International Ministries

IM endorses new missionary couple for service in Honduras

July 6, 2010 News
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American Baptist International Ministries (IM) is pleased to announce that Dagoberto  (Dago) and Dilia Marleni Zelaya  have been approved as endorsed missionary candidates for service in Azacualpa, Honduras.  The Zelayas will be jointly appointed by International Ministries and their home church, First Baptist Church (FBC), Marshalltown, Iowa. They will be the first commissioned American Baptist missionaries to serve in Honduras, and will focus on Education and Evangelism.

The Zelayas oversee the Church Feeding Program and the Children’s Home which serves poor children and families in Azacualpa.  At the Children’s Home, the children learn academic basics and Bible verses to help them to develop a faith belief system. Dago and Dilia are also leading the new congregation. Seventy people attend the Sunday evening service and 60 children attend Sunday school. Additionally, 16 children reside on the site and are cared for by the Zelayas and two house parent couples. Occasionally the Zelayas host mission teams who come to spread the good news of Jesus Christ.

Dago and Dilia are excited about the many ministry possibilities. “We want boys and girls, men and women to come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. We have taken the Great Commission as a priority goal in our lives,” commented the couple.

The Zelayas are not new to this ministry.  The couple has been working with the Asociacion Ministerios de Fe Vida Nueva (Ministries of Faith and New Life Association) for the past year and a half, supported solely by their home church, First Baptist Church (FBC).  IM is pleased to partner with the Zelayas, FBC, and the wider circle of American Baptists to strengthen this important ministry in Honduras. According to Dr. Reid Trulson, IM executive director, “International Ministries’ experience of nearly 200 years in global mission, its personalized support through Missionary Partnership Networks (MPNs), along with the caring oversight and skilled guidance of IM’s area directors will help strengthen and grow the ministry of the Zelayas and Marshalltown First Baptist in Honduras.”

“Dagoberto and Dilia are highly capable and respected Christian leaders,” commented Marshall Peters, executive minister of Mid-American Baptist Churches. “They gave evidence of their abilities and dedication to Christ while serving at FBC, and now will carry that same passion as they continue their work at Fe Vida Nueva Children's Home in Honduras.” In addition to his ministry at FBC Marshalltown, Dagoberto was a member of the IM Board of Directors from 2006 – 2009 and represented his region on the General Board.

FBC Pastor Dick Sipe commented, "We're excited that God has expanded the ministry of the Children's Home in Honduras to include more of the ABC Family.  We expect God to do great things in the years to come with the leadership of Dago and Dilia Zelaya.  FBC welcomes our new ABC partners to join our mission to spread Jesus' love in Honduras."

The endorsement phase of the new missionary recruitment process means that the couple will form their Missionary Partnership Network (MPN). The size of an MPN varies, but the goal is to maintain 1,000 or more individuals who are supporting the missionary in important ways, including subscribing to the missionary's print or e-newsletters, hosting them at their churches or regional gatherings, and supporting them through prayer, volunteer work groups and personalized giving. During the endorsement phase, the missionary couple will also form their Missionary Partnership Team (MPT), which is typically comprised of no more than 10 individuals.  Members of the team are invited by the missionaries and are usually close friends or family members who will work closely with the endorsed candidates to help ensure a vibrant ministry. 

For more information on the Zelaya’s ministry or about their newly-forming Missionary Partnership Network, please contact them at their new profile page.

American Baptist International Ministries is the first Baptist international mission agency formed in North America, and the second oldest Baptist mission agency in the world. More than 1,800 short-term and long-term missionaries are served annually, bringing churches and individuals in the United States and Puerto Rico together with partners in more than 70 countries in holistic, cutting-edge ministries that tell the good news of Jesus Christ while meeting human need.