Epiphanie: Blind and Deaf from Birth

Epiphanie: Blind and Deaf from Birth

Epiphanie was blind and deaf from birth. We knew he was blind from the second we saw him. We could see the blank stare on his face. But someone had to tell us that he was deaf. We would have never known otherwise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We were so surprised because he smiled all the time and responded to his dad’s voice. We could really tell a difference when he touched his arm though. His face lit up every time. He had the most beautiful smile. We all teared up the first time we saw him. He was precious.

We couldn’t wait to give this little guy his sight back.

 

 

As soon as we found out he was both blind and deaf, we all thought of Helen Keller. Everyone knows her story, but not many people meet someone in person who is blind and deaf.

It is mind blowing to come face to face with someone knowing that they can’t hear or see. I paused many times, thinking about what life would be like if I couldn’t hear or see. Surely, life would be so dark and sad. Yet when I looked at Epiphanie’s face, I didn’t see darkness or sadness. I saw joy, light, and peace.

I didn’t understand how he could have such a huge smile on his face all the time.

 

 

Epiphanie and his father showed up for surgery five days early, so we got to follow Epiphanie around all week. He was a joy to be around. He rarely had anything but a smile on his face. We saw him fuss maybe once or twice.

 

 

There was one other boy his age who was also waiting for surgery. His name was Foley. Throughout the week they became sweet friends. They often played games with each other. They were typical boys, even though they were blind. By the end of the week, they were inseparable. They sat next to each other every chance they got.

 

 

On the day of Epiphanie’s surgery, craziness happened in the operating room. The oxygen tank stopped working that operated the special scalpel for children’s surgery. We had scheduled all five children’s surgeries for that day and were only able to do two. Epiphanie was one of the two who actually had surgery that day.

I will never forget Epiphanie’s cute little body sitting cross legged on a table with his surgery cap on. That huge smile never left his face. 

 

 

As I watched him lay down on the operating table, my heart jumped. It was a mixture of excitement and nervousness.

 

 

Everything went well with his surgery. As his dad carried him out of the operating room, Epiphanie’s friend Foley ran as fast as he could to be with him. Foley hadn’t had his surgery yet, so he couldn’t see, but he just knew he needed to be with his friend during that time. And he knew that he would be next.

 

The next day, our optometrist took the patches off Epiphanie’s eyes. I don’t know if Epiphanie even knew what was happening. How could he? He was deaf so his dad couldn’t tell him what was happening. Can you imagine? He hadn’t seen for his entire eight years of life. He didn’t even know it was an option to be able to see. Then suddenly, he was being unpatched and he could see, for the first time in his life! He was experiencing it all in his head still because he couldn’t talk about it or be told about it. It just happened.

 

We knew he could see immediately. He looked all around him. He wasn’t scared to look like some of the other children. It is interesting to see how people experience their first sight in different ways. Some are scared. Some cry. Some laugh. Some dance. Some stare in silence. Some smile.

Epiphanie smiled, as usual.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That same day, I posted Epiphanie’s sweet smile on social media.

His smile caught the attention of another very sweet boy across the world.

When twelve-year-old Price James saw a photo of Epiphanie and heard his story, he was overwhelmed. God did something in Price’s heart that day. He gave him compassion for a boy all the way across the world that he had never met.

Price put Epiphanie’s photo on the home screen of his phone and couldn’t stop looking at his face. He often wondered about him and his family. Price truly fell in love with Epiphanie’s joyful smile.

When Price saw a video of Epiphanie seeing for the first time, he showed it to his whole family. He told everyone that he wanted to go to Togo and meet Epiphanie.

 

 

The Holy Spirit truly got ahold of Price’s heart the day he saw Epiphanie’s face. He even wrote a letter to tell about his love for Epiphanie.

 

 

The Sight.org staff is humbled by the purity of Price’s love for someone he has never met. We pray that God will continue to do big things in both Price and Epiphanie’s lives. Who knows, maybe one day they will get to meet each other. We serve a very big God!

 

You can give sight to someone just like Epiphanie. For $12.50 a month, you can give sight and the gospel to one person a year.

Will you prayerfully consider giving today?

 

Let the Children Come to Me

Let the Children Come to Me

In August when we visited a village and showed the Jesus film we had forty-eight people give their hearts to Jesus. Thirty-two of them were children.

 

 

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Clearly God was speaking to us about the NEED for ministering to the children.

They have no ministry available to the children in the villages we have been to. The children go to church but the pastor is speaking to the adults only and not on the children’s level.

 

Sight.org

 

Sight.org has been growing in many ways with general medical clinics and now we have started doing children’s ministry!

We began our first children’s ministry this month.  It will be challenging in many ways because we don’t have the resources available here but God is showing us ways we can overcome this.  We were eagerly welcomed into the villages to do children’s church. We even had teenagers come and participate. These teens will be mentored with hopes that they will take over the ministry one day.

 

Sight.org

Sight.org

Sight.org

 

This was our first village and this was our “hut” for children’s ministry.

The children grew from a 36 to over 100 in about 20 minutes!! Of course we had to go outside to do our wiggle/giggle time!

 

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In one village, 139 children came, which was the largest group we have seen.

