The mission of Sight.org is to give sight to people who have limited access to medical help in Togo, Africa. However, we do not focus only on sight. In order to focus on the entire person, we focus on three different facets – sight, ministry, and farming. Here are three exciting stories about each one of these.
Meet Jeanne and her husband. Before her surgery, she was only able to perceive light. After surgery, her vision went to 6/12 (the equivalent of 20/40 vision)! Her husband calls twice a week just to say “thank you.” He reports that she’s doing very well.
Our team says that the thing they notice the most about their patients is that even their appearance changes after their eye surgery. Do you notice how different Jeanne looks from the first picture to the second? Once she was able to see again, the light came back into her in more ways than one! Patients are almost unrecognizable after their surgeries because they have hope again, and that hope changes them on the inside and the outside. Praise Jesus that we get to do this work! You can be a big part of giving sight to people like Jeanne.
While our team is doing eye surgeries, they are also speaking truth into people’s lives. We encourage the patients before surgery when they are scared. We tell people about Jesus and his healing power. The patients know that we can only do this because our team loves Jesus. Also, at night, the team sets up a projector and screen and shows the Jesus Film to people in the village. Many people watching the Jesus Film are the very same people who have received eye surgeries that week.
Last week, our team showed the Jesus Film to 250 people in a village largely unreached by the gospel, and 65 people committed their lives to Jesus Christ!!!! 65 PEOPLE!!! This is not the only village that we will go into that is unreached. There are 280,000 people and six different people groups in Togo who have never heard about Jesus. Please continue to pray for these efforts to take the gospel into these villages!
These are our first farming students in Togo. They went through four months of training on our farm, learning better farming techniques so that they can get better nutrition, which can prevent eye problems such as cataracts, glaucoma, and pterygium. The ceremony of graduation was held in August 2015. We are so proud of our students!
Inside, I am jumping up and down like a little child because we finally get to GO!
Hi, I’m Elaine Riley, and I work for Sight.org! My story began 33 years ago at a Calvary Commission Conference that my husband Wayne and I attended; the keynote speaker was Dallas Holmes. At the end of his message, he gave an altar call to all who would commit their life to go serve on the mission field, and we both answered that call. After many years, we eventually gave up hope that we would ever go. Last year, however, when God obviously closed the door on my job, I was finally at a place in my life where I wanted to get serious with God, and I sensed my time was running out…He sure did get my attention!
Our church leadership had been praying over a book study called “Rooted” and was led to have our whole church go through this series together in small groups. As I worked through the series, I came to grips with a lot of things in my life, and I started asking God what my life was for. I’m still alive on this earth because God has a plan for my life! So what is it?
I happened to be on my Facebook page when I saw a post that said Sight.org was looking for a part-time administrative assistant. I immediately felt a tug in my spirit to apply for this job. As in everything, the enemy said, “There are so many more qualified people than you, why bother?” However, I KNEW that God had told me to apply, so I applied as an act of obedience. I received a call from Lewis Swann the next day asking if he could talk with me. He told me he had already filled the position, but I felt led to volunteer in whatever Sight.org needed. We agreed that I would start at the first of the year and help with planning events for the ministry. In January, I got a call from Lewis saying that the administrative assistant job was open and asking if I would like the job! I started working for Sight.org the beginning of February 2015.
Over the past few months, I have learned the story of Sight.org and seen firsthand how this ministry operates, and I am intrigued at how God has used Lewis in building this ministry with a vision of what God wants to do in the country of Togo! It’s so very exciting to be a part of the work of giving hope to an individual where there was none by providing the gift of eyesight! Working on the logistic/support end of the ladder has only made me want to go and see for myself the wonderful works that are being done by our Togo team. Their areas of care include some of the most remote villages, villages where people have never seen an American before…it’s like going to where no MAN has been before (if you will for those Star Trekers! 🙂 ).
My husband Wayne and I have sensed the leading and desire to serve alongside this medical team in Atakpame, Togo, for an initial one-year commitment. There is always room for volunteers who are medical and who are NOT medical. Sight.org will be moving headquarters from Lome to Atakpame, and we will be responsible overseeing and building housing for staff and volunteers, assisting the medical team as training enables us to, doing local evangelism/teaching, and supporting the established churches as opportunity arises. Sight.org owns 20 acres in the midst of several villages that will be our home base for outreaches into remote areas of the region. We will present the gospel whenever we have opportunity. We desire to build relationships in this community where voodoo is prevalent. Shining the light of Jesus will be our focus as well as pointing the way to Him, as He is the way and the truth and life! Pray for us as we will be coming against spiritual darkness, and pray that God will be glorified using us as He sees fit!
We are eagerly praying and starting our preparations, as we have been waiting to be sent out for over 33 years. We pray that God will give us strong prayer intercessors and that God’s kingdom purposes will be fulfilled! We are humbled to serve the Lord in this capacity. We covet your prayers; whenever we come to your mind, please pray for Sight.org and that the gospel will reach into the most remote places in Togo, Africa!
If you would like to support the Riley’s financially, go to our Gift Catalog page.
God used some crazy twists and turns in my life to bring me to Sight.org.
