**Enjoy this guest post from Dr Jeff Johnson.**
This past April, I visited Jon and Helen Hovestol for a few days at their new home at El Ayudante. As part of the new medical/dental clinic, a room was dedicated to providing eye examinations. Through the generosity of an eye doctor in Florida, an entire lane of equipment was shipped and was ready to be installed. So, for two days, Jon, Michael Loomer (Calvary Church, Williams Bay, WI) and I put all the pieces together. With that equipment and some other diagnostic instruments brought down on the recent trip, the clinic now has the ability to provide North American quality eye examinations and treatment to the “least of these”. In the previous years of serving in Honduras, I was never able to provide the comprehensive level of examination, diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up this equipment can afford. From a profession perspective alone, this is quite exciting!
As the first Monday rolled around, we really did not know what to expect eye wise. What surprised me was the complexity of the eye conditions the first few hours presented. In one of the first patients seen, we had the proper equipment and medication to diagnose and treat a very acute inflammatory condition that was sight threatening. We saw him every day that week, and the condition was resolving well by that Friday. I was able to show Dr. Idis how to use the biomicroscope so as to follow up with the patient over the next few weeks to make sure there was a good clinical resolution. Without this equipment, we would not have been able to adequately monitor and handle this situation.
A true gift for me on this trip was my translator Jose, an engineering student from nearby Comayagua. Because I was doing more comprehensive testing on patients than I’m used to on these medical brigade trips, my very poor Spanish vocabulary was exposed, but Jose was more than up for the task. His gentle spirit with the patients and a desire to learn made my job so much easier. Frankly, he was indispensable. By the end of the week, he knew what I needed, when I needed it, and became completely proficient in pre-testing each patient.
Grace Thornton, who worked in my office for numerous years before relocating to Chicago, continues to be an invaluable partner in numerous trips to Honduras. She is in charge of ordering and inventorying reading glasses, sunglasses, and specialty Rx’s. Grace has done so many things behind the scenes to support this eye care ministry over the last several years. What really sets her apart is her passion for excellence and dependency on prayer as she prepares for these trips. We have repeatedly seen remarkable functional restoration of vision with the donated and/or purchased glasses that Grace has specifically prayed over The image you see is of a 61year old woman seeing clearly for the first time in her life with the exact prescription she need in a frame of her favorite color. She had never been able to see anything past 1″ from her nose. This is just another “typical” story of the Lord’s specific provision that could only be orchestrated by Him.
This 98 year old gentleman had suffered with significant eye irritation for years as a result of his lower eyelid turning in, causing his eyelashes to rub on his cornea. We taught his son how to use surgical tape to pull the lid down and keep the lashes away from the eye. In the States, we would repair this surgically. Here, we used surgical tape, which will be changed daily, and will provide relief from this chronic condition.
I would like to thank Colleen and Michael Loomer, who spent countless hours preparing, organizing, and fundraising for this trip. Through the generosity of Calvary Community Church, Williams Bay, WI, and other individuals, the diagnostic, therapeutic, and optical supplies were completely and abundantly provided for.
It was a joy to serve with Team Calvary once again.
To Tristan and Beth, Mark and Tracy, and Jon and Helen. My heartfelt thanks for heeding His call to El Ayudante! You have been entrusted with a ministry that will impact countless Hondurans and North Americans alike. I’m ready to return!
Dr. Jeff Johnson, Cary, IL