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Stories Behind the Art at Sight Night 2017

Stories Behind the Art at Sight Night 2017

At Sight Night: The Joy of Sight, we featured local art in our silent auction. Each artist read through the Sight.org blog and then created art inspired by those stories. We are blown away at the talent of each one of these artists! They truly captured the heart and mission of Sight.org. Below, you can see each piece of art and the stories behind them. You can see more photos from the event here.

 

 

Cairo Reyes

“Being Free”

Resin / Acrylic

Inspired by the blog story, “Meheza Means “I Am Free”

 

 

Umeki Earl-Nelson

“Meheza: “I Am Free”

textiles/fabrics

Inspired by the blog story, “Meheza Means “I  Am Free”

This is a painting of Meheza, the Togo Director of SIght.org. Meheza has been in the United States for three weeks. She attended Sight Night and got to see this painting of her. From the second she saw the painting, she said numerous times, “I wish I could buy that painting for myself!” The person who bid on this painting felt led to give this painting to Meheza, not even knowing that she wanted it. When she presented the painting to Meheza at the end of the night, everyone had tears in their eyes.

 

 

 

Rosemary Nichols Swann

“Elizabeth”

Gouache and acrylic on archival board

Inspired by the blog story, “Elizabeth”

 

 

Monique Dorsey

“In My Father’s Arms”

Oil on Canvas

Inspired by the blog story, “Story of an African Father”

 

 

Carrie McFerron

“An Infinity of Trees”

Digital Collage

Inspired by the blog story, “Hungry for Jesus”

The artist was especially inspired by the house church meeting under a mango tree.  She said, “I kept thinking about how God put that mango tree in that spot so that people could learn about Jesus. The planting of a tree to enable the planting of a church seemed like such a perfect parallel. So I looked for a verse that conveyed the concept and came upon Psalm 96:12, ‘Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy,’ which made me thing of a forest of churches that could be planted as a result of the gathering under the village mango tree. Hence, I made an image with a wreath of trees, creating an infinite number of churches. When you read all of Psalm 96, you realize how missional this Psalm is, which is very rare for the Old Testament! Verse 3 says, ‘Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous deeds among all the peoples.’ Verse 7 says, ‘Ascribe to the Lord, all you families of nations, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.'”

 

 

Carrie McFerron

“Edem”

Paper Cutting

Inspired by the blog story, “Hungry for Jesus”

Edem is a popular name for Togolese boys. The name is derived from African-Ewe and means “God has saved me.” The little boy I have depicted in this paper cutting represents a future child who will be born to Christian parents, and who will also become a Christian, as a result of the Sight.org team planting a church in his village. Just as a tree is symbolic for Edem’s church, Edem represents one of the leaves on that tree. Each leaf behind Edem in the paper cutting is a reminder of the many new Christians in Edem’s village and in other villages across Togo because of Sight.org’s work.

 

 

 Amanda Slaughter

“Grace Chairs”

Two Chairs with Seat covers that are hand painted by artist

Inspired by the blog story, “Weary of Serving, Give What You Can”

The artist stated, “I have sang and played music my whole life. It is one of the things I love to do. In the car, at home, in the studio, the grocery store. I sing everywhere I go and so do the kiddos. Song is free and a gift from God. I am made these chairs for two reasons. 1. Because just like our sight, having chairs to sit in is a luxury we often do not think about and too often take for granted. 2. Sitting and singing/harmonizing with someone is one of the most joyous events we can share with another human being. These chairs are fully functioning with actual paintings covering the seats. The original painting has the word grace written on it in many different ways. My hope is that these chairs are incorporated into someone’s home or business where song and laughter can be shared, stories can be told and meals can be eaten all while sitting on Grace.”

 

Mary Evelyn Tucker 

Farming God’s Way”

Watercolor on Archival Paper

Inspired by the blog story, “Connection Between Farming and Eye Surgeries”

“This piece was inspired by the training Sight.org is doing in Togo. Leaders are being trained in modern farming methods which produce ten times more produce than traditional methods for the area. My dad was a landscaper for over 30 years and I’ve grown to appreciate any and all forms of planting. God is so good to provide us with a simple way to provide for ourselves.”

 

Lisa Rachel Horlander 

“Germination”

Oil on Canvas

Inspired by the blog story, “Connection Between Farming and Eye Surgeries”

 

 

Lisa Rachel Horlander

Plethora

Oil on Canvas

Inspired by the blog story, “Connection Between Farming and Eye Surgeries”

 

 

Becky Chelf

“Matthew: 18:20″

Oil on Canvas

Inspired by a story on the Sight.org Facebook page.  “A woman named Sofoura came to us to look at her eyes. Her sister-in-law was very hateful to her and hit her in the eye. She hit her so hard that she developed a traumatic cataract. We told her to come to the April eye surgeries to see if our Sight.org medical team could remove the cataract. As we talked to her, she told us that she had an infection in her fingers that caused them to swell. They were so painful that she could not sleep. We prayed over her hands and then took her to the hospital to pay for treatment on her hands.”

