Region Where “No Charities Go” (Region of Witches)

Region Where “No Charities Go” (Region of Witches)

In Africa, challenges are not always what they seem.

 

As you may have read, this entire year, we are serving in the region of Elavagnon in Togo.

At the beginning of this year, you were asked to start praying for this region.

We knew from the beginning, that this region would be the biggest challenge Sight.org has ever faced.

The needs in this region are immense.

We have been serving this region for six months now. We now know the reason there are so many needs. It’s not the reason we originally thought.

Lewis Swann, founder of Sight.org is in Togo this month. He is seeing Elavagnon with his own eyes. He sent the following story to illustrate the reason for so many needs.

 

 

“When I arrived to Togo, Africa, I immediately traveled five hours north to join the medical team to perform fifty eye surgeries in a region called Elavagnon.

 

village

village

 

This region is known as the place where “no charities go.”

 

At least, that is what we were told by the Ministry of Health in Togo.

When the team arrived, they met 400+ people suffering from various eye diseases and blindness.

 

village

 

Based on the sheer numbers, it was obvious that eye care had not been there.

The team quickly selected the fifty patients for surgery, and many more were put on a waiting list for next month’s surgical outreach.

 

village

 

At face value, this region appeared very similar to others that we had served. However, we have met more challenges here than we usually face.

 

Our Togo Director, Meza, told me the Ministry of Health’s reason for why charities do not go to Elavagnon.

And that reason? Witches.

 

He expressed that no charity, not even secular charities, choose to work in Elavagnon. The area is known for witches and demonic practices.

The charities that try to serve here always fail in their mission.

The Ministry of Health was shocked to hear that our mission is going very well in Elavagnon.

 

But we do not go empty handed.

We come with a God much bigger than witchcraft, and our God is a God who loves witches…a lot!

 

Since we started working in Elavagnon, we have restored sight to hundreds of blind people and we have even started a church that is thriving with new believers, many of whom left witchcraft.

We don’t have to fear, and our best weapon is love.”

 

 

Please continue to pray for the region of Elavagnon.

You are making a difference in the lives of these people when you pray, not just physically, but also spiritually.

Pray against Satan’s attacks. Pray for the brand new house church that has been established there. The new believers face opposition from the enemy and from fellow villagers who do not know Jesus. 

They are also experiencing a lot of physical problems aside from the numerous eye diseases.

There are two nurses, Helen Clark and Naomi Swann, on the volunteer team this week. 

 

nurse

nurse

 

They are doing medical clinics alongside the eye surgery team. Hundreds of people are coming each day to get checked by the nurses.

There are hospitals and doctors in this region, but most people do not have the money to pay for medical help.

Normally, when people come to our team with non-eye related problems, there is nothing our eye surgery team can do for them.

Since there are nurses on our volunteer team this week, people can come and get free medical help.

Please pray for the volunteer team and the eye surgery team. It can be overwhelming to see so much need. 

 

village

 

God is doing a mighty work in this region and we are so excited that you get to be a big part of that. 

 

Lewis was able to do several Facebook Live videos this week in Togo. You don’t want to miss these!

Volunteer Team (Helen, Steve, and Naomi)

Medical Clinic

Interview with eye patient

New Believers

 

 

You are going to love these people!

You are going to love these people!

Get ready to fall in love with a group of people you have never met before!

During the month of July, there will be several volunteers traveling from Texas to Togo with Sight.org. We want to introduce them to you so that you can pray for them and follow along with their trip.

Steve and Helen Clark

The Clarks got connected to Sight.org last year when Wayne and Elaine Riley became missionaries in Togo. The Clarks and the Rileys have gone to church together for about thirteen years. The Clarks have been married for 34 years, and they are so cute together! They have four children and three grandchildren.

Steve started volunteering in the Sight.org office last year, and he has become our most beloved volunteer. He is a hard worker with a servant’s heart. He is a former fighter pilot, civil engineer, and public school counselor and administrator.

Helen is originally from England and was a British Registered Nurse. She now works in Tyler as a physical therapy assistant.

Helen will be assisting with medical clinics while Steve encourages our medical team and helps with the house churches.

This is what Steve says about their trip to Togo.

I want to go to Togo to serve but I also want to learn. I want to learn more about the people and the team so that I can serve them better here in Tyler. Since I am volunteering in the Sight.org office every week, I want to learn as much as I can about the ministry so that I can serve them better. Helen has a medical background, so she feels that she can easily walk alongside the medical team while they are there.

 

Joe and Becky Canal

The Canals also got connected with Sight.org through Wayne and Elaine Riley. The Riley’s go to church where Joe pastors. Joe has been the pastor of Tyler Christian Fellowship (TCF) for twenty-eight years. TCF is a tight nit community, so when the Riley’s became missionaries with Sight.org, the entire church became Sight.org supporters in one way or another.

