Voodoo, Satan Worshippers, and Jesus

Voodoo, Satan Worshippers, and Jesus

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! 

Lewis Swann

Founder and Executive Director

An Almost Impossible Feat

An Almost Impossible Feat

An Almost Impossible Feat.

That’s what bringing the gospel to Togo’s unreached people groups seems like.

 

Togo is a nation with thirty-nine spoken dialects and a very poor literacy rate.

 

But thanks to one of our partner organizations, Faith Comes by Hearing, the Bible is available in audio form in 1,128 languages and counting! This year, Faith Comes by Hearing graciously donated two Proclaimer Audio Bibles to Sight.org.

 

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impossible

 

Each of these Proclaimers can broadcast recordings of the Bible to groups of up to 300 people. They are rechargeable via solar energy and hand crank.

 

We have given those Proclaimers to two new house churches in Togo. They are in a region with little to no access to the gospel. 

 

Thanks to Faith Comes by Hearing, these two churches and their 250 new believers are able to come together each week to hear God’s word in their own dialect.

Thank you to our friends at Faith Comes by Hearing!

 

 

 

Read more about the new house churches!

 

 

 

The Faces of Adjon

The Faces of Adjon

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.

 

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adjon

adjon

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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.

 

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adjon

adjon

 

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.

 

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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.

 

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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.  

 

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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.

 

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adjon

adjon

adjon

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Please prayerfully consider supporting the Sight.org eye surgeries that open a doorway for the gospel in Togo, Africa.

 

 

 

Baby Natalie

Baby Natalie

I was so tired. I just wanted a good nap.

It was blazing hot in the midday African sun. Our tent was unbearably hot. I thought about resting under the mango tree.

 

Natalie

 

Our tent was pitched outside the village hospital. My friend Meza said that there was an empty office in the hospital with a fan where we could rest.

 

Natalie

 

We went to the office to rest but Meza had to go back to the tent to get something. As she walked to the tent, she saw a family sitting on the sidewalk.

They were holding a tiny baby and crying.

She immediately went to them to see what was happening.

They said their baby was not breathing. They had gone to the hospital but did not have enough money to pay for treatment. Meza assured them that we could pay for the treatment and she called for the doctor.

Meza ran to the office to get me. She said, “There is a baby out here that we need to pray for.”

We rushed down the hall to the family who was now sitting inside.

What I saw next, I will never forget.

This tiny baby was staring at the ceiling with very little life left in her eyes. She gasped for breath every five seconds. I have never seen a baby this close to death. We all prayed and cried over this sweet baby girl. As I prayed, I felt like I was about to watch her die right there.

Finally, the doctor arrived.

As the doctor treated this eight month old baby named Natalie, the rest of us continued to pray and sing over her.

At one point, Natalie’s mother left the room. No one knew where she went.

During this time, the doctor said that he had done all he could do. She was breathing better but she had a very high fever that was not going down. There was bigger hospital down the road, so he asked us to take Natalie there instead.

We climbed in the bus with Natalie’s father and aunt and drove to the other hospital. We still did not know where her mother was.

 

Natalie

 

At the second hospital, Natalie got hooked up to oxygen and fluids. She was starting to breathe much better and her fever was going down.

 

Natalie

 

After an hour, her mother finally came back. She told us that she thought her baby had already died, so she went to tell her parents to prepare for the funeral.

When we told her that her baby was still alive and doing much better, she broke down in tears. She couldn’t even look at her baby. She sat on the floor, crying.

We sat with her and prayed. We all worried about this young mother. When I looked in her eyes, I saw sadness and darkness. I wasn’t sure if it was postpartum depression, fear, guilt, exhaustion, or something much darker.

All I knew was she needed a lot of prayer. She needed Jesus.

We stayed at the hospital all day, waiting. That night, Natalie finally came off her IV and oxygen. We visited with the family. The last time I looked in Natalie’s eyes, I thought I was going to watch her die.

