My daughters and I had the privilege to travel to Guatemala with a team from OHP in July. My eldest, a 4 year Spanish student, had been given a special invitation earlier in the summer to travel with her high school Spanish teacher to Costa Rica. After prayer and discussion about that she had turned down that opportunity, feeling like she really wanted an experience where she could both serve the people and further her Spanish communication skills.
Thank God she has learned patience, because God had a much better opportunity on the horizon for all 3 of us. God cleared other obstacles in our path, such as job schedule for 2 of us, passports being delivered promptly at short notice and a supportive husband encouraging us to travel without him! In addition, I actually was very encouraged by my boss when I requested the time off! He thought that this would be a great, life-changing opportunity and was excited for me to travel to Guatemala! In fact, he is an Optometrist and said he would be glad to send along 110 pair of used prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses.
I thought, this is surely confirmation that I am supposed to be a part of this trip! I was most excited about some of the pairs of specialty eyeglasses that I was able to bring along that were specialty fitted for kids with severe eye problems such a crossed eyes. I am a Vision Therapist, and know the difference that these can make when a young child with this problem wears them regularly! They will gradually straighten their eyes, without surgery, improving both their quality of life and their vision for a lifetime of difference for that one individual. I was also very aware that these pairs were donated and also had specialty prescription lenses which would only work with the rare child that had that exact need. One afternoon, midweek, they told us that we had the chance to travel up the mountain to the Mayan Village. I was very excited to meet the beautiful people there. Our plan there was to distribute clothes and shoes and I knew that we did not have a long time to be there, as we had other service plans for the day.
Soon after arriving, we were holding kids and loving on the people, when I noticed sitting on the grassy hillside a little boy with esotropia or crossed eyes. Our plan was not to distribute glasses there. However, I knew that I may have just what he needed to help him with his vision needs. I couldn’t leave without trying. I set about handing out clothes to the older boys, while at the same time telling someone who had visited there before to find the boy’s mother to ask her if I could check his visual acuities and try some glasses on him that could help him. After handing out the clothes, someone brought his mother over to me. I don’t speak Spanish, but I knew she was very excited at the prospect of getting help for her little one! He was about 4 years old. I carefully communicated to her that if one of these lenses fit him, they would help straighten his eyes if he would faithfully wear them! She couldn’t stop smiling. I had 2 chances to try.
There were only 2 children’s glasses donated that would work for him for this condition, IF the prescription were correct. God is all-powerful, providing for his dear children in creative ways as a good Father! The first pair provided nothing but very blurry or “boroso” vision to this little one. But I knew we had 1 more try. Of course, this pair had been donated especially for him with his special needs in mind! They were a perfect prescription and fit for him with the bi-nasal section of each lens made blurry on purpose to create the outward movement of his eyes! We were all beyond excited at this life-changing treasure to help this precious little child that God cares so deeply about!
That afternoon, his mother received her first glasses too to help her as she supports her family with the near vision needed to sew! It was a joy to see many other people line up outside the van that we were using as our traveling optometry office! I am not a doctor, but God used my willingness to love his people and bring glory to Him and provide life change and fresh vision to his people in Guatemala! You may not feel like you have much to give, but if you have used glasses or sunglasses lying in your drawers at home, you could donate them to provide vision to people who need your exact prescription!
Submitted by: Christy Reist