• sarah@healingeyes.org

Tag Archives: empathy

What do we do when the Pain isn’t visible..

Welcome back to America.

It’s never easy coming back because I know there will be no Andy to greet me at the airport each time I return. It’s never easy because I was in an intense environment on the go constantly but in Michigan I am forced to wait. No matter where I am in the world it seems returning is always difficult. BUT I have some real yellow eggs to eat for breakfast and hot water again. (the eggs in africa are white because the yolks never are yellow from lack of protein)
This trip was I think the most productive yet. We found the people at the school very welcoming and there was no culture of begging. It’s hard to find that in Africa as a lot of the time the presence of mazungoos has a negative effect of people begging for things. For this village we were the first white people to visit and I still find it hard to believe but that’s what they said and there actions backed it up. Now the difficult part is to keep a relationship going and not cause a ‘begging’ relationship. We took extra precautions to not hand out things or come in to try and fix things. Often its easier to just fix a building or hand out freebies to ease the immediate suffering. We made it clear that Healing Eyes wants to partner with them and we even shared the concerns we have seen in other areas so that they can understand us better.
We did investigate land and cost of building a school for them. We also expressed concern about the lack funds for the school currently and how we want to go back to America to try and help. We had a final meeting before we left to discuss whose doing what and it really felt like a partnership between cultures.
I agreed to go back to America and..
• share the stories of the orphans and widows
• to raise support to continue visiting them and helping the kids that are brought to the school
• begin fundraising for 1 school building/toilet/borehole
• and the most important one was to pray for them
They agreed to pull the community together to pray for us and find volunteers willing to farm the land in order to raise some money on there side. It was a hard sell to get them to see the hope of raising money in there village. Understandable since the school is barely surviving and no one has money. With some creative thought we landed on what if the land we want to buy can be purchased and then a crop harvested off of it to give to the building fund which involves the community. It’s a start at least.
I don’t know what God has up his sleeve for Healing Eyes and all the orphans and widows but it must be pretty big. Based on what I saw it has to be huge because I am overwhelmed by the sheer need I witnessed while there. Medical needs, educational, and outright need for compassion! Did you know that mothers will purposely distance themselves from there children as part of the cultural norm? No warm hugs and fuzzy feelings between mother and child. To hug is so strange there. It’s a way to prevent pain I guess when so many children die and adults die young.
Please continue praying for myself and Healing Eyes as a non profit. There is a huge step coming our way and it’s beyond my abilities to accomplish. If we could all gather our efforts we could make a huge impact in a tiny village where kids like Rose who burned her arm while making porridge can know she’s not alone. Instead of hiding in a sea of kids playing while she cried because no one even noticed she was in pain. That one girl brings tears to my eyes because no one even noticed she was hurting and it was physically visible on her arm. What do people do when the pain isn’t visible? How can they get the compassion needed to know there is a God and that humanity isn’t dead?
Healing Eyes

It’s time for us to do something

There are children standing here,

Arms outstretched into the sky,
Tears drying on their face.

No Bravery

Houses burnt beyond repair.
The smell of death is in the air.
A woman weeping in despair says,

No Bravery

There are children standing here,
Arms outstretched into the sky,
But no one asks the question why….

Those lyrics are from the song by James Blunt called ‘No Bravery‘. I have seen children with arms in the air and tears stained on there faces. There faces lit up with hope! There faces beaten down by despair.

There ARE children standing here with outstretched arms waiting for someone to do something when they can not.

If not us than Who? There is another song called ‘Do Something‘ by Matthew West. Why doesn’t God do something? He said I did, I CREATED You!

Can you help me, a nobody sitting in a one bedroom apartment with doubts and fears like you? I want to find at least 20 people to give $20 each so I can go back to Africa in October with the school fees for little Billah and William in hand. So I can go to Billah’s mother and say she doesn’t have to be afraid anymore because her youngest child will stay in school, get the needed supplies, and have the prayers of hundreds of people back in the United States. That William will be able to go to boarding school and improve his self confidence in school and not be lost amidst the hundred of other faces in the poor village school. With these 2 kids we can Do Something and begin a transformation in there lives and the other little lives yet to be found on my travels.

