So I don't want to derail my own post, because this is about recognizing a special person -- his heart, his present journey, and his character. I want you to know about this guy
Jesus pursues His people, all people, to reveal himself and effect changes in the fallen world.
Dr. Nelsy Alvarado doesn't always use her prescription pad to provide women what they need. She sees more than just physical symptoms, and often it is a healing word, rather than a pill, that remedies contaminants like fear, hopelessness, and powerlessness.
In Mark 5, a woman touches Jesus -- a woman who is "unclean" and therefore not allowed to touch anyone or even enter a house. She has been lonely, impoverished, and frustrated for twelve years. In an instant, the woman's physical problem is healed; verse 29 says that the source of her blood dried up.
Jesus didn't get on to her for touching him. He didn't condemn her for "contaminating" him with her uncleanliness. Instead, he saw that there was still more pain to heal - isolation, rejection, anger, depression, hopelessness - he saw everything that was there. So he spoke to her, and restored the woman's dignity and place in the community, with a word, "Daughter, go in peace."
Jesus is admirably efficient; he has divine ability to see exactly what pain is hidden inside. We can not see what others choose to hide from us, especially when we contentedly choose to remain on the fringes of people's lives. But as we delve into relationship, invest in people, we can begin to see what is hidden there -- just as Nelsy manages the intimate vulnerabilities of her patients, and the barriers come down, she sees what was hidden before. And she can practice Jesus' example of holistic care. And so can you and I.
People often ask what is different about the Lazarus Clinic, about Mission Lazarus as a whole. It's only, and exactly, this: Leadership as Jesus' practiced, means going deep. Jesus is not satisfied with a band-aid, he desires complete healing, of each and every one, even if it takes a lifetime of words and touch to achieve.
For some children in Honduras, this question is incomprehensible.
For kids who’ve been orphaned or abandoned, physically or sexually abused…kids who’ve seen a parent turn tricks or be savagely murdered…the question is more simple: “How do I survive?”
When we founded the Mission Lazarus Refuge 10 years ago, we wanted it to be a place where children who have suffered unthinkable hardships would not just survive, but thrive. We envisioned a place where they would be loved, nurtured and respected as individuals. A place where each child would know that his or her needs, hurts and dreams matter to the Refuge “family” — and to a loving God.
Today, 42 children call the Refuge home. With one trained Christian caregiver for every five children, each child receives love, personal attention and spiritual discipleship in a homelike environment. Siblings are kept together and whenever possible, we maintain ties with the children’s families and work to reunite them. Children living at the Refuge get a K-12 education, plus whatever medical care and counseling they need.
When asked to name their career aspirations recently, the children were quick to volunteer answers: doctor, teacher, agricultural engineer, fireman, policeman, nurse, computer technician, mechanic, psychologist, pharmacist.
How that makes our hearts sing! We believe that these children are the amazing future of their country and deserve to be empowered to chase their dreams. We are honored that the central government of Honduras has recognized Mission Lazarus Refuge as the model orphanage home for the country.
Yet our joy is tempered by the knowledge that the Honduran government is asking us to take more than 40 additional children who urgently need placement. Sadly, we get no government money and we simply can’t afford to care for these children with our current finances. Excruciatingly painful as it is, we will have to turn them away — unless we can turn to you, the Body of Christ, for help.
Will you prayerfully consider helping us give these children a chance at the abundant life our Lord promised, a chance to dream?
It costs $850 to house, feed, heal, educate, disciple and train one child for a month; $10,000 will provide life-changing care for a child for one year.
Your gift in any amount will help us improve our facilities, hire more staff — and open our doors wide to these children in need.
Thank you for partnering with us in blessing the lives of these precious children and in breaking the cycle of poverty and abuse in Honduras. May God bless you abundantly at Christmas and in the New Year!
