A priceless hope


Her name was Hope.  Okay, well, sorta.  Her name was Esperanza, which in Spanish, means “hope.”  She was nine years old and cute as a bug’s ear, with a smile that would make Oscar the Grouch’s heart get soft.  But the day that she was carried into our mission clinic in Concordia, Argentina, she was far too scared to smile.  She sat in her mother’s lap and buried her face in her mother’s neck. 


Buenas dias, linda!  I softly offered her a greeting. 


A shy smiled peeked out from behind her hands…  The kids always smile when they hear a blonde-haired, blue-eyed gringa speaking Spanish…


En que puedo servirle?  How can I help you?  I asked her mother.


With anxious eyes, the weary mother explained her situation.  Esperanza needs glasses.  She can’t see.  Not only can’t she see, but she’s profoundly mentally and physically handicapped.  They have no money.  The missionaries say that we can help?  At least just help her to see.  Is it true?


I saw hope pushing through the fear in the mother’s eyes and I smiled to coax the hope out of its hiding place. 


Si, hermana.  Podemos ayudarle.  Yes, sister.  We can help her.


I patted the mother’s shoulder and walked away to confer with my teammates.  I studied the chart in my hands and cringed.  In “real life” I’m an English major.  I’m “field trained” to help them, but I can clearly see that her need is beyond the supplies and the expertise that we have on our team.  But I also hear the Holy Spirit reminding me of the conversation He’d had with me the night before:


Sarah, pray for them.  The glasses won’t last forever.  The prayer WILL.


I bit my lip and prayed while I dug through the dog-eared white cardboard boxes to find the lenses that Esperanza needed.  I couldn’t find what she really needed, but I got as close as I could and walked back to the little girl. 


Esperanza’s mother whispered quietly and the little face tipped up just enough for me to slip the glasses onto her face.  As soon as the glasses settled into place, Esperanza raised up to her full height and a smile split her face.  She looked me in the eyes, pointed and me and gleefully shouted, “Nina!”  Little girl!


When people ask me why I go to the mission field, I often answer that I’m going to take Jesus to the people there.  But the truth is, they bring hope to us. 


Yolanda was fifty-one years old.  She walked into the clinic, handed me her chart, and sat in the chair at my station.  Her chart didn’t indicate that there was anything extraordinary about her case.  I began to test her on her distance vision, but each time we would point to the chart and ask her to read it, she would respond: Oscuro.  No puedo ver. 


We pointed to every letter on the chart and got the same response: “It’s dark.  I can’t see it.”  Puzzled, I crouched down and looked into her clear eyes.  She didn’t look blind, but I had to ask.  She simply handed me a piece of paper.  It was signed by a doctor: “This patient is 90% blind.” 


Asking Yolanda to wait, I walked over to the team leader.  She shook her head.  “Just send her back to the machine and see if we can get any kind of prescription on her.” 


Thinking about our experience with Esperanza the week before, I walked Yolanda to the autorefractor machine with my hand on her back, praying silently.  Three minutes later, the technician handed me the read-out.  I did a double take.  She barely even needed reading glasses!


Back at my station, I put the prescribed lenses on Yolanda’s face and when I did, her face lit up.  She looked across the room at the eye chart and read it from top to bottom— 20/20!  Yolanda jumped up and began to sing, in Spanish, a song of praise to God for healing her.  The whole clinic stopped to listen in amazement and then began to applaud. 


Yolanda prayed for every worker in that clinic before she would leave.  I walked her out, but all she said was, “The doctor said that I was blind, but now I can see!”


Yes, we take mission teams to the world to give them hope.  But the hope they give us back is priceless.  They show us that God’s Word is true.  His promises can be trusted.  He IS faithful! 


Romans 5:1-2 (LB)  “So now, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith in his promises, we can have real peace with him because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.  For because of our faith, he has brought us into this place of highest privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to actually becoming all that God has had in mind for us to be.” 

About Sarah Salter


  1. Barbara says:

    Yes its true that when you go to the Mission Field the most you can give them is Jesus.. But when we do give them glasses, or a pill for pain… they remember to Thank God!!.. Its something we take for granted everyday, glasses for sight, a pill for pain. but the bottem line is we should thank God for all the things we have because, ultimately it did come from Him, and you are right they do give us back far more than we take them, and they remind us what God’s word truly is and that is “hope”…

    Love ya lady,

  2. WOW! THAT IS AMAZING! I understand why you love it so much!!

  3. I’ll echo Anna’s wow with one of my own. What an amazing experience this must have been for you. And such great writing, too. I felt like I was THERE…

  4. God bless you for all your service and prayers for others.

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