Sight.org Visits Grace Vision

Sight.org Visits Grace Vision

Sight.org’s founder, Lewis Swann and his wife Naomi Swann went to South Africa last month to observe another eye care ministry called Grace Vision. Sight.org is always looking for ways to learn and become a better ministry. We are thankful that we had this opportunity to learn from Grace Vision. This video highlights their trip.

Grace Vision is an awesome medical ministry very similar to Sight.org. Like Sight.org, they are bringing eye care and the gospel to the Eastern Cape of South Africa. We have a lot to learn from each other!

 

httpsss://vimeo.com/204406180

Urgent Prayer Request

Urgent Prayer Request

Urgent prayer request for Sight.org! Our medical team is in a new village doing screenings this week. We knew that the needs in this village would be more numerous than the other villages we serve, but they are even bigger than we imagined.

This village is so far from medical care, that the people have neglected their health needs or tried using traditional medicines that did not work. Many will not be able to have surgery because their eyes are so bad. Our team can give them certain medicines that will help, however. There are many children there as well in the same situation. The medicine we are providing for them will save the small amount of light that remains in their eyes, keeping them from going completely blind. There are still many will still be able to have surgeries.
Please pray for two specific patients. There is one lady and one young girl who have complicated cataracts. Both of them have already lost one eye from cataracts and we are trying to save the other eye. The young girl in this picture has a very strong faith, so praise the Lord for that.

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Also, please pray for Lewis Swann, our founder, as he is traveling to South Africa today. He will be there for two weeks. He is checking out the eye ministry called Grace Vision. They have a very similar program to Sight.org, so Lewis and his wife Naomi are going to observe their ministry and learn from them how to better the ministry of Sight.org.

Thank you for your prayers!

If you feel led to donate to these needs, go to Sight.org/donate and put “Village of Elevagnon” in the comments.

You are amazing

You are amazing

Dear friends & supporters,

You are truly amazing and we thank you.

Since you and I began this journey of restoring sight to the blind and furthering the gospel in Togo, we have touched more lives than I had ever imagined. Even if you have only given $150 in the life of Sight.org, there is a person in the world who was blind that can now see because of you. It may be someone who is now able to work, or a child who can now go to school. If it were not for your selfless act of reaching out to make a difference, someone in Africa would very likely have remained blind to this day and for years to come. You would have never given to Sight.org if you didn’t have a heart for others, and this characteristic in you is something the world longs to see.

You have been generous, and the world is a better place thanks to you!

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Through your support, the team has been growing in tremendous ways. We’re finding that even though we are performing eye surgeries and sharing the gospel, the greatest thing God is calling us to do is to love. Every time I go to Africa, I’m hearing God telling me that my job is to love and his job is to heal. And as a result of simply loving others, I’m seeing healing in the lives of others that far surpass what I have ever seen.

On my last trip to Africa, we went to visit a new house church that we planted a few months prior. Everyone is a new convert, and we spent the majority of each day doing church, praising, worshiping, and reading from the Bible, and throughout, we would take prayer requests. On the second day, we asked the group if they had testimonies to share. This question was brought up every day, and every day we received reports of miracles! To my knowledge, God answered every single prayer that the villagers requested! From physical healings to relational healing, God was moving in such tangible ways that the missionaries (me included) were taken by surprise! As a result, a buzz went across the village of news that this little group of Christians was hearing from their God. It was amazing in ways that I cannot describe.

I have never seen a group of new believers so excited to be Christians.

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Here is one of my favorite examples of an answered prayer: A lady requested prayer for her son’s return home. He had been gone for four years. She had no idea where he had gone, she had no way of contacting him, and she didn’t even know if he was alive. The following Tuesday, guess who came into town? That’s right, her long lost son! He took three days traveling across three countries to return to his mother. After four long years, her son was finally home!

As we look back over 2016, we are so thankful for supporters like you.

Last year, we performed 450 eye surgeries. The transformation of a blind person being able to see is enormous. But what I’m finding is that the transformation through surgery doesn’t hold a candle compared to the transformations we are seeing in people who have had an encounter with God. I would like to further express the power of love through the testimonies of the following stories of Jeanaway and Malibow. For each of them, we asked God to show us how to love these two people. We knew little of what to do, but we knew that if we could love these two people, God would do the rest.

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Jeanaway was seventeen years old and had been blinded by cataracts since he was seven. We immediately checked his eyes, and afterward, we asked if we could pray for him. He said that no one had ever prayed for him before, and after we prayed, he gave his life to Christ. A week later, we performed eye surgery on Jeanaway. But since then, he only wants to talk about Jesus. Months later, everyone who knew Jeanaway before has expressed that he is unrecognizable compared to who he was before.