Jarrod Brown Allison Brown
Mission Lazarus in Haiti doesn’t want to fix a problem temporarily, but develop a long-standing presence and trust within the community, raising up Haitians to help other Haitians. Yes, there is a lot of work to be done, and the changes can’t happen overnight. Through education, through opportunity creation, lasting change can be achieved. Our social enterprise programs seek to use business development to help this process along, creating sustainable income in employment deprived communities while generating revenue for ministry operations like our vocational schools.
"Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other." 1 John 4:11
Unexpected news can be received in a variety of ways. Our response to the unexpected exposes the genuine state of our emotional and spiritual life, and informs the employ of our coping skills. How are we going to handle "x" ? Will we fight our battle in secret or reach out? Mission Lazarus has worked with many people over the years, and we have collected stories of men, women and children who inspire us by their faith during the most vulnerable times in their life.
Maria Martinez Ramirez is a Christian wife and mother of three who lives in Choluteca, Honduras. Last year she was diagnosed with cervical cancer, and her family and church rallied to support her treatment. Though Maria's family and church have limited financial means, they were able to secure the financial resources to cover 32 sessions of radiation treatment as well as the costs of transportation to and from the capital, about three hours away. The resilience to adversity that Maria exudes makes Mission Lazarus proud to count itself as one component of her supportive community. We have committed to sponsor the entirety of her chemotherapy, and she is currently in her third round (of six.)
Community can provide a host of unexpected gifts from unexpected places. Anticipating the side effects of chemo treatments, we contacted Healing Hands International (Nashville, TN) to inquire about securing a hairpiece for Maria. In turn, HHI networked with its contacts to secure a beautiful hairpiece from a compassionate, private individual who previously owned a hair goods store (thank you, Nita!) A few weeks ago, we were honored to present Maria with this hairpiece. When her children said, "You look beautiful," they really meant, "We love you, this cancer doesn't stand a chance!"
Thank you to the great community of faith that has helped to support Maria through prayers, love, and financial support - it is making a difference to Maria and all those whom she touches.
"I will praise You, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things You have done." Psalm 9:1
At Mission Lazarus we have noticed that many miracles happen through the unified efforts of many separate individuals advocating for the good of someone that they don't even know, and may possibly never see. We do not, like Jesus, possess the gift of healing through a single touch, but it matters little when the advocacy for one individual is realized through a succession of individuals whose compassion God has prompted to act - and the result is healing across time zones, languages, and cultures.
Mission Lazarus partners often with HeartGift Foundation in order to collaborate surgical solutions for children with various congenital heart defects. Our most recent international patient is only 17 months old and is the fifth child who has benefited from heart surgery in the U.S. through collaborative efforts with HeartGift, and many other children have been blessed through surgeries with other organizations as well.
Luis David and his mother returned to Honduras from Austin, Texas, last week after a successful heart surgery. His parents wish to voice their thanks to all whom God employed to make the impossible possible for their son.
"During the past 17 months my family has gone through the most difficult situation we have ever faced - the illness of our son Luis David Brizio Flores. At three months old, David was diagnosed with atrial septal defect, and we were told he needed open heart surgery. Those difficult hours of operation in Austin, Texas, seemed to be endless; we could only find solace and peace through prayer. My wife and I are born-again believers, and this situation helped us to greatly strengthen our faith. Many people - family, friends, colleagues, even people we did not know personally - joined our prayers for the recovery of our son. Today we can say with joy that God has restored health to our child.
Our endless thanks to our Almighty God who opened doors that seemed closed,
to Mission Lazarus and HeartGift Foundation, for their advocacy,
to Dr. Fox and his team for their talents and global service,
to the Charpentier family for their gracious hospitality,
to our friends, family and co-workers for their prayers.
You will forever be in our hearts."
Brizio Flores family
We wholeheartedly believe that human development supports vitality in the lives of individuals, churches and communities and the most effective way to create a construct for spiritual development is to model our methods after Jesus. Clearly, Jesus demonstrated that people are of paramount importance. He knew His audience and His message equally well. To the lost and passing crowds He preached how to be reconciled to God, and to those with whom He shared daily life, He taught in intimate settings how to deepen faith, hope and love to claim abundant life.
