Lazarus could not believe his ears. Had he truly heard the words just spoken by the bishop?
Miraculously healed by the Lord in his childhood from certain death (read this story in our previous blog), Lazarus’ mother had dedicated him to ministry. “You will minister from village to village, just as the man who prayed for your healing,” his mother had said.
Lazarus had broken free from the educational boundaries of his people, becoming the first among them to complete schooling all the way through earning an advanced degree in seminary. Now the bishop was offering him a prestigious position as pastor of a large church. Certainly no Banjara tribesman had ever aspired to such a lofty goal!
But as he considered the offer, his mother’s words rang in his ears– the mandate was inescapable. After only a brief moment, Lazarus thanked the bishop but reiterated his calling. “Please send me as an evangelist to the Banjara people. I will go village to village with the Good News.”
That is exactly what Lazarus did. Little by little, street by street, hut by hut, he began to shine the light of salvation in Jesus Christ to the members of his tribe. Banjaras are in India a “scheduled tribe,” meaning they are recognized by the government as being very disadvantaged socially, politically, and economically. The Gypsies of India, their villages move about as opportunity dictates, the people barely eking out an existence, primarily in agriculture.
Even so, the Banjaras are a vibrant people. Joyful and boisterous, their colorful garb and intricate dances are legendary. Their oral tradition of storytelling was harnessed by Lazarus as he introduced the life and ministry of Jesus along with other Bible stories. It wasn’t long before the numbers of Banjara putting faith in Jesus began slowly to grow.
|Lazarus (R) baptizes a Banjara convert|
And then Lazarus connected with Evangelism Resources. Already in his 15-year ministry, he had seen more than 2,000 Banjaras come to Christ and complete their journey by receiving baptism. After undergoing training in a School of Evangelism and implementing what he had learned, the next fifteen years of ministry yielded 65,000 converts! And this report was five years ago! The numbers continue to grow exponentially. This explosive growth means that today Lazarus leads one of the largest Christian ministries to the Banjara in existence. Outreach through orphanages and medical missions are combined with leadership training through ER’s Portable Bible Schools, Schools of Evangelism, and the youth revival movement, Great Commission Challenge Camps.
Now the Banjara in the state of Andhra Pradesh where Lazarus ministers have a vision for reaching the Banjara in the state of Rajasthan, which is described as their “Jerusalem.”
Be sure to check in with this blog in a few days… you’ll not want to miss the next chapter of this remarkable testimony as you learn what happened to Lazarus’ own son, Sagar. And if you missed the first installment of this testimony, check out the blog entry listed at the right entitled, "Banjara Miracle."
To hear an audio recording with this testimony given by Lazarus' son, Sagar Bhukya, follow the link below to ER's website:
To learn more about Evangelism Resources, or to financially support the training of evangelists like Lazarus, visit our home page at www.erinfo.org.