Today, Jeanaway is a man of deep conviction whose calling is to pray for others.

People are traveling far to receive prayer from Jeanaway, and many are leaving the local witchcraft traditions as a result of his prayers over them. This is the Jeanaway we have always known, but Jeanaway tells us a darker past. Jeanaway loves to tell us about the man he was before, as he rejoices at the transformation God had made in his life. Jeanaway tells us that he tried to end his own life by drinking poison…twice. Good people stayed away from him, and bad people were attracted to him. Every time he could get ahold of money, he would spend it all on alcohol.

By his own words, he was living for hell, but now, Jeanaway says he is in paradise.

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Jeanaway asked that I shared this message to others: “If I can say anything to people who have lost hope, tell them the history of my life and say, if you go and wait for Jesus, your life will change like how God changed my life. Don’t lose hope because Jesus loves you.”

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Malibow is a young lady I met a few months ago who joined a house church that we started in her village. Malibow has epilepsy, and at one point an episode caused her to severely burn part of her face. Sadly, people in Malibow’s situation are often treated as outcasts in rural African society.

When I saw her for the first time, she was drenched in shame. At the time, she kept her head down and couldn’t even look us in the eye. But over the course of these few months, God has done a major work in Malibow. Before, I refrained from taking photos of Malibow due to her emotional condition, but now, it’s a different case.

These days, she is glowing! She is a star member of our church, and every time she prays, tears start raining down her face. I feel like these pictures speak for themselves!

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Thank you for taking the time to read this, and know that you are a big reason why all of this was possible. These testimonies are being shared to hurting people throughout Togo thanks in large part to your support! You are doing a wonderful thing, and we are very grateful for you!

Written by: Lewis Swann, Founder of Sight.org
Stories Behind the Art at Sight Night

Stories Behind the Art at Sight Night

Last week, we had our first annual Sight Night: The Joy of Sight.

It featured local art inspired by or related to the work we do in Togo. In case you didn’t get to attend, we would love to share the art and the stories behind the art with you. We are so thankful for each artist and their contribution to our ministry.

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Through the art alone, we were able to raise over $6000 for sight restoring surgeries. Total raised from the entire event was over $32,000! That equals 213 eye surgeries!

Go to our Facebook page to see photos from the event.

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Lisa Rachel Horlander
“Serene Epiphany”
oil on canvas

When we first talked to Lisa about our event, she got so excited because she already has a passion for visual impairment and has a whole series of work based on this theme. We are so thankful to have Lisa on our team of artists for this show!

Statement from artist:
“Our individual view of a moment can be hindered by impaired sight, whether it’s a physical handicap or atmospheric conditions, which will determine how we visually interpret something. This painting is designed to give the viewer a similar experience of impaired sight but with only the distilled beauty of light and color.”

Story from Sight.org:
We felt that the story of Jeanaway went along perfectly with this painting.

 

 

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Lindsay Boone
“Earth Has No Sorrow that Heaven Cannot Heal”
oil on gold leaf

Statement from artist:
“On a metro in Paris, I sat across from an exhausted, distracted Muslim woman. We rode together for perhaps thirty minutes, and she never made eye contact, never smiled, never glanced around. She just…waited. She was beautiful, with a sharp profile and yards of fabric about her, and I managed to take a few pictures of her on my phone without her noticing. In the picture, she is bowed in fatigue and irritation, waiting for the ride to be over. But in the painting, she is bowed in fatigue and reverence, awaiting the sweet relief of the Father’s love. The gold leaf is a shining allusion to the imprint of God on all humanity, and to the divine Presence exhibited in the common grace of Christ, which showers even those who are unaware of it. She may be blind to the beauty of God’s reality, but one hopes that one day she will truly see.”

Statement from Sight.org:
“Our greatest passion is to share the love of Christ, which drives our desire to serve. By projecting the Jesus Film, evangelizing door-to-door, and providing discipleship through local ministry partners, we share the good news in a country where 295,000 people have never heard the gospel of Jesus.”

 

 

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Aaron Nguyen
“Friends”
printed art on wine bottle

Statement from the artist’s mother:
“This past summer my husband and I created our own bottle of wine when we were in Napa at Judds Hill. We came up with the recipe ourselves, mixed it, bottled it, corked it, and labeled it all by hand. We asked our son Aaron to name the wine and make the artwork for the label. He named it “Friends” and sent us a picture of his first masterpiece he created when he was 6 years old. The value of the wine is priceless since it’s “handmade”. Aaron would love to donate this to Sight.org.”

