God is Moving in Belize
Mike Rhoades | May 11, 2015
When Pastor Harold Zimmick and Pastor Rosaura Mai met in 2013, two churches in opposite corners of the world merged together into eternity.
Pastor Zimmick was on his fifth trip to Belize when he met Pastor Mai while visiting several rural pastors with Joshua Edmonds, Praying Pelican Missions’ full-time missionary to Belize. Pastor Zimmick felt an immediate connection between his church and hers.
“What I felt was just her heart pouring forth with love for her community and her church,” said Pastor Zimmick.
Pastor Mai’s ministry was born from tragedy, beginning five years earlier when the pastor of her church was electrocuted and died. Pastor Mai was also at the location of the accident and 75 percent of her body was burned. Convinced that the Lord had preserved her for a purpose, she took over leadership of the church. Pastor Mai is a mighty lady who leads her church to transform its village into an epicenter of Christian love. She anoints the bars in her village with oil as she walks at night, proclaiming God’s power over the darkness of addiction.
“As we sat at the feet of this ministry giant, Pastor Harold and I wept,” said Edmonds. “We wept with her and her team as we heard of struggles in Caledonia and we wept for them, joyful that we had the opportunity to be in this place amongst the fields. Getting in the car, wiping tears from our eyes, we said to each other, ‘The team has to come here!’”
Pastor Zimmick’s congregation, Asbury United Methodist Church of Madison, Wis., returned to Belize the next year with hearts set on visiting Pastor Mai’s congregation in the village of Caledonia.
The Asbury team arrived ready to bless the needy village by sharing a meal and distributing food packets. When they turned the corner to the church the sight before their eyes was overwhelming. Hundreds of people were waiting for them.
“They had gotten ready to give a coconut to each one of us,” said Pastor Zimmick. The church had also set up a banqueting table for dinner. It was a truly sacrificial blessing of exquisite Belizean foods, as food is scarce in the village.
“We were wanting to minister to them and to bless them and encourage them, and they just extended a welcome to us like we were royalty rolling into Caledonia on this old school bus,” said Pastor Zimmick “Their humility and welcome was so humbling to us.”
After the meal the team distributed food in the village. “Even the families of the village flipped the blessing around,” said Edmonds. “Our team came back and said the families spent more time praying for and blessing our team than anything else.”
Asbury church wanted to do more. “We immediately felt like God is in this. We wanted to continue this partnership and expand it next year,“ said Pastor Zimmick.
When the Asbury team arrived back in Caledonia the next January, they built bunk beds for children in the community. Men from the local church took time off to help build and deliver the bunk beds because of their love for their community. “The cane fields can wait,” they said. “These people need beds today.”
“We really felt like a ministry partnership,” said Pastor Zimmick. “It wasn’t just us coming to make a difference for their community. They wanted to join us in impacting their community and families of their church.”
Edmonds felt the partnership between Asbury and Caledonia reflected the church described in Acts: “And all who believed were together and had all things in common” (2:44 ESV).
“It was what we had experienced during the week,” said Pastor Zimmick. “We felt like we were getting in on that early first century church and the community they felt.”
But the partnership did not just bring Pastor Zimmick and his team back to the first century. It also projected them into the new heavens and the new earth. “For me it was not only a taste of the early church but a taste of the heavenly church: different languages and colors, but with love, sharing and oneness,” said Pastor Zimmick.
Asbury Church plans to continue to grow their relationship with their Belizean brothers and sisters in Christ.
About the Author:
Sara Marie Spaulding is a journalist and missions enthusiast. She began her writing career at the Williston Herald in the oil boom town of Williston, N.D. She has also written for the Anoka County Union Herald in Anoka, Minn. and the Minnesota Christian Chronicle. Her missions experience includes short-term ministry in 10 countries across Asia and the Americas. She is excited to be marrying her phenomenal fiance Andrew Moore in May of 2015.