- When was Mission Lazarus founded?
- Why Honduras?
- Why Haiti?
- What's the significance of the name Lazarus?
When was Mission Lazarus founded?
Founder Jarrod Brown began living in Honduras in 2001, collaborating with a single Honduran preacher who exposed him to the many isolated and rural villages in the region. Jarrod remembers, "It's not the opportunities, as much as the setbacks, that cause you to re-examine your commitment. If you quit, you likely miss out on something great just ahead, but if it spurs you on, you overcome the challenges through sheer perseverance."
After launching several early education centers in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and opening a medical clinic in a mountain village, Mission Lazarus was incorporated in 2004, because of the rapid growth and development opportunities. Allison told us, "I remember asking myself, 'What are you here for, if you play it safe and back away from the tough challenges?' I knew then, that our purpose was to step into situations that seemed hopeless or impossible."
Since 2004, Mission Lazarus has grown to include operations in both Honduras and Haiti, with a holistic focus on individual, family, community and economic development to create transformative experiences with a loving God.
Jarrod obtained degrees in Spanish and International Business in 2000. His prior travels included Spain and Argentina, where he spent a semester studying at the University of Buenos Aires. When his church approached him to accompany the mission team as a translator to Honduras, he agreed. This introduction resulted in a permanent passion for the country and the people of Honduras. Less than a year after this trip, Jarrod quit his job and moved to Honduras to collaborate with a local preacher. Very soon, he met Allison and together they founded Mission Lazarus and made their home in southern Honduras.
Mission Lazarus first got involved in Haiti in 2004, partnering with Healing Hands International and CRF Relief to provide emergency humanitarian aid to churches after hurricanes ravaged the country.
Years later, Mission Lazarus responded when the devastating earthquake of January 2010 destroyed much of Port au Prince. We provided anesthesia and antibiotics that were in great demand in field hospitals and sent our three nurses to Haiti to deliver the drugs and volunteer their services in a makeshift hospital.
Mission Lazarus started focused efforts in Haiti in the fall of 2010 by joining with a group of committed Christians who were already highly invested in making Christ known. The goal of this new partnership was to combine the proven life transforming practices of Mission Lazarus with the experience of the Haiti team.
Mission Lazarus currently has a primary school and a vocational school in the village of Gras, in northeast Haiti and is partnering with local churches to seek additional community development opportunities.
What's the significance of the name Lazarus?
We take our name from the story found in Luke 16:19-31, that tells of the relationship, during life and after death, between an unnamed rich man and a poor beggar named Lazarus, whose name (from the Hebrew: אלעזר, Elʿāzār, Eleazar) means "God is my help."
Our trademarked seal, the circled L, is a labyrinth. The labyrinth is an ancient symbol patterned from the sacred geometry of the natural world (spiral and circle) and depicts a pilgrimage or search for God.
- Do you offer internships?
- Do you accept gifts in kind?
- What is the best way to donate?
- What's the best way to give of my time and talent?
Do you offer internships?
We do not offer paid internships, and unpaid internships are considered on an individual basis, according to our specific needs onsite in Honduras, Haiti, and our US office. To qualify for an internship abroad, Spanish language fluency and prior professional or volunteer experience is required. If interested, please contact us for further information.
Do you accept gifts in kind?
1. Gifts for Specific Program Needs
We solicit and accept gifts that are consistent with our mission and that support our core programs and special projects. Items should be in new or nearly new condition; Items should not be expired, recalled, or broken; Items should be deliverable to our international office at donor's expense unless other arrangements are made.
2. Health Care Donations
Donations and other forms of support will generally be accepted from individuals, partnerships, corporations, foundations, government agencies, or other entities. We are guided in our decisions to accept or decline donations based on WHO best practices for medication and equipment donations. All items should be deliverable to our international office at donor's expense.
3. Gifts of Property
Gifts of Real Property, Personal Property or Securities may only be accepted upon approval of our Finance Committee.
If you have any questions, please contact us!
What is the best way to donate?
