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Help People See and Spread The Gospel

Indigenous Sight Enhancement Program By Steve Saint
"Oh, I see" my Mom used to say. That is exactly what I thought when I was told that a visiting optometrist from Rockford, Illinois was going to check my eyes along with most of the rest of the missionaries and missionary kids like me. "Oh I see all right," I told my Mom. "I don?t need to have my eyes checked."

I always played pick-up basketball after school. If I wasn?t there when sides were chosen cause I was off having my eyes checked, I would have to sit on the side lines all afternoon. I figured I could see as well as the next kid. But Mom said, "You are going to have your eyes checked". Her tone of voice was clear, "We can do this the easy way or the hard way..."

So Dr. Daniels checked my eyes. Then came the stunning news. I was going to have to wear glasses... all the time; probably for the rest of my life. I was shocked.

A couple of months later the glasses arrived. I tentatively put the awkward contraptions on. They pulled my already sticky out ears even further into life?s slipstream as they slid down my ski-jump nose.

I thought I would just wear these "eye-braces" until Dr. Daniels went back to the States and my Mom forgot I had them. But something happened when I put those lenses in front of my eyes. The world changed. The trees had individual leaves. All I could see before was a green blur. The Andes Mountains had ridges and valleys. The whole world suddenly had texture, and I could see it clearly for the first time.

Almost half a century later, the last thing I do at night is take off my glasses. And one of the first things I do in the morning is put those lenses back on again. These "Eye Sight Enhancers" changed my life.

The organization I started almost two decades ago, ITEC, is in the business of re-inventing tools and training to impact people at the end of the road and beyond, so they will hear that the Creator of the Universe cares about them and has a plan for their lives.

For years I have wanted to add a vision component to the unorthodox but extremely practical health care systems we have been re-inventing so those people referred to as "the least of these" in Matthew 25, can find the physical and spiritual comfort they need but seldom get.

i-see-training-i-tec-missionsHere is the plan we have come up with to help enhance people?s physical and spiritual eyesight. The I-SEE tool, which is easy to learn, equips indigenous Christ-followers with the skills they need to identify and treat common eyesight problems. It is designed to be a self-sustaining ministry. An eye examination takes five minutes, and a pair of glasses cost $5. The I-SEE 200 Kit includes 200 pairs of brand-new glasses, the non-verbal training DVD, a traveling case, 2 lens ladders, 2 eye charts, a repair kit, and all of the other necessary tools for someone to do a full eye exam.

Here is what makes the I-SEE program so visionary - you don?t just go to some far off land, fit a bunch of glasses, and leave. No, the idea is that we will not only teach you how to determine who needs glasses - people who will otherwise go on struggling with bad eyes - but we will also teach you to teach a local Christ-follower who lives where you are going, to continue doing what you started after you leave. Sustainability is the key here.

Jesus told us that if we see someone in need who isn?t in that need because they choose to be or are too lazy to get out, then we should help them. And He said that when we help people that can?t help themselves, He would consider it as though we had done it to Him.

There are other ways to meet vision needs in places where there are no eye doctors, but this program is easy, respectful, and self-sustainable. That is a clear Scriptural concept. Jesus' Great Commission is that we should "go out and make disciples of all the nations, teaching those disciples to do everything that Jesus taught His disciples to do." It is clear from the multiple records of Jesus' life that He made a regular practice of meeting people?s physical needs as a door-opener to meeting their spiritual needs.

It?s your turn now. We can show you how.

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Give Where Needed Most