It’s not how The Luke Commission locates Emaswati who need eye surgery, although it’s a movement to behold when TLC’s fleet of buses head to all parts of Eswatini to pick up eye patients.
Nor is it how Emaswati “find” The Luke Commission, for truly they come from all corners of the country through outreach contacts and word-of-mouth recommendations.
It’s not how many eye surgeries are completed in one CARES surgical session of about 10 days, even though the latest resulted in 165 cataract/eye surgeries and 4 cornea transplants.
It’s not the training of the staff or the acquisition of world-class eye equipment that counts the most, while the team works as one and TLC has been given and/or purchased the best equipment available.
It’s simply the outcome of all of the above. It’s this testimony exclaimed over and over again in similar words: “Once I was blind. Now I can see!”
|Staff and patients alike rejoice as bandages are removed.
Read on, listen with your heart, and hear exactly what the patients had to say when their eye patches were removed.
“Thank you for letting me come to The Luke Commission home. You have given me breakfast, lunch, and supper every day. I have been treated like a special guest.”
“I could not see to the edge of this circle. Now I see many circles all around me.”
“A young man counseled me at an outreach. But I was afraid to come many months ago. I sat in the dark so long. I could not stay away this time…”
“I live alone and could not see to cook. When I could not find my food, I sat down and did not eat.”
“I was afraid to do surgery. Now when I go home, I will broadcast to everyone that it was not painful.”
“I was not aware I would ever see again. My Babe (father) passed away last year, and I wondered how I would cook for myself.”
“Now I can even see at school when I am studying.”
“You all work together as if you born from the same mother.”
“Today I see the world clear. At home I could not see to find things.”
“Blessed is the hand that gives. TLC gives.”
“I am a shepherd but could not see my cattle. People back home will be amazed when I can take care of my cows again.”
“I have injuries on my body from falling down, because I could not see. Life was hard.”
“I have been here since Monday. Now it is Saturday. It’s been a good week. I am no longer blind.”
“I can see the light of day. That was not happening before.”
“I went to one hospital and was told, no money, no surgery. Here you do not ask for money.”
“My chest is so tight today (emotional) when I think how you came to pick me up to give me something great. You did not just call me and tell me to come.”
“I am full in body and mind. I hope the spirit of this place goes with me.”
“I look out at you all, and you are beautiful to see.”
|TLC staff sing and dance through the bandage removal celebration.
“Some people told me not to come. I came to this place and found the children of God.”
“Jesus is here. I see Him in all of you.”
“Whenever I needed something, it was provided without complaint.”
“I was not able to see the people, the buildings, the mountains. I see them now!”
|Dr. Alex Cohen and Executive Director Echo VanderWal are both observers and participants during the unveiling of new eyes.
“Thank you for coming to take care of the elderly.”
“As I came through the gate, I saw the red t-shirts about Jesus and thought this is where I will find help. I’ve never seen anywhere like this place. What we see even with just our minds is unbelievable.”
“Thank you for your lesson in love.”
“I can see people I could not see yesterday.”
“I’m from far, far away and came here to get a life.”
“I will now be able to see my children and their children.”
“My eye was blind for ten years.”
|This partial line of patients awaiting their turns in surgery are attended by medical personnel Kevin and Tiffany. In one day 40 surgeries were performed.
“I was blind and alone.”
“When The Luke Commission visited my home area, I knew from that day I would get help for my eye problem.”
“I can see a small stone at my feet. It’s been a long time since I could even see my shoes.”
|The kitchen staff is on high alert during eye session cooking and delivering food to
patients morning, noon, and evening.
“My other eye was washed last time. Now I can see with two eyes.”
“I can see the far sky.”
“Now I can see how many doors are in the building far away on the hill.”
“We were fed the Word of God and food.”
|Two patients and one daughter sing and dance their appreciation.
“My eye has been healed without any money.”
“I’m thankful to see with my eye and walk with my (artificial) leg. It came apart and a TLC mechanic fixed it.”
“Now we can see each other. Before the people sitting next to me were just voices.”
|Babe spreads his wings now that he can see.
“This staff transports us from one place to another after they picked us up at our homes. They do not get angry when we do not move fast or get confused.”
“I will have joy in my home, now that I can see again.”
|“What can you see, my Babe?”
With these the expressions of appreciation, The Luke Commission also would like to thank Dr. Alex Cohen for heading up the surgical team this session. He came from Iowa with his son Jacob and assistant Collyn Hagemeier.
Truly, it is The Luke Commission’s privilege to serve Eswatini patients.
Grateful for being eye an witness of God’s amazing grace, Janet Tuinstra on behalf of the whole team