I just returned from my most recent trip to Africa. I want you to know about it since you have been such a big support to this ministry.
On this trip, our doctors performed 155 eye surgeries. Four of those surgeries were performed on children.
Baby Akoua’s eyes were so crossed that she saw mostly her nose all the time. She had difficulty walking and constantly bumped into things. We performed surgery on her and now her eyes are beautifully positioned and she can see well. She is starting to walk straight now. Her mother was so happy. Thank you for altering the life of this precious little girl.
During surgery we also set up a prayer tent. A constant flow of people came to the tent. The majority of the people who came to us believed in Voodoo, and many specified that they worshiped Satan. But we weren’t worried! Jesus loves Satan worshipers too!
Most of these people had zero understanding of the gospel. They had never heard the gospel, and they didn’t even know what Christians believed. Often when they came, they asked for a blessing or for advice on life challenges. We always led them directly to the real answer: our Lord Jesus Christ.
One by one, we saw dozens of people take off their Voodoo charms as they confessed Christ as Lord. One woman even took off her Voodoo bracelet and threw it into the fire. We all watched it burn together and celebrated her new found freedom in Christ.
My pastor, Joseph Canal, thinks he led more people to Christ in those four days than he has in thirty years as a pastor. It was amazing and sobering at the same time.
Several people expressed that they would be the only Christians in their village. Persecution was inevitable for these people. For some, we asked them to join our discipleship program at our headquarters. For others, God had different plans. One man became a Christian who had been a Satan worshipper. Within minutes, a strong Christian from his village walked up and offered to take him under his wing.
Many people come back days later telling us all that Jesus had already done in their life. One man even told us that Jesus appeared to him in a dream.
It was such a powerful experience that tops most trips I have done. It wouldn’t have been possible without supporters like you! Thank you so much for your support! You are making an eternal impact in Togo!
Founder and Executive Director
Ama traveled over 700 miles from the country of Mali to the country of Togo to see her family. She was a twenty three-year-old mother with a beautiful eight-month-old baby girl named Blessing.
This first-time mom had never seen her baby girl because she went blind in both eyes during pregnancy.
(In a culture where witchcraft is prevalent, pregnant women are often told not to drink water. Dehydration during pregnancy can either leave the mother or baby blind. We see this all too often in Togo.)
Ama thought that she went blind because someone put a curse on her. Curses are common, so this is the first thing that came to her mind. She didn’t know that she could have prevented her blindness by drinking water during her pregnancy.
Ama thought she was traveling to Togo just to see family. But God brought her to Togo for something bigger.
Her mother-in-law had just heard about Sight.org, so she drove three hours to bring Ama to us. Our doctor knew immediately that he could help her.
Ama became the first eye surgery patient of 2019.
Our staff was so excited for the first surgery that we all crowded around the operating room to watch. As Ama was lying on the table getting prepped, I noticed that every muscle in her body was shaking. I’m not talking about a little shake in her hands. Her legs shook, her arms shook, her stomach shook, even the muscles in her neck were shaking. She was scared to death.
I couldn’t just stand there watching. My heart broke for her and I had to do something. I asked the doctor if I could hold her hand and pray for her during surgery and he said, “Yes, anything you can do to keep her calm will be helpful!”
Our eye surgeries only last fifteen minutes, so I thought it would be pretty easy to sit with her for just that short time. I forgot that she had to be fully prepped before and cleaned after. I sat on a rolling stool as my arms and legs fell asleep. But it was all worth it. I prayed over Ama and held her hand. I could see the muscles in her body slowly calm down.
Soon, it was all over and the doctor proclaimed that her surgery went very well and she would be able to see the next day.
As Ama rested and recovered, I got to play with her beautiful daughter. I imagined what it would be like to not see my own children, to miss out on seeing their precious eyes and cute dimples.
Ama missed out on the first eight months of her daughter’s life.
She didn’t see Blessing’s tiny fingers and toes get bigger every day. This young mother didn’t get to watch her baby grow over the first several months. She never experienced looking into the eyes of her baby and completely melting with love.
I hurt for Ama.
I grieved that she missed out on so much with her baby. She missed out on so much joy that comes with being a mother.
But then, I rejoiced for her.
When our optometrist took the patches off her eyes, we all gathered around once more. We couldn’t wait for this sweet mother to see her beautiful baby for the first time.
To be honest, it wasn’t what we all expected. We wanted it to be like the movies. We wanted her to open her eyes and see her baby. We wanted her to cry with joy.
None of that happened.
When Ama opened her eyes, she was almost frozen. They handed her baby to her and she just sat there.
Maybe she was overwhelmed.
Maybe she was still groggy from the medicine.
Maybe she was in pain.
We don’t know.
Finally, after what seemed like forever, Ama picked up her baby’s foot and examined it. Her baby cried so she fed her. As she fed her, she looked into her eyes.
It wasn’t as dramatic as we expected.
It was real life.
She had just recovered from major surgery but she was still a mother with responsibilities. She just kept going as usual, taking care of her baby. She just did what she needed to do.
A few days later, we caught a few glimpses of her smiling and playing with her baby. Sweet little Blessing was all smiles, all the time. Could she tell a difference in her mom? Did she know that her mom was seeing her for the first time? Did she feel more connected to her mom?
One week earlier, Ama had no idea that her life was about to change. She didn’t know that she would be getting her sight back. She also didn’t know that a bunch of strangers would pray over her and tell her all about the One who brought her there. That is the whole reason Sight.org is in Togo, to point people to Jesus. To open the eyes of the blind both physically and spiritually.
We don’t know how Ama responded when she heard the good news of Jesus, but our team did not miss a chance to tell her about Him and pray over her. God brought her there for a reason and we all knew it.
This Mother’s Day, will you pray for Ama?
Pray for her heart.
Pray that she responds to God’s loving voice.
Pray that she will not ignore the fact that God chased after her.
Pray that she bonds even more with her baby now.
Pray that God transforms Ama in every way.
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 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.