As soon as I saw his description, I knew who I was going to match him with.
Each of our Visionaries gets matched with a patient. They get a photo and description of the patient to whom they gave sight. These descriptions include age, job, and sometimes family information.
I am always looking for matches that will connect to the heart of the donor.
A few months ago, Meheza sent me photos and a story about a man who had just received sight.
His description read:
His name is Adoli Mawukplom. He is 73 and he was a pharmacist in his village. He has eleven children and three of them have passed away. He has twelve grandchildren. He has been blind for five years now. He stopped his job when he went blind. Last month he heard about Sight.org and he told his daughter to bring him to us. He said, “I know I will get my sight back in Jesus name, if not God would not let me hear about Sight.org.”
As soon as I saw his description, I knew which of our Visionaries I was going to match him with.
Ashtin Taylor was one of our very first Visionaries. She has been donating monthly to give sight for almost two years.
Ashtin is a pharmacist, so when I saw that Adoli was a pharmacist, I just knew I had to match them together.
We don’t see many patients who are pharmacists. In fact, I’m not sure we have ever seen one. Most of our patients are farmers, produce sellers, teachers, or pastors.
When I texted Ashtin with the photo of Adoli and his description, she was so thankful.
Ashtin and Adoli may never meet in person, but will always be connected in a very special way.
When asked why she gives monthly to Sight.org, this was Ashtin’s response:
“It is very easy for all of us to take for granted our health and access to healthcare here in the United States. People can come up to me any day of the week and ask for help with their healthcare and have easy access to the medications or treatments they need to remedy their problem. Not everyone in the world has this luxury and it’s easy to forget that. It takes very little time, effort and resources from me to make a very large impact on those who receive care from the Sight.org team. Also, I believe that it is very important that those of us who may not be able or called to go and do, support those who can. So it is important to be to be able to use the resources God has given me to help support those that are doing what He has called them to do out in the field.”
We are beyond thankful for each one of our Visionaries.
Their monthly support keeps eye surgeries going.
They open a door for the gospel to be shared with each patient.
Will you open a door too?
Join Visionaries today!
Watch the video below to find out more.
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.
Several years ago my husband and I went to Guatemala. This wasn’t a mission trip; it was an immersion trip, required by our seminary.
While we were there, we visited both the city dump and a five-star hotel in the same day. They were only a few blocks away from each other. Our systems were shocked to the core. We went from crying at the horrific things we saw at the dump, where mothers, fathers, and children lived, worked, and ate, to walking into a beautiful hotel full of riches and fine things.
Our professor shocked our systems like this on purpose. He wanted us to see that riches and poverty are not all that far apart from each other. He also wanted us to realize that we can be a bridge between the two worlds. Those two worlds don’t have to be so segregated. Those of us in the middle can use our relationships with the rich to advocate for the poor.
My favorite part of my job at Sight.org is being a storyteller. I heard a man at a different nonprofit entitle his job as “Chief Storyteller.” I love that. Ever since that trip to Guatemala, I have wanted to be that bridge. I realized that, growing up as a missionary kid, my parents were that type of bridge between the rich and the poor. I get to do that now as a storyteller.
The church that I go to uses the word “leverage” a lot.
When you leverage something, you use it to the maximum advantage. You multiply it!
Our church encourages the older generations to leverage their wisdom to pour into the younger generation.
We all have something we can leverage in order to bridge the gap between those who have resources and those who do not.
When the students at Oak Hill Montessori got excited about giving eyeglasses, they leveraged what was already laying around the house to send eyeglasses to Togo.
When Dawn decided to give $12.50 a month for eye surgeries, she leveraged her finances so that one person like Adeline could get her life back by seeing again.
When Robert gave $30 to our ministry fund, he leveraged his resources to provide an audio Bible and now our friend Jeanaway is burning for Jesus and telling everyone he knows about Him.
When Sue-Min wanted to give sight, she leveraged her birthday. She asked all of her friends to help her give sight to 34 people, and she did it in just 20 days.
When Steve gave $6000 to eye surgeries, he gave sight to 40 people in Togo while also furthering the gospel.
When Karen shared Sight.org’s urgent request on Facebook, she leveraged her relationships. She knew that she personally did not have the funds to give, but her friend in Florida saw her shared post and gave $1500 towards surgeries.
When optometrist Dr. Rudd gives $1 per eye exam to Sight.org, she leverages every patient who walks through her door to give sight to those in Togo.
When Robin gave her precious hours while her kids were in school to help stuff envelopes, she leveraged her time to enable 300 people to read our stories.
What gift do you have that you can leverage for people in need?
For the last two years, Dr. Neshia Rudd at Today’s Vision has partnered with Sight.org.