I grew up in a developing country, and even though I moved to the States at age 12, my heart never left. I knew in tenth grade that God wanted me to be a missionary. I earned my undergraduate degree in missions and even went to seminary to continue my study of missions. I knew that was what I was supposed to do.
After seminary, however, God closed one door after another. I ended up working at a church with youth and then at the Montessori school where my children attended. I enjoyed my work, but I knew I wasn’t doing what God created me to do. My husband and I went on mission trips every year, gave to missions, and even decided to adopt internationally, but I still knew that I was meant to be involved more directly.
Last year, I was broken in every imaginable way – my health, my sleep, my accomplishments, my finances, my relationships, my emotions, my psychological well-being, my children’s health, and everything in between.
At first, I thought Satan was attacking me, but something happened that made me realize that it was actually God who was breaking me in order to heal me.
A pastor at my church asked me to go on a mission trip to Ecuador. I only had four weeks notice, school was starting soon, and I was still in a lot of pain from my health issues, but I knew immediately that I had to say yes.
God gave me two verses to hold onto on the way to Ecuador. The first was 2 Corinthians 12:9: “My gift of undeserved grace is all you need. My power is strongest when you are weak.” The second was Psalm 10:17: “You listen to the longings of those who suffer. You offer them hope and you pay attention to their cries for help.” I knew God had big things for me in Ecuador.
Although I had never been to Ecuador before, I felt at home there, and by the time I left, I was revived. At the end of the trip, I realized that I hadn’t had any pain the whole time we’d been there. In Ecuador God reminded me that He hadn’t forgotten me. He had been breaking me just so that He could heal me and bring me to the place where I needed to be to be ready to serve Him. He was still moving me in the direction of His calling on my life.
He broke me of my pride and self-sufficiency so that He could work through me.
Then He healed me by taking me overseas, where I have always felt alive. He gave me a precious gift by showing me that He knows me and that He made me specifically for His kingdom work.
I felt so loved and known by God when He unexpectedly sent me to Ecuador. He knew my heart’s desires, and He fulfilled them.
I came home knowing that I had to pursue what God had for me. Through a friend, I got connected with Lewis Swann, the founder of Sight.org. I didn’t know much about his ministry, but I loved its mission – Christians serving the blind and hungry in West Africa. Around the same time, I read this story of two blind girls in India receiving sight. I was so moved by the story that I knew I wanted to be a part of something like that.
Lewis asked me to be the Volunteer Coordinator and Communications person for Sight.org. I have a background in both art and missions, so I knew it would be a perfect fit for me. I was also nervous, however, because I was a little rusty on some things that were in my job description. I was honest with Lewis about my fears, and he said,
“I know you have a heart for this ministry, and that is what is most important to me. All the rest will fall into place.”
When he said that, my heart leapt. For years, I had been crying out for God to give me a job in missions, but I felt like no one ever saw my heart; they only saw my shortcomings. Finally, someone was seeing that my heart was fully in missions and wanted me to be a part of it. Again, God gave me a sweet gift.
I get to hear and tell stories about people receiving sight, people knowing Jesus for the first time, volunteers serving with all their heart, and team members on the ground in Togo giving selflessly to others. I still get overwhelmed that I get to do something that I love so much and be a part of what God is doing around the world.
Our ambulance has arrived in Togo, Africa! The team is excited to be able to use the former ETMC ambulance as a mobile clinic to go where there is no access to eye care. With this ambulance, we can help people with eyesight problems such as cataracts, glaucoma, and pterygium. This will be the only mobile clinic in Togo. There is nothing else like it available!
You may not know that this ambulance has a great story behind it. Many people recognize the name of our ministry because they saw the ambulance around Tyler, waiting to be shipped to Togo. We are all used to seeing the teal ETMC ambulances in Tyler, but with the name “Believe And See” scrolled across the side of one, people noticed! (We have since changed our name to Sight.org.
We truly appreciate ETMC’s enormous gift to our ministry. I am not sure that any of us can really foresee the immense work God will do through this mobile clinic.
Believe and See performed 76 sight restoring cataract surgeries in a region where eye care is nonexistent. Badu is a region in Togo near the Ghana boarder. Badu’s roads are rough, the population is poor, and the hospitals are struggling with nurses who haven’t been paid in over eleven months. As a result, the availability for eye care in this region has been nonexistent for many years.
Invited by the Ministry of Health of Togo, Believe and See was asked to help with the eye disease crisis of Badu. Glaucoma, pterygium, and cataracts have put thousands at risk of blindness in the region of Badu. After performing the 76 cataract surgeries, we as a team decided to serve the regions other eye conditions of glaucoma and pterygium. In the weeks to come, we plan to treat 200 Badu residents with glaucoma followed by pterygium and cataract treatments in the coming months. Glaucoma is one of the greatest sight threatening conditions in Badu. Many children as young as 9 years old have glaucoma, and left untreated they may go blind by the age of 18.
The good news is that Believe and See is in Badu to help, and that many people will live a full life with sight thanks to our wonderful team and supporters! We invite everyone to pray for us, and we ask everyone to pray to see if God leads you to get involved with Believe and See financially. It only takes $95 to give the gift of sight in the areas of cataracts, glaucoma and pterygium. If He moves you to take action, you can know that your gifts will change the lives of others forever.