Story of an African Father

Story of an African Father

 

Father

This man brought his wife to our medical team to get her eyes checked.

She had to wait all day until surgeries were over. As she waited, her husband sat to the side patiently, holding their baby.

When the baby was hungry, he would let his wife feed and then he would hold the baby again.

He had such a sweet, quiet spirit.

When his wife got her eyes checked and found out that she had already lost her sight in one eye from glaucoma and was slowly losing sight in her other eye, he held her hand and silently prayed.

He was a hard working teacher who obviously loved his wife and children. We all continue to pray for this family.

Read their whole story to see how you can pray for them too at https://sight.org/2016/03/elizabeth/.

Give sight for Father’s Day.

20 Years Without a Mother

20 Years Without a Mother

As I sat with our medical team talking, our ophthalmic assistant, Dominic, said,

“Something happened yesterday that I need to share with all of you. No one knows this yet. It was such a surprise to me that I have not told anyone yet.

When I was very young, my mother had to leave us. I was raised by my father and grandparents. I don’t even know what my mother looks like.

I have not talked to or seen my mother in twenty years.

Several years ago, I started praying that I would get to see my mother again. I don’t even know what country she lives in now, but I feel like God wants me to see her. My father does not know where she is. No one in my family does.

 

Dominic

 

I have been praying for so many years now and nothing has happened. There is nothing I can do but pray.

I almost gave up on ever seeing her, until last week. My uncle called me and said that he had seen my mother in Liberia, where I am from.

My mother asked about me, so my uncle gave her my phone number.

 

Dominic

 

Yesterday, my mother called me.

I talked to my mother yesterday for the first time in twenty years.

 

Dominic

 

She was so excited that she talked the entire time. I barely said a word.

I am so overwhelmed that God has brought my mother back to me. A son needs his mother. I am thirty-six years old but I still need my mother.

I got to tell her about the work I do with Sight.org. I am so happy that she now has a taste of my labor. I have long been wishing to do something for my mother as it is our culture to show that you are not a waste.

I am so thankful. Praise God.”

 

Dominic

 

Our medical team was overjoyed to hear Dominic’s news. Dominic has been through a lot of hard times in his life. As a child, he and his family had to flee Liberia during the horrific war. He saw things as a child that no one should ever see.

 

Dominic

 

And yet, you would never know he had gone through all that.

I call Dominic my tour guide when I go to Togo. He is our best interpreter. He knows all the animal and plant names. He is extremely intelligent.

 

Dominic

 

Dominic has always dreamed of becoming a doctor. That is why he is the best ophthalmic assistant anyone could ask for.

He pours himself into his work. He is a hard worker and he loves his work. He is serious about helping the people in Togo. He is serious about getting our patients well again.

He is also serious about encouraging each patient with the good news of Jesus.

 

Dominic

 

And now, he is serious about getting to see his mother again.

His goal is to go back to Liberia in December so he can see his mother at Christmas time.

We are all so excited for Dominic. He has his momma back!

Sight.org will be helping fund Dominic’s trip to Liberia. If you would like to help Dominic go see his mother, you can donate at Sight.org.

 

Dominic

Baby Natalie

Baby Natalie

I was so tired. I just wanted a good nap.

It was blazing hot in the midday African sun. Our tent was unbearably hot. I thought about resting under the mango tree.

 

Natalie

 

Our tent was pitched outside the village hospital. My friend Meza said that there was an empty office in the hospital with a fan where we could rest.

 

Natalie

 

We went to the office to rest but Meza had to go back to the tent to get something. As she walked to the tent, she saw a family sitting on the sidewalk.

They were holding a tiny baby and crying.

She immediately went to them to see what was happening.

They said their baby was not breathing. They had gone to the hospital but did not have enough money to pay for treatment. Meza assured them that we could pay for the treatment and she called for the doctor.

Meza ran to the office to get me. She said, “There is a baby out here that we need to pray for.”

We rushed down the hall to the family who was now sitting inside.

What I saw next, I will never forget.

This tiny baby was staring at the ceiling with very little life left in her eyes. She gasped for breath every five seconds. I have never seen a baby this close to death. We all prayed and cried over this sweet baby girl. As I prayed, I felt like I was about to watch her die right there.

Finally, the doctor arrived.

As the doctor treated this eight month old baby named Natalie, the rest of us continued to pray and sing over her.

At one point, Natalie’s mother left the room. No one knew where she went.

During this time, the doctor said that he had done all he could do. She was breathing better but she had a very high fever that was not going down. There was bigger hospital down the road, so he asked us to take Natalie there instead.

We climbed in the bus with Natalie’s father and aunt and drove to the other hospital. We still did not know where her mother was.

 

Natalie

 

At the second hospital, Natalie got hooked up to oxygen and fluids. She was starting to breathe much better and her fever was going down.

 

Natalie

 

After an hour, her mother finally came back. She told us that she thought her baby had already died, so she went to tell her parents to prepare for the funeral.

When we told her that her baby was still alive and doing much better, she broke down in tears. She couldn’t even look at her baby. She sat on the floor, crying.

We sat with her and prayed. We all worried about this young mother. When I looked in her eyes, I saw sadness and darkness. I wasn’t sure if it was postpartum depression, fear, guilt, exhaustion, or something much darker.

All I knew was she needed a lot of prayer. She needed Jesus.

We stayed at the hospital all day, waiting. That night, Natalie finally came off her IV and oxygen. We visited with the family. The last time I looked in Natalie’s eyes, I thought I was going to watch her die.

Now she looked like a normal baby, smiling, playing, cooing. We were all overjoyed.

 

Natalie

 

However, I was still worried about Natalie’s mother. She never smiled and she seemed so numb.

 

Natalie

 

We asked the mother and father if they were Christians. They said no.

