Merry Christmas, Joyeux Noel from our whole team! We know that Jesus came as a baby to this world to help the helpless, to love the forgotten, and to save us all from our sins. We are thankful that we get to be a small part of that this Christmas as we impact the blind, the unreached, and the malnourished in Togo, Africa.
I am 46 years old and went blind about 9 years ago. I use to be seller of vegetables, but when I lost my sight I became jobless. My husband left me because, to him, I had also lost my value to work and lost my beauty with the fully white-covered cataracts that veiled me from seeing the world.
Our only son, who is now 35, returned home to our village to care for me. He never married because helping and providing for me became a full-time job.
Even though I lost my sight, my job and my husband, I never lost my love for Jesus. Through Him, I drew strength and in Him, even in blind darkness, I could still feel the light of His love. I still sang His praise and worshiped Him as my Lord and Savior. I couldn’t see myself smile, but could feel it on my face even during the darkest of times.
My son heard the message of the village Chief, that Sight.org was coming to our area to help restore sight to those blinded by cataracts. While my son went to work, he arranged a village neighbor to bring me to a patient screening to see if I qualified for the FREE surgery Sight.org was offering.
I could only pray as I sat and waited patiently in line. When it was my turn I heard a different voice and accent of a woman who gently touched my face. Her translator repeated what she said: “You are too young and to beautiful to be blind.”
I had not heard anyone call me beautiful in almost 10 years.
The translator then told me that with my permission, not only would they help one eye, but they could help both because I was so young. It was up to me to agree. That question was easy to answer. I could only see the hint of light, which made the simplest tasks like dressing and feeding myself impossible.
The day of my surgery, as I sat in the preparation area, there was gospel music playing in my local language. It put me at comfort to feel so much compassion from the team of Sight.org. They even prayed with me before I went into the surgical ambulance. Then during recovery they provided me a sleeping area because my village was too far to travel back to on the same day as my surgery.
I prayed all night in anticipation of seeing the sun again. When they removed the eye patches, I saw myself for the first time in ten years. I recognized the voice of Laurie, the eye team medical provider, who had called me beautiful just five days ago in a patient screening. She showed me a picture of myself with her cell phone camera.
All I could think about was the beauty that had been brought back into my life. No longer would I be a burden to my son. Not only was I free from blindness but he was free to live his own life now, marry and have children of his own. I could go back to work, feed, and clothe myself.
I thank God. I thank Sight.org. I thank the sponsor who all gave me more than sight back! They gave me life back!
Below are two videos of Guiybiebe seeing and reading for the first time in 9 years! Thank you to our sponsors for being a part of giving her sight!
Happy Thanksgiving to all our wonderful supporters!
We have a lot to be thankful for:
1042 Eye surgeries performed
877 from unreached people groups saw the Jesus Film for the first time
75 People professed faith in Christ for the first time
3000 People received eye health education
11 Medical team members living in Togo
5 Agriculture students trained
4 US team members at the Tyler, TX office
2 New missionaries being sent to Togo in February, 2016
1st Annual Sporting Clay Shoot fundraiser was a big success in Tyler
All of these numbers were because of YOU! We can’t thank you enough.
They said I was old because I was blind and had to walk with a stick. So I began to feel old, confined to a bed or a chair as a prisoner of darkness lost in blindness.
My 12-year-old granddaughter became my caretaker, which kept her from going to school. I only knew it was daybreak when I would hear her begin to sweep. Then she would bathe me, dress me, and feed me. It became our morning regimen. If it was a sunny day outside, she would assist me to my chair under the shade of a tree. There I would sit for what seemed hours on end. I could hear my granddaughter washing clothes and doing all of the household chores while her parents were working on the farm and her other brothers and sisters went to school.
I am thankful that I had her to care for me, but I couldn’t help feeling the burden that was given to her without choice.
I hung my head in shame. Feelings of uselessness began to settle in me as my shoulders rounded with the burden I had become. My body began to wither and withdraw from a productive life.
Then one day, my granddaughter heard the village chief ring the announcement bell. People were coming in two days to help the blind.IMG_0010-2
My daughter took the day off from farming to bring me to an eye screening by Sight.org. I couldn’t see them, but I could feel the hope they brought that maybe I would see again. They saw me Wednesday, and I had surgery on Friday.
The following day, they took off the eye patches, and I knew instantly I wasn’t old!
They say I am of 90 years, but who really knows their age in Africa? Now that I can see, I am going to tell everyone that my spirit is of 40 years.
The first thing I did when the patches came off was stand up, raise my arms up to God, and start dancing. I saw my daughter jumping up and down clapping. Her eyes were filled with tears of joy. When it was time to leave after the post-op appointment, my daughter and granddaughter wanted to assist me in walking.
I said, “I can do it myself.” They said, “Prove it and walk by yourself,”
so I lifted my head high, threw my shoulders back, tossed away my walking stick, and led the way, with my daughter and granddaughter following me from behind.
I can take care of myself now. I am now free from blindness, and my granddaughter is free to return to school. Thank you, Sight.org, for the gift of FREE surgery that brought back so much FREEDOM to our whole family!
I am 12 years old. One month ago, I instantly went blind in my left eye. I was on my way to school when the traumatic accident happened.
The region where I live is called the plateau region of Togo, West Africa. We are known for our farming. To go to school is a privilege not obtained by many. Most children where I live farm, too. I was lucky to be a student. It made me and my mother so happy.
We are trying to build our new school, and we as students are doing most of the work. It is our job to create the clearing of the land and gather the lumber and carry the heavy wood loads atop our heads.
The other children were stronger than I and went running ahead of me. I tried to catch up, but I fell with my loads. As I fell my eye hit one of the large sticks that had fallen from my head.
The pain was so bad. I could only cry and felt left behind. Within days my vision went cloudy with the whiteness of a huge cataract. I have not returned to school since the accident.
As my vision left me, I knew I would never attend school again.
I was very sad and so was my mother. The area we live does not have eye care services, so when my mother heard from village neighbors that an American NGO, Sight.org, was at our local medical center, she took me.
I met Papi Pierre, a Sight.org team member, who checked my vision. All I could see was a hint of a flashlight torch. Then Papi took me to another Sight.org team member. She was a woman named Laurie. She examined my eye thoroughly and put medicine in it. She then took many photos of my eye. She didn’t speak our local language, so another Sight.org team member translated in our Ewe language that they were going to pray with me and that they would do everything possible for me medically, but that it was “Yesu” Jesus who is the great physician and healer of all sight.
I tried to be hopeful but it was hard as I sat and watched my mother pray for me mourningly.
The next day, I had surgery. We spent the night in a tent that Sight.org provided us to stay in. I had never slept in a tent before. The following day Papi took the patch off my eye, and instead of just seeing his torch light, I could see his hand movements. Laurie said, “Do not worry, it’s just the first day, it will get better.” She was right. I saw the team of Sight.org one week later, and now I can count Papi’s fingers from a two meter distance.
My smile is back and I am beginning to SEE hope of returning to school. Thank you, Sight.org! Please keep praying for me!
Story written by Sametone Brunel, Sight.org journalist