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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Please prayerfully consider supporting the Sight.org eye surgeries that open a doorway for the gospel in Togo, Africa.
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.
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.
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.
Yesterday, my mother called me.
I talked to my mother yesterday for the first time in twenty years.
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.”
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.
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 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.
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.
As I sat in the plane, I burst into tears.
I was traveling alone, so the strangers around me probably thought I was crazy. I couldn’t stop crying. Even the nun next to me refused to make eye contact.
I was on my way to Togo.
My book of choice for the trip was Nothing to Prove by Jennie Allen. I read these words, “I feel like people love me for what I do and not who I am.” I stopped and stared. I couldn’t move past these words. And then the flood works started.
I realized that I had been striving so much to be and do everything for everyone around me that I had lost a part of myself.
I was exhausted. I was overwhelmed. I was stretched thin. And I was on my way to serve people in Africa.
God knew he had to break me before I even got off the plane. I was worthless to his kingdom at that point.
Through my tears, I realized that being a people pleaser was a sin. I repented, and God started over with me.
I was trying to be enough for everyone around me. But I will never be enough. I am human. I am incapable of being everything that everyone wants me to be. I will never do it all on my own.
But, Jesus is enough.
I can rest in the fact that he has all the resources. He has all the time. He has all the energy. I don’t. But I do have Him in me. I have him working through me.
A weight was lifted when I realized that I wasn’t enough. I realized that I could walk free, letting Jesus do His thing through me.
It’s a good thing, because I was about to enter into ten days of non-stop ministry, prayer, and spiritual warfare. Not to mention, many nights of sleeping on a cot in a tent.
I walked off that plane feeling a freedom that I haven’t felt in a long time.
I knew it wasn’t about me, it was about God’s kingdom and His glory. Jesus was in control, not me. Even though I knew God had a specific reason for me being there, it still wasn’t about me. I didn’t have to worry about living up to everyone’s expectations. I just had to draw from the living water every day and let God work.
Every day of that trip, I had two phrases ringing in my head:
“Jesus is enough.”
“It’s not about me, it’s about God’s kingdom and His glory.”
I wrote them on my hand. I drew pictures about it in my journal. I didn’t want to forget. I didn’t want to fall back under the weight I had been under.
One day, a woman came to us with a painful infection in her hands. Normally, I would pray for her from a distance. This time, I knew God wanted me to draw close to her. He wanted me to touch her hands and pray for her. I was scared of getting the infection at first.
But God said, “It’s not about you, it’s about my kingdom and my glory.” I sat and prayed with her, holding her hands.
Another day, I had to give some difficult news to our team members. I hated that I was the one who had to tell them. I wondered what they would think of me. I worried that I would say the wrong thing.
But God said, “It’s not about you, it’s about my kingdom and my glory.”
I prayed, and told them the news. I felt like I wasn’t the one speaking. I didn’t even recognize the words coming out of my mouth. The response of the team was complete understanding and peace.
One night, I had two minutes’ notice that I would be speaking to the house church in the village of Adjon. I had no idea what I would say, but I had peace that Jesus was enough. He knew what needed to be said. It wasn’t about me.
It wasn’t about what I would say. It wasn’t about how well I could preach. It wasn’t about the fact that I was a woman.
It was just about Jesus.
I had so much joy that night as I spoke, because I wasn’t striving. I wasn’t trying to please the crowd. I was just letting Jesus be enough through me.
Then, something happened that none of us were prepared for. A family came across our path with an eight month old baby named Natalie, and she was dying.
For several minutes, there was no doctor to help. There was only our team. Our team has ophthalmic training, but no training that could help this baby. This baby was gasping for breath and we were watching the life drain from her eyes. The only thing we could do was pray. We prayed our hearts out. We cried out to God.
Jesus was enough. He had to be enough. There was nothing else we could do.
Finally, a doctor showed up. We took her to the hospital, where she was cared for. We continued to pray for her and love on her parents. We dropped everything for this baby.
Then a week later, she died.
Because of lack of resources in rural Togo, there was nothing more the hospital could do for her. We all wondered what was the purpose of all this.
Normally, I would have immediately spiraled because of fear.
I have so many fears.
When death happens around me, it hits me hard. But this time, I had peace.
I may never know the purpose, but I know that Jesus is enough for all of this. He is enough for the parents who just lost their baby. He is enough for the hospital workers who had to give up. He is enough for our team who walked through it all, prayed through it all. He is enough for all the people in the US who had been praying for Natalie that whole week and were crushed by the news.
And now I am back home.
And I am still preaching these words to myself every day.
Jesus is enough.
It’s not about me, it’s about God’s kingdom and His glory.
I am carrying these truths with me into my daily life at home and at work. I am no longer striving to be everything to everyone. That weight has been lifted.
When my son struggles in school, I don’t have to strive to make it all better. I pray and point my son to the One who can handle it.
When my husband is in the middle of a crazy work season and none of us can find enough time to be together as a family, I don’t have to strive to make it happen. I pray for strength. Because Jesus is enough to get us through this season.
When I come to work and we suddenly don’t have the funds for the next round of eye surgeries, I don’t freak out.
I trust that Jesus is enough to cover those funds. I don’t strive to make it happen. I let God move through me and tell me where those donations are going to come from.
(P.S. This really does happen. We would love for you to pray about giving to Sight.org to keep our eye surgeries going!)
It is so simple.
Jesus is enough.
It’s not about me, it’s about God’s kingdom and His glory.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.