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Saturday, March 24, 2012

The team enjoyed a day of relaxation today after completing 5 days of eyeglass clinics. They saw 839 people! On Friday when we arrived at the clinic to find a mass of people waiting to be seen, some had come from earlier in the week or from others communities to be seen.

Tim  did an amazing job presenting the gospel at all of our location but this last site was predominately Muslim and located within a couple of blocks from the local mosque. Friday is the Muslim day of worship and Tim had to compete with the Muslim sermon on a speaker.

Several Muslim men commented on the presentation and it was good to know. One gentlemen had waited  most of the day and when it looked as if he might be able to be seen, lifted his wrist and showed his witness bead bracelet and said what we received with this is more important than the eyeglasses. God allowed us to be able to call more people into the clinic and he was one of them.

Today the team got to sleep in a bit and enjoy a leisurely breakfast and a longer devotions before setting out to the market and then to a pool. The market was a great experience and everyone took lessons about bartering from Beth and Tim and headed out and bargains we had by all.

We had lunch at a nice hotel with a pool and the team enjoyed a few hours of well deserved rest.

Once we got back to our compound one of our translators came over to give us cooking lessons! A field trip into the neighborhood to find a mortar to grind part of the sauce, a trip to the local market to gather a few missing ingredients dinner is well underway and is spelling delicious! We are having chicken with a peanut sauce.

Once again God out together an amazing team of people ranging from 12 to 75 that blended well together, they looked after one another and did an outstanding job of sharing the gospel in word and deed.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


The day started as usual with breakfast and this morning by flashlight. We headed off to Yatiya for our clinic. The area we had clinic in was in a compound with adequate space. We saw 2 blind people in a row followed by another 2 throughout the day, we all wished that the white cane would have multiplied like the loaves and fishes. The team saw more eye problem today than earlier this week but tested, dispensed and fitted 149 people.

One man came to clinic with a large orange size tumor that pushed the eye down to mid cheek and we managed to test and dispense glasses to him, he left a very satisfied. Another older gentlemen came through the clinic and received a -10.50 pair of glasses which allowed him to see what people were wearing and carrying, the more he saw the more animated he became.

It was a great day and Tim did an amazing job with sharing the gospel to all.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Day 2

Today was a vary changing day.  It all started at 1:34AM when the power cut off in the mission house, making it a very hot night's rest.  At least it was short because we had to travel 45 minuets to the clinic today, in rush hour traffic. After a few zip and zaps from passing cars, and bumps in the off roads we arrived at the clinic that was on the fourth story of a school, and us coming made for quite the racket.  Though the day we had some heart breaks, a very high number of cataract cases (two young boys in a row), a few blind people that we had to turn away, and angry backups after a lunch break.  But as it says in Galatians 6:2 (NIV) "Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ."  So as a team we encouraged each other when we had our heartbreaks, fitting two women that where very blind with out even using flippers on the first try.  We helped each other out when there was a backup; turning a group of 15 before dispensing out the door in ten minutes. With the kids of cataracts, we prayed.  So even if it was changing, God helped us build his kingdom, and that made it a great day.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The first day of clinics

Hello friends and family!  This is Helen writing for the team.

As you know, today was our first day of clinics.  For the most part, it went really well.  We gave 195 glasses to 165 people who came through.  I cannot really speak for others, but I had an awesome day.  These are the stations and the people that did them, from start to finish:  Sign-up, local church; Witnessing, Tim Heiney; Nursing, Chris Scalzo, Rick Twenhafel;  Testing, Rick and Katie Twenhafel, Chris,  myself; Dispensing, Ken Jorns, Beth Heiney, Katie, Betty Lortscher, myself; Fitting, Gary Lortscher; Everywhere and Everything, Debby Suchyta (she was wonderful at helping us new timers learn, and helping wherever needed); Translating, church locals.  As you can see, a few people got to trade around and try a couple different stations.The work space was nice and there was cool shade, which is wonderful.  We had long round pockets filled with beads that soaked up water and helped keep us cool all day, and that was very nice.

We worked by the church, where they have a school outside, so many children came through.  I made friends with one little girl, after I gave her glasses, and I was taking a small break, when she came and tapped me on the shoulder.  She asked for some of my water (I had put a flavoring packet in it, so it was pink and looked appealing to a little girl), so I poured some into her water bottle, and she ran away.  When she came back, she had a little package of animal crackers, and after giving them to me she ran away again, coming back with a cookie.  After running away again, she came back with her empty water bottle, and I poured some more of my water in it.  I have really noticed a lot of generosity here, in Guinea, which is considered a very poor country.

Tomorrow, we have to drive a ways, so I should go to bed so I can get back up in the morning!:)

Team Arrival

Team arrival!!

