Bringing Sight and the Love of Jesus to South Africa

By Deacon Bill Hahn and Kathy Hahn
Last April, a brother in Christ nominated me to serve on the Board of Directors at MOST Ministries. It absolutely came out of left field because I had not heard from this particular friend in over ten years, had only heard of MOST a few times more than ten years ago, had never gone on a mission trip of any kind, and was considering other opportunities. Well, my “left field” was God’s “right down the pipe” and I was elected. Now Kathy and I talked about what next…well, it seems like we should go on a MOST Ministries trip so we could see what it was I was trying to direct from the Board of Directors!

We had no idea what to expect when we signed up for the South Africa mission trip. We had heard stories of sleeping on the ground (thank God, we had beds!), we had no idea what kinds of food they ate (from the mundane of McDonald’s to the exotic of wildebeest), whether was it safe (meh, safe enough) and what would it feel like to be a minority since the Republic of South Africa is less than 10% Caucasian and apartheid is still a bitter, sensitive memory for the country (the many Zulu we met were very accepting and open).

Kathy’s mantra of “It’s not about me,” was how we verbalized all of our misgivings, and more importantly, our way of saying that God would provide whatever we needed when we needed it. We certainly hoped that He would keep in mind that we had no idea what we were doing.  And God provided beyond our hopes. He used us to help the people of South Africa regain their sight, and more importantly the great news of Jesus Christ to a people that were hungry for it whether they knew it or not. This was a MOST Ministries eyeglass mission trip to South Africa and an experience of a lifetime!
(Our team)
In October we were blessed to join a team of eight other members from South Dakota, Illinois, Georgia and Michigan. After meeting as a team for the first time at the Atlanta airport, we had a devotion and prepared for our 17 hour flight to Johannesburg, South Africa. Upon our arrival we excitedly gathered our luggage and made the hour-long drive to the Mhluzi (known as Middleburg in English) guest house which would be our home base for the next ten days.
(One of our clinics.)
(A team member from Caring Friends, the mission partner we worked with while in South Africa.)
The primary mission outreach for us was using witness bracelets as a tool to share the saving message of the Gospel to those we met. There were two of us on the team who regularly worked in the dispensing station. Part of our privilege was to offer any prayer requests for those people who needed or wanted prayer time. We connected with hundreds of individuals, even if just for a few short minutes. As we were reminded, this may be one of the only times someone may have the opportunity to hear that Jesus Christ loves them.

We heard some heart-wrenching stories from people needing prayers. One woman had all of us in tears as she shared her story of how someone broke into her home and killed her mother with a machete. She was attacked as well which led to a scarred head hidden under a turban. When she was taken to the hospital she had a stroke and her life was forever changed.  With the help of our Caring Friends’ interpreter, we held hands and prayed with and for her. Other prayers were less dramatic but no less in important. Please ask God to help me find a job.  Help my 22-year old son find his way. Watch over my school exams.

It was so exciting when an 84 year old man couldn’t wait to show us his identification to prove his age and share how he has never been able to see well until now. As we arrived at different clinic locations, throngs of people were waiting, and greeted us with hugs and smiles. Four sisters were so excited when then each were fitted with glasses and received sunglasses. They wanted their picture taken with us. Many of the people we met had tears in their eyes as they hugged and thanked us for helping them see!

We took 3000 eyeglasses to South Africa along with over 500 pairs of sunglasses, over 3000 handmade glass cases and 800 witness bracelets. We saw 641 people during our clinics. There were 1,126 eyeglasses fitted and given out along with 429 sunglasses.
   
Despite our concern about the unknown, God used us to bless the people of the Republic of South Africa and plant seeds for the Holy Spirit to cultivate. God also blessed us as we grew just by sharing His Word, and we thank God for giving us this experience.
Kathy and I will be heading to the mountains of Belize in March 2020 for another eyeglass clinic. There will be a collection bin in the Narthex for your unused eyeglasses and sunglasses. We have high hopes that you at Christ Our Savior will join us in Guatemala in October 2020 for an eyeglass clinic. Please pray about whether God is directing you to join us! Visit mostministries.org or Kathy & Bill will be in the Narthex and happy to give you more information. There will be an informational meeting on February 5 at 7:00pm regarding the trip in October. 

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