Blind Eyes Open!

Tadalu: Part One

Under conditions that would make any North American surgeon cringe, our dear friend and partner in medical missions, Dr. Asrat performed cataract surgeries on 40 residents of the Harbu Chulule region. Only days earlier these patients came for screening led by their relatives; today they have sight!

The most astounding story of healing is that of Tadalu.

The second week of the Hopethiopia/s Ophthalmic Clinic at Harbu Chulule’s medical center began with a crowd of blind people clamoring for medical attention. Much to our dismay, it was too late; all 40 spots for cataract surgeries were full and the doctor was scheduled to operate the entire day.

In the midst of these desperate people, there she was, with her elderly mother, sitting silently … waiting in anticipation: Tadalu, her name meaning Blessed.

It was obvious, even to the untrained, that she was blind, as the lower half of both corneas were opaque. The extent of her blindness was unknown until Dr. Asarat examined her. As he did so, he began to explain all the parts of her eyes that had been damaged by what he suspected was German Measles; she was completely and bilaterally blind, incapable of detecting any light. This was her state for the last 17 years; a blindness that brought with it such a strong stigma it caused her husband to abandon her and their child.

The damage to her eyes was extensive and Dr. Asrat said “we” could do nothing for her. So, we simply asked God to heal her. One of our team members prayed for her once … nothing changed … he prayed for her a second time and within seconds, Tadalu reported that she saw a shadow. Dr. Asrat came running and re-examined her eyes. Sure enough there was change! As he shone the light in her eye, she saw it! Wide-eyed and excitedly he declared, “I can get this. I want to do this eye.”

In the context of the little health clinic normally it takes approximately 20 minutes per eye for cataract surgery; Dr. Asrat spent 1-½ hours working on her left eye. What a privilege it was for those of us who bore witness to the most difficult case he had encountered in his 17 years of his ophthalmology practice! He implanted a lens, and closed up; as he did so he stated, “She should have sight tomorrow!” Waiting for our vehicles to transport us back to our rooms, the team stood silently under the vast and starry Ethiopian sky in awe of what the God of the Universe had brought that day … to one of the least of these … a miracle.

But the miracle had not yet been fully facilitated; Dr. Asrat had a sleepless night thinking about Tadalu. When we arrived at the clinic the next morning, I raced back to the makeshift operating room. Peeking my head into the entrance to the O.R., I inquired into the condition of our patient. Instead of an answer, I got an invitation to gown up and join them. You see, Tadalu awoke with sight … she could see fingers at a distance of one meter … but there was a floater that had detached itself and was now floating suspended within her line of vision … it had to go; so Dr. Asrat went in and got it!

As he completed the surgery, I asked Dr. Asrat how he will tell this story. Looking up from his microscope he replied with confidence, “It’s just God.”

Post-operatively, I spoke with Taladu and her mother about what had transpired over the past two days. People gathered as we spoke, to hear of God’s amazing grace … the extents that God will go to for “the one”; the testimony of His love and faithfulness will spread … no doubt!

Rejoice with us and celebrate the success of the mission God invited us to participate in. Tadalu: Part One

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