My week in Vietnam – reflecting on Miracles Day
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I’m a radio host… so my job is talking. A lot. My job is literally stringing words together, and occasionally making sense. So it’s rare I’m speechless.
But today, in a remote corner of Vietnam, this lil radio host is lost for words.
How do I explain what I am witnessing here? In a place almost forgotten by the rest of the world… a regional town three hours south of Hanoi called Thanh Hoa.
How can I explain this? But… I’ve witnessed a miracle.
It was quiet. It was unassuming. There were no bells or whistles, red carpets or fireworks. It was silent. It was humble. It was insanely beautiful. And yet it was a miracle of extraordinary proportions.
I was in the operating theatre of a regional hospital that specialises in eye operations. The majority of their patients are people who are blind from cataracts. Some have travelled long distances to be here. Some have been blind for a few months, some a few years. Some a few decades. Hundreds of people have filed through these doors over the last few days… all of them seeking out their own miracle. They are all very quiet. They are calm. When you talk to them through the translator, what strikes you most is that no one is afraid. They are quietly excited. They know that within a few short moments, they will have the gift of sight again.
Stop for a moment. Let that wash over you. Let that sink in. They are blind and about to be able to see again. LET. THAT. SINK. IN.
Honestly, can you even imagine that? Picture being completely blind, surrounded by darkness… and someone tells you that it would only take $32, 12 minutes, a painless operation and boom… you would be able to see again. See your children laugh. See the street in front of you so you can walk safely. See your hands, so that you can earn a living and provide food and shelter for your family.
Then… imagine not being able to afford that operation. Living life. In darkness.
I gaze down at the beautiful 87 year old lady lying still in front of me on the operation table, and my own eyes fill with hot tears. This is a miracle happening only inches from my face. It’s overwhelming. It’s emotional. It’s glorious. Another radio host I am travelling with called Becci runs out of the theatre in tears.
The last time I watched a cataract surgery in Nepal, I almost fainted. It wasn’t the operation that made me nauseous, it was the fact that my western life was so comfortable, and so unaffected by these poor people on the other side of the planet that I felt overwhelmed with utter guilt.
I walk out of the operating theatre and peel off my scrubs. I start to understand, really understand, why Jesus spoke so much about loving those who are poor. Why he said to look after them. Why he said loving the very least of these people is so important. Not only important for them, but it’s important for us. It’s so vital for our hearts, for our souls. To be servants. To be soft. To be generous. To love everyone. To meet peoples needs. To be the hands and feet of Jesus.
In a few days, I’ll be on a plane heading home to my family. My little two year old girl will run towards me at the airport and throw herself into my arms. She can see me. She doesn’t live in darkness like so many of the children I saw waiting silently on beds in that small regional hospital. And as she grows up, I will show her pictures of these people. And tell her their stories. So we never forget how blessed we are.
The people I met in that hospital, asked one thing of me. To thank you. To thank you from the bottom of their hearts. They understand all too well that it is people like YOU who are giving them their eyesight back. They are so thankful. So very, very thankful. They are thankful for their $32 miracle. Thankful for being able to see again… and thankful to YOU for caring.
God bless you… you have created a miracle.