“Love the one in front of you” – this was to be our motto for the next 3 months of outreach in Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. During our time in Papua New Guinea we were working alongside medical professionals aboard the m/v YWAM Pacific Link, providing basic health care and medical services to the remote islands. While we were on Long Island, we were intentional at making time to really get to know people, and show them the love of God. Sometimes this was through prayer and other times it looked more like sitting together, taking pictures or playing games with the kids.
We met Matt* during our first day of ministry on Long Island.
He travelled from another village needing eye-surgery as he had cataracts on both eyes and had been blind for 3-4 years.
He seemed weak and was always hunched over. We prayed together and I went with him to the ship where he received surgery on the first eye. He was a bit nervous but everything went well. When he returned the next day for his post-op check-up and the surgery on his other eye, he was not feeling well at all. The surgeon decided it wouldn’t be wise to perform the operation and informed me that as Matt was now able to see from one eye, he would be ok. I felt confused and powerless. The ship would be moving to the next location soon, and if Matt didn’t recover in time he would miss the opportunity to have the second surgery.
I should be rejoicing at his new-found sight however, I had fully expected both eyes to be healed.
I had to let go and trust that the surgeon knew best.
A few days later, we sailed to our second location on Long Island, arriving at a small village on the opposite side of the island. I was so surprised to see Matt again! He already seemed to be better, he was not as weak anymore and was able to stand and walk with energy now that he was able to see. We both enjoyed seeing each other again and were able to spend some time simply hanging out. I felt at peace with the situation.
However, God wasn’t going to let Matt’s story end there. He had recovered enough that he was able to go in for the second surgery and returned home completely healed! Later, we were able to see him one last time in his own village.
“I can see you with both my eyes now!” he exclaimed.
It was an incredible thing to witness, he was a whole new man. So bright, proud and joyful, thanking the Lord for all He has done.
Matt will always remain in my heart. He would have been okay without that second surgery, but I truly believe that God had bigger plans for him. God didn’t forget him, and He doesn’t give his blessing in pieces. We stayed with Matt until the end of the day. He invited us into his house and we were able to meet his family. It was such an honour to be there. I know Matt was the one in front of me, and God is going to use him in a powerful way to impact his entire village.
by Elsa Jeanprêtre
YWAM Newcastle Media DTS student
*Name has been changed for privacy purposes.