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From the field: Restoring sight in Guatemala



  • August 15, 2018

From the field: Restoring sight in Guatemala

  • August 15, 2018
Photo of Vernon brewer
Vernon Brewer

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I’ve just returned from an unforgettable trip to El Chico, Guatemala. This tiny community is tucked away in the mountains, far from any doctor’s office or clinic. So when people heard that a World Help medical team was coming to provide them with health care, they came from all over the village.

More than 200 patients — many of them moms with young kids — came to get check ups and receive the medicine they desperately needed.

But one of the most unique parts of this trip was watching our optical team test people’s vision and fit them with their first pair of glasses. You could see their eyes light up as they realized they could see clearly for the first time in years.

I watched as one young man took a vision test wearing his new glasses.

“¿Esta línea es clara?” one of our volunteers asked as she pointed to a series of letters on a chart. “Is this line clear?” He nodded, so she pointed to the next line with even smaller letters. “¿Esta línea es clara?” He nodded again. The grin on his face grew bigger with every new line he could read.

Just a few minutes earlier, this man could only see the big letters at the top of the chart. Now, he can probably see better than I do!

My wife, Patty, was on the vision team, as well. I loved watching her at work. The handheld vision screener each person had to look through could be intimidating to someone who had never had their eyes checked before — especially to the littlest patients. But Patty’s friendly smile put each person at ease.

It was the same with each member of the team. You could see how happy they were to serve. The medical team worked for hours, diagnosing each patient and meeting every person’s needs.

But we weren’t there just to meet physical needs or help people see clearly. We were also there to help open their eyes to the Gospel.

The team had prepared Bible-themed crafts and a simple message of salvation for the kids who were waiting for their parents to get checked by the doctors. And after each person was treated, they had the opportunity to meet with our prayer team — many people came to Christ!

That’s what HELP for today and HOPE for tomorrow is all about … meeting people’s immediate physical needs while also pointing them to eternal hope in Christ. As part of the World Help family, that’s what you’re doing every time you give to help someone in need.

You’re providing food for starving refugees, freedom for girls trapped in cultural slavery, lifesaving supplies for families in poverty, and so much more. But most of all, you are demonstrating the love of Christ. You are being the hands and feet of Jesus on the ground to people who have been overlooked by most of the world.

As we were leaving, we could tell how grateful the people of El Chico were. Many of them waited around so they could wave goodbye. These families were so happy that someone had taken time to meet their needs, pray for them, and just show them kindness.

Patty and I agree we’ll remember this trip for a long time. If you would like to join World Help on the ground in Guatemala, be sure to keep an eye on our trips webpage for upcoming opportunities.

Of course, you don’t have to travel around the world to make a difference. You can spread help and hope to people in need wherever you are. Every $5 you give has the power to impact one person’s life … and to introduce them to Christ.

Will you give a gift today? Any amount is enough to change a life forever and remind someone they aren’t alone — even if they live in a refugee camp, an orphanage in Africa, or high in the mountains of Guatemala.

Line of Guatemalan people waiting to get their eyes checked.
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