JEFFERSON CITY – Last fall, an eyeglass ministry founded roughly 13 years ago by Concord Baptist Church members here celebrated 60,000 lives in central and southern Mexico impacted during the ministry’s history.
But, according to leaders of the ministry, Vision 3:16, a new set of eyeglasses is only the beginning for life transformation for hundreds and thousands of people.
“Our goal in every clinic is to share the gospel,” Larry Merry, Vision 3:16 co-founder and Concord Baptist Church member, told The Pathway. “The eyeglasses are just the attraction to bring people in.
“Ninety-eight percent of the people we see have never had a pair of glasses and never will if they don’t get in our clinic,” he added. “So our goal, frankly, is to do as many clinics as we can. And if it’s publicized well and has good attendance, we’ll serve 1,000 people in three days, which means 1,000 people got their vision improved, and they heard the gospel.
“And we always have a fairly good percentage of people respond to the gospel,” he added.
For several years, Jiovani Roque Dominguez has worked alongside Vision 3:16, helping them to connect with churches in Southern Mexico and to organize eyeglass clinics. Traveling from the state of Oaxaca, Mexico, he visited churches throughout Missouri late last year, sharing stories of the work God is doing through Vision 3:16 and encouraging them to join in this work.
“There are hundreds, thousands of stories” about how God has transformed lives in Mexico through Vision 3:16, Jiovani said. One elderly woman, for example, had never clearly seen her grandchildren’s faces before, though she knew their voices. After visiting the eyeglass clinic, she finally saw them clearly for the first time.
On another occasion, a woman surrendered her life to Christ after receiving glasses from the clinic. She asked the pastor who had helped her at the clinic to share the gospel with her family, as well.
“Her family was struggling,” Jiovani said. “The parents were about to divorce. The kids were hurting because of some stuff that had happened in the past.”
But, because through Vision 3:16 and its impact on one woman’s life, her family heard the gospel and believed. Eventually, with the pastor’s help, the family started a new mission church in their impoverished community.
Jiovani shared many stories like these while visiting Missouri Baptist churches, but he also shared a message that God laid on his heart: Namely, after coming to faith, Jiovani and his family surrendered to missionary work. As they’ve obeyed God’s call on their lives, He has blessed them and provided for them. Jiovani encourages churches in Missouri to do the same.
“When you work for God,” he said, “God provides everything you need. God leads you to wherever He wants you to go and whatever He wants you to do, if you’re obedient.”
Merry asked Missouri Baptists to pray for the ministry of Vision 3:16, that God would call more churches and individuals to partner with the ministry in Mexico.
“We have a list of over 40 churches right now (in Mexico), wanting us to come do a clinic with them,” he said. “We’ll never get through that list because we keep adding to it. …
“So, my biggest goal, my biggest need, is to get people to go with us, so we can actually do more trips, do more clinics and share the gospel with more people.
“Mexico is in big need of hearing the gospel,” he added. “There is a lot of spiritual darkness in the country, and they need the light of Jesus.” To learn more or to partner with Vision 3:16, visit https://eyeglassvision316.com/.