KANSAS CITY – After they had to postpone their eyeglasses clinic this spring, Luis Mendoza, pastor of Iglesia Bautista Palabra Viva (Living Word Baptist Church), didn’t know what to expect for their November attempt. Aware that crowds would be a problem, he was reluctant to even advertise.
Yet the people from the church’s northeast Kansas City neighborhood showed up for the joint ministry between Palabra Viva and Vision 3:16, an evangelistic vision care ministry. An hour before the doors opened, the people began to line up. By the end of the day, nearly 120 people filtered their way through the socially distanced, masked and shielded eyeglasses clinic.
“To be under these restrictions, it was a good turn out,” Mendoza said. “We were able to make new acquaintances and see old friends.”
Jesus used physical healing as a way to point toward spiritual healing and caused the blind to see so they could also see their own sinfulness and need for a savior. Even so, the clinic ultimately had the gospel as its focus.
“That’s the main point of the clinic,” Mendoza said. “The last station is the one where we share the gospel and pray for them. With COVID restrictions we had to follow certain rules, but every single one heard the gospel. Sometimes they were open, and sometimes they weren’t, but the bottom line is the desire to share the gospel.”
Mendoza said the clinic is an effective ministry tool in their community because it addresses a felt need, but it also brings people into the church for that gospel opportunity. Since 2010, Vision 3:16 has helped host many of clinics in the U.S. and Mexico, and has given away more than 42,000 pairs of glasses.
“It’s a beautiful thing,” Mendoza said. “When they come to the last station, they are always excited. They’ve gotten glasses and they’re able to see. They didn’t even know how bad their sight was. It’s even more exciting when we can help them see with those spiritual eyes as well.”
Mendoza said the church registered each person who passed through the clinic and will follow up in the coming days
“We don’t do it just to provide glasses,” he said. “We do it because we know there’s a spiritual need to be satisfied, and we are the tools God is using to present the gospel in such a clear way.