God showed me exciting things over a ten day trip to Moldova in Eastern Europe. Our team of twelve partnered with a small rural church to fit eyeglasses and organize a VBS program. The people of rural Moldova were so thankful for whatever help our team provided.
One grandmotherly woman with a purple scarf tied on her head and a long dress stands out. After trying on two or three pairs of glasses and responding in Russian, “nyet,” or no. She couldn’t read the New Testament in front of her. Trying on one more pair of glasses, she began reading line, after line, after line, after line aloud in amazement.
The translator assured her that she could keep the glasses. The woman took a seat in the crowded church sanctuary where we were giving away glasses and holding a VBS program for about 70 children. She was so eager to read God’s word like when she was young and could see that she couldn’t bring herself to walk home before reading his words for herself.
Later, a lady showed up to our glasses fitting workshop who already had glasses. Without close inspection, it was easy to see that her glasses were held together by super glue alone. Although her glasses frames were destroyed, the lenses were intact. Unfortunately, her prescription was much more specific than what we were able to provide at the clinic. She was very disappointed and pleaded with us for new glasses anyway.
I explained that we would have to break her frame completely in order to do anything to help. She dug her fingers into her lenses and broke her frame to pieces.
I began looking through our inventory of unused glasses in search of a frame that her lenses would fit into. The options were limited.
“Lord, hmm, we may not have anything for this lady. Please provide something for her,” I prayed in my head. The Lord provided a couple of potential frames that her lenses might fit into...if heated and stretched.
I took these few possible frames into the sod-walled church kitchen. Dangling the plastic frames over a pot of boiling water next to frying sausage links, they would not stretch. “Lord, you know the outcome of this situation...please make it to turn out well,” I prayed to myself again.
Finally, over a teapot, one lens popped into place in a pair of yellow 1960’s vintage plastic frames. Almost simultaneously, the other lens fell from the counter and shattered on the tile floor.
Upon learning that her lens was broken, the woman was very upset. Our team offered to pay for a new set of glasses for her. She refused.
That evening, our team debriefed about the highlights and lowlights of the day. We prayed specifically for the woman whose lens broke. We prayed that she would accept our offer to replace her glasses, go with the local pastor’s wife to have them made, and that she would hear the gospel and see God through this experience. Most importantly, we prayed that her eyes would be opened spiritually.
The next day, the pastor in the village and his wife, Irena, went to her house to propose this idea. She allowed Irena to take her to the capital city to have a new pair of glasses made. That day, the woman experienced the love of Jesus through care of the church and Irena. Her physical need for glasses was filled, and Irena was able to share the gospel with her over ice cream.
Our experience in Moldova highlighted to me that God cares most for people's hearts and for our physical needs next. He most certainly had a plan to use this lady's broken glasses for good.
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