You can donate easily and securely right here on the website if you want to use a credit card, Paypal, GPay, or make a direct deposit from your bank. Just click on the donate link.
If you prefer to send a check, you may send it to the address listed in the website footer. If you need our help to walk you through the online donation process, just contact us and we would be glad to get back to you.
What's the best way to give of my time and talent?
Start a peer to peer fundraising campaign. Use your voice and your network to share a unique giving opportunity that raises awareness of our programs and services. You're the best advocate for our mission when you are passionate about the opportunity you are presenting to others. You can help us to raise funds to purchase more books for the school library, or subsidize a patient's cancer treatment.
Another great way to get involved is to use your voice to influence our mission leaders and employees. If you have leadership skills and are passionate about equipping others, let us know! We plan biannual retreats for our team and invite guest speakers who contribute greatly to the growth and development of our leadership.
Contact us here.
What is Lazarus Artisan Goods?
Lazarus Artisan Goods is a high end, quality leather bag manufacturing company. It was spun off of Mission Lazarus in 2018 due to its growth. Beautiful leather bags have always been an end product of the mission's vocational program in leather artisanry, but increasing demand and increasing sales necessitated its further development into its own business, which now gives back to the vocational program it owes its existence to. You can read more about it here or go directly to their website here.
What is San Lázaro Coffee?
San Lázaro Coffee is a specialty grade coffee company that employs women with fair wages. It became independent of Mission Lazarus in order to facilitate its growth and meet its goal to employ more women and transform more families. Women make great coffee agricultors, as their swift but gentle touch harvests the coffee cherry without damaging the tip of next year's growth. You can read more about the women of San Lázaro Coffee here or go directly to their website here.
What is Lazarus Group?
Lazarus Group is a C-corporation whose only stakeholder is Mission Lazarus, Inc. It was created in 2018 to receive the revenues of Lazarus Artisan Goods and San Lázaro Coffee, thereby guaranteeing that all profits made by our affiliate companies always is reinvested into its nonprofit Mission Lazarus, Inc.
Philosophy in Practice
- What is human development?
- Can we take pictures?
- Why can't we just play with children?
- Why can't we give away gifts, candy, money, etc?
- Uh-oh, What if the police stop me for some reason?
- Why can't we ride in the back of trucks?
- How should we participate in the church service?
- The Latrine Initiative - why?
What is human development?
Human development is defined as the process of enlarging people’s freedoms and opportunities and improving their well-being. Human development is about the real freedom ordinary people have to decide who to be, what to do, and how to live.
It is often measured by looking at a country's health (life expectancy at birth,) adult literacy rates, and gross domestic product as a snapshot of development status.
The 2016 Human Development Report from the United Nations makes available the HDI of nearly every country in the world, classified as low, medium, high, very high in terms of human development. If you want to look up a country's HDI, click here.
Can we take pictures?
Photographs are an everyday part of our life but that is often not true for those whom we serve.
For all adults, as a courtesy, we ask permission before taking a picture. Most people do not mind having their picture taken if they feel at ease and are given a choice. Respect and dignity are paramount.
For all children, safety is a primary consideration. We do not take pictures for public use without explicit consent of the parent or guardian. Many factors increase a child's general state of vulnerability and the public use of his image is one of those factors. One good resource for complete guidelines on taking pictures can be found here.
Why can't we just play with children?
Mission Lazarus is legally responsible for the conduct of its employees as well as its volunteers. Direct contact with minors (legally defined in Honduras as individuals under 18) within mission projects is limited to the provision of services only. Inviting a child or children to accompany and help with one’s responsibilities is not allowed. Spontaneous activity with any child is not allowed (i.e. eating lunch with a particular child, etc). No volunteer is to initiate or collaborate in the discipline of any child. Please remember that these guidelines minimize, but can not altogether eliminate, mission liability in the event of alleged Human Rights violations and act prudently at all times.
Why can't we give away gifts, candy, money, etc?
