Out of Darkness, Into Light

Out of Darkness, Into Light

Jesus healed the blind man in John 9.

He led him out of darkness and into light. 

 

 

A few weeks ago, I was reading through a Bible study about Jesus healing the blind man in John 9. This Bible study described the common life of a blind man in Biblical times. It struck me that in Togo, the needs and circumstances of blind people are not so different from blind people in Biblical times.

 

“To be born blind was a debilitating handicap. Jewish men of this time were expected to take care of themselves and help provide for the family, and being blind forced one to depend solely on the charity of others.” 

 

Not everyone we see in Togo is blind from birth, like this man was. But being blind at any point in life is debilitating.

In the United States, it is not easy to be blind, but there are many resources for someone with visual impairment.

 

 

In Togo, there are very few resources for the visually impaired.

 

Like the blind man in the Bible, blind people in Togo depend on their family to take care of them.

 

 

Often, we see young children taking care of a blind parent, sibling, or grandparent. These young children end up quitting school because they spend so much time taking care of their family member.

 

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“He would have also been viewed as a second-class citizen—not able to perform his duties, a drain on his family and society, and possibly a sinner from in the womb.”

 

 

Like the blind man in the Bible, blind people in Togo are considered lower class.

 

 

Their outer appearance often matches the lower-class perception. Since they cannot dress, feed or clean themselves, they rely on others for everything. They often wear the same clothes every day and have poor hygiene.

 

 

Some people even fear for their lives because they worry that their caretakers will poison their food so they will no longer be a burden.

 

 

The blind man in the Bible was considered a sinner from birth because of his handicap.

 

 

Most blind people in Togo are considered cursed.

 

 

If a woman sells produce in the market and then becomes blind, her normal customers will stop buying from her because they think she is cursed. If a young boy becomes blind, other children will stop playing with him because they will think he is cursed.

 

darkness

 

 

 

“This man…did not look forward to a favorable future. And like us, there was nothing he could do in his own power to bring light to his darkness.”

 

 

Blind people in Togo do not have a favorable future.

 

 

The only eye doctors in Togo are in the city, often hundreds of miles away from the rural population. The majority of blind people live in rural villages. If someone is blind, they are resigned to blindness for the rest of their lives.

However, when the Sight.org mobile eye clinic arrives in a village, the blind have hope again.

 

 

Jesus is using Sight.org to restore hope to the blind in Togo.

 

 

This year alone, over 500 blind people have had their sight restored. We have seen these people rejoicing because they are no longer debilitated by their blindness.

They can take care of themselves again. They can take care of their families again. They are no longer considered cursed and outcast.

 

 

When we see them days after their surgery, they look like completely different people.

 

They have clean clothes.

 

They have beautiful hair and shining faces.

 

They are brand new and full of hope and joy.

 

They are no longer living in darkness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Jesus sought him out a second time, and when He identified Himself as the Son of Man, the blind man underwent his second transformation: he believed Jesus’ claim, and worshipped. He worshipped! Worship is the outward expression of the inward change. The man bore witness of the external change by telling questioners of the man of power, and then bearing witness to the internal faith transformation by speaking his belief and worshipping Jesus—even in front of onlookers who were hostile to Christ (John 9:40). What beautiful worship this must have been!”

People in Togo often want to know why we are doing these free eye surgeries. They want to know why we help them when we don’t even know them.

 

 

These eye surgeries fling a door wide open for the gospel.

 

We have seen hundreds of people instantly praise God when we tell them that we are there because Jesus wants us there.

 

 

Worship seems a natural expression of the joy they are feeling. They have been transformed physically and then spiritual transformation follows.

Many newly sighted people have become Christians because they know that God sent Sight.org to them.

 

 

Seeing newly sighted people worship God with all their hearts is a beautiful sight.

 

Before surgery, they weep because of their debilitating handicap.

 

After surgery, they weep for joy because of their restored sight.

 

And we weep with them every time it happens.

 

 

darkness

 

John 8:12

“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'”

 

 

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darkness

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Isaiah 42:7

“To open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.”

