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MOST Ministries
The Making of a Legacy 
By Gayle Sommerfeld (MOST Ministries Founder) & Sandra Sommerfeld Helm

What started with an inspirational video and a trip to Haiti in 1989, soon turned into an unexplained deep burning to return to Haiti again and again for Don and me. We were passionate about bringing others to serve in this neglected region of the world.

Team details were organized and prepared in a small bedroom in our home.  There was a desk (actually the surface of a bed), a telephone and a large window flooding the room with light. It was a small room filled with big expectations as we organized 10 teams to return to Haiti             First mission team led by Don & Gayle to Cite Soleil, Haiti in 1989              over the next 3 years, including our first eyeglass team.
 

Just as I felt called to lead mission teams, Don felt called to the eyeglass ministry. Early on he researched the best tools to use in the field: special flippers and an international eye chart. A system that has proven so effective that it is still used today after nearly 30 years. Although the field tools have remained the same, the Ministry’s ability to prepare eyeglasses has dramatically changed. The addition of special equipment like the lensometer and two edgers allow volunteers to transform thousands of donated eyeglasses into the needed prescriptions to send out with teams.

When it began we did not know the Lord’s amazing plans for the eyeglass teams. That hundreds of team members would bring not only physical sight to those they served, but also open doors for local pastors to provide spiritual insight through the Gospel.  Over the years, with more than 140,000 people served with eyeglasses, MOST Ministries eyeglass teams have allowed children to read, parents to return to work, and blessed grandparents with the ability to see the details of their grandchildren’s faces for the first time. They have also softened hearts in hostile communities and even brought about the building of a church in China.

Don and I are blessed by the many changes and incredible growth that has happened over the years, but we are also blessed by what has remained the same.  Like the “field driven” policy still followed by the staff as they listen to national pastors and creatively come up with teams to meet their specific needs. We are also blessed by the intent and desire of all team members to share the love of Christ and the Gospel with those they serve.

As I think back to operating out of that small bedroom in the early 1990’s, I marvel at the incredible technological advances that have occurred since. From fax machines, emails,         David, Don & Gayle’s son, in Haiti  Skype and beyond.  Each new advancement connects us more efficiently to our hosts.  I did not work from my home for long. After several moves, and many miracles, we moved into our own building, filled with dedicated staff members and volunteers. A fact that I never could have foreseen 30 years ago as I stood over my file folders neatly placed across our spare bed.

Don and I treasure our continued involvement on the Board of Directors of this God given ministry. We are inspired by the new ventures like the South Africa Eyeglass Clinic, the many clean water teams, and all of the new and unique teams that continue to form. It is our prayer that the Lord will continue to guide MOST Ministries as it continues “impacting the world for Jesus Christ through Short Term Missions.”

 

                                                                                             

           A women in China could see clearly.                                                  A mother, in Russia, reads

             Because of this team, there was                                                    scripture for the reading test

               permission to build a church.                                                     while her nearly blind daughter

                                                                                                                       stands beside her.

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