Their partnership is very special to us because they were the first optometry clinic to donate $1 to Sight.org for every eye exam they perform. Dr. Rudd has such a generous and willing heart to support us. She approached us, looking for a way to help and we welcomed her with open arms.
We wanted to celebrate her partnership and say a very big thank you. Our Development Director, Beth Reed, interviewed Dr. Rudd last week. We hope that in this interview, you will see her heart and celebrate their partnership with us!
Beth: “Why did you become an optometrist?”
Dr. Rudd: “Wow, that answer could take a while. I have had eye problems since an early age, but what impacted me the most was something that happened in junior high. When I was in seventh grade, in science class, we dissected an eye and I was fascinated! At the same time, I was going to a female Optometrist regularly and she encouraged me to become an optometrist. I knew then that I wanted to be an optometrist.”
Beth: “What brought you to Today’s Vision in Tyler?”
Dr. Rudd: “I was born in Dangerfield, so after school, I knew that I wanted to come back to East Texas to be near my family. I had a choice between working in Tyler or Longview. Tyler had a Starbucks, so my choice was made! I’m just kidding, really. I had a mentor that led me to Tyler, and I have always loved it here. I have been here since 2004.”
Beth: “You do something called vision therapy at your clinic. What is that?”
Dr. Rudd: “Vision therapy is for the eyes and brain. It is a series of treatment procedures prescribed by optometrists to improve certain types of vision problems that cannot be helped with only glasses or contact lenses. Vision therapy is much akin to physical therapy for the eyes, during which vision disorders are corrected to improve patients’ visual function and performance. Vision therapy treats vision problems children have when using their eyes up close, especially at school. Problems with tracking, eye teaming, and focusing make it impossible for children to read, learn, and remain on task. Vision Therapy also helps people who play sports. It is usually called Sports Vision Therapy, but involves many of the same activities that we do in our therapy sessions.”
Beth: “Why did you start doing vision therapy?”
Dr. Rudd: “My niece started struggling in school when she was in 3rd or 4th grade. I wanted to help her, so I started researching vision therapy. I realized that I needed to go back to school to help her. After getting the training I needed, I added the therapy to my practice. It has become an amazing blessing to my patients. There was a time where I wasn’t sure if I should add it to my practice, because I was the only one doing it in Tyler. But one day, as I was going through a Bible study, God clearly revealed to me that this therapy would be an answer to many mom’s prayers who feel they have no other options for their children who are struggling in school. I am thankful that God has provided this for our practice.”
Beth: “I love what you do with vision therapy! My 5-year-old son just got his eyes checked at Today’s Vision. I could tell that what you were doing was more than just a routine check. It was very interesting to see the many different ways you were checking his eyes. Your staff is really great with kids. I was also intrigued by some of the information that I read while I was waiting. I saw that a child can pass an eye exam at school even if he or she is dyslexic, seeing double, or has blurred vision. I love that you can help children who struggle with those things so they can do better in school.”
Dr. Rudd: “Your son was a trooper! He did so well! Yes, we are thankful that we are able to help children in a way that many vision clinics are not doing.”
Beth: “What made you start giving to Sight.org?”
Dr. Rudd: “Lewis Swann and I have a mutual friend, so when I was looking for a good organization to give to, my friend pointed me to Sight.org. After meeting with Lewis and hearing about the work that Sight.org does, I knew I had to help in some way. Lewis told me that they have patients lined up but sometimes he has to delay surgeries for financial reasons. I had tears in my eyes when I heard this. I couldn’t fathom having to turn away patients. I love my partnership with Sight.org. I am so thankful that I can help in some small way.
Beth: “What would you say to other vision clinics who might be interested in partnering with Sight.org?”
Dr. Rudd: “Sight.org is doing amazing work in West Africa, and they are capable of performing more than 650 eye surgeries per year. They have been blessed in their rapid growth, but sometimes they have to turn people away due to financial limitations. Many of these people have been blind for years, and it is heartbreaking to tell their patient that they have to wait. We are thankful that we have been able to support them financially and we would love other clinics to do the same thing. Lewis expressed that if there were 24 partnerships like ours, they would have met that goal and would never have to turn down a patient again. Then, any extra donations can simply increase their number of surgeries and further the foundation of their program. I have found Sight.org very easy to work with, and for every 150 eye exams we perform, a blind person in Togo has their sight restored. To us, it’s too good not to be involved.”
If you are an eye clinic or optometrist or know of one who might be interested in becoming one of our Visionaries, let us know!!! We would to have you on board!
Thank you Dr. Rudd for letting us interview you and for your constant support of Sight.org!