Happy New Year! We can’t believe it’s already here! New Years is a BIG celebration here in TOGO. People fill the churches the night before (even though they may not go to church all year) and ring in the new year with fasting, prayers and praise!
We are on our way back to the United States thanks to many who gave toward our trip. We couldn’t have done it without you, May God doubly bless you! We will be back in Tyler, TX today! We are excited to be starting our new year coming home to see our kids, grandkids, church family, and friends. It’s been a year and we truly need your face-to-face connection!
We have our schedule for the year and expect GOD to do more through us and our medical/ministry team; afterall He is a BIG GOD!
There will be 450 surgeries scheduled and 41 weeks of ministry for 2017! A lot can happen and we are expecting God to move and change lives. We are asking you to pray along with us that God will do MORE miracles, answer MORE prayers, give MORE dreams, heal MORE of the sick/blind, start MORE small churches in each of these villages and do whatever God wants to do in the area of Elavagnon.
We have enjoyed working with our Sight.org medical and ministry teams. Our Directors have been awesome and we couldn’t ask for a better team. We are looking forward to what God wants to do through each of these individuals!!
Hello friends and family. It’s November and we have entered the second season of the year, Harmatten season. The rains have ended and vegetation is drying up and everything is turning brown. There is fine dust or dirt in the air and the temperatures are HOT and cool in the evenings. We totally miss FALL and SPRING and even WINTER—Togo does NOT have these seasons.
So needless to say, Togo does not celebrate Thanksgiving like Americans, and only some Togolese people celebrate Christmas. I have not seen any Christmas decorations here in Atakpame but I’m told you can find it in Lomé. I tried making a Christmas tree out of toilet paper rolls and that was a waste of time. It looked more like a rocket with lots of fins. I am going to have to be MORE creative to come up with something to make it feel like Christmas around here.
Sight.org has served in the Plateau region for a year now ending in December and will be moving to another region for a year. The government wants us to minister in Elavagnon, northeast of Atakpame. We are saddened by this as the Plateau region is very beautiful and full of mountains and we have made many friends in the villages we have visited. We could possibly be back in four years to see them again. We will be going to a flat, plains area. I will be able to tell you much more about it in January when we go to check it out.
We will especially miss one village, Adjahon. It’s a very small village but we have built beautiful relationships with these people. They have been growing in God’s Word as they have an audio Bible to listen to each week. There have been around twenty adults who attend consistently. We got to study, pray, and worship with them this last week. God has been moving in their midst according to their testimonies! They are excited to see what GOD is going to do in the days to come. Malibow (the woman with epilepsy who fell in the fire) lives in this village.
We also met Afowa in August, a 30 year old woman who became a believer when our ministry team was in her village. We also prayed for her distended stomach as we thought she had a tumor. We revisited the village later and found that Afowa had worsened and we were asked to pray again for her. I can’t explain what happened but we certainly “felt” the kingdom of God come into her little room as we prayed for her. We felt lead to take her to the hospital in Tsiko. She had never been to the doctor.
After several tests, they found that her liver was not functioning and prescribed some medications for her to take. One day in October, she had asked about our ministry team that had traveled with her. Her husband happily professed that she was very thankful that we had taken the time to care for her.
The very next evening, we received word that she had gone home to be with the Lord. We are thankful that she does not have to suffer anymore but ask that you pray for her husband and three children, the youngest is a four-month-old boy. Please pray for her family and the village as they continue to mourn.
We have become close to these families. We will have to go visit them on our “off” weeks to keep in contact. Missions is all about relationships.
We had fifty-one children in this village for our children’s ministry. They loved coloring their pages.
We are hoping to return to the US in February 2017 for a short furlough to visit our children, grandkids, and friends. We can’t wait to meet our two new grandbaby boys who were born in May and July of this year. Lord willing with your help we can purchase our tickets to come home and return to TOGO for another year.
May God Bless your families and increase your faith in the work he is doing in your life! If God moves upon your heart to give toward our flights, please check our FB page to sign up for a “spot.” No gift is too small! Also, if you give between now and November 29, you will entered into a drawing for a giveaway of a handmade patchwork bag from Togo. We appreciate your giving hearts to make this possible for us!! GOD Bless You!!
In September we started expanding the ministry weeks in the villages here in Togo, Africa.
We have been visiting different villages each week. We get permission from the chiefs of that village first.
We do health teaching, children’s ministry, show the Jesus Film along with other Bible films, fit and give eyeglasses, do door to door ministry, and pray for those who ask for prayer. We also meet any other needs that we’re able.
