By Lori Nicholas
Jackson Inyangala. I may not always remember that name, but I’m sure I’ll remember him for a very long time. Jackson is a student here at KIST [Kima International School of Theology, Kenya] who came to the clinic one day stating, “My teacher said I should come see you for my eyes.” He went on to tell me that other students could read what was written on the chalkboard from their seats, but he had to walk up to the board to read it.
I asked some more questions, then showed him where to stand to read the Snellen Eye Chart— you know—the one with the big “E” at the top. Normal vision is 20/20, but Jackson’s was 20/100 in his right eye, and 20/70 in his left. That seemed similar to my husband’s vision without his glasses. I had Jackson return the next day to try on Ernie’s extra pair of glasses, along with a couple other pairs from the clinic that were stronger and weaker. I grew concerned when they didn’t help at all, and he answered my other question with “yes.” That question was, Had he watched [the process of] welding? He said he did not know you should wear an eye shield. Only once have I seen a welder along the side of the road using any kind of eye protection here in Kenya, and we see welding quite often along the roads.
Well, today we just returned from Sabatia Eye Hospital, a ministry of the Friends (Quaker) Church. Jackson’s eyes were examined, and we waited as they made glasses for him. As we walked out of the hospital door with new glasses on, I heard a gasp and looked up in time to see Jackson’s expression of awe and a smile jump from ear to ear across his face. “KBD334J” he stated with delight. “What?” I asked. He exclaimed, “I can see your license plate all the way from here!” When we arrived back at KIST, that smile was still there, accompanied by a vigorous hand shake and many words of appreciation.
Glasses, something so common and accessible in the USA, opened up a whole new world of vision for Jackson. I thank God for making people smart enough to invent glasses, and for the Friends Church for building, equipping, and training people to provide eye care here in Western Kenya.
I just saw Jackson walking by with a friend, and that smile was still there as he paused and looked at a bird squawking high in a tree above. Praise the Lord, Jackson could see it!
Lori and Ernie Nicholas serve as Church of God missionaries to Kenya. Learn more about Global Strategy at www.chogglobal.org.