Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Red Carpet in Akot

This week the Internet is full of glimpses of the Oscars and their Red

Carpet moments.

Here are some Red Carpet moments from the 2010 Akot Eye Clinic.
The Tenwek Eye Team: Dr. Ben, Emily, Joyce, Leah, Richard S., Richard T, Wilson, and Dr. John, accompanied by Joy

The Tenwek Eye Team performed 101 eye surgeries in 5 days surpassing our goal of 100. God answered your many prayers for the right patients, health of the team, and security in the area.

Each morning the post-op patients marched down the sidewalk (our red carpet) and gathered together for the ceremony of the bandages coming off.

On having her bandages removed one woman looked down and exclaimed, “Where did this come from, this isn’t my dress.” I wonder how long it had been since she had seen what she was wearing?

I wish you could have heard the patients remarks and songs and witnessed their smiles, embraces, and eye chart exams when they could actually see that little ‘E.”

This man asked Dr. John if he would be able to see his grandkids after the operation. He said people referred to his grandson as the one with the red gums. The morning after his surgery he sat with two of his grandkids – not letting them out of his sight. He told the doctor, “For sure, my grandson has red gums!”

One day the team went to buy a goat for a celebratory meal to thank the local staff for their hard work. In a distant town their truck came up behind a man walking alone towards town. The surgeon’s mouths dropped open when they realized it was their patient. Two days earlier he would not have been walking alone but would have been led everywhere he went by a family member. What independence!

We are so grateful that so many of these people are able to be more independent, interact with their families and have regained dignity and independence.

Despite the fact that all you may ever hear about Sudan on the news is about war and fighting the Sudanese are fun loving too. One older man, claiming to be 100 years old with a handshake grip that almost brought me to my knees (and not me alone!), had just done his eye chart exam after his bandages came off. One staff reported to another, “The old man’s vision is ?/?." This old man knew English and yelled back, “What old man?”

Not everyone we saw last week was elderly. Some very young children had the job of leading their grandparents around – each holding a 3-foot long stick. And one 4-year-old boy had a cataract caused by an injury to his eye. With only a local eye block he lay completely still while his cataract was removed and a new lens was put in place. He was a very brave little boy.

Then there was Michael. Michael didn’t have cataracts but was going blind from glaucoma. He is a schoolteacher, one of the few with an education, and has only 5% vision in one eye remaining. Surgery was done to try maintain what limited vision he has for as long as possible. Michael is feeling hopeless and in despair over his darkening world. Yet he still showed his gratitude to Dr. John with a gift of a chicken. Please pray for Michael and others suffering from glaucoma. Pray that they will realize the unchanging hope we have in Jesus.

Still other’s who don’t acknowledge Jesus as Savior, such as magicians and spear masters, came and received sight. They listened to Bible stories and had good discussions with the hospital chaplains, even agreeing to be prayed for. Will you continue to pray that those who came to the clinic and witnessed the powerful healing hand of God will also acknowledge Him as Lord of their lives.

The clinic was a week to remember. Thank you for being a part of this outreach through your prayers and financial gifts. Continue praying for the Akot community to experience true reconciliation after the conflict earlier this year and that they will will have 20/20 vision when it comes to seeing Jesus and experiencing his forgiveness and reconciliation.

Praising God for sight!


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