First Eyeglasses Ever!

First pair of glasses made.

By Dr Wendy Hofman:

We at the Bongolo Eye Clinic have started making our own eyeglasses! Back in June 2010, Eric and I started a conversation with Wooddale Church in Minnesota as they were looking for ideas for their “Generosity!” campaign. We presented the great need for eyeglasses in Gabon, Africa, where we work. Here patients often have to travel to the capital city of the country and spend $300+ that they don’t have in order to get eyeglasses. Many times a day my nurses and I would write out prescriptions for eyeglasses to my patients who needed them, knowing that these prescriptions would never get filled.

First patient to receive glasses.

The result of this conversation was a donation for eyeglasses-making equipment – thank you so much, Wooddale! And thanks to our aviation missionary team partners, we were finally able to transport the equipment from where the oceangoing container had left it, in the capital city of Libreville, to our hospital out in the bush. Finally, thanks to work by our maintenance missionary team partners hereat Bongolo hospital, we have outfitted the eyeglasses-making room (“optical shop”) and set up the equipment. It has truly been a team effort!

And I have spent the last couple of weeks learning how to make eyeglasses along with my resident and nurses, with great success!

Nurse Jean Paul with patient wearing the first pair of glasses he had made.

It is such a joy to have patients come into our little air-conditioned optical shop to pick out their frames, and be able to give them what they need

Older girl can now see the board better.

to see well – without even the risk of having to operate on them! Praise the Lord for his provision and instruction to provide these glasses for our patients.

We are currently looking to hire someone in the community to help us with the backlog of glasses orders we’ve already accumulated. We’ll have to fully train this person, of course, but hopefully we can find someone who is good at arithmetic and has a faithful walk with the Lord. One of the applicants goes to our church.  Please pray for wisdom in this hiring process.

"I can see all the way to the river!"

5 Responses to “First Eyeglasses Ever!”

  1. Diane Whaley says:

    Dear Dr. Hofman….I read your story here and was so touched by what you are doing for the people there. I am an optician, and I too have a passion for helping people see better. I am wondering if you are in need of some good frames for your optical. I have been looking for a ministry for my women’s group at church Please let me know if this would be a need for you.

    All 4 Him,


  2. Cathy Chilson says:

    We have a large box of used eye glasses (aprox. 24″ x 20″ x 14″). Would you be interested in having them? If so, what would be the best way to ship them? Thanks!

  3. Lynette Straite says:

    Do you have a need for used eyeglasses and sunglasses?
    Rolled bandages have recently been sent for the hospital and some of our little girls in junior church are now working on making them, too.

  4. Greg Mahloch says:

    Please check out my eyeglass company

  5. admin says:

    I will forward your comment to our Ophthalmologist. Thanks for the link.

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