Click this link
to see a video of a Uganda man getting sunglasses and eyeglasses. Check out the expression on his face when he can see. It is long but is worth the wait.
Here is a message from the optical team leader of this team:
From: Jenny McPhail [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Tuesday, July 23, 2013 1:51 AM
To: holland Kendall
Cc: Debbie Tietsort; Doreen Tate
Subject: Pictures and Testimony from BWO's Optical Clinic in Uganda
I've put together a few of our favorite pictures from the Believers World Outreach (BWO) 2013 trip to Uganda, Africa. Again, I can't begin to tell you what a powerful ministry this was! BWO has done this trip for several years, and this was the first opportunity to bring an optical clinic to the villages in Jinja and Masaka. I have so many stories and memories, but I wanted to share with you at least some of my favorites.
The first picture was at a village outside of Masaka. We had actually had the optical clinic set up in the town of Masaka the day before at one of the local churches. These three boys had been in school and by the time they were dismissed and arrived at the clinic, we had already packed everything up. The girl in the picture, Erica, spoke with the boys and had told me about their disappointment in not being able to get glasses. They told her that they were students and their eyes were so bad they could barely see the board in the front of their school room. Erica told them that we were going to have a clinic the next day in one of the villages outside of town and if there was any way they could get there, we would be sure to get them glasses.
Well, these boys WALKED for miles and miles (it was a good 30-minute bus drive for us, so you can imagine how long it took them to get there!). They arrived late in the afternoon, again after we were ready to close down. But this picture is when they had arrived at the village. We got them in to get glasses and they kept saying "Praise God! Praise God!" And we were also able to give them a ride back on the bus into town on our way back.
Some of the next few pictures are ones of us in the clinic and doing the E-chart and using the autorefractor. Thanks to your in-depth training and helpful tips on how to set up the logistics of the clinic, it ran so smoothly! Even though we had fairly confined places to set up our clinic, we were able to modify it to set up a place for dilation, a place to read the E-chart, reading area, and have a spot for the autorefractor testing.
For those moments when we found a set of glasses that was a perfect fit, there was no need for a translator! Their smiles spoke volumes! And then we had the outreach/evangelism group there to pray with them after their hallelujah moment! They prayed with them and explained to them what spiritual eyesight was! SO many were saved…we lost count I think!
The second picture was one of those humbling moments for me. This woman (on the right in the picture) was the last one I saw for the day in the fishing village in Jinja. She was almost blind and had to be led in with help from her sister (who is on the left in the picture, and who also got glasses.) This woman's eyes were so bad that she was basically in a permanent squint. I couldn't even use the autorefractor on her because she couldn't open her eyelids wide enough to get the measurement.
So I led her back to the E-chart and we used the lens racks and the other equipment to try and get some type of reading. Even at the -12 level she was having problems seeing the big E on the top. So I went to type her reading into the computer, praying that there would be at least one pair of glasses that would at least help her a little bit.
There was one pair that came up! Even using the Wizard "I'm desperate" button -- there was only one pair! I went to the inventory and pulled out these cute (but coke-bottle) glasses, praying that these might at least give her some sight. I went out to where she was standing, 20 feet from the E-chart. I put the glasses on her and I will NEVER forget the picture of her face at that moment! Her eyes that were in a permanent squint opened WIDE up and she had the absolute biggest smile I have EVER seen in my life!
Again, it was that moment when there was no need for a translator! She couldn't stop smiling and her sister came up and hugged her and she went and picked up her baby and kept crying out, "Praise God, Praise God! I can see my baby! Thank you God!" My heart melted and to see how God could work through even a simple piece of glass to help that woman see -- it is just proof that God's love and light can be revealed in even the simplest things. Not only did that woman gain physical eyesight that day, but she also experienced spiritual eyesight. God's call through sending us there, bringing this optical equipment halfway around the world, gave this woman the sight to see her child. Praise God indeed!
Picture 3 is another one of those moments where God revealed Himself so clearly to our group. This man came in and sat down. He spoke English fairly well and I took his hand and introduced myself. He looked straight in my eyes and said, "Can you help me to read my Bible." I was a bit taken aback, because at first I thought he meant that he wanted me to teach him to read.
I was speechless for a second and then he pulled out his Bible and said, "The thing I love to do most is read my Bible, but it's all blurry and I have to hold it up to my nose to even see any of the letters." He also struggled to see at a distance, but he said, "I don’t care what I see over there, I just want to read my Bible."