Share $20 and I will show YOU what Doing Something can really do!

Donate Button with Credit CardsHealing Eyes, Inc. is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization based in Western Michigan. If you would like to partner with Healing Eyes on a one time or monthly basis, please make your checks payable to Healing Eyes, Inc. and mail them to 4160 Blue Heron Dr SE, Apt 302, Kentwood, MI 49512. 

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Healing Eyes

Anniversary of change and loss

What happens when a shy widow meets 30 kids in a classroom to teach English vocabulary? An opportunity to stretch myself….whispering kids…and an occasional hand clapping to get there attention. Part way through teaching new English words I noticed some sleepy heads and changed tactics. I had them write on the blackboard. One boy was very shy and so I went easy on him but others I forced up and tried to encourage them with smiles. It was lots of fun and after English they learned the ukulele. They also insisted I sing for them. So I stood in front and bashfully sang Somewhere over the rainbow. Then I taught them the words and we sang together. I would love to share the video but perhaps when I have better wifi 😉

It’s been a long journey to get to this point and each day I am saddened by what I lost before arriving at this point. I miss my career and miss feeling important and successful. I try to explain to the kids my ‘job’ and I feel stupid for what I gave up to do this. I can’t even articulate in a way they understand because it sounds crazy to me! 

Selling everything while grieving and then moving to an island and now serving in Africa. When I am not a chipper missionary like they are used to. I stick out and don’t smile and wave enough. Instead I silently wait for kids to find me (and they do) and then I talk to them and find out maybe I can connect with them in unusual ways. Even yesterday I explained compassion and empathy to some students. They had no idea what they were. So I used my story as an analogy to explain how I can empathize with death and widowhood. I think they understood. 

I never thought I would enjoy talking with older kids but something changed in me and now I am so at ease with them. 

I still miss my boyfriend terribly at the same time as grieving my husband. So odd…but being a widow is proving to be a tiring thing for me. I miss my soulmate and still question why me and why this and that. Why do I love again and still love my deceased husband. Why do I like kids now. Why did I give my job up. Why do I doubt and fear. Why Africa?!?! 

Tomorrow would have been my 15th wedding anniversary. Normally I eat a fancy dinner but this year I’ll be having rice and peanut butter. Plus I’m in Africa following something I don’t understand. 

For photos check out our Facebook page. 

Healing Eyes

When I can’t it must be the right path

When you look at someone crying what do you see?

When you look at someone screaming what do you see?

Why do I do what I do……simple…….because it would be crazy to NOT do what I do. I met with a friend over a smoothie at Starbucks today and she said I am not crazy. That going off to Africa isn’t crazy but actually quite appropriate. If I didn’t do what I do that would be a worser fate than settling for what I have been programmed to think as the right thing to do. Confused?

When I reach the point of … “I can’t” than it must be the right path to take because than it isn’t me doing it anymore but my invisible friend. The hard part comes when you think know one else understands or is with you on this decision. A decision that really is a no brainer because it’s what we are supposed to do. Bring Flavor to the world we live in and be Different…be compassionate…be empathetic…and to just BE.

I am looking to the left of me and I see my mattress sitting on the floor in my bedroom…its an irritant really that it’s on the floor and feels like college all over again. Looking for a platform bed but not wanting to spend the $150 on one if in a year I won’t need one. Looking at my couch that’s only a couple months old and think why did I need that….to feel normal? Everything can be gone again and it doesn’t matter how hard I hold onto it… Kind of like life, we can hold on to it so tightly but still lose it in many ways.By walking past that person in need that was crying silently inside and too afraid to show it. By walking past that child screaming on the inside but too afraid to express it.

What do you See when others cry? You should see you in their pain and let go of the walls that we put up to protect ourselves from connecting with another’s life.

Healing Eyes
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