April of last year, I led a 28 member team, including children, from Freedom House Church to Guatemala City. Many of the people on the trip had never been out of the country, much less on a missions trip. We had a jam packed week of ministry then that included us ministering to and daily feeding about 200 kids at Hope for Guatemala, visiting local families at their home, putting on a three day soccer clinic for the kids, a VBS, preaching at local churches, and finishing everything out with a one day festival in the center of town in an area known as a “red zone” because of crime and poverty. During the festival we, along with local Guatemalan Christians, washed the feet of the Guatemalan children and elderly and gave out about 400 pairs of new shoes that were donated from the States.
There were games for the kids, live Christian entertainment all day, free medical and dental clinics, and I gave a Gospel message and call for salvation at dusk. We were even interviewed on local Christian television twice while we were in the country. As you can see, it was an FHC style missions trip! At the time, I was working full time in the car business and my wife’s brother had just passed away unexpectantly. This trip was a stretch for me, but I am so glad I was able to see it through.
A few “God” things have come from this trip and it’s effects are still reverberating. One amazing thing was that one of our members, Erin, and our host missionary, Jose, fell in love and are now married and ministering to Guatemalan children in Zone 18 together!! Another thing is that one family was able to raise all of their support and go on this trip together.
The Ziners and their four children, along with team member Georgia Derr, have recently returned to Guatemala to minister at an orphanage called “Fundaninos.” The Ziners have a few more younger adopted children at home, so they know how big families operate! Their desire to one day open their own orphanage.
I met the Ziner family when I first moved to Charlotte 5 years ago! My friend Simon and I were visiting local churches and letting them know about our ministry school that was moving into the area. During one of those visits, I met the Ziner family and we began to talk about missions. Michelle was very excited about serving the Lord one day on a trip. I relayed to her that maybe one day she could come on a trip with our school. Little did I know that we would end up in the same local church together, Freedom House, and that she would indeed accompany me on a trip!
They have some great testimonies from their recent trip to Guatemala where they were able to provide clothes for the children as well as help finish construction on one of the buildings because of the generous donations of local Charlotte builders. They raised $3k in one day for the project! That’s kingdom partnership. The Ziners and Georgia were also able to baptize 15 children, including one of their own! One of the kitchen staff received baptism as well. The leaders of the orphanage have been praying for her for 15 years!! Praise God. When we move out in faith, God moves!
I am so proud to be a part of what God is doing in the hearts of people at Freedom House. Our own pastor, Troy Maxwell, is in Ghana and Nigeria for two weeks with a team as we speak! Reports are already coming in about miracles and deliverances taking place. I love it! As Jacqueline and I prepare to launch to Thailand as the church’s first full time missionaries, we are so excited to see how God will continue to impart his heart for all people and “the least of these” both here locally and globally!
I will be starting a series of meetings this August at Freedom House called the “Global Purposes Fellowship” where I hope to continue to stir a passion and provide a greater understanding of what God has done and is doing to bring men and women to himself from all nations; and how we can play our part. Stay tuned FHC!
To read more about the Ziner’s recent trip, Click Here