 

 

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darkness

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Isaiah 9:2

The people walking in darkness

have seen a great light;

on those living in the land of deep darkness

a light has dawned.

 

darkness

darkness

 

 

Do you believe in a world without darkness?

 

A world where people’s physical and spiritual eyes are opened?

 

Will you be a part of leading people in Togo out of darkness and into the light?

 

 

*All quotes taken from IF:Equip Emmanuel Bible Study
Katawayna

Katawayna

Because of you, there is a little girl named Katawayna who can now go back to school.

Katawayna

Katawayna is ten years old and was blind in her right eye from a cataract. She had stopped going to school because she couldn’t see her work.

 

Katawayna’s father did everything possible to get help for his daughter. He went to every doctor he knew. He spent so much money trying to get medicine for her eye that he was broke.

 

Then he heard about Sight.org.

 

To his delight, the Sight.org medical team checked Katawayna’s eyes and scheduled her surgery.

 

Katawayna

 

A few weeks later, Katawayna’s and her father arrived at the Sight.org mobile eye clinic.

The day of her surgery, her father was so excited that he showed up early. He wanted to help in any way he could. He even offered to help translate for the team. He spent the whole day helping the Sight.org team.

 

Katawayna

 

He couldn’t hide his gratitude.

 

At 1:30 that afternoon, Katawayna stepped into the mobile eye clinic. Her father stopped what he was doing to help her into the vehicle.

 

Then he waited.

 

Katawayna

 

Katawayna

 

He stared at the back doors of the clinic, nervously, wondering.

Thirty minutes later, the doors opened, and out walked his daughter, with a patch over her right eye.

Twenty-four hours later, the patch was removed, and she could see everything perfectly!

She is now back in school!

 

Katawayna’s father wants to say thank you for giving his daughter her sight back.

 

 

 

This Christmas, will you give sight to someone like Katawayna?

We have a goal of raising $41,250 by December 31st. This will provide eye surgeries for the next six months. So far, we have raised $31,081 of the $41,250. Will you be a part of reaching this goal?

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.

 

adjon

adjon

adjon

adjon

adjon

adjon

 

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.

 

adjon

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.

 

adjon

 

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.

 

adjon

 

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.  

 

adjon

 

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.

 

adjon

adjon

adjon

adjon

adjon

adjon

 

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

 

 

 

Story of an African Father

Story of an African Father

 

Father

This man brought his wife to our medical team to get her eyes checked.

She had to wait all day until surgeries were over. As she waited, her husband sat to the side patiently, holding their baby.

When the baby was hungry, he would let his wife feed and then he would hold the baby again.

He had such a sweet, quiet spirit.

When his wife got her eyes checked and found out that she had already lost her sight in one eye from glaucoma and was slowly losing sight in her other eye, he held her hand and silently prayed.

He was a hard working teacher who obviously loved his wife and children. We all continue to pray for this family.

Read their whole story to see how you can pray for them too at https://sight.org/2016/03/elizabeth/.

Give sight for Father’s Day.

Patchwork Bags from Togo

Patchwork Bags from Togo

This Mother’s Day, give your mom a patchwork bag from Togo.

All proceeds go toward giving sight to the blind in Togo, Africa. 

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Large Bag: $60

Dimensions: 23×17 inches.

 

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Medium Bag: $30

Dimensions: 18×15 inches.

 

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Small Bag: $20

Dimensions: 8x5x5 inches.

 

To purchase a bag, go to our Gift Catalog or stop by our office in Tyler. 

 

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Story behind the bags:

We purchase these bags in Togo from an artisan. We have started to develop a relationship with her. These bags are well made and sturdy and we are in love with them. We think you will love them too!

She shared her story with us and we want to share it with you.

“My name is Anita, I am married with three children, two boys and one girl. I started this business when I was 18 years old. Because of poverty I quit school and started doing patchwork materials. But I don’t do the bags myself, I have people who do them for me to sell. I just make the material, give it to them and they make bags for me. It is really a good business. I don’t only sell the bags, I also have dresses, children dresses, skirts and many more things. I love my work. Thank you for wanting to hear my story, may God bless you.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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