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Filtering by Category: Culture

Why can't I wear shorts?

Mission Lazarus

It's not so much that we are against shorts as it is that we are pro-pants.  Pants help protect you around the worksite (especially if you are doing physical labor) and they protect you from the sun and (wait for it...) mosquitoes, which reduce your risk of contracting malaria, Zika, Dengue, and Chikungunya.  

Just like we are not anti-flip-flops we are just pro-closed-toe shoes for the worksite. Feel free to wear modest shorts and don your flip flops when you are relaxing at the hotel or lodge. We ask that you don't wear spaghetti strap shirts or short skirts either.  Again, think sun and mosquito protection.  

We basically try to stay in line with local church culture, which is pretty modest, unlike local secular culture.  Thanks for your cooperation with these guidelines, we appreciate it!

What should we expect during a typical church service?

Mission Lazarus

Basically, here's the four biggies you need to know: 

Proper Attire

You will notice a mix of attire at church services depending on the rurality of the congregation and/or the degree of poverty in the community. En general, the church culture is modest in regard to clothing. There is variance among the young and old members. As we are guests and want to be respectful, please avoid wearing t-shirts, spaghetti strap shirts or short skirts. Pants, including blue jeans, are fine for men if they are in good condition. Slacks or skirts are appropriate for women.

Praise and Worship

Each congregation has its own leaders, personality, and worship style. Some are very formal while others are more relaxed. Some may augment worship with instrumental music; some sing entirely a capella. Some leaders may want visitors to lead a song, a prayer, pass Communion or address the congregation briefly.

Worship is not conducted in English and the mission does not provide translation for the worship service for the benefit of the visitors as this prolongs substantially the worship time. Please do not ask bilingual team members to translate during the service as this is distracting for the church members.


Communion is usually grape juice or wine and flat bread prepared by a sister in the church. Visitors may be hesitant to participate but are encouraged to do so. At times the number of visitors overwhelms the supply of communion bread or wine. One way to help reduce the shortage is by teaming with a friend to share the same Communion cup.


A good rule of thumb for giving in another country is to give no more than the local church member is able to contribute. This avoids any temptation by church leadership to “borrow funds” from the collection in the aftermath of a financially gainful visitor Sunday. In this setting, an offering of U$S 5.00 is appropriate.