In the world of eye missions, heart enlargement is a natural result of assisting those who would otherwise not have access to vision care.
After helping the people in Riohacha, Colombia, our hearts are expanded, filled up with the joy of serving and sharing God’s love with those in need.
My tears arrived on the first day of the project, when Sheiber, pictured above, arrived. He came to the clinic last year as a three month old with a retinoblastoma in his left eye. By the grace of God (and the expert diagnosis of our doctors), he had the tumor removed and the cancer had not spread.
His prosthesis was barely apparent. And this year his other eye was examined under anesthesia, and found to be healthy.
The gratitude and joy that his parents expressed permeated all of our hearts.
And this was but one life that our team impacted among the thousands of patients we saw.
Our team members were already equipped with expandable hearts before our arrival. Their desire to serve the poor prompted them to join our Medical Ministry International team in the first place.
And I believe that we all left Colombia with our hearts widened to the fullest.
The stories are endless…
- A patient gave up her place in the line when she heard that a man who needed cataract surgery couldn’t have the procedure unless he had a companion to accompany him to the hospital. And she did this for a total stranger. (We did make sure that she was seen the next day, without having to wait hours in line.)
- A young boy with very poor vision received his first pair of glasses, and began to read everything in his line of sight. When our team member wanted to clean his glasses before he took them home, he didn’t want to take them off!
- Many people who had lost an eye due to disease or accident received a protheses. Young women who previously couldn’t obtain a job or were deemed unattractive had a new lease on life.
The mother of 5 year old Elizabeth arrived on our last day with a letter to our whole team, thanking us for correcting her daughter’s strabismus (crossed eye). The beautiful, touching letter that she and her daughter wrote was read to our team at our final dinner. She expressed her regret that the letter was all that she could give to us to express her gratitude.
But we assured her, amidst our tears, that her words were the best gift of all.
We were blessed by the tireless efforts of the many volunteers without whose help we couldn’t have accomplished our work.
No job was insignificant. And each person took pride in what they did – from the translators, to those who helped with patient flow, to the lovely ladies that kept the restrooms tidy. Everyone served with a smile.
And I can’t help but think that during this project their hearts expanded a bit, too.
The memory of the beautiful people in Riohacha will linger forever.
And we hope and pray that our work, representing God’s infinite love and mercy, will take root and blossom in their hearts.
An MMI team will return to Riohacha, Colombia in January 2018. Our team will travel to Bolivia in February 2018, and volunteers, both medical and general helpers, are always needed for both projects. For more information, visit http://www.mmicanada.ca/