See the Lord, a nonprofit group “based on Catholic principles that seeks to serve the underprivileged,” provided free eye care and glasses to about 200 people in May at the Give Me a Chance offices in Ogden, Utah.
Among those receiving the care were Linda Tobías and three of her children. She was particularly pleased because her 7-year-old son, who is autistic and typically doesn’t do well with doctor’s visits, was able to be examined and will receive glasses. “The girls were very good with him,” said Tobías, whose insurance doesn’t cover eyeglasses. With a new pair for herself, as well, she’s looking forward to being free of headaches and dizziness. “It’s going to be great,” she said.
Clint Philpott also is looking forward to the glasses he will receive through See the Lord. His old prescription glasses snapped while he was playing ball with his granddaughter, and “I couldn’t afford to pay $200 for another pair,” he said; instead, he dug a pair out of the trash. With them he can see distance, but not close up, so he constantly adjusts them on his nose. “It’s going to be really nice to be able to just work without messing with my glasses,” he said.
See the Lord Founding
See the Lord was founded in 2011 by Dr. Kelly Kao, who worked in a private optometry practice as well as in the corporate world before starting the nonprofit organization. The ministry came about from understanding where God’s call is for me when it comes to my profession,” Kao said, adding that “the sense of accomplishment and service of others was not found when I was working in the secular world.”
The night after her mother died, Kao had a vision of her that was the inspiration for the ministry, which combines her passions of health care, education, ministering to people and sharing her faith, she said. Three years ago, Kao began to explore whether she had a call to religious life; today she is discerning with the Daughters of Charity.
Although the Daughters of Charity’s motherhouse in the United States is near her home in California, Kao’s first contact with the religious order was in Taiwan, where she went on a mission trip for See the Lord.
“Seeing how the Daughters serve the poor unconditionally was a really clear sign” that opened her eyes to considering a religious vocation and “trying to live my life according to God’s will,” Kao said.
It was through the Daughters of Charity that the See the Lord team visited Ogden. When the vocations director, Sr. Lisa Laguna, was in Utah last year, she spoke with Sr. Maria Nguyen, director of Give Me a Chance, which provides free job training to low-income women. Sr. Maria told Sr. Lisa that many of the people she serves didn’t have access to eye care; Sr. Lisa brought that message to Kao. “The need was very high, and that’s why we decided to come here,” Kao said.
The 200 Ogden-area residents whom the See the Lord team examined was almost twice what they typically would see in the short time they were here, Kao said. Even so, many were turned away because of time constraints, Sr. Maria said.
See the Lord Team
The See the Lord team is comprised of college students who are interested in becoming optometrists, Kao said. Although they want to serve the community, most are not Catholic, so “being able to bring them out in the field with us and introduce them to the Catholic faith has been a really big part of our missionary work,” she said.
By chance, all of the volunteers for the Utah mission were Catholic. Among them was Vincent Pham, who said See the Lord is a perfect fit for him because it combines two of his interests: optometry and the faith. In Ogden, he was happy that some of the patients volunteered to lead decades of the rosary when they recited it, he said.
Similarly, Stephanie Nguyen said volunteering with See the Lord “feels like a calling from God. … It’s been not only fulfilling, I feel like I’m so happy because I get to see other people happy, and that’s the most rewarding thing ever.”
Source: Intermountain Catholic, Focusing on Eyes for Christ written by Marie Mischel