Even the infants came on their mama’s back because nobody wanted to miss this event! We are learning many things and finding we need to tweak and fine tune our presentation but the message is clear, “LET THE LITTLE CHILDREN COME TO ME” Mark 10:12.  We are exhausted after each session, but there is such a JOY in being with these kids and loving them. Our prayer and intent is that seeds of salvation would be planted by the Holy Spirit in the hearts and minds of the young, and indeed the families of these villagers. 

 

Sight.org

Sight.org

 

We have been well and enjoying the wonderful “cool” evenings and warm days. We are even wearing long pants during the day and using a light blanket at night. In February, that was impossible to do because it was so HOT.  We are getting closer to the end of the rainy season and Wayne will soon be starting their building project. We are looking forward to the work on that project!  As always we would LOVE for you to come visit us and see the work for yourself!

We are excited to be a part God’s plan. Thank you for helping us to walk out this dream.

If you should like to help us in prayer or financial support, please go to Sight.org prayer calendar or donate page.

The Story of Jeanaway and Video

The Story of Jeanaway and Video

Jeanaway is an incredibly funny and outgoing seventeen-year-old boy.

I can only communicate with him through translators, as he only speaks the local dialect. But somehow, every time Jeanaway has something to say, all of those around begin to role with laughter. Jeanaway is certainly outgoing, but he has a difficult life compared to many of those around him. Jeanaway’s livelihood is in farming, and he has been almost totally blind since he was 7 years old.

For the last 10 years of Jeanaway’s life, he could hardly make out objects within an arm’s reach away, and he could not see anything with detail.

So for Jeanaway, being almost totally blind, his life as a farmer has been a big challenge. One day, I even received news that he was being kicked out of his home because he could not repay $1 that he had borrowed to pay for a pair of flip-flops. I cannot imagine living in times that are so tough that I’m $1 away from being homeless. But for Jeanaway and many of the blind we serve, this is his reality.

Jeanaway before surgery

One day, I had the honor to lead Jeanaway to Christ; and it became very obvious very quickly that God was moving in him in a big way.

It’s clear in scripture that the growth of a Christian is not up to the one who introduces him/her to Christ, but it is God who gives the increase (1 Cor. 3:7). So neither I nor my own righteousness can take credit for Jeanaway’s growth…and thank goodness for that.

But as a new Christian, I was amazed to see Jeanaway blossom unlike anyone I have ever seen.

He radiates Jesus to everyone around him. I gave Jeanaway an audio Bible, and within 3 days he had finished the 4 gospels and 20% of the New Testament, and within a few weeks, he had likely finished the entire New Testament. I have never seen someone so engaged with the Bible. He would describe chills going through his body when he would hear about Jesus’ ministry, and within a few days we were having theological discussions.

After coming to Christ, there was virtually nothing else Jeanaway wanted to talk about.

Within days of being a new Christian, Jeanaway was explaining symbolic dreams and a vision (while blind) that was so overwhelming that he described it as “terrifying” (which aligns with the reaction most people have in the Bible when they are confronted by God’s glory). The messages of each were symbolic, and each gives the impression that Jeanaway will do big things for Jesus.

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After watching Jeanaway burn for Jesus for about a week, we were able to put Jeanaway through a cataract surgery. The surgery was a success and Jeanaway was able to see for the first time in 10 years!!!

Up to this point, Jeanaway only wanted to talk about Jesus. But after receiving his sight for the first time in 10 years, there was a part of me that wondered if the conversations would change to wanting to describe his new life with physical sight…but it didn’t. Jeanaway never skipped a beat. You would have never thought that Jeanaway was blind for the past 10 years, because even after having his sight restored, all he wanted to do was talk about Jesus.

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Since I left Togo, Jeanaway has joined our team of evangelists. Despite being a new believer, I’m already hearing stories of Jeanaway leading people to Christ. Jeanaway has encountered his perfect Father for the first time, and all he wants to do is lead others to Him.

Jeanaway and Lewis

The hardest part of our job is telling a patient they will never see again.

There are times when a patient comes to us and their eyes are beyond repair for various reasons. When this happens we give the patient to our prayer team.

This week, during eye screenings, one such patient came to the attention of our Medical Team. 

Jeanaway knows that Christ is the Great Physician! In the video below, he is the one on the left praying over this patient. We know that you will not be able to understand what he is saying since he is speaking in Ewe, but surely you can feel the presence of God through his prayer.  Please join us in praying for this patient. It is truly heartbreaking for them to hear that they cannot have surgery. But we serve a mighty God!

httpsss://vimeo.com/167307987

 

You can also watch Lewis’ story about Jeanaway on this video.

Blinded and Burned by Electricity

Blinded and Burned by Electricity

This 18 year old boy, named Sollah, came to our team last month. Two years ago, he was asleep in a taxi when an electrical line landed on the vehicle. He awoke with his body burned and blinded by cataracts.

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The local hospital was able to treat all of his burns (which we could see from his head to toes) but they did not have the ability to treat his eyes. His father heard that Sight.org was in the village of Amlame, so he brought him to our screening site.

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The next day, our amazing medical team did bilateral cataract surgery and was able to restore sight to both of his eyes.

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He had the sweetest smile on his face when the bandages first came off.

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Then, soon, he was dancing with joy because he could see again. 

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Laurie had the opportunity to check Sollah’s vision two weeks ago and he now sees 20/20 in both eyes! He now can return to the city and to college. We don’t just help give sight back, we help give life back!

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