The Valley of Vision
…Their eyes were opened, and they recognized Him. Luke 24:31
In the Comayagua Valley, where the ministry of El Ayudante is located, the growing season continues year round. As you travel the washboard-like gravel roads around the area, one plot of land after another is producing crops, or is inhabited by cattle. I think the crop of abundance this past month, was cucumbers. They were in ample supply at the Mission House!
Like this agricultural area, the vision and mission of El Ayudante never stops growing as well. As the fertile land and climate of the Comayagua Valley continues to produce crops all year, E.A. continues to expand it’s “produce” to the surrounding communities.
One such expansion this month involved eye care. Unlike the other health care services available to the patients seen at Clinica El Ayudante, vision care was dependant on an eye doctor from the States providing examinations. From the opening of the clinic in July, 2014 until this past February, there were only five weeks in the past year and a half where eye examinations were done. The rest of the time, the exam room remained vacant.
After I left El Ayudante last July, Jon Hovestol (Clinic Director) and I talked about how we might be able to keep the doors open to care for the vision needs of the patients on an ongoing basis. To address the prescription glasses issue, we would need to have someone who could handle the technical aspect of refracting. God had brought Jose Fernandez to E.A. to translate for me on my first trip in September, 2014, and we quickly discovered he developed an aptitude for pre-testing and administering ancillary tests to the patients. With his back round in engineering, Jose has been able to easily grasp ophthalmic theory and concepts with no formal training. His teachability, gentle spirit, and heart for ministry is more than any of us could have expected.
So, the scope of vision care expanded at Clinica El Ayudante this past month. A newly designed portable hand-held auto-refractor manufactured by Smart Vision Labs was purchased by New Vision Ministries and was donated to El Ayudante. Thisunit allows the generation of an objective prescription that can be utilized to provide accurate readings for spectacle corrections. The portability of this unit also makes it very feasible to take off site, and
address the visual needs of those unable to make it to the clinic. Jose spent the week testing each patient, and fine tuning the results using the phoropter. Grace Thornton, who has served on numerous trips to Honduras over the years, has developed a comprehensive inventory of pre-made readers and donated glasses, which should take care of the majority of the patients visual needs.
I also had the opportunity to work with Dr. Jackie, the head physician on staff, to make her familiar with diagnosing and treating the more common eye infections/inflammations using the biomicroscope. The clinic now has an eye care model utilizing automated and subjective refracting, along with diagnostic equipment found in the States, to offer patients quality eye examinations. There will be ongoing consultation between Jose, Dr. Jacki and myself, which will allow continual training, and improved scope of care as time goes on.
I continue to be amazed at the vision God has given this ministry and the resources to implement it. Ministry is expanding rapidly. For those of you who have been to El Ayudante before, you will be amazed at the growth on and off campus when you return. For those who want to see God work in powerful ways, and how He is honored first and foremost in every aspect of ministry, you need to visit the “valley of vision” where the Lord has planted this very fruitful ministry. Eyes are being opened…
Dr. Jeff Johnson