We ask that you do not distribute gifts in any form (including candy, money, or tips) directly to staff or program recipients unless express permission has been granted and distribution is directed by our program director. Random gifts without context promote dependence and entitlement, degrade the dignity of persons, and cause jealousy and covetousness.
If you see an ancillary need that you wish to help with (Ancillary needs are needs which exist but are not the target of intervention for the mission team or volunteer) such as buying shoes for a child or food for a needy family, you should direct your inquiry to the Director of Operations for guidance, who will investigate the need by coordinating with a local leader, who knows the needs of the families in his community. By coordinating with the local church, the preacher can help the family in such a way as to give the glory to God.
Uh-oh, What if the police stop me for some reason?
Please do not engage with local law officials (customs, immigration, police, etc) in the event of a routine traffic stop or collision. Mission Lazarus staff will respond to determine what the official is requesting and whether or not the request is justified. Mission Lazarus does not pay bribes under any circumstance and must protect its reputation in the community.
Why can't we ride in the back of trucks?
How should we participate in the church service?
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 incentive for funds to go missing after Sunday worship. In this setting, an offering of U$S 5.00 is appropriate.
The Latrine Initiative - why?
According to UNICEF, "Around the world, poor sanitation remains a major threat to development, impacting countries’ progress in health, education, gender equity, and social and economic development. Globally, 1.2 billion, almost a fifth of the world’s population, practice open defecation. Open defecation and its public health, social and economic impacts, can create a vicious cycle of illness, high expenditure on health care, lost work and school hours, and poverty."
Our Latrine Initiative has constructed household latrines in conjunction with basic hygiene teaching in a number of communities. Every latrine built is part of a larger community goal to achieve total sanitation and 100% containment of feces.
A community where every family has a latrine or toilet decreases the transmission of intestinal parasites, which, especially for children, improves nutrition, decreases school absences, and increases academic success.
Whenever church presence can be the stimulus of community development, it reveals itself as an authentic partner in the improvement of quality of life for individuals and families. And that is something to smile about, don't you think?
What is Lazarus Academy?
Lazarus Academy is the private Christian K-12 academy that we operate to provide excellence in education in rural communities. The first opened in 2016 in Gras, Haiti, and the second was built in 2020 in Jayacayan, Honduras. All students of Lazarus Academy are educated to be global citizens with an awareness and understanding of the world beyond their backdoor. Their rigorous bilingual program provide coveted language skills for a world that is increasingly global while the focus on spiritual development supports each student as he discovers God's calling on his life.
Do you provide student scholarships?
We provide both student scholarships and indexed tuition to support the enrollment of students across a wide financial spectrum. If you are interested in giving to support student education and family advancement, please give here.
- What kills more people each year, communicable or noncommunicable diseases?
- What keeps people from accessing health care?
- What does the Honduran national health care system look like?
- What does the Haitian national health care system look like?
- Who qualifies as a medical volunteer?
What kills more people each year, communicable or noncommunicable diseases?
What keeps people from accessing health care?
There are so many factors:
Lack of Knowledge (of signs and symptoms of illness)
Lack of Economic resources
Lack of Transportation
Inequity of Access
Lack of resources within the system (no medicines!)
Stigma of disease (embarrassment, fear, shame)
Inadequate number of health care centers
Inadequate training of health care providers
What does the Honduran national health care system look like?
The national health care system in Honduras is primarily composed of primary care services at the local level, specifically made up of 1048 rural health care centers (often with only an attending auxiliary nurse), 349 health care centers (with an attending physician), 61 child-maternal health centers, 16 area hospitals, 14 dental schools, 6 regional hospitals, 6 national hospitals, and 59 other support clinics.
What does the Haitian national health care system look like?
"Haiti reports some of the world’s worst health indicators, which continue to inhibit the country’s development. Haiti has struggled with poor health outcomes for generations, the health system was further debilitated by the 2010 earthquake, which demolished 50 health centers, part of Haiti’s primary teaching hospital, and the Ministry of Health. Only a few months later, Haiti’s health care network was further strained by the country’s first cholera outbreak in a century. In the wake of Hurricane Matthew, significant challenges remain to increase access to and utilization of improved water and sanitation services that are key to improving health and well-being."