Story of Aaron and his involvement with Sight.org:
“Last year, Lewis Swann, founder of Sight.org, visited with the 3rd-5th grade students at The Brook Hill School. When one of Brook Hill’s third grade students, Aaron, heard about Sight.org, his heart broke for the blind in Africa and he decided to do something about it.

“Every Christmas I get a big gift, so I told my parents that I wanted my big gift this year to be sunglasses for the blind in Africa,” Aaron explained. “So we went to the Dollar General and the manager let us in the back so that we could pick out sunglasses. We got 108 sunglasses for children and adults, boys and girls.”

“We then met Lewis at a coffee shop and gave him the sunglasses,” Aaron continued. Aaron’s family also donated funds for a surgery along with the sunglasses. “Sunglasses are vital to a successful surgery,” Swann commented. “Without them, patient’s eyes are too exposed to light and it leads to a bad treatment.”

Swann left for Togo shortly after receiving the sunglasses from Aaron and his family. During his trip, nearly 80 patients received sight and also received sunglasses from Aaron. The rest have since been given to other patients receiving the surgery.

During his trip, Swann and his wife took pictures and made a book for Aaron with many of the patients wearing his sunglasses and holding up signs like “Yay God!” and “Aaron Rocks!” When we asked Aaron how he felt when he looked at the book, he said “Happy. It feels good to know that these people can see.” “I am so proud of Aaron for stepping out to make life better for others,” Swann said. “There is a light shining in Togo and Aaron is a part of that light! Aaron realizes that he doesn’t have to be a surgeon to make miracles happen. His love for the poor in action has changed the lives of others forever!”

Excerpt from the Brook Hill School website

 

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Monique Dorsey
“Eyes of Joy”
watercolor on paper

Statement from the artist:
“I have been so touched by Sight.org’s work.  I personally know the Rileys, who are missionaries in Togo with Sight.org.  They have been a part of my prayer group for a long time.  They are wonderful, Christ filled people who have a heart to serve Him.  They have been in Togo since February of this year working for Sight.org.  I was so moved by Elaine’s posts about all the children and the lives they are touching with Christ’s ministries.  I wanted my piece to reflect the masses being affected, that’s why there are three faces, each a little different.  Their eyes are meant to reflect not just their physical vision restored but their spiritual vision come to light!  May God continue to bless your wonderful works for His Kingdom!” 

Story from Sight.org’s missionaries:
“We have been drawn especially to the Togolese children.

They are pure innocence and beautiful and they love to see “Yovos” or “white people.” 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?”

 

 

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Amanda Slaughter
“God”
mixed media on canvas

Statement from the artist:
“This painting came from the idea that no matter how much we mess up, God’s grace cleans us white as snow….what a blessing!  And then we sparkle. (Cue the glitter)”

Statement from Sight.org:
All people are redeemable through Christ’s finished work on the cross, and we believe He died so that we could carry His light to the ends of the earth. By His grace, we have been redeemed to serve: The Blind, The Unreached, and The Malnourished in Togo, Africa.”

 

 

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Rosemary Swann
“Malibow”
oil on panel

Statement from the artist:
“This piece is inspired by a woman named Malibow. She had epilepsy and the medical team at Sight.org prayed over her.”

Story from Sight.org:
“During that time, many came with very sad conditions. One lady suffered from epilepsy, and one of her episodes led her to fall into a fire where she severely burned her face. Sadly, this is very common for people with epilepsy in Africa, and such people are often treated as outcasts. In her own words, she had no one.

Deep hurt and shame was plainly seen in her eyes. People like this often hear people say bad things to them. She hears that she is cursed, a nobody, and much worse. I asked some of our team to pray over her with me. We began, and the tears ran down her face. It’s hard to describe, and I have only seen it a few times with this level of clarity, but it was very clear to everyone praying that God was bringing major restoration in her life. To the point of convulsion, she wept throughout the five minutes we prayed over her. Then, when it was all over, joy was all over her face. At that moment, she had received Christ.

The next day, she came to our first church service. She was in the back corner, looking up and praising God. Before, she was drenched in shame, and now, she is restored. One of our pastors went to talk to her, and she explained that something happened during our prayer, and that she knows that her life is forever changed. It’s so clear to see a life restored by God. As I looked into her eyes, it was like I was looking at a totally different person. God is so good.

God is so good.”

 

 

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Angie Tellman
“Restored”
watercolor on paper

Statement from the artist:
“This man is featured on the website where he is shown before and after surgery. He is now able to care and provide for his family.”

