“What do you want me to do for you? Lord, he said, I want to see!” -Luke 18:41
Have you ever taken off your reading glasses and set them down only to wonder where you put them a few minutes later? For those of you that are middle aged and beyond, I know you feel my pain! What about those of us that need distance glasses? I can’t imagine driving a car without my glasses!
Most of us don’t think twice about the luxury it is to have access to glasses, but did you know many people in remote villages are driving, working, and living every day without much-needed corrective lenses? Presbyopia (farsightedness) often occurs 10 years earlier in developing countries, and yet this population is the least likely to have access to quality corrective lenses to help with this condition! Sadly many people even end up losing their jobs because they cannot see.
We at Mission Partners for Christ are so grateful for our partnership with I-TEC. This organization was started by Steve Saint in 1996 to develop tools and training to equip indigenous Christ followers to meet the physical and spiritual needs of their own people.
In 1956, Steve’s dad Nate Saint along with Jim Elliot, Ed McCully, Peter Flemming, and Roger Youderian were speared by a group of Waodani warriors in the Ecuadorian jungles. The horrific news of the death of these five missionary martyrs traveled fast and became headline news. (If you haven’t seen the movie “End of the Spear” you should check it out!)
Elisabeth Elliot, wife of Jim, and Rachel Saint, sister of Nate, returned to live among the Waodani. The killings once prevalent in their tribe virtually stopped and many of the Waodani heard the Gospel and believed! Steve was even baptized by some of the same men who speared his father in the jungles some years later.
One of the programs I-TEC provides is a glasses program called I-SEE, a portable kit that includes 200 pairs of distance and reading glasses, an eye chart, testing materials, an eye glass repair kit and a training video. All of the materials arrive in a ready to travel suitcase perfect for our trips!
During our pre-trip meetings we discuss which team member is interested in participating in the glasses program, and the training video is then sent to that person for review prior to our trip. This video is easy to understand and goes over the how to assess patients and determine which glasses are appropriate for them. This training video also encourages us to involve indigenous Christ followers in the glasses program during our outreach, as they usually speak the language which will provide the perfect opportunity for them to share their testimony with the patients. We pray that as people receive their first pair of glasses that the love displayed by our volunteers will prompt them to open their hearts to Christ. All leftover glasses are then able to be left with the indigenous workers so they can continue distributing them to people in need.
We are so thankful for this incredible organization and the opportunity to partner with them! To learn more about the I-SEE program as well as I-TEC’s other programs, please visit their website here: https://www.itecusa.org/
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