Recent Posts by Kelly Kao

Rose Kao Scholarship Fund

This year, we are proudly introducing the “Rose Kao Scholarship Fund.” This scholarship is named after Kelly’s beloved mother, Rose Kao, who is the inspiration for See the Lord. We hope that by providing scholarships to low-income students, students from all walks of life can join us on mission trips and not allow finances get in the way of serving others.

If you would like to apply for the scholarship, please include the following in your email to info@seethelord.org:
Name
Email address
Intended mission trip
1-2 page personal statement (Why would I like to attend a mission trip with See the Lord? What financial hardships do I face that preclude me from attending a trip if I am unable to meet my fundraising goal?)

We Turned Five Years Old

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June 12, 2016: Fremont, CA         By: Kelly Kao

“Our task now is to learn that if we can voyage to the ends of the earth and find ourselves in the aborigine who most differs from ourselves, we will have made a fruitful pilgrimage. That is why pilgrimage is necessary, in some shape or other. Mere sitting at home and meditating on the divine presence is not enough for our time. We have to come to the end of a long journey and see that the stranger we meet there is no other than ourselves—which is the same as saying we find Christ in him.” ~Thomas Merton

I cannot seem to adequately express how proud I am of our courageous volunteers and devoted staff over the past five years. We have been on the mission field for three of those five years now and have completed eighteen mission trips, caring for over 4,000 patients.

Reflecting upon Thomas Merton’s insights on pilgrimage, I have noticed that I have been given the opportunity to take on the role of pilgrim the past few years. In 2013, I lived like a nomad, residing in over sixty different places. In 2014, I traveled on over fifty different flights, most of them being international. And in all my wanderings, Christ was simply leading me to Himself. It is precisely through my serving of the aborigine on mission trips with See the Lord that I found myself. And in finding myself, I found Christ.

Today, I am truly in awe of how God works through See the Lord. He really can never be outdone. My soul is constantly flooded with intense joy and may we continue to translate that joy into strength to serve others. May we be the hands and feet of Christ and may we continue to see Christ in all those that we serve.

Serving Our Home Country

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May 16-17, 2015: Sanger, CA          By: Erica Liao

Over the past few years of its existence, STL has been able to send a multitude of teams on successful mission trips to Taiwan. Last year, we even ventured into new territory by sending our first group to the Philippines. Our biggest development in 2015 has been serving in our home country, in the humble city of Sanger, California.

Sanger is a city of Fresno County, nestled in the Central Valley of California. The population consists of mainly Latino migrant workers who work in the agricultural industry. The median income for a household is $32,072, with about 23.7% of the population below the poverty line. Many of the inhabitants have been heavily impacted by the drought, losing work as farming production declined and packaging facilities closed down. The unemployment rate was 11.3%, more than double the national average, as of April 2015. In response to the need, STL commissioned a team of nine volunteers in May 2015 to serve the people of Sanger.

Clinic was set up in the community center of St. Mary’s Catholic Church, where we examined 195 patients and distributed 110 pairs of glasses through a combined effort of four optometrists, five STL volunteers, and eight translators/facilitators from the parish. Since most of our patients work long hours outside in the harsh sunlight, we not only provided prescription glasses to help them see, but we also provided many safety glasses and sunglasses to protect their eyes from the harmful UV rays. Some had suffered injuries to their eyes or their systemic conditions, like diabetes and high blood pressure, were affecting their eyesight. Many did not have any vision insurance and were relying on our weekend clinic to provide them with the necessary care and glasses.

In addition to clinic, STL develops and presents public health seminars that are tailored to the local population. Our Spanish-speaking volunteers were an amazing help, jumping from patient to patient to assist in translation. They also helped deliver our presentations on management of sugar intake in both Spanish and English. The presentations explain the effects of sugar in a person’s diet and how it can lead to higher risks of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Our mission is not only to equip our patients with eyesight, but also provide them with the tools and education to live healthy and thriving lives.

Location was not the only new development on this trip-- we were able to purchase a new piece of equipment and use it for the very first time. Through the generosity of our donors, STL was able to purchase a portable autorefractor, a device that provides a measurement of a person’s refractive error. This device helps streamline the exam process, giving the optometrists baseline readings to be able to more quickly measure patients’ prescriptions. The portable autorefractor has traveled to Taiwan on two of our mission trips this summer and has been an invaluable addition to our equipment base, improving accuracy and productivity. We look forward to using it during our future mission trips.

This trip was especially worthwhile from the perspective of our STL staff, as it was the first mission trip for two board members and one officer. Having been quite accustomed to working in the back-end in preparation for trips, it was certainly a different experience to be working face-to-face with the people we serve. Although much of STL’s time and resources are spent serving those abroad, we have become increasingly aware of those in our very own neighborhoods that may need our help. Going to the Central Valley provided an opportunity for local friends and supporters from California to dedicate a weekend serving those in need, and gave many optometrists who normally would be unable to take off multiple weeks to travel abroad, a chance to volunteer as well. Our hope is to inspire more U.S. residents to volunteer their weekends, experience the work that we do, and even motivate them to consider joining future trips abroad.

