I just returned from my most recent trip to Africa. I want you to know about it since you have been such a big support to this ministry.
On this trip, our doctors performed 155 eye surgeries. Four of those surgeries were performed on children.
Baby Akoua’s eyes were so crossed that she saw mostly her nose all the time. She had difficulty walking and constantly bumped into things. We performed surgery on her and now her eyes are beautifully positioned and she can see well. She is starting to walk straight now. Her mother was so happy. Thank you for altering the life of this precious little girl.
During surgery we also set up a prayer tent. A constant flow of people came to the tent. The majority of the people who came to us believed in Voodoo, and many specified that they worshiped Satan. But we weren’t worried! Jesus loves Satan worshipers too!
Most of these people had zero understanding of the gospel. They had never heard the gospel, and they didn’t even know what Christians believed. Often when they came, they asked for a blessing or for advice on life challenges. We always led them directly to the real answer: our Lord Jesus Christ.
One by one, we saw dozens of people take off their Voodoo charms as they confessed Christ as Lord. One woman even took off her Voodoo bracelet and threw it into the fire. We all watched it burn together and celebrated her new found freedom in Christ.
My pastor, Joseph Canal, thinks he led more people to Christ in those four days than he has in thirty years as a pastor. It was amazing and sobering at the same time.
Several people expressed that they would be the only Christians in their village. Persecution was inevitable for these people. For some, we asked them to join our discipleship program at our headquarters. For others, God had different plans. One man became a Christian who had been a Satan worshipper. Within minutes, a strong Christian from his village walked up and offered to take him under his wing.
Many people come back days later telling us all that Jesus had already done in their life. One man even told us that Jesus appeared to him in a dream.
It was such a powerful experience that tops most trips I have done. It wouldn’t have been possible without supporters like you! Thank you so much for your support! You are making an eternal impact in Togo!
Founder and Executive Director
Epiphanie was blind and deaf from birth. We knew he was blind from the second we saw him. We could see the blank stare on his face. But someone had to tell us that he was deaf. We would have never known otherwise.
We were so surprised because he smiled all the time and responded to his dad’s voice. We could really tell a difference when he touched his arm though. His face lit up every time. He had the most beautiful smile. We all teared up the first time we saw him. He was precious.
We couldn’t wait to give this little guy his sight back.
As soon as we found out he was both blind and deaf, we all thought of Helen Keller. Everyone knows her story, but not many people meet someone in person who is blind and deaf.
It is mind blowing to come face to face with someone knowing that they can’t hear or see. I paused many times, thinking about what life would be like if I couldn’t hear or see. Surely, life would be so dark and sad. Yet when I looked at Epiphanie’s face, I didn’t see darkness or sadness. I saw joy, light, and peace.
I didn’t understand how he could have such a huge smile on his face all the time.
Epiphanie and his father showed up for surgery five days early, so we got to follow Epiphanie around all week. He was a joy to be around. He rarely had anything but a smile on his face. We saw him fuss maybe once or twice.
There was one other boy his age who was also waiting for surgery. His name was Foley. Throughout the week they became sweet friends. They often played games with each other. They were typical boys, even though they were blind. By the end of the week, they were inseparable. They sat next to each other every chance they got.
On the day of Epiphanie’s surgery, craziness happened in the operating room. The oxygen tank stopped working that operated the special scalpel for children’s surgery. We had scheduled all five children’s surgeries for that day and were only able to do two. Epiphanie was one of the two who actually had surgery that day.
I will never forget Epiphanie’s cute little body sitting cross legged on a table with his surgery cap on. That huge smile never left his face.
As I watched him lay down on the operating table, my heart jumped. It was a mixture of excitement and nervousness.
Everything went well with his surgery. As his dad carried him out of the operating room, Epiphanie’s friend Foley ran as fast as he could to be with him. Foley hadn’t had his surgery yet, so he couldn’t see, but he just knew he needed to be with his friend during that time. And he knew that he would be next.
The next day, our optometrist took the patches off Epiphanie’s eyes. I don’t know if Epiphanie even knew what was happening. How could he? He was deaf so his dad couldn’t tell him what was happening. Can you imagine? He hadn’t seen for his entire eight years of life. He didn’t even know it was an option to be able to see. Then suddenly, he was being unpatched and he could see, for the first time in his life! He was experiencing it all in his head still because he couldn’t talk about it or be told about it. It just happened.
We knew he could see immediately. He looked all around him. He wasn’t scared to look like some of the other children. It is interesting to see how people experience their first sight in different ways. Some are scared. Some cry. Some laugh. Some dance. Some stare in silence. Some smile.
Epiphanie smiled, as usual.
That same day, I posted Epiphanie’s sweet smile on social media.
His smile caught the attention of another very sweet boy across the world.
When twelve-year-old Price James saw a photo of Epiphanie and heard his story, he was overwhelmed. God did something in Price’s heart that day. He gave him compassion for a boy all the way across the world that he had never met.
