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Region Where “No Charities Go” (Region of Witches)

Region Where “No Charities Go” (Region of Witches)

In Africa, challenges are not always what they seem.

 

As you may have read, this entire year, we are serving in the region of Elavagnon in Togo.

At the beginning of this year, you were asked to start praying for this region.

We knew from the beginning, that this region would be the biggest challenge Sight.org has ever faced.

The needs in this region are immense.

We have been serving this region for six months now. We now know the reason there are so many needs. It’s not the reason we originally thought.

Lewis Swann, founder of Sight.org is in Togo this month. He is seeing Elavagnon with his own eyes. He sent the following story to illustrate the reason for so many needs.

 

 

“When I arrived to Togo, Africa, I immediately traveled five hours north to join the medical team to perform fifty eye surgeries in a region called Elavagnon.

 

village

village

 

This region is known as the place where “no charities go.”

 

At least, that is what we were told by the Ministry of Health in Togo.

When the team arrived, they met 400+ people suffering from various eye diseases and blindness.

 

village

 

Based on the sheer numbers, it was obvious that eye care had not been there.

The team quickly selected the fifty patients for surgery, and many more were put on a waiting list for next month’s surgical outreach.

 

village

 

At face value, this region appeared very similar to others that we had served. However, we have met more challenges here than we usually face.

 

Our Togo Director, Meza, told me the Ministry of Health’s reason for why charities do not go to Elavagnon.

And that reason? Witches.

 

He expressed that no charity, not even secular charities, choose to work in Elavagnon. The area is known for witches and demonic practices.

The charities that try to serve here always fail in their mission.

The Ministry of Health was shocked to hear that our mission is going very well in Elavagnon.

 

But we do not go empty handed.

We come with a God much bigger than witchcraft, and our God is a God who loves witches…a lot!

 

Since we started working in Elavagnon, we have restored sight to hundreds of blind people and we have even started a church that is thriving with new believers, many of whom left witchcraft.

We don’t have to fear, and our best weapon is love.”

 

 

Please continue to pray for the region of Elavagnon.

You are making a difference in the lives of these people when you pray, not just physically, but also spiritually.

Pray against Satan’s attacks. Pray for the brand new house church that has been established there. The new believers face opposition from the enemy and from fellow villagers who do not know Jesus. 

They are also experiencing a lot of physical problems aside from the numerous eye diseases.

There are two nurses, Helen Clark and Naomi Swann, on the volunteer team this week. 

 

nurse

nurse

 

They are doing medical clinics alongside the eye surgery team. Hundreds of people are coming each day to get checked by the nurses.

There are hospitals and doctors in this region, but most people do not have the money to pay for medical help.

Normally, when people come to our team with non-eye related problems, there is nothing our eye surgery team can do for them.

Since there are nurses on our volunteer team this week, people can come and get free medical help.

Please pray for the volunteer team and the eye surgery team. It can be overwhelming to see so much need. 

 

village

 

God is doing a mighty work in this region and we are so excited that you get to be a big part of that. 

 

Lewis was able to do several Facebook Live videos this week in Togo. You don’t want to miss these!

Volunteer Team (Helen, Steve, and Naomi)

Medical Clinic

Interview with eye patient

New Believers

 

 

You are going to love these people!

You are going to love these people!

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 Baber

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. 

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

It’s not about me, it’s about God’s kingdom and His glory

It’s not about me, it’s about God’s kingdom and His glory

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.

 

Its not about me

 

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.

 

its not about me

its not about 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.

 

Its not about me

Its not about me

 

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.

 

Its not about me

Its not about me

 

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.

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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