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Beyond Sight - Grace's Story

She listens to the clanking of the loose dirt being shoveled into the metal bowl resting at her feet. I’ve had four consecutive days of work, she thinks to herself with gratitude. I can’t remember the last time I was even given an opportunity. At least ten years. Sometime before the darkness changed things.

Grace, in the black top, being led by the hand as she works to help build the new Vapor Ministries Center

The digger signals to her that the bowl is full and Grace bends down feeling for the right grip along its battered edges. She hoists the load atop a coiled piece of fabric resting on her head. It provides some cushion and promotes better balance. Most of the women helping excavate the site for Vapor’s new center in Togo have mastered the art of carrying extraordinarily heavy loads in this position, and Grace is no exception. But while many of them can accomplish the task almost completely hands-free, and even while tending to children strapped to their backs, Grace steadies the bowl with one hand and grips a co-worker with the other.

 

She’s been searching for work for more than a decade. Jobs are certainly scarce in the village, but for a blind woman, finding employment is impossible.

 

Grace and her work partner walk the path just outside the excavation line, turn the final corner, and pour the topsoil into the designated area before others shift the earth into position. The two then retrace their steps hand-in-hand to begin the process again.



While this manual method of construction is less efficient than renting industrial equipment, the approach provides thousands of jobs over the course of an 18-plus-month project and builds sweat equity and pride within the community that are simply invaluable.

 

It also creates day labor opportunities for women and individuals with disabilities who rank among the most marginalized when it comes to hiring workers in the area. What’s more, hundreds of people will give their lives to Christ in the process, many of whom are hearing the gospel for the first time. It also paves paths for identifying future team members and eventual ministry leaders.

“The people are very happy to be able to work,” she said, “and have heard about many of the things that these centers provide. They are talking about the well because our water here is salty. We have also heard about education for the kids. If they can go to school and find a job then they can come back and support their families.”


Grace became a Christ follower 10 years ago and shared that being a Christian in an area inundated with voodoo beliefs and rituals has been incredibly challenging. In fact, the very village where the center is being constructed is named after an animistic deity believed by locals to own the community.

 

Persecution and societal and family rejection are common. Many also face heavy spiritual attacks. In Grace’s case, shortly after “repenting and giving her life to Christ,” she suddenly started losing her vision. Because of these kinds of challenges, it is very difficult for believers to remain steadfast or to help win others to the faith.

 

Five years after becoming a believer and losing her sight Grace’s husband abandoned her and their two children. Because she was unable to find work, the children, then just eight and 10 years old, began collecting firewood to sell in the village and in a small town a few miles away. This has been the family’s lone source of income ever since.

 

Despite it all, Grace is adamant that Christians “cannot abandon their choice to follow Jesus” and should have confidence “that their faith will help [them] through their circumstances.”

 

We are prayerful that this new center will open next year bringing resources and hope to tens of thousands. But your love is already pouring extraordinary impact in the community. Women like Grace are receiving opportunities that were previously impossible and hundreds are responding to the Good News. It’s easy to turn a blind eye to the struggles so many face every day. Thank you for seeing the need and making an eternal difference.


If you’re hearing about the incredible things God is doing through the amazing generosity of our partners and would like to begin impacting lives today, we’d love for you to join us. Click HERE to become a life-changer.

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