We grow the kingdom of God by discipling church leaders to likewise disciple their church members and engage their communities in participatory development initiatives.
"Participatory development is a process through which a group of people can influence and share control over initiatives designed for their benefit."
What we believe about evangelism:
- Every person is created in the image of God and is therefore immeasurably valuable.
- Human development encompasses spiritual, moral, physical, emotional and intellectual potential.
- Pastoral care involves both evangelism and discipleship.
- Truth and self-acceptance are lessons that make a way for transformation.
- Every life tells a story which reveals God's pursuit to reclaim His child from the fallen world.
Evangelism through Community Development
We serve church leaders by providing structure and oversight for strategic evangelism, often in the form of community development, because the church is a tool that is meant to be a light in the community, a tangible evidence of God's presence and relevance in the everyday lives of people. Who, if not we who love God, should commit to serve communities through authentic concern for social issues and to generate solutions collectively?
Discipleship through Human Development
Secondly, we serve church leaders through intimate relationship as accountability partners, developing and upholding integrity of Christian leaders in all aspects of private and public life. Sustainability in the spiritual sense is the active and ongoing encouragement of leaders to remain faithful and grow in wisdom and spiritual maturity, so that they may disciple their own church members.
"Wisdom begins with respect for the Lord, and understanding begins with knowing the Holy One."
Join with us as we seek to advance the kingdom of God here on earth and continue the good work of Jesus.
“At least 250 million children are not able to read, write or count well even for those who have spent at least four years in school.” (Education for All Monitoring Report 2011)
Our private schools seek marginalized children with potential and invest in their families throughout their educational career. Our educators and support staff minimize those common barriers that thwart learning and allow students to thrive through parent-teacher-student connections, use of quality didactic materials, well-trained and well-paid teachers who look forward to being in the classroom, and attendance to the overall health and well-being of students.
This level of commitment requires constant student performance monitoring by key members of our staff to evaluate the learning, health, and family involvement of each student. We can celebrate success when we make a measurable impact by keeping families together, equipping future leaders for the next generation, and making Christ known in the community.
According to the Education for All Monitoring Report for 2012, "in Latin America and the Caribbean, over 8 million people aged 15 to 24 (~ 1 in 12 young people) have not even completed primary school and need alternative pathways to acquire basic skills for employment and prosperity". This is a problem. Our three-year apprenticeship, our training programs in carpentry, leather smithing, boot making, metal working, and sewing eliminate those barriers that diminish student enrollment and attendance, big barriers such as day labor wages, lack of transportation, and hunger. We take out the biggest competitor to education through a student weekly stipend, while the issue of access is resolved by a daily bus route that brings some students to school, while other students who walk are given protective footwear. A daily devotional for spiritual perseverance and a meal for physical endurance rounded out by master artisan teachers and mentors over a three year period create an atmosphere that craft and develop character just as much as it builds skills.
Since 2001, Mission Lazarus has used opportunities to serve the poor of rural Honduras to empower individuals to meet their own needs by participating in community development, be it a church, school, clinic, home, or social enterprise. We testify that holistic ministry is fruit-bearing ministry. Twenty-five churches have been planted in southern Honduras and many are poised to share Jesus with surrounding rural communities.
For all intents and purposes, these newly targeted communities are remote, isolated, and inaccessible, even to Mission Lazarus because our only awareness of the existence of these villages comes as a result of the evangelistic efforts of the local leadership amongoriginal church plants. And without the funding to support additional church plants, these communities remain invisible and untouched by the word of God.
We need your help. At present, there are ten such villages in Honduras where we have an opportunity to make a difference but do not currently have the funding to move ahead. Your financial gift will allow us to continue to reach the lost in rural southern Honduras.
This is your invitation to do battle with us as we wage against the injustices and unkindnesses of a fallen world to spread holistic ministry in its various forms to the broken, with the promise of the wholeness that only Jesus can bring.
Be a part of the transformation in someone’s life by making a financial gift today!
At Mission Lazarus, we work diligently to serve God and others because we believe:
➤ All people are created in the image of God and desire to live a more abundant life.