 

 

Nicole Root

“They Once Were Blind but Now They See”

Charcoal and Color Pencil

Inspired by the general work of giving sight to the blind in Togo, Africa. The artist stated, “God has created so many wonderful things, one of which are eyes. The eye can express so many different things, pain, joy, anger, etc. I was inspired to give this piece because the eye stands out, and I take for granted the face that I can see. I want others to experience the joy I see every day. I thank our heavenly Father for this opportunity to shine the light of Christ.”

 

 

Stephanie Nickel

“Neighbors”

Oil on Canvas

Inspired by the blog story, “The Faces of Adjon”  “They meet in the middle of their village, where everyone can hear them. Their praises cannot be ignored.”
In this abstract piece, shapes emerge giving an allusion of buildings-houses or perhaps a church. A grouping of muffled figures appear, gathered closely together. They are other worldly, seemingly floating in space. The title of the piece is “Neighbors.” Jesus tells us that we are to love our neighbors and have mercy on them, making it clear that we are all neighbors.

 

 

Ashlie Bailey 

“Now I See You”

Watercolor on Archival Paper

Inspired by the general work done by Sight.org.

The painting above is of a blind harbor seal I met a few years ago named Porter. Porter was rescued and now lives at Moody Gardens. I believe that everyone deserves healing, and everyone deserves the gift of sight. I was so touched and inspired by this seals perseverance that I started a series of watercolor portraits of what he might look like if his eyes were completely restored, healed, and he were no longer blind.

 

 

Cynthia Mullen Hitchcock

“I Once Was Blind But Now I See, John 9:25″

Acrylic on Canvas

Inspired by the heart of the administration of Sight.org and the passion and compassion they have as a team for those that can’t. It just takes one to have a heart to make a difference. Can we all join in with that heart? In this painting it just shows a few of the lives they have changed from surgeries, to church plantings, prayers and nutrition. In the center of the painting starts from the hearts that started this program and how it spreads from one heart to another.

 

 

Angie Tellman           

“Off Riding on the Road”

Watercolor on archival paper

Inspired by the early work of Sight.org. Before we had an ambulance, teams set out to remote areas on motor bikes in order to do eye surgeries. The lush foliage and red earth is abundant in Togo.

 

 

 Angie Tellman

“Portrait of a Boy”

Watercolor on archival paper

Inspired by the Sight.org mission statement: 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 bring light to the BLIND, the UNREACHED, and the MALNOURISHED in Togo, Africa.

This painting is of one of the many faces of Togo where malnutrition causes cataracts. Sight.org not only performs cataract surgery, but also educates best farming practices.

 

 

 

 

Weary of Serving, Give What You Can

Weary of Serving, Give What You Can

Have you ever been weary of serving? What do you do in those times?

 

The volunteer team that is in Togo right now is weary. They have had long days and nights of serving. Even more so, our medical and ministry team that lives in Togo year round, is extremely weary.

Each month is full of eye surgeries, farming, and ministry. The life of service can be draining and discouraging.

weary

 

Several members of our volunteer team are in Togo just to encourage the medical and ministry team.

weary

Becky Canal shared this story of how God used her gifts to encourage Daniel, our ministry team leader.

“I spent time tonight teaching Daniel how to sing harmony because he heard me singing harmony during our times of worship and he has wanted to learn how to sing harmony for quiet a while now.

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He has a true passion for music and I am very moved by what God is doing in his heart with music and how he wants to share it with and help others.

He has been given several songs from the Lord that are just so unique and beautiful. I have never heard anything like it.

weary
 

He has an acute ear for picking up harmony and learns very quickly. I love the sound of his African voice blending with my American voice.

I am praying that the Lord will send someone to keep instructing him in his singing and playing the guitar and piano.

I never would have thought that this would be one of my reasons for coming to Africa.

I never thought that something I have been doing most of my life that the Lord would use me in this way.

Harmony comes so easy for me but I have never tried to teach someone and WOW Daniel is just a natural, so it is not difficult at all to sit around singing with him. It is so much fun!

His passion is truly inspiring and he has challenged me to go deeper in the Lord!

Last Sunday at the farm we had a church service with the team. Joe shared the word to encourage the medical and ministry team.

He said, ‘often we feel like we have nothing to give when we are weary of serving.’ So give what you have.

weary
weary
weary

This gift that God gave me that I have never used in this way, God chose to use it 6000 miles away and I feel humbled and blessed by Him.”

