• sarah@healingeyes.org

Tag Archives: missionary

I guess this is what I am

Shut off from the outside world and now even separated from my new husband. So strange to say ‘husband’ again after losing my first husband to cancer. Yet here I am, 6 months married, back in Africa but not a widow this time. How did this all start?

A huge storm destroyed my past self and slowly over 3 years I am now a missionary in Africa? Is that what this is? Growing up I always saw missionaries as a married couple with at least 3 kids that went to live in a far away country to share about Jesus. Then what does that make me? I am married now but I am currently alone in Africa and I’m running an unthinkable business which has no profits. I have no kids and I don’t go knocking on huts sharing the news about Jesus.

Uh oh! Does that make me a failing missionary?

Perhaps God is working on a new definition of a missionary and ever so slowly revealing it before everyone’s eyes. Can a missionary be someone who goes out into the world to show the love of Jesus through actions? Sometimes it’s what we do that impacts lives more than our words. For instance here I don’t know the local language but I hope I am impacting lives by acting with love and compassion for orphans and widows. Each time I step out into the village all eyes are on me to see what I’ll do. Each time I feel overwhelmed by the task ahead of me. Bring healing to a broken community polluted with alcohol and stealing by showing a different way of behaving. Finding the local people with the same heart for orphans and empowering them to change the lives of hundreds while putting aside the hunger for money. That is something God has to do because it’s impossible for me to change hearts.

This village needs prayers. Yes it’s a cliche and sometimes overly used but when you are open enough to see that prayers can be answered it TRULY is an amazing thing to see. We have a new head teacher that I pray will help weed out those undermining the project but we need a way to pay her. How God? You gave us a talented person with the heart and now it’s our faith in You to provide. Somehow we also need funding to drill a borehole for water on the new land, as well as build toilets for the children and a permanent classroom for at least 4 classes. How?!

So this is who I am now… not a graphic designer working for a great company that provided all I needed. Not a widow lost in despair over the loss of a past love. I have beaten cancer now myself and remarried to an amazing guy with the heart for the suffering too. So this is who I am now….a survivor? No, not a survivor…but a believer in an invisible friend that some people have no use for nowadays with so much conveniences in life to give us the comforts we crave without believing.

Deep down we all feel an emptiness that we try to fill but never succeed… Can you believe in someone who believes in you? He believed in me enough to plop me in what seems like the hottest, most difficult place in Uganda. He brought me out of sorrow and confusion to a life filled with hope. He gave a barren woman children in the strangest way. Now what will He do?

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Healing Eyes

Do you see the forest or the trees? 

 

Vision and the mission get confused a lot as we move forward. How do we make it easy for people to participate in the mission by seeing the vision of the founders. All said and done it comes down to what the heart feels and what the eyes see. Do you feel something missing in your life? Missing in your walk in faith? Do you see a glimmer of excitement and possibilities in what the world offers you?

We have a purpose that’s both too exciting and too big for us to undertake alone and that’s where we need you to trust us with the empty spot in your heart today. That sense of wanting to do more with the resources given to you but not knowing how that sometimes leaves a tinge of sadness on your mood.

Do you see the forest or the trees today?  It’s easy to see a bunch of trees all together to form a forest and miss that one tree standing to the side in need of a little watering. No matter where you go in the world you see the same things. A bunch of trees (people) all trying to be noticed in a crowd. One day a bunch of kids played football for the first time and screamed and yelled and laughed for hours in the hot son. A small good deed but in that kid’s life for ONE day they could escape from the hunger and neglect of their reality. All those small moments add up to a blessed life but none of it is possible without each of us saying yes to the question. That question is can You help put to use your resources today and catch a glimpse of a vision where orphans can feel noticed, neglected can get an hour of attention, and the wounded can get a bandaid put on with a touch of love mixed in.

 

AnneWoundOne day a girl of about 11 years walked several kilometers to find an adult to clean the gaping hole in her leg that was festering for a month. She had a mother but the same story we hear every day is the mother is too poor to pay for treatments, or the father is too drunk to take notice, or even worse the child was never taught to SEEK help when HURTING.

Healing Eyes was founded out of pain and loss, it has gone through many ups and downs on what it’s trying to accomplish and where it needs to be. Buy land, build a school, take in children, so many earthly things to be done.

One reoccurring theme is to just BE there and SHOW compassion to those hurting even when we don’t have all the answers. Make Love your Aim in life ~1 Corinthians 14:1.

If you feel empty today and want to experience a blessed life please consider giving what God has already given you. We can build something today that’s bigger than us. ~2 Corinthians 9:11

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Healing Eyes

Hello America..again

It’s so awesome to see how God is working and even growing Healing Eyes support family.

I am sitting here alone writing thank you notes to those who gave over the last 3 months either regularly or spontaneous one time gifts towards the mission. Some of the most amazing gifts were given while serving in Africa. By both donors and the people in Uganda we serve.

footWhile there I got sick more than half of the time but we still persevered through the trials we faced. The local people weren’t always the nicest and even cheated me a few times. The people who drink the local brew all day were oblivious to their children with numerous wounds, many wounds weeks old and highly infected.

