Mission of Healing Eyes
"As you did to the least of my brethren,
you did to me" Mt 25:40
A Missions of trust…
We just returned from our cataract mission ... With me as the only surgeon our team did 101 cataract surgeries on the blinded poor .
According to SEE International who is responsible for providing supplies for over 11,000 cataract surgeries per year… Our mission, Mission Of Healing EYES was the first cataract Mission in the world since March when Covid started.
It became a mission of trust.
“Trusting in Him “to get the mission supplies down in late July when a nonstop flight became available.
“Trusting in Him “to find a safe surgery setting during Covid in which to do surgery in a look-alike model like I do here in the states.
“Trusting in Him “that our team would feel comfortable doing the surgery and the patients would be protected as well as us.
Never in my 27 mission trips to our same mission site in Zihuatanejo, Mexico did I feel such overwhelming pressure.…
“Trust me He said !”
A story, a true story will tend to explain.... Why would we do this?
Ernie was a handicapped man raised by his loving family and sisters in a loving home.As he aged he developed blinding cataracts. This once loving happy person turned very aggressive. While examining him at the mission site he actually shoved the optometrist who was trying to help him
He was scheduled for cataract surgery with me !
As he came into the operating room on this mission...
“Please Lord let this patient be calm on my table so that he can have a beautiful result and see your glory. “
Trust Me !
After prepping the patient and putting on the drape, exposing the cataract and looking at this immense black piece of coal that was obscuring his vision… “Please Lord give me your hands, give me your patience, give me your wisdom, to remove this. It seems insurmountable I won’t be able to get it out safely “
. Trust Me !
“Please Lord him heal beautifully without an infection with no pain and without him rubbing his eye. “
Trust Me !
This was a very trying mission for our team. We were scheduled to leave November 3, 2018 but our donated mission supplies were not okay'd by the Mexican Federal authorities by that date. We decided to postpone the mission (even though it would be Christmas season) to December 8 through December 15. ....Hoping to give us more time to get the supplies OK’d . We had 200 anxiously awaiting blind patients for surgery and it wasn’t an option that we couldn’t or wouldn’t go.
In changing the date one of the 3 surgeons had to cancel. I struggled with several problems :
1) what if the supplies did not get okayed... could we buy supplies once we were there?
2) If we had only two surgeons, would we be able to perform 200 cataract surgeries? The most we have ever done with two surgeons was 150 patients. Where would I get the stamina ???
I struggled in my prayers, but of course God answered!
He not only showed up, but He showed off!
-The supplies did not get okayed... but we were able to buy the supplies!
-The stamina I had on the mission was incredible… Rather than only being able to do 17 surgeries in a day like past missions, I completed 23 without a problem and with energy to spare!
Too often I rob God of the the opportunity to answer my prayers because they are vague… Not this time... !
My prayers were very specific, they were answered, and now I give God the glory! Thank you God.
Peace,Jim Conahan MD
We prayed for three things before we left…
1) That our surgery supplies would get in… They did!
2) That Satan would not infiltrate our team… he didn’t!
3) That God would be glorified in all that we did the whole week… He was!
We were able to complete 150 Vision restoring cataract surgeries on mostly totally blind people! Their humility, trust and faith are incredible.
We scheduled 220 nearly blind people for the next mission! (Nov 3, 2018) The need is overwhelming.
Through it all this mission resonated//SCREAMED that
-God is faithful, all knowing, all powerful, and all good!
Medical director report Mission May 6-13, 2017
During our May 6 through the 13th 2017 mission our team of dedicated volunteers both from the United States and those who live in Zihuatanejo, Mx did 140 vision restoring cataract surgeries as well as 20 laser surgeries. Hundred were also seen in clinic and evaluated / treated for various eye conditions. All of this done free of charge to the patients who traveled sometimes hundreds of miles for their visit/surgery.
As I write this I'm in "awe "of how all this gets done!
I'm reminded of something Mother Teresa said.…
"You can do something I can't.
I can do something you can't .
Together we can do something beautiful for God .
Let's begin !!!"
None of the miracles that I witnessed on this mission trip could ever be done without each one of the volunteers giving their individual special God given gifts and talents.