Price put Epiphanie’s photo on the home screen of his phone and couldn’t stop looking at his face. He often wondered about him and his family. Price truly fell in love with Epiphanie’s joyful smile.
When Price saw a video of Epiphanie seeing for the first time, he showed it to his whole family. He told everyone that he wanted to go to Togo and meet Epiphanie.
The Holy Spirit truly got ahold of Price’s heart the day he saw Epiphanie’s face. He even wrote a letter to tell about his love for Epiphanie.
The Sight.org staff is humbled by the purity of Price’s love for someone he has never met. We pray that God will continue to do big things in both Price and Epiphanie’s lives. Who knows, maybe one day they will get to meet each other. We serve a very big God!
You can give sight to someone just like Epiphanie. For $12.50 a month, you can give sight and the gospel to one person a year.
Will you prayerfully consider giving today?
Ama traveled over 700 miles from the country of Mali to the country of Togo to see her family. She was a twenty three-year-old mother with a beautiful eight-month-old baby girl named Blessing.
This first-time mom had never seen her baby girl because she went blind in both eyes during pregnancy.
(In a culture where witchcraft is prevalent, pregnant women are often told not to drink water. Dehydration during pregnancy can either leave the mother or baby blind. We see this all too often in Togo.)
Ama thought that she went blind because someone put a curse on her. Curses are common, so this is the first thing that came to her mind. She didn’t know that she could have prevented her blindness by drinking water during her pregnancy.
Ama thought she was traveling to Togo just to see family. But God brought her to Togo for something bigger.
Her mother-in-law had just heard about Sight.org, so she drove three hours to bring Ama to us. Our doctor knew immediately that he could help her.
Ama became the first eye surgery patient of 2019.
Our staff was so excited for the first surgery that we all crowded around the operating room to watch. As Ama was lying on the table getting prepped, I noticed that every muscle in her body was shaking. I’m not talking about a little shake in her hands. Her legs shook, her arms shook, her stomach shook, even the muscles in her neck were shaking. She was scared to death.
I couldn’t just stand there watching. My heart broke for her and I had to do something. I asked the doctor if I could hold her hand and pray for her during surgery and he said, “Yes, anything you can do to keep her calm will be helpful!”
Our eye surgeries only last fifteen minutes, so I thought it would be pretty easy to sit with her for just that short time. I forgot that she had to be fully prepped before and cleaned after. I sat on a rolling stool as my arms and legs fell asleep. But it was all worth it. I prayed over Ama and held her hand. I could see the muscles in her body slowly calm down.
Soon, it was all over and the doctor proclaimed that her surgery went very well and she would be able to see the next day.
As Ama rested and recovered, I got to play with her beautiful daughter. I imagined what it would be like to not see my own children, to miss out on seeing their precious eyes and cute dimples.
Ama missed out on the first eight months of her daughter’s life.
She didn’t see Blessing’s tiny fingers and toes get bigger every day. This young mother didn’t get to watch her baby grow over the first several months. She never experienced looking into the eyes of her baby and completely melting with love.
I hurt for Ama.
I grieved that she missed out on so much with her baby. She missed out on so much joy that comes with being a mother.
But then, I rejoiced for her.
When our optometrist took the patches off her eyes, we all gathered around once more. We couldn’t wait for this sweet mother to see her beautiful baby for the first time.
To be honest, it wasn’t what we all expected. We wanted it to be like the movies. We wanted her to open her eyes and see her baby. We wanted her to cry with joy.
None of that happened.
When Ama opened her eyes, she was almost frozen. They handed her baby to her and she just sat there.
Maybe she was overwhelmed.
Maybe she was still groggy from the medicine.
Maybe she was in pain.
We don’t know.
Finally, after what seemed like forever, Ama picked up her baby’s foot and examined it. Her baby cried so she fed her. As she fed her, she looked into her eyes.
It wasn’t as dramatic as we expected.
It was real life.
She had just recovered from major surgery but she was still a mother with responsibilities. She just kept going as usual, taking care of her baby. She just did what she needed to do.
A few days later, we caught a few glimpses of her smiling and playing with her baby. Sweet little Blessing was all smiles, all the time. Could she tell a difference in her mom? Did she know that her mom was seeing her for the first time? Did she feel more connected to her mom?
One week earlier, Ama had no idea that her life was about to change. She didn’t know that she would be getting her sight back. She also didn’t know that a bunch of strangers would pray over her and tell her all about the One who brought her there. That is the whole reason Sight.org is in Togo, to point people to Jesus. To open the eyes of the blind both physically and spiritually.
We don’t know how Ama responded when she heard the good news of Jesus, but our team did not miss a chance to tell her about Him and pray over her. God brought her there for a reason and we all knew it.
This Mother’s Day, will you pray for Ama?
Pray for her heart.
Pray that she responds to God’s loving voice.
Pray that she will not ignore the fact that God chased after her.
Pray that she bonds even more with her baby now.
Pray that God transforms Ama in every way.