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Monday
Jun302014

Stories of Impact: Olman Santeliz 

In June 2012 we reported on Olman Santeliz and how a random attempted car jacking in Honduras had left him fighting for his life.  Olman had been shot twice in the face.  After visiting the emergency room of three hospitals and being sent away to die he was finally admitted at the fourth, the Honduras Medical Center, a modern hospital with great doctors and great equipment.  Olman’s surgeries alone were miraculous.  The amount of reconstruction and the incredible discovery that no nerves, major arteries or veins, nor his vocal chords had been damaged amazed everyone.  His recovery, lightening fast, astounded the doctors and surgeons who had said that his injuries were not injuries to survive from. 

The reality though is that in developing nations obtaining the medical treatment that Olman received is very expensive, insurance is not an option, and most will die from these injuries.  At the time of Olman’s attack he was in his junior year of Engineering School.  Olman was an inspiration to many at Mission Lazarus. He had lived part of his adolescence on the ranch, his father being one of the ranch foremen.  But Olman was different and when he was offered a scholarship to go to college he did not hesitate to accept the challenge.  When word made it across the U.S. about Olman injuries concerned Christians began to respond.  Within only a few weeks funds had been donated to cover the current hospital expenses and within a few months some $70,000 of hospital bills were paid in full.

Olman made a complete recovery.  He was able to make up the work that he had missed in the university and in December of 2013 Olman graduated with a degree in Agronomy Engineering. 

In January 2014, Olman returned to the Mission Lazarus ranch, but this time as the new ranch manager.  Today Olman’s work is centered around mentoring children from the Mission Lazarus Refuge in agricultural development.  From their family garden to their daily milking of cows for the milk consumption of the home, Olman’s job is more than cultivating crops, he is cultivating lives. His story is a miraculous one, that would not have been possible without the help of our donors.  We are thankful. 

Interested in partnering with one of our programs? Learn more

Thursday
Oct172013

Explanation on Part of Mission Lazarus' Sustainable Life Program! 

The campesino farmers of rural Honduras survive off of what they produce.  If there is a bad crop, the entire family goes hungry.  There is no safety net.  The margins are slim, the income is barely enough to get by on, and often times after all of the hard work is finished the farmer ends up forfeiting any potential profit due to his remote location. 

 For the farmers from the village of Las Trementinas they can carry two 100 pound sacks of bean on a horse to the nearest paved road to catch a bus to market.  That means a three hour walk for the farmer, since his horse is loaded with beans. Then, for each 100 pound sack the farmer has to pay the bus the equivalent of almost $5 to carry the beans to the market in town.  Then once in town, if the market has been saturated with beans , the farmer who had hoped to sell his beans for $30 for the 100 pound sack will now have to settle for $20 because he can’t afford to carry the beans back home.  He’ll have to settle for $20 even though his break even is $25.   Meanwhile the market is selling those same beans for $30 - $35 for a 100 pound sack. 

 

 The other option the farmer has is to deal with what are commonly known as “Coyotes”.  Middlemen, who have capital to buy with, and will drive their rickety old trucks way out into the mountains and undercut the farmers but save them the hassle of getting their beans to market.  The Coyotes make big money.  Often times they hold the beans for six to eight months and weight until the market is no longer saturated with beans from the fresh harvest and then they sell them at a premium.  It is capitalism at it’s finest but it literally starves families to death.  Leaves children sick and malnourished. And eliminates even the slightest opportunity for children to get an education. 

 

 The Mission Lazarus Sustainable Life program steps in and pays dignified prices directly to the farmers who are growing the commodity, whether its beans, corn, or sorghum.  For example, in October if the going price in the market for 100 pounds of beans is $35, then Mission Lazarus pays that same $35 directly to the farmer, in his village and eliminates the cost of transportation and the middle man “Coyote” from the picture, this blessing is felt by both the farmer and Mission Lazarus.  The farmer gets more for his crop than he ever has in his life, truly a fair price and Mission Lazarus has capacity to store large quantities of grain to use throughout the year in her many different programs.  Mission Lazarus is able to guarantee a low cost for the grain she needs many months after the harvest is in and the price of grain begins to climb. 

The picture below was taken at the Mission Lazarus warehouse -- weighing 7500 lbs. of beans!!

1.jpg

 

 Furthermore, by treating a farmer right, Mission Lazarus is building relationships.  These relationships have opened doors for conversations, conversations about a man named Jesus.  Now, families in many isolated villages like Las Trementinas, Las Delicias and Siguapate, have given their lives to Christ, and they thank Him for the financial blessings that he has sent to their families.