This is Beth writing! Thanks for all your prayers leading up to this time! Looks like we needed them

Well we felt pretty ready for this team coming in. We'd heard just the day before that there were to be "peaceful demonstrations" in Conakry the day the team was to arrive, so wondered how that always happens??? It turned out in the end that the govt. did not let these take place, so we prayed that no one would be upset over that and start anything. All stayed calm during the day! Tim was still nervous about traffic yesterday to the airport so we left the guesthouse at 4:00 for the 5:30 arrival. The plane ended up being late, arriving at 6, and there were two other flights that came in right on top of that one, so we could only imagine what the line looked like at immigration! We continued to stand and wait outside. Our two church leaders, Fredy and Koffe also came to meet the team. We had two extra taxis on standby as well. Well, we waited, and waited, and waited. The team was carrying a letter explaining why they had over 200 pairs of glasses in their bags, and asking please to allow them to pass without trouble.

At about 7:45 M. Condthe man who was inside to meet them and help them get through, came out and explained that customs had taken the glasses and were going to hold them until Monday. AHH! Monday is our first clinic day! (Debby told us later that this is becoming the norm all over now) So they were asking to see Tim inside. We followed him back in. I waited with the part of the team that had already come through and Tim went inside with Debby (Suchyta, leader from MOST) to figure things out. So we waited and waited, and waited some more. I was tired by then, and I hadn't just flown half way around the world! I finally decided that I could pack up some of the folks and luggage and head home and Tim could come later with the rest. Just as I was going in, Debby came flying out saying, "We may have a compromise. If I can give the director and examination and glasses we can get our things through!" So she headed out to get her equipment and I headed in to let Tim know I was going to go.

I think we were finally all home just before 9 PM! Once finally back at the guesthouse we found out that two men at customs received eye examinations and were given 4 pair of glasses, then let us take all 5 pieces of equipment out! Praise God!! With all the confusion last night we got home and also realized we're still missing one piece of luggage, a rather important one: the one with all the witnessing tools in as well as the equipment for the church here in Conakry to keep so they can continue to do clinics after we leave!! So Tim has been working on that today. It's either still sitting at the airport, or it's coming in on tonight's flight. We'll see.

- For the team's safe travel
- That we were able to get all the bags out!
- For the great worship we were able to take part in today: singing, dancing, and praising God!!

- That we can find that lost piece of luggage without trouble.
- For our first clinic tomorrow. We will hold it at the main church in Petit Simbaya. There are already over 100 people signed up to get their eyes tested. Pray that we can be a strong witness to the love of Jesus in this place!
- That the rest of the week goes smoothly as well!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Not to Worry, God is in charge

This is the story of  LOST LUGGAGE, and God's provision for us.  First off, my name is Ken, and my wife Jan and I have been using these mission trips as an excuse for other travels.  Last year, she met me in Paris upon the way home, and we enjoyed a few days there.......So when the decision was made for me to travel to Guinea THIS year, we decided to travel to Europe again.  This time to London.

Most of the Guinea Eyewear Team 1203 departed the U.S. on March 16th., but Jan and I actually left on the 10th., and arrived in London on the 11th.  We had a good trip, but arrived short my two large suitcases--One containing exclusively eyewear and other supplies for the clinics, and the other containing mostly my personal clothing and supplies, BUT ALSO containing some additional clinic supplies.

The airport staff at Heathrow were very cordial, and informed us that no doubt our bags would be on the next available flight.....not to worry.  They took the information about our hotel.  We made our way to the hotel, where we were told that it is not uncommon for bags to arrive late--probably within a day...not to worry.

We began sightseeing, and praying,  and doing "tourist things".  Sunday passed.  Monday was nearly passed with no luggage.  Fortunately Jan had packed a couple of clean shirts for me in HER luggage, and I long ago learned how to wash my own socks.  My heavy coat and other cold weather items were in my lost bag, but the Lord provided great weather--even sunshine--in London--in the mornings--unheard of, so my traveling clothes and jacket proved very adequate.  I decided to email Debby at MOST to advise her of the necessity of "contemplating" packing another bag to replace the supplies missing.  Tuesday passed.  Hotel staff informed us that it is commonplace for luggage to take two days to arrive.  No bags.....not to worry.  More prayer.  It dawned on me that I hadn't taken my daily blood pressure meds since Friday, and also that my Malaria meds, which I needed to START were also in my missing bag.  More prayer.

We also engaged the services of Jan's brother in law, Bill.  Bill is a retired Air Force officer who lives near Washington D.C.  If there is bureaucracy ANYWHERE to be dealt with, Bill is your guy.  We put Bill and my sister in law Joy "on the job", supplying them with the missing bag numbers, and our flight schedules and particulars of the trip.  All done via Jan's iphone which works internationally.  My own cell phone does not.  I can assure you, however, that Bill and Joy's phones were working well.  My heart leapt every time Jan's phone chimed to note the arrival of a message.  I sent more messages to Debby.

