[Loving Africa 9] Believe and See

In the Gospel of John, it was recorded that Jesus performed the miracle of healing the man blind at birth. It was written that Jesus spat on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam”. So the man went and washed, and came home seeing. When this blind man was asked of his experience, he answered – “One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”.

What a beautiful account of God’s transformation of one’s life with an opportunity for new vision. What privilege it is for me to witness the amazing work of an eye team bringing the light of the world to thousands of patients in Togo, just like Jesus came to the world so that the blind may see. During one of my last weekends in Togo, I had the opportunity to travel to a rural village of Atakapame visiting a new friend of mine – Laurie Nelson.

Laurie is the Medical Director working as part of a life changing mission of Believe and See. Adopted by missionaries, she was taught the blessings of service. “I could not preach like my parents, but I could use my skills to help restore sight to the blind” she says. I thank God for giving me the opportunity in hearing one of the most touching, heartfelt and utterly wonderful life story of Laurie and her inspiration of serving in Togo.

Over 80,000 people in Togo are blinded by preventable eye diseases. Using their superman vehicle – a refurbished ambulance truck from the States – the Eye Team of Believe and See helps restore sight through cataract and pterygium surgeries and glaucoma treatments. Who could imagine that an ambulance truck saving lives in the U.S. could continue its journey of becoming a moving operation room to restoring the vision of thousands of lives in West African villages?

Starting with nothing but faith, Sight.org quickly became one of the leading eye programs in Togo within a few years, opening the doors of hundreds of villages to preach the Gospel of Christ as well as their first sight of the world. Whilst the foundation office is located in the States, a full medical team lives in Togo and goes out into various villages doing eye surgeries, education, and ministry. I had the wonderful opportunity of seeing the eye team at work in providing after-surgery care to many patients living in the rural areas of Togo. No doubt communication with patients can be a challenge, the assessment is performed by a doctor who speaks only English and translation is required by another French speaking team member which may ultimately be translated by another member into the local Togolese language Ewi! Yet the incredible care, love and patience the team has inproviding the necessary eye-health education in the rural communities they serve is certainly felt by even those observing which no words can describe.

When Jesus is in the world, He is the Light of the World so that all the blind may see. To the eye team of Believe and See – keep up yourmiraculous and hard work as a Christians on earth to literally lightening up the world of thousands in Togo.