There are also several nurses on our volunteer team this month. They are truly using their gifts to serve the people of Togo.

Rachel Baber shared these stories with us.

weary
weary

“When we arrived, Chris (a boy who comes to the farm daily and is cared for by the Sight.org team) had a serious infection from a machete cut on his knee.

weary

Helen and Naomi had been cleaning the wound, but by the time I got here it was much worse.

Chris was limping and could barely bend his knee.

Since Chris has Sickle Cell Disease, he especially was at an extreme risk of complication from the wound.

We were able to find medicine to put on his wound. 

 

Within a few days Chris felt much better!

His wound was clean and healthy, and Chris could move his knee again and was not limping. He could even be found sitting on the porch singing to music now that he felt better.

This past week we visited a village outside of Amlamé.

I had been to this village exactly a year ago.

Upon arrival, the children recognized me and ran to greet me with hugs. They would not let go of my hand and crowded around me the rest of the way to the village.

 

weary
 

During the mornings Helen and I would treat the children and adults for worms, a common problem in Togo since clean drinking water is not readily available.

We provided the children with vitamins as well. Three pregnant women received pre-natal vitamins to take for the rest of their pregnancy.

Helen treated a few wounds since her expertise was in wound care when she worked as a nurse.

One girl had an infected machete cut on her foot that was so serious that we took her to a nearby hospital to get antibiotics and a tetanus shot.

One baby was brought to me. The father told me that the baby was nearly three years old and that the baby’s mother had died after he was born.

 

weary

It was hard to believe that the baby was nearly three because he was so tiny.

We treated him for worms and gave him an extended supply of vitamins to aid him in his nutrition as he continues to grow.

In the evenings Joe preached at the house church that Sight.org established last year.

The members of this house church would sing praise songs and dance. How they love to sing and dance!

 

weary

They were also very curious about the Bible and hungry to gain knowledge.

They would ask Steve, Helen, Joe, and Becky questions like: ”Jesus says to turn our cheek when someone slaps us. What does this mean? Is it a parable?’

One woman asked: ‘How often should we pray and fast?’

In the late evenings we would show the Jesus film and other films that explained the gospel. We even showed the film Planet Earth so that they could see animals and landscapes they had never seen before.

 

The children climbed in my lap and squealed with delight at seeing an ocean’s waves and it’s creatures, and watched with big eyes and open mouths as a crocodile’s jaws slammed shut.

weary

Upon leaving for the last time, the children held my hand as we walked down the dark trail towards the van. Some of the children softly sang ‘This Little Light of Mine’ and ‘Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes’ that I had taught them during the previous days.”

The people in these villages are very special to the Sight.org, and now they have a special part in the hearts of our volunteer team.

God is moving in these villages because the medical, ministry, and volunteer teams are giving what they have.

God has given them all special gifts, and he is using those gifts for his kingdom.

They may be weary, but they give anyway.

Are you weary of serving? Just give whatever you can today. God will use it for more than you could ever imagine.

 

Connection Between Farming and Eye Surgeries

Connection Between Farming and Eye Surgeries

Farming.
Eye surgeries.
What is the connection between the two?

We get this question a lot at Sight.org.

I got to see the connection first hand when I was in Togo a few weeks ago.

Two members of our Sight.org team, Ishaka and Florent, are currently going through agricultural training at the YWAM base in Togo. I visited them at the training facility and was truly impressed.

They are being trained in modern farming methods that produces ten times the amount of traditional West African farming methods.

Farming

I chatted with Ishaka, our eye surgery sterilizer, who is going through the agricultural training.

He said, “My favorite part about this training is that it is all based on Biblical farming. Every single day in class, I learn something about farming that connects to a passage in the Bible. We have studied farming in every book from Genesis to Revelation. I am excited about taking this information back to our Sight.org farm.”

FarmingFarming Farming Farming Farming Farming

This curriculum is called “Farming God’s Way.” This is how their website describes the program:

Farming God’s Way is simply a tool of equipping to empower the poor to help themselves. Farming God’s Way was originated before man was on the face of the earth, when God first put His ways in place to govern His creation and their interrelations with one another. God is the master farmer who has been farming this way since the beginning and by simply following His Ways, amazing solutions to the food security and poverty crisis can be revealed.

Ishaka is getting classroom and hands-on education at this facility. He grows his own crops in the outdoor classroom and takes care of the pigs.

Farming

Farming

When they finish the six months of training, they will come back to our Sight.org farm and pass that training onto other farmers in surrounding villages.

Our Sight.org farm already has corn, mangos, moringa, beans, chickens, ginea fowl and a set of classrooms. We are all excited to see what our farm will look like when Ishaka and Florent bring their training back to our farm.

