Board Blog

Board Blog

This blog is written by various COS board members for the members of the society.  

gess sierre leone

I had the privilege of interviewing Dr. Lowell Gess recently.  For those of you who don't know who this is, I would encourage you to listen to the short podcast.  Dr. Gess has great insight when it comes to pandemics given his experience traveling to Sierre Leone at the height of the Ebola crisis in early 2015 when he was 93 years old.  As he shares, at some point in his correspondence with his beloved staff at the Kissy Eye Hospital in Freetown, telling them that he was praying for them was just not enough.   He felt he had to put some actions behind his prayers so he bought a ticket to travel there even covertly from his family.  

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Solange Nicole once said, “A diamond does not start out polished and shining. It once was nothing special, but with enough pressure and time, it becomes spectacular.” Each of you who start your efforts in the mission field, both home and abroad, are very much like that ‘diamond in the rough’ – through perseverance and time Jesus shines through you. Some call it a long obedience in the same direction.

God wants nothing more than to bless you and He also wants you to bless those around you. Today, many believe God is angry with them, because of the ongoing worldly blasting that occurs all around us. As ophthalmic missionaries it remains God’s intent that we strive to bless others in the journey ahead.

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At this time in history, being a whistleblower is certainly a controversial subject.  However, this particular individual that I have learned about is someone who I wish I had known and I imagine you do too!  In particular, this whistleblower was an ophthalmologist.  In fact, he was not just any ophthalmologist but a Christian ophthalmologist who lived in Wuhan, China and trusted God with his future. 

Li Wen Liangwenliang2

Dr. Li Wenliang was 34 years old and worked in Wuhan, China.  He apparently was very smart and very brave.   On December 30th, 2019, he reported on 7 patients all from a local seafood market who had been diagnosed with a SARS-like illness and were quarantined in the hospital.  He had noted that on December 3rd, he saw a test sample that showed the presence of a coronavirus similar to the SARS virus which caused 800 deaths in a 2002-2003 outbreak.  He sent a message on Weibo (a Chinese version of Twitter) to warn his medical school alumni about wearing protective clothing.   Apparently this alone caused a visit from the Wuhan police who accused him of “rumour-mongering” and who tried to silence him.  He was persecuted because of his actions and for telling the truth.  Most of us have heard about this since it has hit our national news.


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jetson health

We are learning quite a lot about how to care for our patients virtually during the time of COVID-19.  This is a summary of the TeleHealth Webinar along with the resourcew and platforms that was presented for the COS on March 28th.  Please feel free to send your suggestions to if you have other things to add to this and we can post it with your permission.

Telehealth Platforms to Explore:

Connect on Call


Remember that during the COVID-19 crisis, currently non-HIPAA compliant platforms such as FaceTime, Skype or WhatsApp are approved for use if this is your best way to do TeleHealth with your patient.

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ComfortingPatientI want to start by introducing you to my chocolate lab, Ellie. She is likely the sweetest and most gentle dog you’ll ever meet. As a matter of fact, her temperament is so pleasant my wife and I named our first born after Ellie, hoping that our daughter would somehow inherit the traits of her namesake (please don’t tell my wife I’m advertising this). What you really need to know about Ellie (the dog) is that she was born to retrieve. From a young pup, it was evident that retrieving was in her blood and because she showed so much promise, I decided to capitalize on her talent and train her to be a retriever. Training a dog to properly retrieve is very difficult as she must first learn the importance of obedience. The commands, “sit, stay, heel, right, left, back, okay!” began as chores that she initially begrudging obeyed but as time progressed, she realized that obedience always led her to the prize. That was one of the first lessons Ellie taught me about faith.

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