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The Land is Purchased

The land is officially ours! Thanks to many prayers, donations, and the Lord, Healing Eyes has officially purchased soil in Uganda that will house a primary school, library, and clinic. It’s been an incredibly difficult but rewarding journey of trusting the Lord. I can honestly say that the only way we were able to finally purchase this land was because it is the Lord’s will.  We faced much opposition but the survey stones have been laid and the land is now ours!

Donald placing the survey stones!

Donald laying the survey stones!

Sarah and Jon laying the stone!

Sarah and Jon laying the stone!

Following the purchase and laying of survey stones, we let loose back at the school. We introduced some new games to the kids. Although none of them had ever heard of football or duck duck goose, the kids loved it! Later, kids began to come up to Sarah and show her their wounds. Sarah has become quite the medic. Countless children came to Sarah, pointing out wounds and thanks to the medical supplies brought by Donald, it was no trouble to bandage up all of the kids. Hopefully we will be able to use antibiotics soon too, but we aren’t a clinic… yet 🙂
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It was another jam-packed, but joy-filled day, and God continually provides strength to get the job done. Praise God for answered prayers, and pray for continued direction and energy.

 

nikki

Who..What..Where..

Who are You…and Who do you want to be?

2 years in the making and we are growing! How do we grow? With a lot of patience and faith to connect others with a dream and a passion to help orphans and widows. With a handful of dedicated supporters I can honestly say I feel like we are on the right track and the Healing Eyes team is growing.

What are we about?

It used to just be about Sarah’s story and a rediscovery of faith in God. For 2 years that small seed has been nurtured and spread across the world but now it’s more than One seed. Compassion is changing lives by connecting with more and more people who also want their life to be about something more. To make a difference in the flavor of the world and see what comes out of a little faith in God.

Healing Eyes has connected with orphans and widows in Eastern Uganda, we see a chance to put a little effort into a plan to grow that relationship and bring education along with hope to hundreds of people. We see a school full of children that need a chance. We see widows abandoned and struggling in need of a chance. We see despair in the eyes of the forgotten and abused. We see God wooing our hearts back to a simple solution….to show love in its pure and simple form.

In return each person that partners with Healing Eyes will see a piece of them live on and know even the smallest steps can make a difference in eternity. Enjoy the ride and live beyond our abilities!

Who are we now?

Our Board of Directors has grown and become stronger with 4 dedicated individuals: Cindy Smith, Donald Hendriksen, John Steele, and Shawn Pearce. We have had volunteers participate in 2 annual fundraisers: Chili Cook-Off and Whoa Benefit Concert. We have had another missionary join a mission trip in December: Jacob Burnside. We have local friends in Africa working closely with the children and providing for their needs, as we begin to establish our presence in Uganda for 2016. We have partnered with a handful of churches in the Grand Rapids area to share the mission and gain support: Gaines Church, Family of Christ Church, Sycamore Community Baptist Church, and more to come.

Continue to pray for Healing Eyes this year and consider partnering on a monthly or one-time basis to stay involved with the mission. Sign up here

A little glimpse at our past and how we began…

 

Healing Eyes

Returning to the familiar and finding its changed

Does it seem strange to you that life continues when you lose someone? Everything that was is no more and things that are similar are completely different yet the same. To all the widows out there I’m sure you can relate. Today I joined a gym to try and build up my strength for Africa as well as emotional stamina the physical is just as important. My husband and I went to the YMCA when he was going through cancer, it helped with his strength and constant nerve pain from the surgeries. Now I am going to a different gym but even though its not the same place and he is gone now it still is similar to what was. The weight lifting machines are there and the indoor track mimics the other but this time it’s a new memory. Perhaps new memories are what is important when moving on in life after tragic loss. The new memories don’t push out the old but instead fill in the cracks of the shattered life left behind. Perhaps over time those memories will create a beautiful mosaic of filtered light that blends the two lives into one.