➤ Economic stability improves family dynamics.
➤ Gainful employment compounds a personal and communal sense of accomplishment, purpose and dignity.
➤ Job security provides an opportunity for individual, family and community transformation.
➤ A livable wage is one that enables the worker to invest for the future of himself and his family.
Our diverse social enterprise initiatives demonstrate our ongoing desire to generate a greater percentage of our operations budget as well as continue to increase job opportunities in a region where gainful employment is scarce. Currently, these initiatives generate collectively 25% of our operational budget.
The Lazarus Store is primarily an ecommerce venture where we showcase and sell artisan products of leather, textile, metal, and wood produced by our vocational school students and graduates under the eyes of our master artisans. Lazarus Store products are also sold in the Posada gift shop in Jayacayan, Honduras, as well as our international office in Franklin, Tennessee. You can visit our online store here.
The Lazarus Posada is a venture in the hospitality industry in Jayacayan, Honduras, that serves both mission guests and local travelers. It is an eco-hotel, restaurant, and event venue with a capacity to accommodate 120 people.
The Lazarus Coffee Plantation is located within the Sierra de la Botija Forest reserve where four varieties of coffee are grown in rich volcanic soil. We provide employment to more than 85 families on the mountain. For these families, coffee has always been their heritage but it has not ever been a viable livelihood. We are proud to pay every worker 25% above established fair wages, effectively uniting heritage and livelihood again on the mountain. You can learn more about our coffee plantation here and buy coffee here.
The Lazarus Hacienda is an agricultural business venture on our 1200+ acre ranch where we farm crops, raise dairy and beef herds, and log timber while protecting the integrity of the land for today and the future.
Abundant life is a promise for this life as well as the next. Mission Lazarus works to amplify the truth of this promise to many individuals in the developing world. Help us continue to invest in individuals who are reaching out for God's promises through social enterprise initiatives.
The Lazarus Clinic provides services that are structured through different health programs that address the top ten causes of death in low income countries. The ability to structure each patient visit into the appropriate health program allows the clinic as well as supporting spiritual leaders and preachers to track the patient for continued follow up in the community as well as in the clinic. In this way, every individual on the medical team, including the patient, is empowered to pursue health for better outcomes.
Noncommunicable diseases were responsible for two-thirds of all deaths globally in 2011. The four main NCDs are cardiovascular diseases, cancers, diabetes and chronic lung diseases. We treat hypertension, diabetes, asthma, epilepsy and psychiatric disorders in our chronic disease program with 95% of our patients well-controlled on their medications.
Cervical cancer is the third most common cancer worldwide, and 80% of cases occur in the developing world. It is the leading cause of death from cancer among women in developing countries, and unlike many cancers, it is preventable. We provide screening services as well as case management, including sponsoring treatment for patients with cancer and pre-cancerous abnormalities in our women's health program.
In general, men have more opportunity and better means to access health services than women, yet few utilize health services due to reluctance to address uniquely male concerns. Prostate cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among males in Central America. Our men's health program addresses sexually transmitted diseases, musculoskeletal conditions and prostate conditions, including sponsoring treatment for patients whose conditions undermine their quality of life.
Our walk-in program addresses acute infections, such as diarrhea and lower respiratory infections, which are the leading cause of death in children under age 5. This program is an "open door" that allows us to to treat acute conditions while also screening each patient for other health concerns to refer appropriately to additional programs.
We also take pride in health promotion and prevention in the community through our public health program, which allows our medical team to share essential health teachings regarding hygiene, nutrition, HIV/AIDS, and road safety, as well as promote health screenings to recruit new patients.
We love to serve our mission employees and their families as well as the beneficiaries of our different initiatives in our family clinic. We intentionally take advantage of our “easy access” and repeated contact with this patient group, virtually guaranteeing positive results and great impact in these families over time. Consider giving your time, your talent, and your treasure to the growing impact that our health and wellness initiatives are realizing in southern Honduras. Peace and health to you!