Farming

Farming

Farming

We started providing this agricultural training on the Sight.org farm to surrounding villages three years ago, but have had to pause the program for various reasons. We are all excited to start the program again and see what our farm will look like when Ishaka and Florent bring their training back to our farm.

 

So I know you are still asking, “What does all of this have to do with giving sight to the blind?”

Two thirds of the population of Togo are farmers.

Yet 2.5 million people in Togo are malnourished.

Malnutrition is one of the main causes of blindness in Togo.

When Ishaka and Florent use their training to train other farmers, those farmers go home and train other farmers.

All of those farmers will then produce bigger and better crops that provide better nutrition for their families. It causes a domino effect. In the long run, this program can affect the rate of malnourishment in Togo, therefore affecting the rate of blindness.

This training also has a discipleship aspect built in. As Ishaka and Florent train farmers, they will also be teaching them the Word of God. This opens the door for further ministry among the farmers.

As Lewis Swann, founder of Sight.org often says, “Our agricultural facility has the potential of making a bigger dent in blindness in Togo than our eye surgeries do. If we can reach many local farmers with this training, we can prevent people from getting cataracts due to malnutrition. Our eye surgeries fix the problem of blindness, but our agricultural training prevents blindness.”

When you give to Sight.org, you are not just giving eye surgeries. You are giving the Word of God and agricultural training. At first glance, the three seem unrelated, but in Togo, they all go hand in hand.

 

You can impact the blind, the malnourished, and the unreached for $12.50 a month when you become one of our Visionaries!

Visionaries header

 

 

 

Believe in a World Without Darkness

Believe in a World Without Darkness

 

At Christmas, we see that word everywhere, and it usually has glitter all over it.

BELIEVE in Santa

BELIEVE in miracles

BELIEVE in the true meaning of Christmas.

 

At Sight.org, we BELIEVE in light.

 

This week is the first week of Advent. During Advent, we spend time thinking about God’s light coming down to expel the darkness.

 

Only light can cast out darkness.

“If your eyes are open today, you will undoubtedly see darkness all around. Darkness is the reality for those who choose to not follow God but instead follow their own, sinful way. Know this: darkness is not of God. God is light and in Him there is no darkness.”

Jon Jenz

Worship Pastor, Grace Community Church

 

 

The people we serve and love in Togo are living in two kinds of darkness. They live in physical and spiritual darkness.

God has gifted us with an amazing medical staff and mobile eye clinic. They can take away that physical darkness within twenty-four hours. We could so easily focus on just the eye surgeries. It is truly amazing to see the transformation of a person going from visually impaired to complete sight.

But we know that God has bigger plans for these people.

 

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This is Divi Gladys. She is 65 years old and has been blind for 3 years. She used to be a tailor but could no longer work because she was visually impaired. Now she can see again, work again, and live a normal life. Can you see the transformation in her face? Her physical darkness is gone. God uses these surgeries to open doors for the gospel.

 

 

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This is a woman named Malibow (or Malekpo). Our ministry team met her while showing the Jesus Film in the village of Adjahon. Many people in this village have received sight at our mobile eye clinic. Malibow does not suffer from visual impairment, but she does suffer from epilepsy. One of her seizures caused her to fall into a fire and burn herself. She asked our team to pray over her. Her epilepsy did not go away, but instead, she was overcome by the presence of Jesus. She became a believer that day and she has never been the same. Can you see the transformation in her face? The light of Jesus has entered her life and she has been changed completely.

 

 

At Sight.org, we hold on to these words, “Believe in a world without darkness.” We feel that these words encompass what God has called us to do.

Do you believe in a world without darkness? Do you believe that God’s light can expel darkness?

God is doing this amazing work in Togo. He is being light in the darkness, both physically and spiritually. He is changing the lives of people all around us.

But God is not just at work in Togo, He is at work everywhere you go. This Advent, let God be a light in your dark world. Let Him be a light through you.

 

 

Written by: Beth Reed, Sight.org Development Director

 

 

“One of the things that maintained my interest in supporting this ministry is the holistic approach it has taken, including partnership with the local community and government, training for farmers to reduce malnutrition (which impacts eye health) and sharing the gospel. In addition to the eye care provided by Sight.org, I believe these other items are just as critical to creating long-lasting impact in countries like Togo. I feel blessed to play a small role in all the good work Sight.org is doing.”

Bethany McGaha

Sight.org Supporter

Let the Children Come to Me

Let the Children Come to Me

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.

 

 

Sight.org

 

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

 

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.

 

Sight.org

Sight.org

Sight.org

 

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!

 

Sight.org

 

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. 

 

Sight.org

Sight.org

 

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.

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