Now she looked like a normal baby, smiling, playing, cooing. We were all overjoyed.

 

Natalie

 

However, I was still worried about Natalie’s mother. She never smiled and she seemed so numb.

 

Natalie

 

We asked the mother and father if they were Christians. They said no.

For the next week, we continued to check on Natalie. Our team went to a different village, but we continued to pay for Natalie’s treatment in the hospital. Her breathing never completely normalized, so they kept her in the hospital to continue treating her.  We called Natalie’s father two times a day for updates.

She seemed to be getting better. We were all hopeful.

A week later, we got a call from Natalie’s father. He said that they hospital had done everything they could for his daughter. They had exhausted their resources and were releasing Natalie from the hospital. She was still not breathing normally.

The next morning, Natalie’s father called. Natalie had passed away in the night.

Meza screamed, “No, not Natalie!” She fell to the ground crying.

I felt like I was looking in a mirror. I had the same exact reaction just five months prior when my neighbor’s daughter died.

When you spend so much time praying over a baby girl, you crumble when it all comes to a screeching halt.

Meza and I are both mothers. We took this grief upon us as if it were our own child. Our momma hearts were breaking. I could only imagine what was happening to Natalie’s mother. I prayed even harder for her.

As we grieved, God comforted me with the thought that He is bigger than all of this. He was still working. He still had plans for this family. I felt that God was going to use this to draw the mother and father to Him. Our ministry team would be in their village for the entire year. I knew that even when I went back to the United States, our team would still be there, loving on this family, and speaking God’s love over them.

Two days ago, I got a message from our ministry team. The house church in that village was growing. They have been meeting together for five months. Many people in this village have become Christians.

The house church picked three people this week to be their “Persons of Peace.” They will be in charge of the audio Bible as the village comes together each week to listen to God’s Word.

 

Natalie

 

I stared at the pictures of the three “Persons of Peace.” I recognized the woman in the middle. It was Natalie’s mother!

 

Natalie

 

I frantically messaged our ministry team leader for confirmation. He said that it was Natalie’s mother. He found out that she had been involved in Voodoo, but after her baby died, she decided to visit the house church. She has now become a Christian and has been coming every week to listen to God’s Word. The village has now picked her to be one of the people responsible for encouraging everyone in the house church.

I was overwhelmed. God really was speaking to me on the day that Natalie died. I was comforted by the fact that He had plans to draw Natalie’s parents to Him, and only a month later, He had already done that with her mother.

This Mother’s Day week, we are praising God for his miraculous works in the midst of death and grief. We still grieve the loss of baby Natalie, but we are overjoyed at the salvation of her mother. She has been brought from darkness to light!

As you can see from the story of baby Natalie, there are so many medical needs in rural Togo. At Sight.org, we only have the resources to help with eye medical needs.

So many people come to our team with non-eye related needs. Sometimes we can help, and sometimes we can’t. We pay for them to go to the hospital when we can. But even then, the rural hospitals have limited resources, as was the case with Natalie. We will never know if Natalie could have been saved if she were in a big city or in a western hospital. We all wonder.

Our team often gets overwhelmed by the needs of the people around them. They can’t fix all the needs they see every day. However, we are comforted by the fact that Jesus is bigger than we are. His plans are better than ours.

He has placed our team in rural Togo for a reason. One of the reasons is to heal people’s eyes. But the biggest reason is the be the love of Christ to them.

Because of our eye surgeries, Jesus opens the door for ministry. Through that, house churches are being established, hundreds are giving their lives to Christ, and the Word of God is heard.

 

Natalie

 

We will never understand all of God’s plans. We don’t understand why Natalie had to die. But we do know that Jesus loves Natalie and her family. And we know that He has a big plan for her family.

 
You are amazing

You are amazing

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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!

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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!

Written by: Lewis Swann, Founder of Sight.org

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