Further, according to the same USAID Health fact sheet, the key challenges to health improvement are:
A weak health system: Roughly 40 percent of the population lack access to essential health and nutrition services; only 45 percent of all children (12-23 months) are fully vaccinated and 22 percent of children under 5 years old are stunted.
Funding environment: Government spending for health is low and only represents 6 percent of all government expenditure for the country. There is still heavy reliance on international funding to provide Haitians access to health care services.
Human resources for health: Attracting and retaining qualified health professionals is a chronic struggle, with as few as six health professionals per 10,000 people.
Health infrastructure: The destruction created by the 2010 earthquake and Hurricane Matthew exacerbated an existing lack of adequate health infrastructure, such as health care and storage facilities, as well as access to electricity, clean water and sanitation systems.
Who qualifies as a medical volunteer?
An individual qualifies as a medical volunteer if he/she:
Holds a current professional license in medicine, dentistry, ophthalmology, optometry, nursing, physical/occupational/speech therapy, or pharmacy, in good standing.
Is a student in the above health disciplines with at least two clinical rotations of experience. Students will be clearly identified by their name badge as a student volunteer in all clinical settings and will have constant supervision by a clinical mission employee.
Mission Lazarus utilizes individual medical volunteers to perform medical services which serve the community and/or meet the health needs of mission program recipients or employees of Mission Lazarus. We believe that the fundamental responsibilities of the health care provider are to promote health, facilitate healing, and alleviate suffering while preserving the respect for life, dignity, and the rights of all persons. The prime objective of the health care provider is to render competent medical service with compassion and respect for human dignity. While serving with Mission Lazarus, each medical volunteer is expected to provide the same level of care, confidentiality, and privacy that one would in any other professional clinical setting.
- Why can't we wear open-toed shoes at the worksite?
- Why do you require medical evacuation coverage?
- What is your policy on COVID?
- Ooh, Can I drive the rental vehicle?
- What vaccinations do I need?
- Do I have to take medicine to prevent malaria?
- Yikes - What about Zika, Dengue, Chikungunya?
Why can't we wear open-toed shoes at the worksite?
Sure, there's a few reasons. We don't want your toes smashed on a construction site, or exposed in a clinical setting. And even if you're working in another setting, the ground is often uneven and unpaved, and unprotected toes are exposed to soil that can transfer both parasitic and fungal infections through the skin.
Now, when you're not on the work site, feel free to switch into flip flops or sandals and let your toes breathe at the hotel!
Why do you require medical evacuation coverage?
We do everything we can to mitigate your risks while you volunteer with us, but we require MedJet Assist because medical emergencies happen. We have a long-standing relationship with this company and have air-evacuated two volunteers in the lifetime of our organization within hours with a single phone call.
Additionally, Medjet membership allows the protected member to be transported back to a home country hospital of his/her choice and does not require the illness/injury to be such that a transport is medically-necessary. As such, Medjet empowers the member to choose where he wants to to receive care as long as he/she is stable for flight and a doctor will admit them at the receiving hospital. (For example, a qualifying injury could be a compound fracture that requires a surgical procedure – something that perhaps “could” be performed in-country (Honduras or Haiti) but the Medjet member prefers to have the procedure done in the U.S.
Another awesome advantage is that Medjet has no dollar caps on air medical transport services. There is zero out of pocket for Medjet transport cases that can easily be above $50,000 – the cap for many other air travel coverage companies.
Lastly, Medjet has no health questions, deductibles, co-payments or claim forms; it does not subrogate for other possible insurance, and Medjet has no adventure travel restrictions.
What is your policy on COVID?