I have to make another sacrifice for this new found hobby, no more internet. Trade in the wifi for some exercise to save $19.99 a month from Comcast. Every penny counts to stretch out my time as a ‘missionary’. It was a bit humbling when filling out a form about income when I scribbled a big zero in for annual salary. Slightly insane when today I counted up the kids in uganda that I have given my resources, time, and love to. Total tally is up to 199 little faces and 3 others in another village. It should scare me knowing I have no income and I’ll be homeless come March while packing crates to move to Africa to live a very very very sobering life. All with the knowledge that my boyfriend will be staying behind and I’ll be solo for months in a far far far away land. Is that the beginning of a book? Once upon a time in a far far far away land lived a small girl with 199 children plus 3 who thinks it possible to feed them all.

Flip the story on it’s head and it should read.

Once upon a time there lived a God who picked up one shattered life and plopped it in a far far far away land to live among the least of these. Burst into song, shout for joy, because more are the children of the desolate woman
    than of her who has a husband, says the Lord.

Enlarge the place of your tent,
    stretch your tent curtains wide,
    do not hold back;
lengthen your cords,
    strengthen your stakes.
 For you will spread out to the right and to the left;
    your descendants will dispossess nations
    and settle in their desolate cities.

 “Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame.
    Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated.
You will forget the shame of your youth
    and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.
 For your Maker is your husband—
    the Lord Almighty is his name

Healing Eyes

Adopting full circle .. a memoir of the past 2 years

Can traveling the world over bring back a loved one? Nope
Can helping others bring back a loved one? Nope
Can remembering what life was like and allowing a small smile sneak through bring back a loved one? Yup

December 15, 2015 will be the big 2 year mark for the passing of Andrew Stacilauskas and he is never far from my thoughts. This blog/website has morphed into Healing Eyes and it all started back when we were trying to adopt a domestic infant baby because all efforts to create a homemade one kept failing. I have left behind that story of pain to move on to a story of life and what a journey it has been. Back when Andy and I were trying to have a child I remember that amazing day when we were successful and I screamed out, “Andy, I’m pregnant”! Then I saw the ultrasound and heard the heartbeat. Andy never got to hear it but he was so happy to hear about it when I said it was so real. All the thousands of dollars had paid off. Then it all fell apart one night when I had a terrible nightmare of losing the child, I woke up scared and Andy tried to calm me. That very day we lost the baby. Andy stayed home from work and comforted me like he always did. That loss changed us.

Why do I mention this years later?

Perhaps loss in all its forms has a way of changing us and creating a new improved version of ourselves. When all is taken away you see through different eyes and the unsurmountable seems that much possible because you have nothing left to lose. I think in the bible it references losing your self to find yourself, the real person God knew all along that you could be.

Missing a husband really stinks and shopping for groceries alone really stinks. So many things about being a widow really stink. But Andy I finally am a mother…just not quite how we envisioned it to happen. So all those years ago when we started this blog/website to raise funds to adopt a child has come full circle because today I am again asking for strangers to help me ‘adopt in spirit’ hundreds of children.

I am sorry if it seems I am always asking for money but the more kids God brings me keeps raising the need and I don’t want to die knowing I could have asked one more time to recapture my dream.

The total goal of $45,000 is to purchase land and build the first school building in Eastern Uganda for a school of orphans, disabled, and impoverished children in a village surrounded by Widows. First phase is buying the land before the end of the year!

Healing 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. 

Thank you. If you don’t have a PayPal Account Don’t Worry it’s not required  look to the bottom left side after clicking the Donate button, where it says “Don’t have a PayPal Account”.

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Healing Eyes

Can it be as easy as saying Yes

Don’t judge an event by it’s cover and never doubt that when God says DO something that he won’t follow through.

What do you think of when you hear Benefit Concert or orphans in Africa?  Lots of cliche’s I bet and also completely over done publicity on needing to help the starving in Africa. I know it’s real and I also found photos of kids starving and all the hopelessness there too overwhelming to even think I could do something. Well that was 3 years ago back when life seemed simpler.  But life can still be SIMPLE, really!  If we just take a moment to view one child who captures our hearts and then connect with a few more as we open our hearts to more we can see how plausible it is to help the helpless. Orphans are supposed to be cared for and widows should step out and take charge. Through our weakness God can shine through and do all the work.