 

 

 

meetingThe community was still indifferent to the project Pastor John was trying to do and were turning on him because they thought he was just being greedy and seeking land for himself. We pulled a community meeting together and cleared up some of the rumors going around about what I was doing there and what the project was. The project simply is to buy land, build a real primary school for orphans and disabled, build a small clinic, and build up a community of widows forgotten amidst the HIV epidemic that wiped out many families.

 

IMG_1630We also have planted the seeds for theology training with the local pastors by sitting down one hot afternoon to talk about T.U.L.I.P and Pre-destination.

 

Did we succeed? YES! the district leaders pressured a man to sell us land and to even explain to the villagers why this project will help them. The leaders pleaded to show me more kindness and to look after my safety while there. The widows met and hopefully will be starting up a small savings group to try and create their own loan network. The  kids were treated and have started to learn basic first aid. Lastly, I am over my stomach illness, ear infections, and diarrhea. Hallelujah!

landowners

 

Thank you for joining us on this story and praying for Healing Eyes and me. Please continue to follow the story as the rest of the year enfolds and I go back and forth between countries to raise money and awareness of how bad off most of the world is. Our monthly support is an encouragement when just a year ago it was about $50.

support

We still need more monthly partners as the need in Uganda grows and also, well, I need to start getting serious about how to feed myself and pay for gas and my car insurance. Eventually I will be in Uganda long term and its crucial to go with support of friends and family here to keep God’s work going over there.

Thank you again

www.healingeyes.org/support

to sign up for monthly donations.

Healing Eyes

Tired..Hot..Stressed…Dirty..Overwhelmed…and…and….utterly…helpless.

BUT 2 days straight without being sick!! YES!!!!!

I wish I was a photo person but sadly I never remember to take photos and when I think of it the circumstance isn’t appropriate to pull out my iphone to snap a photo. So much of what I am trying to do here is not make it an impersonal relationship here where I just photograph all the sick and suffering people in Africa. We all know people in Africa have it rough and kids are starving and people are poor…we get it really. There will always be poor people and rich people. What’s ironic is being a poor american in a country where people think I am rich. Ha! If they only realized who I really was.

Sigh…today I went to tell a girl and her grandmother her medical condition is not looking good and I have little options for them. Educating the girl on being safe and staying away from boys to prevent pregnancy which most likely would cause more pressure on her already enlarged spleen. Teaching the grandmother to look after her girl and to not overwork her on the farm. Telling her uncle to be a good caregiver and counsel the children to tell HIM when they have wounds. You have to think opposite here because a grown up doesn’t really mean a good caregiver for a child that already doesn’t know basic hygiene and medical care (like bandaids and infections).

Lastly my land saga goes on and on and I follow the breadcrumbs God shows me along the way. Slowly he veers me to another land today that is of the same landowner but a better choice. Why can’t God just show you the first option and then make it happen? Instead of going to and fro while being cheated and lied to and then told half information to then end up with the same land owner and a better piece of land. Now I just need the money to appear in 2 weeks in order to buy the said land. $4,000 should cover it and then Healing Eyes has a stronger commitment in the realm of helping orphans and widows. I am not trying to rush into anything I in fact wish for a slower pace because I am out of my league here. At home I have 4 kids and a Grandmother and a Driver I am feeding, I just paid for 2 hair cuts ($2) for 2 of the kids. Back in Michigan I have just little ole me to care for….seems kinda appealing right about now.

Missionaries don’t always like there jobs! They can’t possibly enjoy the constant strain of living in another culture? and the constant begging of money from them while they themselves have to get help from others they know to survive.

My rambling ends here…if you want to know what your support does in Africa? It helps Sarah not go crazy and it helps Sarah sit in a mud hut while showing adults how to clean a basic wound and apply a bandaid to a wounded child. It also helps pay for fuel to pick up an abused girl half naked who I just found out was most likely already raped by some motorbike guys from Kampala who then just dumped her in Tororo after a witchdoctor most likely told the mother to have her daughter raped to cure the mental disease.

Your support and donations shows compassion to all sorts of people that most would walk away from because it’s just too hard to help sometimes. Thank you for helping me show God’s love to the forgotten children.

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All Moved In

After a week I am now in my new apartment. It was quite an accomplishment! 10pm Uganda time we moved in under the veil of darkness – and it wasn’t easy. Unfortunately, the bed wasn’t complete yet, so some guys were sawing and hammering for an hour… Everything is slow here!
My mosquito net is the wrong size (too small) so I am now half under it with pillows holding it down, and the varnish on the bed frame is giving me a headache. However, I am happy to say I have a lot of steel between me and the outside, as well as, steel padlocks on my steel doors and I am bolted in snug as a bug in jail. I have many many keys and feel like I am in Alcatraz prison.
My shower was nice even though the design is quite bizarre:)

Today in the village we looked for land and had some good luck..
I also found one of my kids was sick so since I have a car still we took her right to the clinic immediately! Had I not had the car she wouldn’t have made it to the clinic because it is too far. We found out she has malaria. So she now has medicine and I pray she heals quickly. It’s so amazing how in America such a thing as this trip to a clinic is taken for granted. Here the distance and cost for transport prevents many from getting to a clinic. If God hadn’t put Healing Eyes in touch with this village than each child we help wouldn’t know compassion.
This makes me smile and justifies the insane heat, lonely nights, steel cage, and absence of meals.

