Board Blog

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

We were blessed to have the Ziadat family from Amman, Jordan present in our Portland meeting this year.  Several members got an extra blessing as Dr. Ziadat came to visit their clinics after the meeting.  Recently, I asked Dr. Ziadat to share about the real situation with refugees in his area.  He has shared the following account: 

According to the UNHCR Refugee Agency there are about 1.5 million Syrian refugees in Jordan half of them are actively registered to the agency.  About 60,000 of them live in Azraq camp in the middle of Jordanian desert.  Over half are children. They live in tents and shelters with no electricity or running water. 

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Also in Jordan there are about 200,000 refugees from Iraq and most of them live in Amman and not in camps as they are more capable to afford to live in an expensive capital city. 15% are Christian refugees living in clusters in or around churches getting regular material aid and all kinds of help from local churches.

There are also several thousands of refugees coming from Sudan, Libya and Yemen.

Refugees in Jordan comprises about 30% of the population and make a great strain on the economy, the health care system, the educational institutions, water and electricity supplies. They compete with Jordanians for jobs and have caused a rise in house rental costs. 

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I don't have their picture but I do have their story.

Last week at the hospital in Cotonou, Benin in west Africa we had scheduled 5 patients for cataract surgery.  We don't schedule many because they are just not set up to handle more than a few a day.  This is usually pretty frustrating to me.  But not that day.

Kim runs a small team of day workers from Cotonou who prepare patients for having cataract surgery.  They usually educate about what will happen, what they must do (like hold still!), and what will happen after surgery.  One of the team is a local pastor and that day, he decided he must share his story of following Jesus with these 5 patients.  


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Thy Kingdom come……. Or so we pray.  I guess I have noticed how often I really mean my kingdom come.  You know what I mean.  It’s that fight for things to be made right, for people to do what they are supposed to do, for patients to respond the way they are supposed to respond. Not that any of those things are bad.  I am talking about the tendency to make it personal rather than about our profession to be followers of Jesus.  

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It’s official: this is definitely not life as usual.  Kim and I returned to the M/V Africa Mercy to spear head the restart of the Mercy Ships cataract surgery program in Benin, a west African country of about 8.5 million people.

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We lived on board from 2006 – 2010 and in fact have served in Benin before.  But it’s different this time.

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physiciansfaithJ Lawton Smith was a charimatic man in more than one ways.  He was charismatic in his faith and in his lectures as well.  he was a joy to listen to and was well known across the world for his famous lectures on the pupil.  He was charismatic as a leader for the society when it began in 1977.  One of his books was "A Phyisican's Faith" which brings out much of his personality.  Chapters like "An Ophthalmological View of Obstretrics" and "Spiritual Neuroanatomy" are great examples of the way he looked at life as a Christian Holy Spirit led neuro-ophthalmologist.

We are excited to have as a gift to any current member of our society, a full copy of this book in whichever format is desired (Kindle, iPhone, Surface, PDF).  In order to view and download the book, you will need to be logged in and current in your membership dues for the current year.


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