during this time that their son Geoff came into their life. After two years of further training, they graduated from the New Tribes Language and Linguistics Institute and began making plans to go to the Asia Pacific region.
After over a year on the deputation trail, the Casteels finally set foot in Asia Pacific on May 27, 1977. Their first task was to master the national language. Upon completion of the year long language study, Ed and Jeanne were asked to begin new work with a tribal people living high in the mountains on one of the region’s islands. The following year was spent in survey and airstrip construction. In July of 1979, the whole family, including the dog, moved into their new tribal home that was made of bamboo and had a thatch roof.