This is what Joe has to say about their trip to Togo.

In April of this year Lewis Swann, Sight.org’s founder and president, invited me to become a member of their board of directors. Lewis felt that I would be a strength to the organization, based on my years of experience as a senior pastor. He saw great opportunity for me to encourage and disciple members of the Sight.org team as well as minister to the many individuals whose lives are being transformed through the work that they are doing in Togo. That’s why Becky and I are planning a short-term mission trip this summer to Togo, West Africa.

 

The main purpose of our trip is to minister to the spiritual needs of the leaders and full time workers on the ground. As the work is expanding the need for encouragement and discipleship is increasing for the team as well as those that they are reaching every month. We’re excited to help train and equip these dedicated people who are doing such amazing work among the poor.

 

Rachel Baber

Rachel is a Registered Nurse who went to Togo last year. She will be doing more medical clinics like she did last year. You can read more about Rachel and her last trip here.

Rachel has a huge heart for missions. She uses the gifts God has given her to serve everyone around her. She blew us away last year with her loving spirit when she went to Togo. We are beyond excited that she is joining our team again. The Togolese medical team can’t wait to see her again!

 

Lewis and Naomi Swann

The Swanns are the founders of Sight.org. They will be there alongside the rest of the team. You can read their story here.

 

Over the next month, we will be relaying stories from each member of this team as they serve alongside our Togolese team members. We are all excited about what God will be doing in and through them.

We ask for your prayers over each team member. We have developed a prayer calendar with helpful suggestions on how to pray.

Lewis arrived in Togo a few days ago, and he and the Togolese team are already facing spiritual warfare. The enemy does not like what God is doing through Sight.org and he is trying to stop it any way that he can. Please pray that everyone involved will have their spiritual armor on daily so that they can move forward in what God wants them to do. 

The Faces of Adjon

The Faces of Adjon

Take a look at these three faces.

 

 

These are not the kind of faces that are treated well in rural Africa. They are often isolated or looked down on. Many people think that faces like these are cursed.

 

However, in the house church in the village of Adjon, these faces are loved.

They are taken care of.

They are prayed for.

That is because the love of Jesus has changed the people in this house church.

 

adjon

adjon

adjon

adjon

adjon

adjon

 

Everyone in this house church are baby Christians, but they have been changed. They don’t look at each other the same way they used to.

In a way, everyone in this house church has become outcasts. They are looked down on because they are Christians now.

The rest of the village thinks they are crazy because they meet every week to pray, worship, and listen to the Word.

 

adjon

adjon

adjon

 

But they love anyway.

 

They are determined to be a light to their village. They forgive their neighbors for calling them crazy, and they keep meeting.

 

They meet in the middle of the village, where everyone can hear them. Their praises cannot be ignored.

 

adjon

 

One night, a man was sitting in his house while the church was meeting. He could hear them saying that God wants us to forgive others, no matter what.

The next day, he came to the house church, humbled. He could not ignore what he had overheard.

He and his sister live in the same house, but have not talked to each other in years because of a grudge they are holding. He was so convicted by what he heard the night before, that he talked to his sister and asked for forgiveness.

 

God is doing miracles in these new Christians. However, they are also experiencing a lot of hardships and spiritual warfare.

 

We told you last year about a woman named Malibow. She suffers from Epilepsy and has scars all over her body from falling into a fire during a seizure.

She is now a Christian and her heart has been completely changed by Jesus. She is also getting medicine for her Epilepsy, so her seizures have lessened. We praise God for all of these things.

However, she has asked for continued prayer, because Satan overwhelms her with fear and nightmares every night. Her sleep has been stolen from her.

 

adjon

 

We also told you about a woman who had not heard from her son in four years.

After the house church prayed for her, her son came home just a few weeks later. Everyone was overjoyed that God had answered her prayer so quickly.

Her son was excited to get involved with the house church and even started building a fish pond for the village.

Soon, however, everything seemed to be against him. He faced one thing after another that kept him from finishing the pond.

He has also started struggling with certain sins that he has never experienced before.

He has asked for prayer that he can continue the work God has for him.  

 

adjon

 

These faces love Jesus.

 

But they wouldn’t love Jesus if it weren’t for the Sight.org eye surgeries. 

This house church was started after Sight.org did eye surgeries in their region.

These eye surgeries are so much more than just giving physical sight to the blind.

These eye surgeries make people want to know more about the God that we serve. They become hungry for the Word of God and ask for more.

We praise God for how he is using these eye surgeries for his kingdom.

 

We ask you to pray for the beautiful faces in this house church as they continue to grow in their relationship with God and as they experience hardships in the midst of it all.

 

adjon

adjon

adjon

adjon

adjon

adjon

 

Please prayerfully consider supporting the Sight.org eye surgeries that open a doorway for the gospel in Togo, Africa.

