LEHIGH ACRES—Whether it’s on the side of a mountain, in a remote village or in a neighborhood park, Misión Hispana is on a mission to share the gospel with every man, woman and child.
Founded by Paul Heier, a pastor, paramedic and missionary, and his wife, Thania, Misión Hispana is a nonprofit organization stationed in southwest Florida that seeks to “reach and share with the forgotten in Central America about the love of Christ and the hope found in Him.” The nonprofit describes itself as a “conservative evangelical mission focused on reaching the lost in under-reached areas,” said Heier.
Though the nonprofit serves in many capacities in southwest Florida and three nations, its heart and primary work are in Guatemala. When looking statistically at the country of Guatemala, Heier saw the need that existed in Puerto San Jose and made the bold move to plant his family there, making them the city’s only missionaries at the time. Commissioned by their home church, First Baptist Church Lehigh Acres, the Heiers now have been serving in Guatemala for almost a decade.
With this heartbeat for the Guatemalan people, Misión Hispana has created several ministry avenues to accomplish this goal. Misión Hispana leaders spend most of their time creating discipleship groups for women, children and youth; training first responders, providing food and medical care for those in need; hosting their city’s triathlon team, and more. But perhaps one event in particular reigns supreme—Happy Birthday Jesus Parties.
The seasonal outreach event first began in 2005, when Heier and his team went to the mission field in Nicaragua and had more than 800 children gather for the party. Fast forward 18 years later, these Happy Birthday Jesus Parties are now taking place in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Haiti and southwest Florida.
“We wanted to put Christ back in Christmas and use the Happy Birthday Jesus Parties as an opportunity to tell people about Jesus and evangelize,” said Heier.
With this strong desire to use the Christmas season well, Misión Hispana goes into remote villages and communities and facilitates games, shares the Christmas story and gospel, has a birthday cake, sings happy birthday to Jesus, and distributes gifts.
Through these Happy Birthday Jesus Parties, the gospel reach has made an impact on thousands of lives, with more than 2,500 children participating annually.
Misión Hispana intentionally connects attendees with local churches in their region and helps facilitate mission trips for other local churches and families to experience a short-term mission experience close to home.
“We are a Bible-believing mission that loves to tailor-make mission trips for churches,” he said. “We are open year-round to accept short-term mission teams, families, churches and individuals to serve and volunteer with us.”
Over the years Misión Hispana has remained committed to maintaining deep relationships for one purpose—to share the gospel.
“Our organization is, at its heart, relational,” said Heier.