Case in point..

Tonight I met with some awesome people about the benefit concert. Never met them before and was going on a leap of faith it would turn out beneficial and that it was the right direction for Healing Eyes. I even ordered the post card mailers with there address on it for the venue before meeting them. Leap of Faith here we go.

What happened?

Well I was shown again how small I am in the grand scheme of things and that God already had it covered. I sat back and listened to this group of professionals plan out each part of the event, down to permits and parking and even filling holes in the grass. I just had to share my passion and my story as to why I am doing all of this and sit back and let God do what he had already laid ahead of me. Silly Sarah…worrying about how impossible a concert would be. It’s all taken care of and is definitely a GO!

If you want to see miracles than just come on by Sept 19th from 6-8pm and hear some good music and listen to me share my passion again for what we found in Africa to sink our teeth into as a non-profit. It really is amazing and so not me behind it all.

I’m just a little widow who gave it all up to find my first love again after my life was taken away…finding it amidst one small girl by a waterfall and hundreds of orphans luring me back home.

Go To Whoa a Benefit Concert  to order your ticket and sit front row to a miracle in the making

Healing Eyes

I love Lamp

Last night my lamp fell over and just missed my macbook laptop. It was a heavy lamp, weighted at the base, still haven’t gotten light bulbs for it but it’s been in my bedroom for over a week now. There was no earthquake, there was no wind, it just fell over. Not once has it done that!

Coincidence? That right before it fell over I was grieving Andy and crying over not seeing my husband again? That I was inconsolable over losing my soulmate? Then ‘Thud’ the lamp fell over without hitting my laptop on the floor. I instantly stopped crying and got up to see what fell, since it was dark. Even in death my soulmate tells me to stop crying.

Why do I write about this on my blog that has turned towards Healing and helping others suffering? Not sure…but maybe we all need a smack on the head sometimes to wake us up and see the need around. Countless people are crying in the world. Countless children are waking up to no adult caring that they still exist. Countless mother’s are struggling to feed their kids and Countless others are orphans thrown into the bush out of desperation.

There will always be poor…There will always be need…but there will always be that opportunity to live like today is your last. That life isn’t has stable as we build it up to be with our fail safes we put in place. It can all be gone when a soulmate dies or when your world flips upside down and then what?

Get a lamp thrown at you in the middle of the night? That would get irritating after awhile ha!

Perhaps its something else…that small voice inside that says get up and look at how your day can change if you consider everything is a blessing, even that running tap water that’s safe to drink, or that hot shower you enjoyed this morning, or even yet the bug free floor your barefoot is touching.

Healing Eyes is $1545 away from it’s goal of fully funded for tutoring orphans in Kenya. Yesterday I put the remainder of the amount owed to Commit Ministries in the mail and most of it was my savings account. I would gladly do it again if it meant living with those that need compassion and empathy in their time of need. If my battle with grief can connect with someone thousands of miles away in order to bring Flavor into the world…to be the salt of the earth to those who may not even know there is hope.

Than Screw it..you only live once and its way shorter than we think!

I’ve been glazing over the reality of my situation…most of what I have done over the last year has been from my savings account that Andy left me. Each day I watch it shrink but then I remember Billah and countless others that makes each penny that vanishes worth it. We aren’t supposed to boast of what we do…right….but this blog is about transparency and I need HELP from each of you to keep serving those that I know we all care about but don’t have the freedom to leave their jobs and families to do. I am an imperfect widow, a sinner like everyone else…but I have been blessed with no physical commitments to one place through an undesirable loss.. but help me turn that death of an old life into ‘dying daily’ for someone else…send me where others can’t go!

