Hope for People Who Are Blind
To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, October 21.
ay evangelist Cosmas had an unexpected encounter with a man who was blind as he prepared to hold evangelistic meetings in Douala, the largest city in the West African country of Cameroon.
The man said to Cosmas, “If you have a project in life, it should be with people who are blind.”
The words lingered in Cosmas’ mind.
That night, he had a dream in which he was talking with a man who was blind.
The next morning, he wondered whether the dream was connected to the man whom he had met the previous day.
That day, as he continued preparations for the evangelistic meetings, he met 10 more people who were blind. That night, he dreamed that he was in a soccer stadium filled with people who were blind. When he woke up, he sensed that God might be calling him to work with people who are blind.
That was in 2014. Today, Cosmas oversees a group of 350 people who are blind. He preaches to them. He teaches the Bible to them. He helps meet their social and educational needs. Several have been baptized. Here are two of their stories.
Apollinaire is a mechanic who worked nearly 20 years for a French carmaker. In 1990, he began to suffer eye problems. Gradually, his sight began to fade and, finally, he lost both his sight and his job in 2004.
Sitting at home, he spent a lot of time listening to the radio. On a Saturday evening, he heard the Seventh-day Adventist broadcast It Is Written. Cosmas spoke on a one-hour program for people who are blind. Cosmas invited listeners to attend church on Sabbath mornings.
On Monday, Apollinaire went to the radio station to find Cosmas. A technician told him that Cosmas worked at a hospital during the week. So, Apollinaire went to the hospital. There, he found Cosmas, and the two agreed to meet at church on Sabbath. After that, Apollinaire attended church every Sabbath.
After some time, he was baptized and became a member of the Adventist Church.
Today he is 58, and he says he is glad to worship with people who love God and people who are blind. “I was amazed to find people concerned about those who are blind,” he said. “Society all but rejects us.”
When Flora was 32, she started having headaches. She had never had eye problems, but in three months, she lost her sight completely.
Flora felt rejected by society. Isolated at home, she began listening to the radio and especially to It Is Written. She was attracted to the program led by Cosmas.
Flora had always viewed Jesus like a human priest, Someone whom she could ask for help when she had problems. But as she listened to It Is Written, she learned about the Jesus who could change lives. She heard the Adventist Church values people who are blind, and she went to church on Sabbath.
As the months passed, she began to smile and feel happy again. A desire grew in her to share her joy with others. She also was baptized and joined the Adventist Church.
Then Flora met a church member who wanted to marry her. His family opposed the marriage, but he asked them, “If I were blind, wouldn’t you want me to be able to get married?” When they confirmed that they would, he said, “Then let me marry Flora.” The couple got married in 2022.
Today, Flora is 40 and teaches computers to people who are blind. Her greatest joy, however, is telling people that Jesus loves them and rejects no one.
“I’m a person who is blind, but I live a joyful life,” she said. “I have a place in the world, and I lack nothing.”
Part of this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will build on the work of the Swiss missionary who founded the It Is Written broadcast in Cameroon in 1963. The missionary, Aimé Cosendai, pioneered the church’s work in Cameroon and, during his more than 50 years of service, also opened hundreds of church schools. This quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help open another church school, a bilingual school, where children will be able to learn about Jesus in French and English. Thank you for planning a generous offering to keep the mission spirit alive in West Africa.