Pastor Jorge Zelaya was born in El Salvador. He was raised Seventh-day Adventist and his fondest memories from childhood are of the whole family gathered around the kitchen table for worship and prayer each morning and evening. In the late 1970s a civil war broke out in El Salvador and his family emigrated to the United States.
Pastor Zelaya decided to pursue a career in the medical field, but during the summer of 1989 the Lord called him to ministry. He was baptized, joined the church and decided to attend the seminary in Argentina, South America. He received his bachelor’s degree in theology and shortly after graduating, married Mariana Olivera. God blessed their family with four children: Gabriel, 19, Kathleen, 16, Emily, 14, and Mark, 13.
Zelaya served the church in Argentina and El Savador until 1998 when God called them back to the U.S., where they served multiple churches in the Los Angeles, California area. For 20 years, Pastor Zelaya has focused his ministry on training and equipping church members to prepare people for Jesus’ second coming.
In 2010, he and his family moved to the Kansas-Nebraska Conference where they served the Wichita, Kansas district for four years. Pastor Zelaya is currently serving the Grand Island, Nebraska bilingual district (Grand Island, Lexington and Fairfield). He was ordained to the ministry on July 16 in the Grand Island Church.
Pastor Otavio McKenzie felt a call to ministry at the age of 12. For a nearly a decade he ignored the call before finally yielding to the Lord’s will. Otavio describes his journey as being blessed with a praying mother and a relentless God. McKenzie was born in Kingston, Jamaica and raised in Florida.
In the spring of 2007, McKenzie received a well-needed and timely blessing. After facing several challenges that had left him broken and searching, God lifted him up and offered him a second chance. While training and serving as a Bible worker in California, McKenzie learned what it meant to be an Adventist Christian, a gospel worker and a man of God. It was during this time that McKenzie and his wife, Bellamy, gained an unquenchable passion for others.
McKenzie shares, “Ministry is the most important thing to me and I can honestly say that it is what I live for. Recounting my own story, and yet looking forward each day, I cannot help but have a passion for Who and what saved me personally. When I think about ministry as a whole, I think about drawing close to others, and meeting their needs individually and corporately.
“Everyone has a story, and it is my pleasure to be there to listen, comfort and point them to Jesus. Just the thought of being used as a vessel to impart hope and a clearer glimpse of Jesus’ love is a blessing. There is no greater privilege and truly no greater joy.”
Feeling God’s call again, in December of 2011, McKenzie decided to pursue an education at Andrews University Seminary. While traveling from California to Michigan, he received a call to join the Kansas-Nebraska Conference.
McKenzie has served in Kansas-Nebraska for nearly five years. He currently serves the Wichita Cornerstone congregation and was ordained to the gospel ministry on August 20.