I will put my little Donate button here for Convenience and Impulse button pushing. But I understand if your skeptical of my motives or perhaps if I am a real person on the internet…or perhaps money is tight. I’ll give an alternative…Consider Praying for funding and an abundance of support, even if you may not believe in God or all this mumbo jumbo (hell I used to think it was a waste of time when everything just kept going wrong)…But just for one second consider the idea that we are all connected and loved by an invisible friend that truly wants us to Prosper and not be Harmed, that love is real, and that for some reason that empty feeling each day is an opportunity to hear that still small voice say, “You are Not Alone”..


Donate Button with Credit CardsHealing Eyes is a 501c(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. All donations are tax deductible and a statement will be mailed to you for your records. Thank you.

Healing Eyes

Answering the call again

After much back and forth on prayer with God and perhaps some stubbornness. I have taken the next leap of faith in what he is asking me to do. First though yesterday I heard a bible story about Gideon and him asking God to give him a sign..something about making the morning dew not appear on a wool fleece and that would be a sign that the request was from God. Then he didn’t believe it when God did it and he said alright make everything else dry and just the wool fleece damp. So it took a couple tries for Gideon to believe what God was telling him to do.

I haven’t been laying a wool fleece outside my door (although I wonder if that would work in modern days hmm) but I have been putting off what God said to do and asking for signs. This morning I sat down on my porch and prayed that if he wanted me to pull the trigger and dish out the money to start the paperwork for forming a business and the non profit status that he would make it clear to me right away to do it. So then as I’m sitting outside I get a call from the ‘legal people’ wanting to answer all my questions I was procrastinating on. In my mind I still think this is a ludicrous plan and seriously impossible to accomplish, I mean the logistics are maddening on how to pull this off, and the fees are large. But I can’t refuse a blatant phone call after praying about what to do….so there you have it. I pushed the button and awaiting to hear if the business name “Healing Eyes, Inc.” is approved and then await the IRS to approve my tax exempt request which will take months I’m told.

Why the name, Healing Eyes? Well…

“Healing eyes comes from what we cannot see. Most often through life we can allow pain to imprison our minds and guide us numbly through life. God promises to be our light in times of trouble and our loving Shepard if only we surrender what is precious to us. Pain can cause blindness but it also can be a gift from God if we hand it over… Let go to breathe.”

“Through brokenness is pain. After the blindness of pain is lifted we can see with new eyes. Without loss it’s harder to truly know joy.”

“I reached the end of self by losing everything! Being set free at last!”

 

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Healing Eyes

Ant Power

Whatever am I to do? I’m not the person for this job I keep telling myself. Most of my career I hid from people, I was an introvert and proud of it. Put me in front of a computer and I can work some magic and at lightning speeds. Then for some reason over the years I was drawn out of my comfortable seat and made to speak in front of teams and travel around the globe. It made my stomach twist and turn every time I spoke to people. Surprisingly over time it got easier and then I actually liked it. So twisted!

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.”

Even while I was doing my own thing and living life I was being molded behind my back. Ugh that’s not what I wanted to hear.

“You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you.”

Every fiber of me wants to do the opposite and go back to way of doing things. That image of what my life was. Until it hits me that life can’t be. It can never be exactly as it was, Andy is gone. He was my light in the darkness.

A guy named Jeremiah in the bible didn’t want to do what God wanted, he even thought he was too young and inexperienced for the job. Sigh..that’s me! I am not cut out for so many kids. My ears hurt and my heart hurts. That office job and its air conditioning really does sound awesome right now. I know that world. 

“Your wound is incurable, your injury beyond healing.. But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds.”

Oh what comfort that is. My mind and heart have been feeling that over and over that this wound will never heal. I will wear this pain for years and it is forever a part of me.

“In the days to come you will understand this.”

How is it possible for words written a bazillion years ago can apply to my situation so perfectly. What’s crazy is another person in the world can be feeling the same exact way and/or read the same verses and see nothing. How can a book be written that is so alive! It hurts my brain to even try and dispute it. I have been beaten, broken, and worn down to the point where I can’t even try to fight it anymore. To top it all off the author of the book Lamentations was written by Jeremiah! Seriously, my favorite book of the bible that I get so much comfort from was written by Jeremiah too!