By Wednesday morning, no luggage.  Hotel staff assured us that luggage often takes as long as three days to arrive.  Tourism continued, but my blue jeans were getting pretty "gamey", and some TRULY clean skivvies would be appreciated.  I was still using the little tiny toothbrush supplied by British Air, and borrowing items from Jan's kit.    It's amazing what a person can "do without" when crunchtime comes.  By Wednesday evening there were messages on Jan's phone that the luggage had been found in Atlanta, and was being shipped--both from British Air, and from Joy.  Returning to the hotel, we were informed by staff that it is not at all unusual for lost luggage to take FOUR days to catch up.  Time for more messages to Debby at MOST Ministries, and more prayer.

Some time on Thursday, the luggage arrived!  Hooray, clean clothes.  Medicines.  Clinic supplies.  I said my Thank You's to God, and all the other folks who were involved.  I changed clothes, and reshuffled items as Jan was preparing to head back for her return.  More tourism.

Friday came, and our trips continued.  We headed back to Heathrow airport on the "underground".  We were actually quite accomplished at riding the "underground" by now, having spent the week touring London.  But Jan's plane for Dallas left from Terminal 3, and my flight for Paris left from Terminal 5--a long ways away.  So were separated there, with no more communication to be had for a while.  Only prayer that trips would go well.

It was about 11:30 a.m. but I couldn't check in and check my two large bags until 3:30, so I just sat there waiting, and watching my two cumbersome suitcases.  Finally checked them in, and noted to the agents that although I was headed to Paris to join my teammates, the BAGS were to be checked thru to Conakry, Guinea.  Not to worry, said the agent.

I waited longer.....until my flight to Paris at 6:30.  All went well, and I was still rejoicing that the Lord had provided the luggage and supplies, and that it was out of my hands, and checked thru to Conakry.  Had a pleasant flight to Paris, knowing that I would have all night to spend in the terminal before joining the team, on Saturday MORNING.  I don't know why, but although I was traveling on, and my bags were checked thru, I somehow was led to follow the crowd of folks from my flight whose destination was Paris, and who headed to the baggage carousel to retrieve luggage......I guess, just so I could watch.  Hey, I had nothing else to do......and as I'm trying to find a way to recharge my ipad so I could email Jan, I glanced at the carousel, and THERE, playing "catch me if you can", was one of my large suitcases.  I dropped my backpack and other items, and made a dash and grab for the wayward bag just before it would have disappeared into the wall, and then sat there again for a long time, wondering of the SECOND bag might also have been mistakenly unloaded onto the carousel.  After about a half hour, I decided not..........back to the British Air agent, who didn't speak much English, and I, who speak minimal French, trying to explain that there were actually TWO large bags bound for Conakry, but THIS one had mistakenly been discharged onto the carousel, and I didn't know where the other was, but I wanted BOTH of them transferred to Air France for transfer to Conakry.  NOT TO WORRY, he would see to it "straightaway", and called for a man to come fetch my wayward bag.  I sat there watching for another half hour, until a total stranger with no visible nametag or ID walked by, picked up my suitcase, ignored my questions, and walked off with it.  Time for more Prayer.

Well, on Saturday morning, as I checked in for the flight to Conakry, I prayer once more, and then proceeded begin the process.  I mentioned all this trauma of the past several days, to the check in agent, who smiled, and asked if I would like to check on the bags once more.........and she did.  In a few more moments she informed me that BOTH bags were headed to Conakry.........where they finally arrived with all of our other luggage.  To God be the Glory..........All is well.      Ken

My first day in Conakry, Guinea!!

Well, all are safe and doing well (yes, Mom, I'm drinking water :)!  We had a small hold up with baggage at the airport here, but we are doing great now.  This morning, we went to a local church, and it was neat to see the song leaders (and everybody) just singing and clapping and dancing in place.  There were four, yes, four offerings, and I was amazed at how everybody gave, and sang, and danced, and praised God.  We sang several, maybe four or five songs, and everybody that had the microphone said, "Praise God," or, "Praise the Lord," and there were a couple guys who interpreted into French what others said in English.  One neat thing was the testimonies.  One fellow, that played the keyboard, had been in charge of several children who got sick, and they are all doing well now, Tim Heiney shared both our ordeal at the airport and his personal testimony about having cancer in his kidney, and finding a friend that was a specialist in liver, pancreas, and kidney, and Tim has just two little scars on his stomach, rather than one long one on his side.  Some of the children said bible verses, and sang a song.  Afterwards, we ate Chawarma, which were flat, tortilla-like bread, filled with either chicken or beef, french fries, onions if you wanted them, sauce, tomatoes, and maybe something else.  It was good!  This evening we go back to the church, and it's our turn to sing, and tomorrow we start our clinics!