How a Neighbor's Act of Kindness Changed Everything

Meet the Artisan: Jose Luis

Jose Luis, 2010

Every parent has big dreams for their children, but opportunities are scarce for people like Jose Luis, who comes from a low-income family. When he was growing up, his parents were very shy, causing their family to be a bit isolated from others in their village. However, God sometimes uses others to intervene on our behalf even when we can’t see our own path to our purpose. In 2010, one of Jose Luis’ neighbors approached our National Director and shared about his family situation. That’s how Jose Luis became one of the very first vocational students at the Lazarus Academy enrolled in our leather working vocational program. Upon graduation he began working at the Lazarus Artisan Goods leather studio.

As Jose Luis learned the craft of leatherwork, he became passionate about it - and he had quite a natural talent for the trade. Today he is without a doubt one of the best producers of leather goods in our production workshop.

LAG employees with leather goods

It has been almost 13 years since Jose Luis arrived at our vocational school, and in those years a lot has happened. Through his own hard work, and thanks to his job at Lazarus Artisan Goods, Jose Luis and his wife are proud homeowners - a dream he couldn’t have imagined would ever be possible.

Jose Luis’s accomplishments created a ripple effect for others around him, too. His once shy, unsociable parents have come out of their shells and are now well known in their community for their son’s great achievements. Their neighbors know Jose Luis as a son who managed to build his own house, who has honest work and a loving family. That reputation goes a long way in their small, tight-knit community.

One of Jose Luis's wishes is to have his own workshop in the future. In fact, he can already envision the area of his house where he’ll build it! He is always thinking of how he can continue to grow personally and professionally. But his big dream in life is to give other people opportunities just like the one he was given all those years ago with a simple knock on the door. He wants to provide meaningful work for others in his community by building his own leather studio one day.

Jose Luis works on a new leather design

On our mountainside in Honduras, there are thousands of young men and women like Jose Luis who are looking for a way out of poverty without risking their lives immigrating to the US. With the support of your leather goods purchases and donations to Mission Lazarus, we can provide a transformative education and sustainable work opportunities for young people like him. Those young people will then have the ability to give back and improve their communities for future generations.

And as for “why” Jose Luis thinks all of this happened to him? Well, he has to give credit where credit is due. He says, “Only God can do this. He has changed my life! Before I did not know anything about God, but today I can clearly say that He is real and I just want to live a life that pleases Him. I know I'm not perfect but God helps me to do things as best I can. My family and I are very grateful for all the blessings He has given us.”