Tuesday
Sep102013

You're a part of God's Miracle

Last year your response to the need to help Olman Santeliz with emergency medical
care was overwhelming.  The response, Olman’s treatment, and his recovery were
nothing less than miraculous.  Today, just over a year later, Olman has made a
 complete recovery.  Now, once again, you have the opportunity to participate in
 another miracle that will transform another young man’s life, as well as his
family’s, forever.

*Note, this letter contains graphic details of a tragic accident.  I recognize this
and I have only included these details in order for you to fully understand the
 current need.
 
 
Denis & Jennifer Silva with their daughter, Alison
Denis Silva grew up in a traditional working-class, Christian family in a small town
outside of Managua, Nicaragua.  After high school he secured a job installing
 drop leaf ceilings and dry wall for a construction company.  Denis exceled at this
job and at 20 years old he was running his own crew of men, reading the
blueprints, and traveling around Central America to work on large commercial
projects in major cities. 
 
Thinking of his future, Denis enrolled in college and embarked on a
 five-year civil engineering degree and asked his childhood sweetheart,
Jennifer, to marry.  21 years old, married, in school full time, and
working part time in construction, Denis had high hopes for his wife and family.
 
Shortly into his third year of engineering school, in 2011, Jennifer told Denis
 that she was pregnant.  The significance of celebrating Father’s Day in 2011
was two-fold for Denis as he celebrated his own father and reflected that he too
 would soon be a father himself.  Not a week after this happy family celebration,
tragedy changed the course of all of their lives.
 
On June 24, 2011, Denis was working on the roof of a jobsite helping to
enclose the overhang of the house with sheet metal.  At about 9:30am,
a metal rail that Denis was handling connected with a high voltage electrical
wire hanging about 5 feet above the house.
 
Denis describes what happened next with extreme clarity:  “I realized
the metal had connected with the power line and I wanted to let go of the
metal because I knew that I could die but my hands would not respond. 
 I checked my legs and they would not respond.  I wanted to get off of the
scaffolding but I could not.  At some point, I fell to the ground, on my back, 
face up, my arms bent at the elbows and my fingers crinkled up like I was
still holding the metal, but the metal wasn’t in my hands anymore. 
 I couldn’t move, but looking down the length of my body I saw that my
 pants were on fire.  My friends put it out and I asked them to get me
off of the ground because I felt like I was burning up.  They put me in a truck
 - I thank God there was a vehicle onsite - and took me to the hospital. 
Both of my hands between the thumb and forefinger were deeply cut and
the pain in my arms was unbearable.  We arrived at a small hospital and
 I heard the nurse tell the doctor that the facility was not equipped to help
and I needed to be transferred to the regional hospital.  I asked for pain
medicine but so much of my body was burned they could not find a vein
that they thought was usable.  They gave me nothing.  I was put in an
ambulance and I asked my friends to call my wife and my family.  They had
already done it.”
 
What followed Denis’ arrival at the larger hospital was immediate
disorientation, a rapid series of surgical procedures, anesthesia, and
 pain medication.  Denis remembers waking up to see his wife, mom,
and dad around him in the burn ward, and looking down at his arms
bandaged from the elbows down.  He was in the company of two other
burn victims, and each one was an involuntary audience to each other’s
dressing changes.  The pain of debridement along with the horror of
looking at one’s own damaged limbs was excruciating.  Denis described
 his arms as “flayed from the wrist to the elbow” and “like a carcass in the
 road whose bones are black and the muscle has been eaten away, an empty
 body cavity”.  Denis explained that when electricity enters the body it looks for
 an exit.  He raised his right arm to show where the electricity tried
unsuccessfully to exit through his right armpit and revealed an impressive
 scar.  The electricity did successfully exit through his groin, leaving massive
amounts of heat behind that kindled the fire that burned his left thigh and groin. 
 
Two days later, the doctors decided to amputate his right arm.  Denis protested,
insisting that he was able to move his fingers, though he couldn’t feel anything. 
 “Without circulation,” the doctors explained as they took a scalpel and cut his
 right arm for visual emphasis, “the limb is dead.”  Denis waited hopefully
 for blood to appear at the incision site, but there was no blood.  On June 30th,
 the same doctors amputated his left arm.  Praying for the circulation in his
 left leg and groin to recover, Denis came to grips with being a double amputee. 
 
Then, some expected setbacks occurred – infection in both stumps,
 a common post-surgical problem at his hospital, as well as infection at
multiple burn sites.  Several cultures were taken to identify the type of
 bacteria, and an appropriate antibiotic regimen was identified.  Meanwhile,
circulation in the left leg continued to show promise, but severe burns to
 the scrotum, left testicle, and penis continued to pose a risk for necrosis. 
 On July 9th, Denis’s penis was amputated; a few days later, amputation
 of his left testicle followed. 
 
