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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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!
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!
So many changes in one month!
This was supposed to be our blog post for May, but we are officially on Africa time, so it is now our June post.
After being in Togo for three months without any breaks from the farm both Wayne and I got Malaria and was down for almost two weeks.
I had become very homesick and depressed.
Talk about the hardest thing for any mother, is having your youngest daughter deliver her first child and being across the world. God gave me abundant grace to walk through that! We got all the updates thanks to Facebook and got pics as if we were there. I would love to hold that little bundle though. He’s absolutely precious and we are grateful to the Lord for all the help everyone has given them! Thank you for loving on them for us!
Through all that, Lewis had suggested that we look at possibly moving into town with electricity and water to make things easier on us.
We thought about this for a couple weeks and felt that our French teacher, Joseph, whose family owns a store in the market place, would be our best resource in finding an apartment. We talked with him and in two days he had found a two-bedroom house that we went to look at Saturday (day before Mother’s Day). The only problem was it was new and not finished. It didn’t have plumbing or running water yet, but we decided to look at it.
We did not have a clear go from God on this house, so we prayed at church the next day that God would show us what to do or if this was not the house to open something else up.
Well, at 4:30 that afternoon our answered prayer came on a moto (motorcycle) to the farm. A Dutch woman named Wijneke with her little girl Nelina came and said that she had met Laurie in November. She felt the Holy Spirit telling her to come see us that day. We talked and she said that she was returning to Holland for a job and that she needed us to come live in her house! I told her that we had just looked at a house the day before.
She invited us to come eat lunch with her the next day because her husband Alex would be off work.
Wijneke’s house is a brand new four-bedroom home with two baths and it is two blocks from a school and hospital/clinic near the main highway in Togo! It has a fridge, microwave, electricity and running water! She will leave everything for our use: furniture, TV, kitchen stuff, etc.
We excitedly accepted her offer!
Not only did God provide a house but a car too!
A neighbor of Wijneke is a driving instructor and has many spare cars. Its ours to use until Feb 2017!
We expected to rent it but God had different plans.
God has been so good to us! Thank you for all your prayers, we are seeing God’s plan unfold before us.
The way God worked everything out definitely spelled out that this was a GOD thing.
We are grateful to Alex and Wijneke and their family for asking us to come live in their home. Alex is a Librarian in Atakpame but functions as a lay pastor in his church. He is waiting for his Visa to be able to join the rest of the family in Holland. Wijneke is an anesthesiologist and took their two children with her to Holland. Please pray for the changes this family will have to endure in the coming months having to be separated.
Written by: Elaine Riley
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