Today I went to the boys and girls club and as usual was awkward as hell around all the kids. It took hours before it turned around and I ended up being accepted again by the kids. This warm up period is driving me crazy. My heart aches for the boy named Eden. He has such anger issues and has no idea how to control them. The other kids are afraid of him and don’t like him because he is so mean. He wants to be nice I can tell but he doesn’t know how to take the high road and to just breathe when he is upset. He’s seriously going to hurt someone someday. I just have to remember, Ant Power. The sermon from an online church I watched Sunday…to be diligent and consistent. Every day get up and suck up my own problems and desires and show up for kids like Eden. A tedious job that doesn’t pay financially, it hurts mentally, and it’s hot. All this just for those few minutes alone with a boy to try and give him tips to control his anger. Small steps can add up to more…if ants can be diligent as they consistently bite and irritate me then I can try to be just as stubborn.

 

Healing Eyes

psst This Way

My life the movie?! That’s what the person I just got back from seeing about volunteering said to me. Well not those exact words but basically she was excited to meet someone whose life seemed like a movie. Husband gets sick, dies, widow sells it all in search of faith, heals thru helping others, never could have kids of her own and now seeks ways to get past that pain by loving kids.

Hmm ok I guess I can kinda see the screen write for that movie.

This morning started off with a jog and pushups on a rock..yes just like a Rocky movie where I find a random rock on the beach and start doing pushups in between jogging. I am working on my physical health to clear my mind. I hear more from my invisible friend when my mind is clear.

It of course worked because I had an interesting conversation with a girlfriend after running that then led me back to something I have been procrastinating on. I’ve been running from because it’s too hard and too overwhelming to go after. Yes, I am fighting God a bit on this task he put before me. Maybe that’s why I’ve been forced into solitude because of my disobedience. But no more God! I called the person I was supposed to and will meet at 5pm with her. So you can stop punishing me while yelling into my ears to follow through on your request. Geesh already!

Great news to report, I have found my place. Well, I think I have. It has kids and a need and I start Thursday. You know how when you step into a room and it feels right, that after all the searching something clicks in your heart. Well, I think I found it. Last Sunday I had brunch with a few people, which included 3 widows, yes I say widows with pride. Our husbands might be gone but we still are alive, we still need to band together to fight grief and survive. Anyways, it was a brunch of guidance from God. He put some people I knew from a few weeks ago back into my line of site. He showed me how they just quit their jobs and went full time ministry without really much support and they are still alive. I got a contact for the Boys and Girls Club of America on the island from them. The next day I call over there and find out they are just up the hill from the Lighthouse. Funny part is I stepped outside the lighthouse and the person I was talking to on the phone stepped outside and was waving at me from the top of the hill so I could see where to go. It’s like God was finally, literally, waving at me for the next turn in my faith walk. ‘Sarah, come this way, right up the hill and then await further directions’.

Each day is a battle over worrying about money and letting go of my ‘real’ job in less than 2 weeks! The clock is ticking down and the bombardment from every direction makes me feel like a bulls eye being shot at repeatedly. All the tricks and tactics are being used to sway me from leaving my job, packing up and moving somewhere else, and throwing in the whole faith crap.

But I’m stubborn and determined to not give up.

God has every detail in place though, even though I doubt his hand in it too much, he brought me here and then over time he is putting different people around me to keep my feet on the ground. I may feel alone at night but when the sun is shining (as it does constantly) I have plenty of people encouraging me to smile.

Thanks to my landlord who has my back on the Jeep maintenance and safety of where I live. Thanks to the random people I meet when I step outside. Thanks to the woman I chatted with about volunteering and is giving me a chance to fix my ‘kid phobia’. Thanks to my girlfriend who was used to remind me to stop procrastinating and gives me a spot to jog and jump in the pool in my underwear, LOL.

Island life = let me quick throw clothes on cuz I’m always in a swimsuit, NOT! Ok yes, I might have just gotten down swimming when I had a phone call back home with my job, but in my defense it is my day off.

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