After 52 days in the hospital, Denis was released to go home with a
pubic catheter in place.  His wife Jennifer was 4 months pregnant. 
A new life was beginning.  Where Denis had once been the hard
working breadwinner for his family, he was now dependent on his
family to take care of him.  The simplest of tasks - getting dressed,
brushing teeth, eating, and going to the bathroom - were now impossibilities. 
 
Over the last two years in the course of paying for follow up surgeries,
medicine, medical supplies and looking for reputable doctors to continue
 his follow up in hopes of penile reconstruction, Denis and his wife sold
 their wedding rings, all of the tools that Denis used in his past life to
earn a living, his motorcycle, anything and everything of value, along with
contributions from his parents and extended family.  Denis is well
aware Nicaragua has limited technology and expertise and that his
 family’s economic situation are almost certainly insurmountable obstacles
that prevent him from obtaining the surgical procedures that he needs. 
 
In late August, after returning from Central America and after spending
time with Denis and his entire family, my wife, Allison Brown, began
writing doctors and surgeons who specialize in the treatment that
Denis desperately needs.  She sent pleas to surgeons across the US,
 as well as to the U.K. and Germany.  The story touched the heart
 of Dr. Christopher Salgado, from the University of Miami Hospital. 
Dr. Salgado specializes in penile reconstruction and has provided his
 services to other humanitarian cases from developing countries. 
Dr. Salgado immediately went to work soliciting donated services and
 supplies from his colleague as well as from the University of Miami Hospital.
  Last week, on September 3, we received an official letter from the
hospital, accepting Denis’ case.  We are now embarking on a journey
 to bring Denis to the US for his planned surgery in November of this
 year.  The Hospital however would only accept the case if there was a
 commitment from another organization to cover a portion of the expenses
 that would be incurred.  This estimated portion is $50,000.00.  This $50,000
 will go towards all medical supplies, medicines, travel and lodging
expenses, and other unforeseen expense that are unable to be
obtained through a donation. 
 
Last year donations for Olman’s treatment came from unknown individuals
from across the US and even overseas.  Would you please consider
being a part of a miracle that will change Denis Silva's life, and his family's, forever. 
Thank you for your prayers and donations.
Sincerely,
Jarrod Brown
 
 
You can give online:
 or you can mail a donation to:
Mission Lazarus
PO Box 150524
Nashville, TN 37215
please note: Denis Silva
Thursday
Aug292013

#3 Through the Lens (Posada)

Continuing this week of "Through the Lens" Jessica Risinger writes about our Posada in Honduras and has amazing pictures to share....Enjoy!

 

La Posada (The Inn)
I have to admit I was terribly spoiled during this week in Honduras at Mission Lazarus.  The staff there provided wonderful meals, and made sure our cabins were well taken care of while we were out working.  We had wonderfully cold refreshing showers each day, only saw one tiny little snake, no scorpions or tarantulas.  Fresh fruit, milk still warm from the cows, humming birds, palm trees, pine trees.  No tv.  Minimal, and I mean minimal internet connection.  And a group of strangers that quickly became friends.  There is nothing like saying good bye to the luxuries we are used to and enjoying freedom from being tied to them, and enjoying life on simpler terms.  I’m sorry computer, but I did not miss you.  Instead I enjoyed sitting in the cool breezy nights spending time with humans and getting instant updates face to face instead of through a “book of faces”.

 

 

 

Wednesday
Aug282013

#2 through the lens 

We are continuing to post pictures and a little summary of volunteer Jessica Risinger's trip to Honduras this week on the blog. Enjoy!

 

ASalida del sol (Sunrise)
Where do I even begin with telling you about my trip?  How about before the sun even rises.  A sun rise is one of the most amazing sights I feel like I might ever see.  Think about it.  It’s dark, the moon is out, then over a matter of minutes, it gets brighter and brighter until the moonlight fades, and the sky starts glowing with the morning sun–just like in the next photo.  Who comes up with this stuff?  (Not really a question in my mind.  This is the work of an amazing God.  Far more amazing than anything man could come up with.)  So setting the alarm clock for 4:30am to catch a glimpse of it was a no brainer for me.  What a way to start the day.  Spending time on a mountain ridge watching the sun rise, looking over lush green valleys and mountain ranges, seeing delicate and exotic flowers spotted along the path–whoever said it that week was right–there is a direct line to God there and he answers his calls on the first ring.