For the next week, we continued to check on Natalie. Our team went to a different village, but we continued to pay for Natalie’s treatment in the hospital. Her breathing never completely normalized, so they kept her in the hospital to continue treating her.  We called Natalie’s father two times a day for updates.

She seemed to be getting better. We were all hopeful.

A week later, we got a call from Natalie’s father. He said that they hospital had done everything they could for his daughter. They had exhausted their resources and were releasing Natalie from the hospital. She was still not breathing normally.

The next morning, Natalie’s father called. Natalie had passed away in the night.

Meza screamed, “No, not Natalie!” She fell to the ground crying.

I felt like I was looking in a mirror. I had the same exact reaction just five months prior when my neighbor’s daughter died.

When you spend so much time praying over a baby girl, you crumble when it all comes to a screeching halt.

Meza and I are both mothers. We took this grief upon us as if it were our own child. Our momma hearts were breaking. I could only imagine what was happening to Natalie’s mother. I prayed even harder for her.

As we grieved, God comforted me with the thought that He is bigger than all of this. He was still working. He still had plans for this family. I felt that God was going to use this to draw the mother and father to Him. Our ministry team would be in their village for the entire year. I knew that even when I went back to the United States, our team would still be there, loving on this family, and speaking God’s love over them.

Two days ago, I got a message from our ministry team. The house church in that village was growing. They have been meeting together for five months. Many people in this village have become Christians.

The house church picked three people this week to be their “Persons of Peace.” They will be in charge of the audio Bible as the village comes together each week to listen to God’s Word.

 

Natalie

 

I stared at the pictures of the three “Persons of Peace.” I recognized the woman in the middle. It was Natalie’s mother!

 

Natalie

 

I frantically messaged our ministry team leader for confirmation. He said that it was Natalie’s mother. He found out that she had been involved in Voodoo, but after her baby died, she decided to visit the house church. She has now become a Christian and has been coming every week to listen to God’s Word. The village has now picked her to be one of the people responsible for encouraging everyone in the house church.

I was overwhelmed. God really was speaking to me on the day that Natalie died. I was comforted by the fact that He had plans to draw Natalie’s parents to Him, and only a month later, He had already done that with her mother.

This Mother’s Day week, we are praising God for his miraculous works in the midst of death and grief. We still grieve the loss of baby Natalie, but we are overjoyed at the salvation of her mother. She has been brought from darkness to light!

As you can see from the story of baby Natalie, there are so many medical needs in rural Togo. At Sight.org, we only have the resources to help with eye medical needs.

So many people come to our team with non-eye related needs. Sometimes we can help, and sometimes we can’t. We pay for them to go to the hospital when we can. But even then, the rural hospitals have limited resources, as was the case with Natalie. We will never know if Natalie could have been saved if she were in a big city or in a western hospital. We all wonder.

Our team often gets overwhelmed by the needs of the people around them. They can’t fix all the needs they see every day. However, we are comforted by the fact that Jesus is bigger than we are. His plans are better than ours.

He has placed our team in rural Togo for a reason. One of the reasons is to heal people’s eyes. But the biggest reason is the be the love of Christ to them.

Because of our eye surgeries, Jesus opens the door for ministry. Through that, house churches are being established, hundreds are giving their lives to Christ, and the Word of God is heard.

 

Natalie

 

We will never understand all of God’s plans. We don’t understand why Natalie had to die. But we do know that Jesus loves Natalie and her family. And we know that He has a big plan for her family.

 
Patchwork Bags from Togo

Patchwork Bags from Togo

This Mother’s Day, give your mom a patchwork bag from Togo.

All proceeds go toward giving sight to the blind in Togo, Africa. 

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Large Bag: $60

Dimensions: 23×17 inches.

 

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Medium Bag: $30

Dimensions: 18×15 inches.

 

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Small Bag: $20

Dimensions: 8x5x5 inches.

 

To purchase a bag, go to our Gift Catalog or stop by our office in Tyler. 

 

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Story behind the bags:

We purchase these bags in Togo from an artisan. We have started to develop a relationship with her. These bags are well made and sturdy and we are in love with them. We think you will love them too!

She shared her story with us and we want to share it with you.

“My name is Anita, I am married with three children, two boys and one girl. I started this business when I was 18 years old. Because of poverty I quit school and started doing patchwork materials. But I don’t do the bags myself, I have people who do them for me to sell. I just make the material, give it to them and they make bags for me. It is really a good business. I don’t only sell the bags, I also have dresses, children dresses, skirts and many more things. I love my work. Thank you for wanting to hear my story, may God bless you.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day

This Mother’s Day, you can give sight to a mom in Togo, Africa. 

Mother

 

Meet Api.

She is a 21 year old mother.

She had a cataract in her left eye, so she came to our Sight.org mobile eye clinic for help. 

 

Mother

 

She was able to get eye surgery through our free clinic. Now she is able to take care of her baby again. 

She is now able to work again and do what she needs to do for her family.

 

Mother

 

Imagine how different your life would look if you lost your sight. Now imagine that you are a young mother living in rural Africa and you have lost your sight.

In Togo, cataracts don’t just affect the elderly. Women and men of all ages can be affected by cataracts, just like Api, who is only 21.

When a mother in Togo loses her eyesight, everyone around her is affected. Her husband and children are affected. 

The mother of the family takes care of everyone. But when she loses her eyesight, someone now has to take care of her.

Even if she loses sight in just one eye, everything she does is altered. Cooking becomes more difficult. Cleaning becomes more difficult. Playing with her baby becomes more difficult.

This Mother’s Day, give the gift of sight.

For $12.50 a month or one donation of $150, you can give sight to a mom just like Api.

You will change her life and her baby’s life. 

 

 

 

 

 

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