We require full vaccination of international employees and volunteers for the following reasons:
1. To decrease your personal risk of COVID infection.
2. To contribute to building local herd immunity.
3. To impede the propagation of COVID mutation/variants.
4. To protect the community at large by eliminating yourself as a vector of disease.
5. To especially protect our staff and service beneficiaries by eliminating yourself as a vector of disease.
While there are and will continue to be many unanswered questions regarding the efficacy of existing COVID vaccines (like, How long does my protection last?), especially in the face of new variants, there is clearly a benefit to PUBLIC HEALTH in the midst of a pandemic emergency. As such, Mission Lazarus policy to require vaccination remains consistent with our highest values of safety and care.
If you haven't gotten your vaccination yet, roll up your sleeve; it's time!
Ooh, Can I drive the rental vehicle?
What vaccinations do I need?
In addition to the COVID vaccine which Mission Lazarus requires per internal policy, the following recommendations are in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control:
Routine vaccinations that have not been administered within the last 5 years should be applied to prevent disease in case of exposure. This includes MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella), DPT (Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus), and Poliovirus vaccine.
Two doses of the vaccine administered 6 months apart prior to travel is ideal. One dose prior to travel and second dose upon return is also acceptable.
Three doses of the vaccine administered at 0, 1, and 6 months is ideal. Two doses prior to travel and final dose upon routine is also acceptable.
Two options exist. One is an oral formulation that confers 5 years of protection. The second is an injection which confers 2 years of protection.
Rabies Optional. Three doses of the vaccine administered at 0, 7, and 21 days is ideal.
Travel vaccinations can be obtained through your primary care provider, the public health department, or any number of private travel clinics around the U.S.
Do I have to take medicine to prevent malaria?
We can't force you, but it's a good idea. The Center for Disease Control recommends chemoprophylaxis with any of the following agents: atovaquone-proguanil, chloroquine, doxycycline, mefloquine, or primaquine. The most commonly prescribed agent for Central America is Chloroquine phosphate 500 mg orally, once/week.
Medication instructions for adults: Take 500mg once a week, beginning 1-2 weeks before travel, in the evening, with food. Take weekly on the same day of the week while in the malarious area and for 4 weeks after leaving such areas.
Common side effects include diarrhea, blurred vision, headache, nausea, loss of appetite, stomach irritation, strange dreams. Chloroquine can exacerbate psoriasis, so considering another agent may be appropriate if you have this skin condition. If choosing Doxycycline, just know that your skin will be more sensitive to sunlight.
A prescription for Chloroquine can be obtained through your primary care provider or any number of private travel clinics around the U.S.
Yikes - What about Zika, Dengue, Chikungunya?
We value that you are volunteering your time with us and want to protect you while with us. Zika is similar to Dengue or Chikungunya; all three are viruses carried by mosquitoes with fairly similar symptoms and treatments:
If you were to be infected with Zika, you may not exhibit any symptoms at all (most people infected with Zika do not even get clinically ill, as a healthy immune system clears the virus quickly) but for those who get clinically ill, you would experience mild fever, an angry skin rash, headache, conjunctivitis, and malaise within a few days of initial infection. You would feel generally “not well.” These symptoms could last 2-7 days, and there is no treatment other than symptom management, so - rest, hydration, and tylenol for discomfort.
What you need to know is: how can I prevent getting Zika, and if I get Zika, how do I keep from spreading it to others? So, the precautions are the same as they are for Chikungunya, Malaria and Dengue.... you want to avoid mosquito bites by wearing bug spray with DEET, and also by minimizing skin exposure (so, I'd wear pants and a light long sleeve shirt, versus short sleeves and skirts or capris.) These mosquitoes are daytime biters so a mosquito net for night time is unnecessary to prevent Zika.
The only travel advisory made currently by the CDC to travelers to Honduras or Haiti (or other parts of Central and South America) is to take precautions to avoid getting mosquito bites, and recommends special precautions for women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant: not to travel to any area below 6,500 feet. (Because the type of mosquito that carries Zika does not live at high elevation.)
The World Health Organization is slightly more conservative in that it recommends that pregnant women not travel to an endemic area due to an association of congenital disorders such as microcephaly when pregnant women become infected.