These interactions are a living testament to all of the hard work that STL does in the name of Christ. A big thank-you to all of our supporters-- both financial and spiritual! We are extremely grateful for your continued support and contributions, and look forward to exciting new developments in the year to come.

STL’s Second Country: The Philippines

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May 6-9, 2014: Manila, Philippines

In May, STL entered into uncharted territory for only the second time since our missions began in 2012. A developed country like Taiwan gave us a safe environment to learn and gain experience. However, it took a giant leap of faith for us to venture out to the Philippines.

Our mission in this new country took place in Bagong Barrio, a neighborhood known for poverty, crime, drugs, and prostitution. It is the second most dangerous area in Metro Manila due to gang violence. The optometric work took place over two days at the Our Lady of Lujan Quasi Parish, run by the IVE (Institute of the Incarnate Word). Approximately 25 Filipino volunteers (consisting of 1-2 ODs from the Philippine College of Optometrists, 2 faculty ODs from Centro Escolar University, 5 practicing ODs, and 18 5th year optometry students) examined the patients and the 4 ODs from the US acted as attending doctors. We had the help of 7 parish volunteers with registration and directing traffic. We examined 453 patients and prescribed 268 glasses.

The Holy Mission of the IVE priests/brothers and SSVM sisters took place from May 2-11. The US team spent two more days after the optometric work helping with the Holy Mission. In the mornings, we would do home visits with Mother and the other sisters (blessing homes, praying, asking about needed sacraments, and inviting them to parish events). To provide some perspective, a typical home may be 6ft x 8ft with 10-15 people (multiple families) living within the close quarters. The homes are usually dark and full of trash. Since there are too many people, sleeping usually occurs in shifts. Children sleep during the day and adults sleep at night, leaving the children to roam around the streets at night. In the afternoons, we helped with children activities. We delivered care packages (diapers, milk powder, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, and lice shampoo) to 60+ mothers with young infants on Thursday, 5/8.

On Saturday, 5/10, the 4 ODs from the US were invited to lecture to 4 out of the 6 optometry school deans in the Philippines, along with other optometrists.

The finished glasses were all delivered on Wednesday, 5/14, to very appreciative patients.

The trip was certainly worthwhile. The average income of the patients we saw (if they were employed) was less than $50 USD a month. Access to medical care and a pair of glasses was quite out of reach for a vast majority. In the Philippines, the lower class and upper class discrepancy is very apparent. Many of the doctors, students, and family members of our US team mentioned that they had never set foot in an area like Bagong Barrio, despite the fact that they may live less than 10 miles away. Another obvious characteristic of the Filipino culture is the Catholic faith. Churches are so abundant that it is not uncommon to find Catholic mass celebrated in shopping malls. However, despite high volume for mass attendance, there can still be much improvement in living out the Catholic faith in this modern age.

We would like to thank each and every one of the STL staff members for your help and support. Your prayers are much appreciated and have born much fruit. The safety of our volunteers and the success of the mission is a testament to your service and love.

CROSS Radio Lecture

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March 2, 2014: San Francisco, CA

Back on August 17, 2013, Kelly completed an interview with Cross Radio, a Chinese Catholic radio program in the San Francisco Bay Area. STL had the honor of being invited to present during Cross Radio's annual fundraising event at Saints Peter and Paul Church in San Francisco this past Sunday. Staff members (Andy An and Judy Chang) and volunteers gathered to support Kelly in her very first technical eyeball lecture in Mandarin. The title of the lecture was Healthy Bodies, Healthy Eyes, Healthy Sight (健康身體, 健康眼睛, 健康視力). Keep in mind that most of the audience members were Cantonese speaking, not Mandarin. We were very blessed to have Frances Wu, a Cantonese-speaking registered nurse, to translate some of the technical terms for the audience. Through the grace of God and the encouragement of all present, Kelly was able to lighten the mood about serious eye diseases. Surprisingly, the audience was very intrigued by the disease process of glaucoma and how antioxidants are important for eye health. By the way, it took Kelly quite a long tome to memorize that antioxidants are 抗氧化劑: kàngyǎnghuàjì. Pinyin has been her best friend the last couple weeks.

As the lenten season begins and as we are marked with ashes, may we always keep our eyes set on the ultimate goal of eternal life in heaven. In all the sacrifices we take on, know that suffering only brings us closer to Christ. If you would like some ideas on how to live out "a life of evangelical poverty," take a look at what Pope Francis suggests through this eventful calendar. Have a blessed Lenten journey.

General Meeting 2013

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December 14, 2013: Berkeley, CA

Fourteen of our staff gathered for our first general meeting. Members from New York, Los Angeles, and the Bay Area united in person or via web conference. Our team has grown so big, so quickly this year that some members met each other for the first time that day. Our meeting was very productive, followed by a photo shoot at the cafe, lunch at the Cheese Board Collective, filming of our promotional video at the Berkeley Rose Garden, and then dessert at Fentons Creamery. When each and every one of our staff members recalled their inspiration for joining STL, we were reminded that it was not by accident, but by God's will. Our operations are expanding here in the US, Taiwan, and the Philippines next year and it is evident that all these graces are bestowed upon us by our Lord. We count our blessings and pray for continued courage and strength. God bless and Merry Christmas.

 

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