We also have been finding a “Person of Peace” in each village who will be responsible to play the audio Bible. We leave it in their care to help spread God’s Word in these villages!
The audio Bible is wonderful because it is played in Ewe, which is one of the languages they speak.
We want to teach the children different ways to worship God and we are using instruments to do this.
Wayne and I asked a blacksmith to make bells and triangles to add to the musical instruments that we have been collecting here in Africa! We also have African shakers and home made shakers.
The children love singing and playing the different instruments. We now have about 23 instruments and will add to these as we can. Usually we have about 50-150 children in one village, depending on the size. We “take turns” passing the instruments around and sing a lot of songs, to give everyone a chance to worship our Lord!
We also try to have a coloring sheet with a Scripture that goes along with the lesson of the day. This can be costly to make copies for each village, but when you see their faces and watch them color, it’s worth the expense! Crayons are not readily available here but I sure am glad I bought several large boxes of crayons. They will go a long way!
Sight.org has collected MANY used/unwanted eyeglasses. These are given to people who need a little help with their vision. Many want glasses in order to read their Bibles! They even bring their Bible to the screening to make sure they can see with the glasses! The eyeglass cases are just as important because they don’t want anything to scratch their glasses.
Seeing is everything!
So if you have some eyeglasses that you have outgrown, contact our Sight.org office in Tyler, TX to make your donation! Or if you don’t have any eyeglasses and would like to buy some reading glasses from the weakest strength 1.25 – 2.50 strength. We run out of these quickly! You can also make a monetary donation to help with the shipping costs.
We would like to invite you to help with the work here in Togo, Africa in giving $10 for color sheets or instruments.
We truly appreciate all our family, friends and church body who support us each month in order for us to do the work here in Togo! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
In August when we visited a village and showed the Jesus film we had forty-eight people give their hearts to Jesus. Thirty-two of them were children.
Clearly God was speaking to us about the NEED for ministering to the children.
They have no ministry available to the children in the villages we have been to. The children go to church but the pastor is speaking to the adults only and not on the children’s level.
Sight.org has been growing in many ways with general medical clinics and now we have started doing children’s ministry!
We began our first children’s ministry this month. It will be challenging in many ways because we don’t have the resources available here but God is showing us ways we can overcome this. We were eagerly welcomed into the villages to do children’s church. We even had teenagers come and participate. These teens will be mentored with hopes that they will take over the ministry one day.
This was our first village and this was our “hut” for children’s ministry.
The children grew from a 36 to over 100 in about 20 minutes!! Of course we had to go outside to do our wiggle/giggle time!
In one village, 139 children came, which was the largest group we have seen.
Even the infants came on their mama’s back because nobody wanted to miss this event! We are learning many things and finding we need to tweak and fine tune our presentation but the message is clear, “LET THE LITTLE CHILDREN COME TO ME” Mark 10:12. We are exhausted after each session, but there is such a JOY in being with these kids and loving them. Our prayer and intent is that seeds of salvation would be planted by the Holy Spirit in the hearts and minds of the young, and indeed the families of these villagers.
We have been well and enjoying the wonderful “cool” evenings and warm days. We are even wearing long pants during the day and using a light blanket at night. In February, that was impossible to do because it was so HOT. We are getting closer to the end of the rainy season and Wayne will soon be starting their building project. We are looking forward to the work on that project! As always we would LOVE for you to come visit us and see the work for yourself!
We are excited to be a part God’s plan. Thank you for helping us to walk out this dream.
If you should like to help us in prayer or financial support, please go to Sight.org prayer calendar or donate page.
Greetings from beautiful Atakpame, Togo!
We have now been living here for 6 months. Alex just received his visa, so we will be having an empty house available soon. That means friends can come see us! We will have the room to house you! So please consider our invitation!
August just seems to have flown by. We are still loving our little church here. This is the climb uphill each Sunday we make to go to church! What a workout! Motos don’t even try to climb this mountain.
We just returned from our outreach ministry week in Amou-Oblo which is close to Amlame. It is about an hour and a half from Atakpame. A couple weeks prior we did 64 eye surgeries in Amou-Oblo with excellent results!
We are happy to be a small part of this work. As you can see our team was rather large this time as our founder, Lewis Swann, and volunteer Rachel Baber RN joined us.
Our team also did our first non-eye medical ministry. Rachel held several clinics not only here in Atakpame but also in the bush! We prayed over a woman who had epilepsy and had fallen into a fire. She does not have a husband or children. She only has her parents to take care of her. God did a miracle in her life while we were praying over her! You can read more of her amazing story in last week’s blog.