 

 

 

Hungry for Jesus

Hungry for Jesus

I get to go to Togo once a year. Last year, I went during surgery week. It was overwhelming to see people’s lives being changed in a fifteen-minute surgery. I had so many stories and photos when I came back because our eye surgeries make such a huge impact.

This year, I wouldn’t be seeing any surgeries. I was going for ministry week instead.

I have to admit that I was a bit apprehensive because I wasn’t sure if I would be getting many stories or photos. I’ve been working for Sight.org for two years, so I know that our ministry weeks make an impact, but it is not as in your face as our surgery weeks. I’m a preacher’s kid, so I’ve been around ministry my whole life. Ministry week didn’t feel like it would be as much of an adventure as surgery week was.

Boy, was I wrong.

Our eye surgeries are a doorway to ministry. These villages would not allow us to even enter without first doing eye surgeries. Through them, we build relationships and trust with the people.

After we spend several weeks in a village, they welcome us with open arms.

The first village I was in was called Landa. It is in the region of Elevagnon. Our ministry team has been in Landa since January. They have read the word with them, prayed with them, worshipped with them, and shown them the Jesus Film.

The first night I was in Landa, we watched a film called Mary Magdalene. Over fifty men, women, and children came to watch. As I sat with them and watched I had so many thoughts going through my preacher’s kid, Seminary trained brain.

I thought:

“Ok, so this film is in their language, but other than that, how are they possibly relating to anything going on?”

“Everyone in this film is white, and I’m surrounded by Africans.”

“Shouldn’t we just be loving on these people instead of staring at a screen?”

“These children are staying up past their bedtime and it’s a school night!”

 

Obviously, I was overthinking everything.

I prayed through the whole movie and I tried not to let my skeptical thoughts ruin my first night in the village.

What happened next shattered all my skepticism.

When the film was over, our ministry team encouraged the people with the word, prayed, and then offered to give Bibles to anyone who wanted them.

A young man stood up and said, “We have heard you tell us about Jesus and we all believe. We have watched the Jesus Film and now this film, and we love everything that Jesus has done for us. Yes, we want Bibles, but we really want a place to meet! Will you please give us a place to read the Bible together and pray together?”

I have never heard anyone so hungry for the Word of God before. They were starving for more of Jesus.

I was completely humbled. Jesus was so much bigger than my skeptical thoughts.

We told them that we would be there again the next night and would set up a place for them all to meet and bring them Bibles.

Landa

The next night, we met under a large mango tree. We sat down, started playing drums and singing.

At first, no one was there. But suddenly, one by one, they all came back. They truly wanted more of Jesus. We sang and prayed for an hour and then encouraged them with the word. It was so refreshing to be around a bunch of baby Christians who just wanted Jesus. They sang and danced for Jesus with all their hearts.

Landa

It started storming just was we opened the boxes of Bibles to give away. They all stayed, in the rain. They even stayed as we prayed over them.

They didn’t care about the rain because they wanted more of Jesus.

Landa

This is the beginning of a brand-new house church in the village of Landa.

Matthew 5:6 says “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled.”

I know that Jesus is filling the people in the village of Landa, because they are hungry for Jesus.

Our ministry team has a long road ahead of them as they walk alongside this new house church. If you would like to see the steps that our team takes in establishing a house church, go to our ministry page. We would love for you to pray for this village.

Beloved New Region

Beloved New Region

The region of Elavagnon is the biggest challenge Sight.org has ever faced.

This entire year, we will be serving this region through eye surgeries and ministry. This area is poorer than any region Sight.org has ever served, and the Ministry of Health in Togo believes there are thousands of people in this region that are blind as a result of cataracts.

This region has zero access to eye care, and from what we have seen; the people living in this region are in worse conditions than any population we have ever served.

Elavagnon, Togo

This week, our medical team will be giving sight to 60 people in this region.

 

Elavagnon, Togo

Last month, 50 people in this region received their sight back.

Nine year old Faritte was one of the patients in these surgeries.

When he was three months old, he was hit in the eye with a stick. This caused an immediate cataract. He has not been able to see in his left eye since that day. Because of our mobile eye clinic, he is now able to see again. The photos below are from the day of surgery and a week later. We will check on him again in a few weeks to make sure his sight continues to improve.

Faritte

 

After our first round of surgeries, our ministry team started building relationships with the patients and their families and neighbors. Through these new relationships, 75 people put their faith in Jesus.

Ministry

Our ministry team is now working to start a new house church in this village.

If you would like to know more about this process, read our blog about our last house church.

At the beginning of this year, we asked you to pray specifically for this region. We are already seeing God move. Thank you for pouring your heart prayers into a village that you have never even heard of. God is so good.

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