I'm grateful for their "yes"
Peace , Jim Conahan MD
Our October 2016 mission was filled with quite a few seemingly overwhelming changes. After 24 missions of doing clinic/surgery at the Naval Hospital, we were no longer able to use that facility and had to change to a facility 20 minutes further site unseen.
We are all very concerned that our patient care and surgical outcomes would not be as good. Our God is "absolutely "good… All the time!
The outcomes weren't as good ...they were better!
The facility we went to was more efficient and bigger.
The people we work for and with were friendlier more accommodating and were happy to have us help their poor.
The extra 20 minute drive served as a time between the volunteers to laugh, rejoice, and get to know each other better.
This mission taught me a lot. It taught me "not to push the bus","to let go and let God". It reminded me that God is our Father and He wants more for me than I want for myself. He is good ,"absolutely "...good all the time. He just wants us to be confident in that fact!
Peace, Jim Conahan Medical Director, Mission of Healing Eyes
Medical director report for mission April 16-23
Our dedicated volunteer team once again rose to the challenge. We did 155 cataract surgeries , 36 to pterygia surgeries and 25 laser surgeries (all in 5 days!). Our team continues to amaze me with their faithfulness and joyfulness in coming mission after mission and year after year.
I am in awe of the people who donate their condos, who donate their money, and who keep us in their prayers mission after mission.
Mostly though I am thankful to the Lord for allowing me the joy to do this mission with such incredible support not only of the people that I mentioned above but the patients who put their trust in our team.
(These patients "loads "are heavy and I stand awe of that and of their thankfulness.)
Peace , Jim Conahan MD
Medical Director , Mission of Healing Eyes
Medical director report: Mission: October 17 through October 24, 2015.
Our team of dedicated volunteers saw over 500 patients in clinic and did over 200 vision restoring surgeries!
The heart of the mission was once again summed up by one patient.
Eduardo was a 10-year-old boy who was hit so hard in the left eye that his cornea was lacerated and the iris had plugged up the hole that had developed in the cornea. He then developed a tramatic white cataract that was a cosmetically very noticeable. He saw nothing out of this eye . He was a very quiet, unemotional inward soul.
The surgeons struggled as to what to do. We did not have general anesthesia and his eye would need to be "numbed" like a regular adult patient with a 1 inch needle directed underneath and behind the eye. (Are you kidding me!) Dr. Jud did the injection successfully. As we put Eduardo on the OR table, the volunteers quickly sensed my nervousness. It became apparent that he wasn't able to lay still. I asked everyone to pray that God would give me a sign if I should proceed. Once I entered the eye, I had to finish!
As I draped the eye he fell asleep! ..(.Not a light sleep but a deep deep sleep). I finished the surgery successfully in 12 minutes!
"Thank you Lord.!"
The next day Eduardo returned seeing well but still very unemotional. The outpouring of love by the volunteers was unbelievable. One heart heartfelt volunteer gave him a pair of shoes (to replace the duct tape to ones he had had) and a soccer ball. Another volunteer gave him a soccer shirt. All the volunteers loved on him. Later he was seen smiling laughing and "loving being loved"!!
Mother Teresa said "the greatest poverty is not one of food or money ...the greatest poverty is a lack of love!"
I have said this before… "You get when you give". That day we got a lot… Miracles witnessed, prayers answered, the face of Jesus seen .
"thank you God ".
An incredibly dedicated volunteer team went down to our mission site in Zihutanejo, Mexico on May 17 through the 24th, 2015. We performed 180 vision restoring surgeries! I'm not sure who was more joyful ...the patients or the volunteer team!!
The spirit, the joy, finding the face of Jesus in this mission is summed up in the following…
Eight weeks before the mission I was overwhelmed by the volume of surgeries that were to be done ...I had just two surgeons. There were 180 blinded cataract patients who were anxiously awaiting since November of last year. There were also two beautiful three-year-old little girls (one with down syndrome) who were blind from birth from their cataracts. The problem was "time"… I didn't have the time to do all of this especially noting that the two little girls surgeries would take almost a full half day in the operating room under general anesthesia.
After praying my wife and I call Dr. Russ Burcham eight weeks before the mission ....
"Russ, can you help us???" Without hesitating, without knowing his schedule, he said "yes"!!"
All 180 cataract patients were done and I was able to operate successfully on the two beautiful three-year-olds!!
It's was the "yes" that mattered and God took over from there!
Thank you to everyone who has said their "yes" to God and allowed him to work his miracles!