Any couple who hopes to become pregnant should wait 6 months after either partner returns from Honduras or Haiti, as some studies have shown the presence of Zika in semen for up to 6 months after return from travel.
I think it’s worth noting that we as news consumers allow media hysteria to cause us distress on nearly a daily basis. Zika virus is not new; it has been around since the 1950s. If we were to compare Zika to malaria, we can see that both are carried by mosquitos and are endemic to the tropics, but what is dissimilar is the death toll. As Dr. Nicholis Comninellis points out in his blog,
“ Over one million people die from malaria each year, mostly African children under five years of age, and some 300-600 million people suffer from often serious malaria illness each year. What’s more, the risk of miscarriage among pregnant women with malaria increases five-fold. By contrast, human death from Zika has yet to be confirmed, and the connection with congenital disorders is less than substantiated…. We in the United States are essentially allowing media hype to set public policy: Our president, congress, and health agencies are suddenly pressing massive resources, $1.3 billion, against the Zika’s potential for dissemination, while US government funding for malaria intervention remains flat at $600 million. What does this say about our rationale and priorities? What will we say to the families of the 3,000 people who died today from malaria? What will be our words to the infected mothers whose babies were lost in pregnancy? And to those tens of thousands, who at this moment are vomiting and convulsing from malaria, what will be our explanation over not devoting at least parallel resources to their needs?”
So basically, you don't need to prepare differently for your trip to Central America. The same precautions travelers depend on to feel safe in areas endemic to malaria, Dengue, and Chikungunya will keep you relatively safe from Zika. Avoid mosquitoes. Befriend the gecko that cheeps in the night from the corner of your cabin. We’ll see you soon!
- Where will we stay?
- What airport will we fly into?
- How far in advance should I buy airfare?
- What is the dress code?
- How much money should I bring? What is the exchange rate?
- Should we tip the hospitality staff?
Where will we stay?
In Honduras you will stay at The Posada, our retreat center that is open throughout the year for international tourists as well as local church groups and community functions, such as weddings, graduations or business retreats. It is also the housing site for volunteers working at Mission Lazarus. As such, it has a full-time staff to attend guests in the restaurant and souvenir shop, as well as to provide housekeeping services for the entire lodge.
In Haiti, you will be housed in a hotel in or near Cap Haitien, close to our administrative offices, wherever makes the most sense logistically depending on the projects volunteers are involved in for the week.
What airport will we fly into?
If you are headed to Honduras, you will fly into Tegucigalpa International Airport (TGU). American, Continental, and Delta fly into TGU. If you don't wish to take ground transportation from the airport via bus or rental cars to your destination, you can take a regional flight to Choluteca from TGU, if available.
In Haiti, you will fly into Cap Haitien International Airport.
How far in advance should I buy airfare?
Airline tickets should be reserved at least 90 days in advance of your travel. All travelers should have applied for passports (or renewed passports which will expire in less than 6 months by date of travel) and all travelers should have begun vaccinations by this time. Check here for recommended vaccinations for Honduras and Haiti.
What is the dress code?
There are a two major reasons for our dress code: culture and propriety.
We ask that you dress modestly because the local church cultures that we work with emphasize modesty. We ask that you dress for labor because it will protect you from potential harm that comes with the work that you may be doing.
In Honduras and Haiti, pants are best suited for our work. 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.
Similarly, closed-toe shoes work best for the worksite, the medical clinic, and the Refuge. Feel free to wear modest shorts and don your flip flops when you are relaxing at the hotel or lodge, however, 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!
How much money should I bring? What is the exchange rate?
We recommend that all international travelers have at least $100 cash on their person. You can check the current exchange rate for US dollars here. Our staff is happy to help you exchange money to make sure that you get a fair exchange rate.
Should we tip the hospitality staff?
Yes, assuming they do a good job! Our protocol to receive tips is that the visitor/group presents his tip to our accounting office to make sure that it is distributed fairly among all the hospitality staff who served you during the week. Our recommendation is that each traveler consider a $10 tip for the week. This protocol also protects our commitment to transparency and accountability.