As the sun sets on another day of our 2017 medical mission to Uganda, I can’t help but SEE all of the beauty that this country has to offer.
Two days ago, we packed up our supplies and drove 3 hours from our “eye home base” of Mbarara to a town called Rukungiri. Then on Monday and Tuesday we have driven an hour, down dusty roads, to a village called Bwambara.
This is our third trip to Bwambara, but our first since 2014. Both the drive to Bwambara and the village are examples of Nat Geo Africa. The beautiful scenery, the agrarian culture, the wonderful people, and the simple lifestyle are truly unique.
On the drive in on Monday, we recalled some of our patients that we had found in Bwambara in the past. One of the most special was Emmanuel. We were introduced to Emmanuel in 2014 while we were doing our medical clinic, and noticed that he had a problem with his left eye. We were able to take Emmanuel to Mbarara to Ruharo Eye Hospital. He was found to have congenital glaucoma and the surgeons actually had to remove his L eye. You will not believe how well Emmanuel is doing now! He was there to greet us when we arrived on Monday.
|Emmanuel after surgery|
We also met a new young friend that became a “that one person” on Monday. I would like for you to meet Phiona. She is a 6 year old girl that start having a “scar” near her left eyebrow 2 years ago. Now she has a more prominent knot between her eyebrows and some protruding of her left eye.
She still has vision in the eye and good light recognition, so hopefully we have caught her problem early enough. My concern, and that of the eye doctor working with us, is that she might have a rhabdomyosarcoma, which is what our friend Joseph (from Mytiana) had. Our first step will be to have Phiona travel to Mbarara with the other eye patients to be seen by an eye specialist.
We have scheduled 16 eye patients on Monday and 11 on Tuesday. This brings us to a total of 78 so far over 6 clinics. We have two more clinics, this week, before our surgery campaign starts on Sunday. Please keep all of these people in your prayers as many of them will have to travel long distances to start this process. The funding for these patients will be significant.
On Monday evening, Pastor Elisha came to our guest house for a visit. We talked about many things but one of the things that we talked about was how our “spiritual care” part of our clinic was working. As we discussed the 150-200 patients that have accepted Christ, he talked about something that struck me. I have heard this term before. I have even used these terms before, but I saw it in a new way. He mentioned how we were using the treatment of “physical eyes” to gain access to their “spiritual eyes”.
We are seeing and treating many people, both young and old, with physical cataracts. But how many people do we pass on the street with cataracts on their spiritual eyes? They witness a sunset, a baby’s birth, a healing, or a restored relationship, but they fail to “see” God in those things because of the cataracts on their spiritual eyes. They hear the story of Christ’s birth at Christmas and His death/resurrection at Easter, but they fail to “see” God because of those same spiritual cataracts. Now, I think that the cataracts on spiritual eyes have something in common to the physical cataracts. This is that the longer they remain and the older the person gets, the thicker and more dense the cataract becomes. I pray that all of these people with cataracts on their spiritual eyes have that cataract fall off like the scales from Paul’s eyes in Acts 9:18:
Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul's eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized,
We have another new prayer request. Through our cataract clinics, I have made a few contacts in the ophthalmology world of Uganda. One of the previous medical residents that we have worked with, gave me a contact of a ophthalmologist in Jinja. I will be meeting with her on June 12 to see if we might be able to expand our eye clinics in to the eastern side of Uganda on our next trip here.