Peace , Dr Jim
Mission of Healing Eyes
Directors letter: November 8-15, 2014
People ask me how was the mission? I response is ... It was and is "powerful"!
We saw 1000 people in clinic, about 250 more than we normally do.
We did 230 surgeries… 140 cataract surgeries, 20 Pterygia surgeries, and 70 laser surgeries!
To be able to witness how God took a team of 16 and forged them into a "well oiled machine" is powerful.
To be able to witness how God touched so many lives both patients and volunteers is powerful.
To witness how he has allowed Molly and I to be in become such a good team is powerful.
To witness the energy and strength that He provided us to do so much in His name is powerful.
Our God is awesome! He loves us… and that is powerful!!!!.
Thank you to all those who prayed ,contributed ,and worked so tirelessly "all to the greater glory of God"(Ad Majorium Dei Glorium ...AMDG)
Peace , Jim
Our volunteer team did 124 vision restoring cataract and pterygium surgeries!
Patience does not begin to describe these patients! Many of them lived very far from where we did the surgery and they were diagnosed back in November and expected to return again. They continue to humble me!
This spirit of this mission like many before was summed up in one of patient who had surgery.:
A 38-year-old totally blind diabetic was noticed by one of the optometrist who works for Mexican social service and was seen a week before the mission. Realizing that we were "completely full" the optometrist told him to come to the mission to be evaluated in the hopes of having surgery!
The day he arrived ironically one patient didn't show up who is scheduled to have surgery. Molly came back to the operating room team and asked if we could put him in that spot. One hour after he arrived in clinic he was having cataract surgery! The following day I removed his patch with some trepidation. I had had a concern that maybe he wouldn't see despite cataract surgery because the diabetes might have affected his retina. As the patch came off it became clear he saw perfectly!!!
In his excitement, he simply asked "can I have the other I done?" We did his second eye that afternoon!!!
This patient represents the "what if"… "What if we hadn't seen him," "what if we had been too busy, "what if he hadn't been noticed!"
He represents the face of Jesus that we aim to "see" in these blinded poor.
I am humbled to serve such wonderful volunteers .
Peace , Jim Conahan
We Just returned from our November 9, 2013 mission. Our dedicated team of volunteers saw 800 people in clinic, distributed 1500 pairs of glasses, performed 153 vision restoring cataract surgeries, 11 pterygia surgeries, and 24 laser surgeries.!
We implemented "the model of compassion" in the OR .... Implementing the necessary steps to insure that each patients receives the most compassionate and best surgery possible . This approach has also allowed us to become much more efficient in the operating room. We were able to easily increase our capacity to 35 surgeries per day in less time and with less stress!
God is good.... all the time. This is His mission and we are learning that if we stay out of His way and let Him "push the bus "we will do His will and He will be glorified.!
We continue to stand in "awe "of what these blinded poor patients and their families have to bear . We are blessed that we have them has our stewards to live the gospel... "Whatever you do to the least of my brothers you do to Me" ( Mt 25:40)
Thank you for your prayers and your support. Dr. Jim
We just returned from our most recent mission to Ixtapa, Mexico. (March 30 - April 6, 2013) By my count this is the 13th mission to this same site! I can hardly believe it!
This was a surgery only mission as we did patients that were unable to get done last November. Nine dedicated volunteers did 130 vision restoring cataract surgeries, eight Pterygia surgeries with graphs, and 15 laser surgeries!
As Molly said there were a lot of smiling happy "seeing" patients but I think the happiest were the volunteers who able to "share in the joy "of these blinded poor!
Each mission seems be be defined by one patient's experience. This year it was 14-year-old Angela. Blind in her left eye from trauma with a white cataract against her dark brown iris. It made for a striking contrast. One that was easily noticed in this young developing self-conscious young girl. She was very shy and introverted did not like to make eye contact b/c she was so aware of how she looked. We gave her the option to remove the cataract(even though the visual recovery would be minimal)
At first she did not want to have the surgery performed but after an hour of her talking to the various team members she consented to have it !
Imagine your 14-year-old fully awake getting an injection by a needle one and half inches long behind her eye. (The block) She was stoic throughout the block but after the block a tear came from her other eye indicating how nervous and fragile she really was. The surgery went flawlessly and the next day after her patch was removed Molly commented how she smiled and beamed at how beautiful she looked ! She had great eye contact! So happy so self-assured!