We found pair of glasses that fit his prescription and again, that smile that speaks a thousand words came across his face! I looked at him and asked, "You can read your Bible can't you." His reply was, "Yes, madam, I sure can! God Bless You!" I asked him if I could take his picture, and he said, "Only if you take it of me reading my Bible." Praise God! This man who was so in love with the Word of God was now SO thankful to be able to read it! Praise, Praise, Praise God!
Each person we saw, each and every one of them, had a story. It's so difficult to pick out just a few. They were all so beautiful and they all shared that wonderful smile with me when they put on that perfect pair of glasses that helped them see God's beautiful world so much clearer.
And what's more, is that I saw how God has His hand in this from even before we arrived in Uganda. Each pair of glasses that was hand-packaged and labeled and packed, God's hand was there. With the love that went into packaging those up, God knew that each pair had a specific and perfect place.
It got to the point that as soon as I measured someone using the autorefractor and the computer pulled up a pair of glasses, I was so excited to go and see what pair God had picked for each person! What was so amazing is that the pair that came up to most perfectly fit them, really did perfectly fit them! (See picture 4) -- even down to matching their outfit! Only God could have planned that out! And those smiles were our blessing of His reward!
Also, Holland, just for a personal testimony about what this ministry did in my heart…I got glasses when I was 14. My eyesight is horrible. But my attitude about it has been even worse. I was so embarrassed to wear glasses. It was a stigma in school that kids would make fun of me when I wore my glasses. Almost a sign of weakness or "less" of a person because of them. Every time I have to go and get new ones, I have grumbled and complained about it. "It takes up too much time to go get them" has been my biggest grumble as of late. Something I for one take for granted way too much.
And when God placed this call on my heart three years ago to go to Uganda, my mind could have never imagined how God would reveal Himself and teach me about what "sight" really meant.
We saw probably close to 700 people there who received glasses, with hundreds and I'm sure thousands more who still need them. When I saw those smiles on their faces and watched them after they had gotten their glasses (when they didn't know I was still watching them), it gave me a whole new "sight" through God's eyes. This trip helped me learn how to view our circumstances, not through the eyes of the world, but from God's perspective.
We are all so precious to Him, and when we can show His love by allowing Him to work through us, amazing things can happen! Who would have ever thought that me, who is nothing, would be sitting there in the heart of Africa, with an autorefractor (around my neck of course! because I had good training:) would be a vessel for God to help bring eyesight to people who cherish it so much.
I praise God for this ministry! It has changed my "eyesight" for God and this world in a whole new way! For that, I am eternally grateful! Bless you for the blessing your ministry has brought to so many…all around the world! Many eyes now see clearer, both in physical eyesight and in spiritual eyesight! Bless you for your ministry and training!
In Christ's Love,
Here are several E-Mails received from this team:
Debbie Tietsort <email@example.com> wrote:
Hi Holland, The trip was AMAZING! Lots of halleluiah moments. Jenny McPhail did wonderful! Here is a share site of pictures you can view. Thee are some good ones but I am aware that there are still some GREAT ones of optical not yet loaded because the lady that took them is still in Uganda and will not return until the end of the month. But there are about 1000 pics here if you want to look!
Here is from Jenny:
From: Jenny McPhail [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Wednesday, July 10, 2013 9:47 PM
To: Debbie Tietsort
Cc: holland Kendall
Subject: Re: shipping back the equipment
Hello Holland and Debbie!
Yes, I just want to reiterate what Debbie said -- Thank you SO much Holland! This ministry was really phenomenal and the smiles on their faces when they were able to see was absolutely priceless! I will never forget those smiles!! I didn't need the translators when I saw those smiles :) I knew right away they could see well! And we had so many accept Christ after their hallelujah moment...it was such a blessing to be a part of such an amazing opportunity!
And another message from the same person:
From: Jenny McPhail [mailto:xxxxxxxx.xxxxxxx.xxx]
Sent: Thursday, July 11, 2013 11:42 AM
To: Holland Kendall
Cc: Debbie Tietsort
Subject: Re: shipping back the equipment
Doreen will have some more pictures and even a video for you that she took of one man after he received his glasses and he described what it meant to him. It was such a fantastic opportunity to share with each person about physical eyesight and spiritual eyesight. I don't think they could quite understand how much glasses would improve their vision, until they put the glasses on and looked at the eyechart again or looked at the reading chart. Such a humbling experience to be a part of. And then once they heard the gospel to have that spiritual eyesight on top of it all was beyond phenomenal. Our God is an awesome God no doubt! Thank you for your dedication and hard work to put this ministry together! Many lives were changed and souls were saved for eternity! Praise God!
I hope to post this video when it has been received.