Lazarus Fund: humbled by ministry
by Kayla Raymond
Lately I have been noticing how ministry wears many different faces. Some days it means staying up late and frosting 150 cupcakes so your staff has a treat on Valentine’s day. Other days it means delivering a fan to your favorite elderly friend in the village. Sometimes it means sitting on a dirt floor, holding a dusty baby.
I am also realizing it’s not all it’s cracked up to be either. It can be stressful and hard. It means making hard decisions involving people’s lives. And what I really mean by this is that when humans are involved in ministry, it’s messy.
All this to say, it is worth it. The stress, the hard decisions, the tears, the heartache…it is ironically beautiful.
I saw two men commit their lives to Christ last week. They both work at the school as our ground keepers. The one comes from the mountains and has no education. He runs everywhere he goes and works harder than anyone I know. He accepted Jesus in front of a small group of people gathered together and I got to watch my husband lay hands on him and pray over him.
My security guard also got baptized last week. I jokingly told him I was mad at him because he didn’t invite me to his baptism. He replied by saying, “I didn’t even know I was going to get baptized. The Spirit called me to do it.”
It’s beautiful when ministry flows and hugs are shared and lives collide and hands are raised together in worship. Blessed doesn’t even do justice; it’s more than a blessing to do ministry.
Ministry wears lots of faces and many of those faces have many needs. The Lazarus Fund has been meeting many of those needs lately and I can’t help but take time to say “thank you” to all the people who have given so graciously to this fund. While I can’t meet every need, the burden is lightened by knowing there’s money to give and the ability to meet needs.
Kettley works for Tytoo Gardens Orphanage as a cleaning lady. She’s a single mother to two boys, one of them is mentally handicapped. She’s been building a house, block by block, for a few years now. She’s been renting a house to stay in while she construcs one of her own. The rent was up in December and she didn’t have the funds to rent for another year, so her and her boys moved into their half-built house.
She approached me slowly one day, wrapping her arm around my shoulder. She told me of the sleepless night she had and how her boys don’t feel safe in their home. I made the treck up the mountainside to visit the house and was astonished at what I saw. She had sewn together a roof made of sheets, scrap wood and tin. Her oldest boy’s bed had nothing over it. She needed $500 to literally put a roof over their heads. The Lazarus Fund was able to finish her house and allows her family to sleep soundly at night.
The day after her house was finished she found me and lifted me in the air and swumg me around. Those are the sweetest of moments. But know this, too, I told her the money didn’t come from me. I told her how so many people from all over had taken the time to trust me with their money and with that money her house was built. God orchestrated the entire things. That’s another beautiful part of ministry: we get to give God the glory and watch Him work.
Then there is Toby. He is an elder in the village and we recently found him sleeping on a boat. With no nursing homes or government aid, the elderly often go forgotten and forsaken. They are truly some of the most beautiful people. We rented Toby a small room and got him a new bed. The Lazarus Fund paid for it and I got to testify to him just how great our God is.
The Lazarus Fund has rented another two bedroom house for Yvos and her daughter AnneMelissa. If any of you have ever been to Tytoo, you know exactly who AnneMelissa is. She’s the sweetest eight-year-old you will ever meet. Her body is deformed with brittle bone disease, but her smile and spirit lights up each and every room she enters.
Yvos, her mother, struggled for a long time after the earthquake. She not only lost her husband on that day but suffered some severe head injuries. It took us a long time to employ her at Tytoo (she was Chedline’s main caretaker while Chedline was with us). Her role now is assitant to our head nanny, Sarah, helping with the Starfish program and other odd things around the orphanage. The Lazarus Fund has paid their rent for the first year and it’s no greater honor than to see the two of them living together, happy as ever!
The Lazarus Fund is currently helping a woman receive treatment for breast cancer; it is paying for the funeral of a cherished elderly woman; it is helping another girl finish nursing school and it has helped many other families with medical emergencies in the past three months.
The Lazarus Fund plays many roles and meets many different needs. Each and every time I put money into someone’s hand I think of the poor man from the passage the fund was inspired by: Luke 16. In my heart, I pray I am taking care of these people the way God intended. I recognize myself as a simple vessel. I try to graciously give God the credit for each interaction and each need met. I read how God had given the rich man in the parable an opportunity to serve and take care of the poor man outside his gate, and now, here I am in the 21st century, with an opportunity to serve and take care of the poor outside my gate. We pray for wisdom and guidance that we are again doing it as God intended.
For anyone who has given money to this fund, my prayer today is that you can be encouraged by the stories you read. You can be reaffirmed that your donation has made a difference. Thank you for giving blindly and trusting me. Would you please keep on praying for me, praying for more widsom and guidance…
Thank you for being a face to this ministry and playing the roles you all do. Man, we are incredibly blessed and I am humbled by it all.
Love from Haiti.