We saw countless children, women and men that had needs. We were able to meet some needs but not all. We had the privilege to pray for these two children. Their parents told us that their limbs need straightening. The girl in white and blue who is 9 years old, crawls on her knees everywhere, so we were able to find crutches for her. The young boy is 4 years old and his right arm is twisted and has pain. There are so many NEEDS here!
Not only were we meeting eye needs but basic health care for the people in these villages. Most are not able to see a doctor and do without, but when “free” medical care comes they come with their needs! It was a tremendous experience. We are so thankful that Rachel Baber came to do this for the people!
We also showed several films highlighting Jesus and were able to give out Bibles and literature.
We found a “person of peace” to leave the audio Bible with and she will be responsible to play the Bible several times a week for all to hear. We not only bring individuals to Christ but also desire to see them grow. We will be checking on these villages to see their growth! We hope to plant churches this way.
Please be in prayer for this small village as we have heard it has many Voodoo “witches” Pray for the gospel to break forth and deliver every single person in that community.
What a blessing to find out that Rachel played the violin too! I played and gave a violin lesson at a school where we held one of our clinics in Amou-Oblo. The children were very curious. I loved it!
We had a prayer tent and a medical tent and I got to spend some time with the children.
We are learning new things about our team members everyday and finding that God has put together some of the most qualified, loving, and committed Christians to work with here. We held our first team building event at our house this month. We did six team building games. We had fun and fellowship and they all got their first taste of Mexican food!
We are truly blessed to be a part and have a place here in Togo.
If you would like to have a part in this ministry by supporting us, please go here. You can make a monthly donation or a one-time gift! We also covet your prayers and rely on them to effectively reach out to some of these people who have no hope. May God Bless your giving!!!
Have you heard the song “Whisperings of Heaven“?
When this beautiful 78 year old woman named Evedoh could see again, we could hear whisperings of heaven. Our “hearts were bursting” with joy because God healed her eyes.
It’s been an exciting month as Wayne and I went to the bush June 28th-July 4th. We have not been since February when we first arrived here in Togo. I helped prep patients before their surgery and Wayne drove the ambulance and learned the process of sterilization of the operating tools. It was an amazing week!
We did 55 eyes and were present for two baby births as our tent was outside the birthing room of the hospital! We had five VIPs (people from our church) that came for eye screenings and Sight.org will be able to help them!
We want to thank our sponsors and donors again for helping to change the lives of these people, because BEFORE, they could not see and AFTER, a world of difference in their demeanor! This would have never happened if you had not given to Sight.org. We are truly blessed to be a small part of this ministry! “He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward him for what he has done!” Proverbs 19:17
We brought back 7 banana trees to plant at our farm too!
Since it rained everyday in Amlame, we had all the joys of being in a tent and our bedding got wet the very first day.
We actually got all the tents up before it down poured! The hospital had a conference that week and did not have any rooms available to us until Saturday which was good because Wayne caught a cold and became sick.
It seems that Togolese women have very short labors and have their babies within 3-4 hours. Some women wait too long and have their baby on the back of a moto bike when it’s time.
We had a woman tell the moto driver to stop because she was having her baby right then!
The midwife had to run down the long drive to cut the umbilical cord! I can imagine the whole scene now! We prayed for the women who had their babies in the wee morning hours and God heard our prayers when the baby arrived. What JOY to be a small tiny part of their deliveries.
It really blessed us since we were not able to be there for our daughter Sarah and Jonathans first baby, Israel. We are looking forward to our son Stephen and Ariana’s baby which is due this month on the 24th and they are at a point of moving back to Tyler, TX. We too wish we could be present for their first baby. Now we will have five grand baby boys! God has blessed us and our families beyond measure! We are so blessed to know that our kids know our heart for missions and that they didn’t make us feel bad for leaving the States.
We have been drawn especially to the Togolese children.
They are pure innocence and beautiful and they love to see “Yovos”. We hear their giggles and laughs and chants, “Yovo, Yovo, Bonsoir Yovo” as we pass by and we always give them silly waves. I always take pics of all the children we come across as they have my heart! They love looking at their own picture and try to figure out how it’s done!
“Let the little children come unto me” Mark 10:14
You can be a part of these great works by making a donation whether modest or great, We rely on our donors to provide these surgeries each month in these poor villages in the country of Togo. Won’t you make a difference today?