Listen: Hope 103.2’s GM Dwayne, travelling in Nepal with Sam and Duncan, gets emotional speaking about that powerful moment when you see someone’s sight being restored.
Today is always a really special, and awkward, day on our Miracles Day trips. It’s crunch-time. It’s everything that our tiny, life-changing $33 donations have been leading to: Surgery Day.
Nobody on planet earth likes surgery. When we’re about to be operated on, we become nervous, reserved and withdrawn. We are about to put our well-being into the hands of another person who we barely know.
It’s exactly the same in Nepal. While Sam, Ally, Dwayne and I are grinning like lunatics under our surgical masks in the picture above, nearby there are patients anxiously waiting for an operation that they are hoping will restore their eyesight and change their lives. With a bunch of extroverted foreign radio jockeys hanging about, who clearly don’t belong in the eastern reaches of Nepal, it can be a really awkward scenario.
Our job is to communicate the significance of what is happening. Their job is to prepare for an operation peacefully. It’s a real tension; how do we communicate the best possible story, while honouring the patients as they mentally, nervously prepare?
We give them space.
Today, we sat in a waiting room and saw a father, just like me, calm his six-year-old, just like I would. You can see him in this picture (above), wearing a dark red gown waiting for surgery, just behind producer Ally. Sam, Ally and I watched as Dad gently spoke to his emotional and upset son.
We wept. We would have done the exact same thing.
Today we watched, as two teenage girls excitedly and bravely walked into a surgical room to have their cataracts removed. Here they are (above) with Ally and their parents. Yesterday they were reserved, but today they carried themselves with an eager expectation.
We cheered. We prayed our sons and daughters would have the exact same strength.
Today, we listened as the female surgeon Preena (above) shared her passion for working this hospital, with wit, joy and just a little sass. We were floored when we asked her, “Why wouldn’t you take a higher paying job in a fancier hospital?” Her reply was, “Money isn’t everything my friend, and every person on this planet has the right to clear vision. That is why serving in this hospital is so special.”
We were inspired. We hope our children lead with the exact same boldness.
Today, we learnt that the other person who we would be observing in surgery was a female surgeon just like Preena, one of the best – not just in the country – but in the world. It was like we had stumbled onto a unicorn herd. Brave, bold women, transforming communities and redefining a culture, one life at time! A surgeon so profoundly skilled, that she can perform an operation that would take a rookie an hour, in 12 minutes.
Our hearts leapt for joy. We hope that we too might be ‘unicorns’ like these women, making a difference in our own communities.
Today, we saw a hospital filled with people, and hope. An admissions block with a line of newcomers flowing out into the street. A recovery ward loaded with post-surgery patients. A paediatric ward brimming with children. We are reminded that this problem isn’t yet fixed, that millions more people just like those we met today are still waiting to be rescued from their darkness, and that they’ll need an army of supporters to join in this moment if their lives are to be changed.
Giving a gift that costs roughly what you’d pay for your takeaway dinner, to restore sight to someone like those people we met today, is one of those true acts of love.
The person whose sight you restore, will never be able to thank you; they’ll never even know you were part of the equation. But their life, family and community will be changed forever. They have a thousand other problems in their life to deal with – and because of a 12-minute operation, sight doesn’t have to be one of them.
The gifts you give on Miracles Day are gifts born not out of duty or responsibility, but out of something that Jesus demonstrated for us: unconditional love.