Statement from Sight.org:
“This man’s name is Ouro. He is 72 years old and lives in the village of Badou in Togo. He is so thankful to have his sight back.”

 

 

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Angie Tellman
“Blind Soccer”
Watercolor on paper

Statement from the artist:
“This piece was inspired by a picture on the Sight.org blog of children playing soccer. With or without vision, boys enjoy playing. I was moved by the joy and energy of the photograph.”

Statement from Sight.org:
“At our farm in Togo, many children come every afternoon to play soccer. God has given us opportunities to love on these children in many ways. One child, named Chris, has become very dear to us. He has Sickle Cell Anemia and was abandoned by his parents. His grandma takes care of him, but our medical team and missionaries have also started sharing in the responsibility of taking care of him. They feed him and take him to his doctor’s visits.

We also see many children with cataracts or other visual impairments. Cataracts are found in all ages in Togo due to malnutrition and lack of medical resources. We are able to remove the cataracts and give children back their sight.”

 

 

 

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Angie Tellman
“Waiting for Sight”
watercolor on paper

Statement from the artist:
“This painting is a visual reminder that blindness can be frightening. The child is pictured in a room where he cannot see colors all around him.”

Statement from Sight.org:
We see many children with cataracts or other visual impairments. Cataracts are found in all ages in Togo due to malnutrition and lack of medical resources. Praise the Lord that we are able remove the cataracts and give children back their sight and their life.”

 

 

 

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Mary Evelyn Tucker
“Togo View”
acrylic on canvas

Statement from the artist:
“This piece is inspired by the beautiful landscape of Togo, Africa.”

Statement from Sight.org:
“The country of Togo has captured the hearts of the Sight.org team. We will be serving there as long as God tells us to. Village by village we share the gospel, help the blind, improve nutrition, teach community health, perform visual analysis, support local pastors and refer illnesses outside of their criteria with the information needed for care.”

 

 

 

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Mary Evelyn Tucker
“Walk by Faith”
acrylic on canvas

Statement from the artist:
“This piece is based on a blog post from the Riley’s (Sight.org missionaries) about the hill they climb every Sunday to get to church in Togo.”

Statement from Sight.org:
“Our missionaries, Elaine and Wayne Riley, have been in Togo for eight months. They took a huge step of faith to become missionaries. They left their children, grandchildren, and home church to go to a country they had never been to before. Elaine worked with Sight.org in Tyler for a year as our Event Coordinator, as God stirred her heart to go to Togo. We are thankful for their obedience to God as they serve the people of Togo.”

 

 

 

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Mary Evelyn Tucker
“Ishaka’s Mountain”
acrylic on canvas

Statement from the artist:
“This piece is inspired by Ishsaka, the surgery sterilizer at Sight.org. This is the mountain he likes to climb after all eye surgeries are completed.”

The story of Ishaka:
https://sight.org/2016/06/smiling-ishaka/

 

 

 

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Becky Chelf
“From Darkness to Light”
oil on canvas

Statement from the artist:
“This piece was inspired by the agriculture work that Sight.org does in Togo. They teach people to use modern farming techniques so that they get better nutrition. When the people get better nutrition, they can help future generations to not have as many cataracts.”

Statement from Sight.org:
“Eye diseases in West Africa are largely affected by malnutrition, and 2.5 million people in Togo are malnourished. At our agriculture training facility, we train farming students in modern farming techniques that create ten times the production of traditional farming. After training, the students return to their respective villages, resulting in a ripple effect that impacts the lives of hundreds.”

 

 

 

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Amy Proctor
“The Joy of Sight I”
acrylic on canvas 

Statement from the artist:
“This is inspired by the theme of The Joy of Sight. Bright colors make me joyful and bring joy to my heart just seeing them. The beautiful colors with the eyes reminds me of the joy of having sight.”

A story from Sight.org:
https://sight.org/2015/11/they-said-i-was-old/

 

 

 

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Amy Proctor
“The Joy of Sight II”
acrylic on canvas

Statement from the artist:
“This is inspired by the theme of The Joy of Sight. Bright colors make me joyful and bring joy to my heart just seeing them. The beautiful colors with the eyes reminds me of the joy of having sight.”

A story from Sight.org:
https://sight.org/2015/12/guiybiebe-sees-for-the-first-time-in-9-years/

 

 

 

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Nicole F. Root
“Psalm 103:1-4”
pencil and watercolor on paper

Statement from the artist:
“I was captured by a photo in the Sight.org story “Extending Christ’s Healing Hand to the Blind.” I was inspired by the posture of praise and the face of gratitude in this woman. It shows how we all should be praising the Lord, even if we weren’t healed of physical blindness, because of the great thing that He did for us by dying for our sins. Sight.org’s ministry is so wonderful. I thank the Lord for the work that is going on in Togo.”

