Get out of your comfort zone and serve in God’s kingdom! Take courage and embrace the experience of serving God’s children in outreach communities as we are blessed with the ability to give.
See the Lord invites you to physically give sight to under-privileged communities in Asia where vision and healthcare services are limited. Personally I had my prayers answered – the Lord chose me to work alongside Kelly and our team to go to southern Taiwan in June.
We may take our access to vision services for granted, but those in remote townships often bear their neglect in silence without much hope. Many mountain villagers, field workers and elderly suffer from visual impairments and diseases that impact their independence and quality of life. It is not uncommon for children in these rural places to be without parents to care for them because adults usually make a living by working in the city. As a health care professional, you are likely providing the first eye exam for these villagers and your expertise easily brings about immediate results. The teams of See the Lord restore and protect eyesight with various means, namely providing prescription glasses, sunglasses and associated health management. Referrals are made so that those with eye conditions and diseases can seek necessary medical treatments. The joy and gratification is indescribable when you see your patients’ smiling faces and beaming eyes after you have “turned on the lights” by restoring their vision.
In addition to providing health care, we lean on God’s words through daily devotions for wisdom and strength to support one another. God opens our eyes and hearts to people in need, so that we can exercise respect, empathy and compassion. Taking part to serve in God’s presence fills our hearts with joy and hope.Eve Yeh, M.Optom., Taiwan June 2013 Team, Optometrist, University of New South Wales, Class of 2004
It’s been almost a year now since I participated in the optometric mission trip with Kelly and the rest of the team, but I am constantly reminded about the beautiful time we shared in Taiwan. It was an amazing experience and I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to intersect my faith and health care in a place where people were in great need of service. I had initially believed that optometry and Catholicism were two drastically different aspects of my life, but the trip taught me how to combine the two so that I could work with Him and through Him to share His light. Before the trip, I wasn’t accustomed to sharing my faith with people outside of my family so it was very refreshing to be around those who spoke openly and confidently about theirs. Something very special to me was that I was able to come into contact with other Filipinos while in Taiwan. I remember my anxiety in the beginning about not feeling welcome since I was visiting a foreign country and how the language barrier might be too much of a hindrance, but the Lord guided my work and allowed me to connect with people even when words did not. Witnessing so many of my own people serving in the name of God reminded me that I was never far from home. See the Lord permitted me to gain a better understanding of health conditions in other parts of the world and gave me a chance to be a better steward of God’s grace. For all that I will be forever grateful. I can only hope to one-day touch lives the same way I was touched by this trip.Dovi Mae Patino, Taiwan December 2012 Team, 3rd Year Pre-Optometry Student, UC Berkeley
Whether you are an eye care health professional, a student considering a career in the health care field, or just a curious traveler, See the Lord (STL) is an organization that can provide a great opportunity for anyone wanting to help others and explore a different part of the world. The doctors involved are very dedicated and the passion from the leaders of the organization can be witnessed from your initial contact with them.
As I reflect on my experience of being part of the inaugural team, I realized that I gained new perspectives about my life. My two-week adventure was filled with gratifying missionary work, enlightening cultural immersion, and valuable time of spiritual re-evaluation. Most importantly, the trip allowed me to envision a new path for my future, something that would not have happened on my own or with any other organization.
There is a unique personal touch that separates STL from other organizations. As part of the STL team, you are not seen as just volunteer assisting under a supervisor. By serving intimately with all members of the organization from beginning to the end, close bonds and relationships are formed. The experience comes with fun-filled memories, but you will also gain a family. As STL continues to grow to reach more people in direct need of vision care, I can only hope more people will join this wonderful family that will always be part of me, wherever I am in life.Tai Pang, Taiwan December 2012 Team, Optometric Assistant/Optician, East Bay, CA
From watching many episodes of Taiwanese dramas, I imagined Taiwan as a luxurious place and well-developed country. Although I had a general idea of underdeveloped places in Taiwan, I did not know the extent of the underserved population until I arrived.
Overall there was a lot of traveling involved. We never stayed overnight in the same place twice, which meant unloading and packing constantly our personal items and an extra luggage for clinic supplies. We were a mobile optometry van.
I loved the fact that our STL group was small because we developed a closeness with each other. We were always well-taken care of by Dr. Kelly Kao, who acted like a mother to us along the way. She was always asking us how we were doing physically and mentally. Whenever I was feeling overwhelmed or I didn’t understand something, she would encourage us to ask questions, reflect, and not be afraid to make mistakes. I also gained strength from God because each time we went to church, did daily prayers, shared our discussions and reflections with each other, I felt the power of God lifting up my spirit.
Since our trip was during Holy Week, I was often reminded everyday of Jesus’s love and service to his disciples, to Mary, and his love for all people. Therefore, I was able to handle whatever physical or mental exhaustion that occurred during clinic and travel days.
The best reward that I gained from the trip was during clinic days. I saw that there was a great need for us since the access to eye care is not as convenient as walking into a Walgreens and buying a pair of readers. The villagers would have to drive three hours away to a hospital and even if they did, they might not have enough money. Most of the time they didn’t even realize they needed eye care. A lot of eye diseases of the seniors are asymptomatic so without having an eye exam every year, their eye disease (like glaucoma) could worsen. Therefore, the reward of the trip was being able to help the villagers and the school children improve their quality of life through vision care. Even though my role was very simple in terms of taking visual acuity, dispensing, assisting Dr. Kelly Kao with trial frame refraction, doing retinoscopy, and etc. I felt very important and much appreciated by the villagers, the church’s staff members, and my team.
Personally for me, STL was the perfect trip that combined everything I am passionate about and, in sense, helped me to grow in specific areas of my life. I was able to grow spiritually through the Catholic practices, physically through traveling from clinic to clinic, and emotionally through the interaction with the villagers. After my experience in Taiwan, I realize that I take my home in California, USA for granted. You can never fully understand something until you have experienced it. I encourage ALL pre-optometry students and also health professional students to go on the STL trip. The trip really opened my eyes to Taiwan and the Lord. I hope that ALL of you can experience the things that I did by going on STL. God Bless.Lai Pang, Taiwan March 2013 Team, 1st year Optometry Student, School of Optometry of the Inter American University of Puerto Rico