Goodnight to all and remember today as you rest your head on your pillow that a little girl is in a grass hut feeling a bit better knowing God is caring for her thru our prayers and Action taken to be here in Africa

Sarah

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The difference 1 year can make

I am reading my old journal from St Croix and one year ago as I prepared to leave to return to Michigan I wrote this…

“It will be ok. I will give you more children than you can imagine. Be ready when I call and go when I say to. Study my word and prepare your heart and faith. Support will come in ways you can’t imagine quite yet. Go to Michigan and then wait. St Croix will still be here and the kids are watched over. You did what you needed to do now go.”
“Sarah trust me in the coming months. It will be hard but each change will be easier for you to adapt. I am training you for mobility and travel. Teaching you when to go and when to stay. Molding your heart to withstand storms to lean on me. Planning is no more. It’s now My time to shape you . Trust me to lead you and don’t let go of my hand.”
“Pain is my gift to you my child. With it comes wisdom and great responsibility. Leadership and the willingness to do my work. No more working for others or yourself…. You will work for me”

1 Peter 5:10
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast.

And now it’s a year later and I’m in Africa suffering with the least of these and those who want to do me harm… And there are more children than I can count.
Does God mean what he says? Hmm maybe…

nikki

I Made It

Hello everyone (habari)

I am writing to you all from Ugandan soil. I’m currently in Tororo, the main city in which I’ll be staying. The last few days of travel have been filled with difficulty and frustrations. The difficulties first began in the airport in Chicago where I was forced to unpack all of my belongings due to the new KLM weight restriction. It was awful and cost me a huge fee because my bag that was supposed to be a carry-on was now considered a third bag. The devil was let loose and tried to test my resolve. I nearly gave up had it not been for my fiancé who stood strong and spoke truth to combat my melt down. It helps to have a supportive guy who loves me and the work in Africa that we want to do together. So, after much tears, we made it through the airport goodbyes. Once arriving in Africa, there were less difficulties. Everything went pretty smoothly besides a delay the next day, but that was typical Africa time.

Today I’ve been sick, but I made an attempt to make it through the day. I mattress hunted by the border of Kenya for cheaper prices. I also bought a fan. Finally, I went to the school around 4pm and was met by the children who were eagerly awaiting my arrival. They then proceeded to serenade me. I gave some encouraging words to them and they clapped. After that, the pastor and I talked some business. I topped off my day by bringing a small girl to the clinic. (The clinic is a shack in the village trading center that has one lady who trades with pills.) The girl had a swollen finger that was paining her. In Africa, almost every sickness is thought to be Malaria, but this young child does have Malaria (this was found out because the lady checks everyone with a blood test). So, we will be treating her with two ailments on a child today. Luckily, we caught the finger soon. Otherwise, it would have swollen more and busted open with puss and the fingernail would come off. Catching Malaria early was incredibly lucky, and the pills only cost $2 rather than the $21 dollars one would pay in town! The medical situation here is messed up and leans more to people dying rather than easy fixes..

Highlight: This little girl did remember me when she first saw me and giggled for the first time which in turn brought me a smile! 🙂

Unfortunately, I am still waiting on my house… Can’t move in until Saturday they say. But based on what I saw I’ll be shocked if they finish construction by then… again… African time.

Thanks for your prayers… Please keep them coming as the loneliness is strong and it’s still 2.5 months until Don comes to visit me.

Sarah

nikki

What ‘Going’ can accomplish

Do you know that All of you are now going to Eastern Uganda through me? Because of Healing Eye’s partners who donated I have been blessed to be God’s servant to those hurting. We are all helping to Feed, Clothe, and Teach 31 of the most needy children at Buweboya Vision Junior School.

So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building. By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. – 1 Corinthians 3:8-14 NIV

God said ‘Go’ a year ago and now we all are servants and soon to be the Builders.

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Healing Eyes

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

You just need to laugh at yourself

supporting a missionary can be fun..and rewarding when you get to see photos like this. I am eating something we normally don’t serve out of a chicken. In Africa it is an honor to be given this piece of meat and even more if you’re a woman.

Ministry Support

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Select Payment Method
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Donation Total: $35 Monthly

Partner in Confidence: Safe and Secure.. Your personal information is encrypted and transmitted without risk using a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol. We are a 501c(3) non-profit organization making your donations tax deductible (receipts mailed at the end of each tax year)

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