Statement from Sight.org:
“The woman featured in this art is named Pauline. She is 54 years old and has had a cataract for three years. She had her own business, but being blind in one eye made it very hard for her to sell merchandise. We praise Jesus that He enabled us to restore her sight! Our medical team travels to some of the poorest and most remote parts of Togo in order to share the good news of Christ while extending Christ’s healing hand to the blind. So many lives are touched by this group, and through them, many are coming to know Christ.”

 

 

 

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Jan Widner
Decisions 2”
oil on canvas

Statement from the artist:
“This is second in the series, “Decisions”.  Every day we are confronted with issues that require decisions. Some are life changing crossroads, some are simply minor choices.  All impact our lives. In this painting, the multitude of shapes and colors intermingle with directional black lines.  These close relationships illustrate how our decisions intimately affect our lives as well as those around us.”

Statement from Lewis Swann, founder of Sight.org:
“In 2010, I signed up for a three-year volunteer services in West Africa aboard Mercy Ships, a charity which offers free medical care in the world’s poorest nations. I was working in Public Relations, and I was exposed to a level of need that was beyond comprehension. I felt good serving others, but there was still a void in my heart, and God seemed as distant as ever.

Living amongst mature Christians, I tried to conceal my sinful vices. Growing sick of living in hypocrisy, I became inspired by the Christians around me. They were serving with joyful love beyond what I knew, and I wanted what they had.

Desperate, I began reading the New Testament with the intent to fully live out the Christian life as depicted in the Bible. Amazed by the gospel’s message of undeserving love and grace, I discovered a side of Jesus I had never grasped. I began to have a growing burden in my heart for others, especially for those who did not know Christ.

Then one day, God told me to talk to a pastor named Peter in Togo, Africa. I asked Peter if he had a calling. Peter explained that God showed him a vision of blind people in the rural villages, and that he was suppose to go and restore sight to these people while sharing the Gospel. I knew that God wanted me to support Peter’s calling.

Then Sight.org was born!”

 

 

 

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Alexis Hughes
“Contours of Cold” 
watercolor and graphite on paper

Statement from the artist:
“Air is heavy, enduring and permanent. Mass is fleeting. Solitude is vibrant, vital, and optimistic. Logic is altered but we still regain our place in the world through memory. Memory is equilibrium. My paintings are selective and ideals of the truth. They are reflections of my past, the days that I have drawn out in my mind as precious time. The landscape provides stillness and solitude, a moment to reconnect to a personal history within the world.

My work is a metaphor for time, memory, and perception. I formally investigate the visual perception of light and color, the personal experience of both remembering and inventing, and the illusive nature of time. I seek imagery that is constantly moving such as light and water as my platform to explore such philosophies.”

 

 

 

 

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ASHLIE BAILEY
“His Eyes”
woodburning watercolor and gouache

Statement from the artist:
“I choose do a picture of the horse in revelation based on the passage in revelation that describes the eyes of Jesus.

Revelation 19:11-16 “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”

 

 

 

 

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NOBLE JOHNSON
“The Golden Hind”
ship in a lightbulb

Statement from the artist:
“A light bulb is all about seeing in the dark. Hence the ship in a light bulb instead of a bottle. The ship is the Golden Hind, the first English Ship to circumnavigate the globe. Further, the Golden Hind is one of the most colorful ships of historical importance.”

Statement from Sight.org:
The artist, Noble Johnson, is a friend and supporter of Wayne and Elaine Riley who are our missionaries in Togo. They have gone across the world to serve the people of Togo and share the light of Jesus with them. We are thankful for the Rileys and for all of their supporters.”

 

 

 

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JOHN DEATON
“Heiwa”
Photograph

Statement from the artist:
“Photography is what drives me. My years of darkroom work have now been replaced by a computer, printers, ICC profiles, and the like. Life evolves and so has my equipment, technique, and tastes. Along the way I’ve married, raised sons, earned college degrees, and earned a living treating eye issues at a large clinic in Texas. I love my job; I love photography; I’m blessed!”

Statement from Sight.org:
“We are thankful for this photograph that was donated by John Deaton. He is an optometrist at DeHaven Eye Clinic here in Tyler. More and more optometrists in Tyler are getting involved with Sight.org in various ways. We have optometrists who give $1 to Sight.org for every eye exam they perform. We also have optometry clinics who collect eyeglasses for us. There are many ways that local optometrists can get involved with Sight.org.”

 

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