How could we, the volunteers, be anything but thrilled to participate in that "joy". God is smiling! And we again fully understand the words of St. Francis Assissi "it is in giving that we receive"
I am honored to be part of this dedicated group of volunteers.
Peace , Jim
May: To participate in this mission is a gift. We received so much more than we gave. We are all so thankful for the gift He allowed us to participate in. 97 vision restoring/preserving surgeries were done.! We are all so grateful
November: Our incredible team did 125 vision restoring cataract surgeries, 9 Pterygia surgeries and 20 laser surgeries. We saw 650 clinic patients and distributed 1500 pairs of glasses .We were unable to do 200 patients blinded by their cataracts.
Motivated by our leader (and my wife) Molly we will return in the spring to do the surgeries.
We once again stand in "awe" of the "load" these patients carry … and of the love that they have for one another. They are an example to us and we once again received so much more than we gave.
Thank you for your support. We "felt" your prayers and for me personally (as well as many on the team) we felt "present" with the patients more than we ever have.
Jim Conahan MD
Medical Director MHE
We just got back from Zihua.The intention of this mission was to take a small team (2 surgeons and 7 volunteers) to do the 70 blinding cataracts of patients we didn`t get to from the last October mission. This was suppose to be a "surgery" only mission!! Oh how God laughs when we think we know! As we arrived for the first day of surgery, there were over 75 people waiting to be seen because they heard we were coming! 40 of these people traveled nine hours from the mountain village of San Juan (you may remember "the mountain man" story a few missions ago). Of the 40 mountain people, 38 had blinding cataracts in each eye! They were completely blind! There was however no room on the surgery schedule to do their surgery this mission!
Now ...for the miracle that awaited us once we were open to God`s plan for this mission: Heartfelt, Molly told them if they wanted to wait to see if some of the schedualed patients didn`t show up then they could have their spot. They all waited patiently (some up to 3 days)
One of the ten that got operated on was Julia, a 30 year old mentally handicaped woman. Her mom said she "shut down" about four years ago when she went blind and since that time hadn`t spoken! When I examined her she was hollow - no spirit, drooling, and lifeless. We removed her right cataract and on the first post operation day as her patch was removed she looked up and said, "Hi mom! I can see, praise God!!" Her mom and the whole team were in tears. See attached pictures of Julia on our Photo page.
I learned several missions ago the gift our Lord gives us in serving. We see Him in them. We help them but they save us!
My prayer for all of you is that through this testimony you will see Him also.
Thank you for your support,
Peace Jim and Molly
190 cataracts removed
26 pterygium removed
60 Yag laser procedures
1800 pairs of glasses distributed
1000 people seen in the clinic
24 volunteers flew to Zihuatanejo, Mexico and were joined by several local interpreters (some who showed up because they heard we are coming)! It produced a kind of "kinship" and a sense of "we all belong to each other." Not "serving" the other but "being with the other." The quenching of a thirst we all long for for both them and us. It was awesome! And I think God was (is) SMILING! Remember the Christmas song "Long lay the World in sin and error pining until He appeared and the soul felt it`s worth." Well, He appeared and we all felt our true worth!
Thank you for letting us to be part of it.
Jim and Molly
A team of 20 volunteers saw 800 patients in clinic, dispensed 2000 pairs of glasses, performed 145 vision restoring cataract surgeries, removed 14 blinding pterygia, and YAG laser procedures! We had three operating surgeons, two clinic MD's, and 15 volunteers. The mission started out each morning with a 7:00am prayer and finished each day with a devotion to our Lord at 5:30pm.
The Mission team went to help the blinded poor and as always, the blinded poor helped "save" us. It was an awesome mission.
23 volunteers went to Zihuantanejo, Mexico to help the blinded poor. The majority of the team was college students. The energy was unbelievable. The compassion these young adults exhibited was very inspiring! Dr. Jim was the only surgeon, Dr. Dan and Dr. Julia ran the clinic. The remaining non-medical volunteers ran the show! The team performed 48 vision restoring cataract surgeries, saw 400 people in clinic, and gave out 3,000 pairs of glasses. The Mission also distributed several pairs of shoes, clothes, toys and candy. Our Lord was glorified! We were blessed!