What are hands? The dictionary defines hands as; The end part of a person’s arm beyond the wrist, including the palm, fingers, and thumb. If we look at the human hand we see that is made up of 29 bones, 127 ligaments, 34 muscles, 48 nerves, 30 arteries that come together to create a very complex tool. The movements and sensitivity of the human hand can not, even with the most elaborate technology, be duplicated by a man made machine. Our hands are capable of more than we can imagine. I have had the privilege of, over the last seven months, being able to witness so many people doing amazing things with there own hands. I have watched intently as a surgeon, with ever so delicate movements of the hand, brought sight to patients who had gone through life without being able to see due to congenital cataracts. This simple surgery takes less than hour to do, but for some they will never receive it due to the availability of eye surgeons and the cost incurred to have the procedure done. For the ones that received this simple procedure on board the Africa Mercy, I witnessed them dancing with joy as the bandages were removed for the first time and they were able to see clearly. One story I heard from the eye team that really touched me was a story of a little girl who was blind from birth due to being born with cataracts. The surgery went well and after the appropriate amount of time the sticky bandages were being removed and this little girl was screaming and as soon as the bandages were off and that girl opened her eyes she took a  look around the room, still screaming, and realized that she could see for the first time. The screaming stopped the very instant she realized she could see. Imagine growing up only hearing and feeling your way though life. There are many more dangers for a child living in West Africa. The biggest is burns caused by children falling into the cooking fire. Imagine your toddler, that can see, crawling around on the floor at the same level as a fire that is being used to cook over. This is a very real and common danger. Burns on small children are very common here, as painful as it is to say, it is a reality for a lot of  families in West Africa. Now put a blind child into that very scenario… its down-right scary. Back to this little girl who could now see, as she looked around the room her gaze locked onto the face of the voice she knew too well, it was her mothers face! The joy for both mother and child was overwhelming as they both realized the child could now see. I have attached the YouTube link called K-Loves Story on the right hand side of this blog under Links. As I watched the surgeons doing these life changing surgeries I was blown away at how simple and effective cataract removals are. In as little as 20 minutes under the knife, the surgeon can bring sight to someone who has never seen before. This surgery is seen as a miracle to those who get the procedure as well as those who have had loved ones receive the procedure. The first though that crossed my mind is why aren’t there more surgeries. We do as many as are physically possible while the ship is in port but once we leave the chances of sight for the blind become staggeringly high! One of our crew decided it was time for a change. He felt called to step out in faith and continue to help bring sight to the blind. His name is Lewis Swann and as the ship pulled away from the dock in Togo, Lewis stayed behind to continue to help bring sight to people of Togo. Lewis is not a eye surgeon, but he has a big heart as well as the willingness to serve. He has partnered with some of the local medical professionals to found an organization called Believe and See. His mission is to “Help blind Africans become Christian farmers”. I truly admire Lewis for his willingness help be the hands of Jesus. If you want read more about his cause or help Believe and See continue to Spread the gospel by truly being the hands and feet of Jesus. Check out Believe and See on my links on the right side of this page.

Advertisements