June - August 2018, Issue 89
RMNI Reconciliation Report

Opening Eyes at Malakal

While teaching inLarry and Jim G 2017 at the Malakal UN refugee camp, church leaders implored us to bring eye doctors next time to treat trachoma, the leading cause of preventable blindness. Local clinics didn’t treat eyes—no one had for four years. Trachoma is spread by dust and flies, which are many.
After months of frustrating recruitment, Dr. James Guzek, a cataract surgeon from Richland, WA, responded through the Christian Eye Network. He had wanted to go to S. Sudan for 6 years, but had no network. When he saw the request, he knew that God called him. He had worked in Ghana for three years, had treated trachoma, and knew some Arabic. RMNI then paid S. Sudan trip expenses for Larry Morris, a highly skilled ophthalmic technologist from Pensacola, FL, who was already going to Uganda, forming the core of the medical team. We then hired a cataract surgeon and three eye nurses from the Buluk Eye Center in Juba—the only eye clinic operating in S. Sudan. The S. Sudan embassy in Ethiopia refused visas to 2 Ethiopian eye nurses, whom Dr. Guzek had trained.
He really saw the text! David coordinates activities in S. SudanRMNI bought and shipped to S. Sudan 2,000 pair of reading glasses from RestoringVision.org, including the 1,000 sent six weeks earlier to the Juba UN camp. Due to lack of training, these had not been distributed. So we spent parts of two days (April 22-23) fitting glasses and training chaplains that Lookout Mtn. Pres. church supports, to continue fitting them. The first day was chaotic, as some tried to force their way to an examination, but community police oversaw the work the next day.
On April 23-24, Dr. Guzek and Larry Morris worked at the Buluk Eye Center, Jim operating on difficult cases, while Larry assembled and repaired medical equipment. We discovered the day before departure to Malakal on the 24th, that we could not send our 1550 pounds of gear to Malakal as extra baggage, so had to immediately charter a Cessna Caravan aircraft. Still overweight, 3 of our team of 8 had to fly a scheduled jet to Malakal, costing yet more. Next day at the airport, the head of security required a new form, otherwise we would not fly in 2 hours. In desperation we called a contact in the National Security Service, allowing us to fly anyway, 25 minutes before takeoff. 
Evangelizing before screeningUpon arrival we set up at both the International Medical Corps (IMC) operating theater and at the Doctors Without Borders pharmacy, next door. For the next 6 days, the team screened patients, performed cataract and Dr Guzek donated this microscopetrachoma surgery, and fitted reading glasses. Men were trained to fit the balance of about 1,000 pair of reading glasses that we brought. Due to an urgent request, we spent a day in Malakal town a few miles away, screening patients and distributing glasses there as well.
At least 17 churches inside the camp of 36,000 joined to advertise and oversee the free clinics. We arranged for local evangelists to preach to those waiting for screening. Two men indicated their desire to surrender to Christ when I gave a brief message. Since the three chaplains that RMNI supports laid the foundation for this outreach, and since screening was held in churches, this hopefully demonstrated the love of God. I also asked people to read John 3:16, to see if people had the correct strength of glasses.
waiting to be screenedHeat was a significant impediment, being perhaps 105-110 degrees in the afternoons, with AC only in the IMC clinic, the UN cafeteria, where we took lunch and supper, and, thankfully, in our bedroom modules.
The S. Sudanese cataract surgeon and an eye nurse stayed an extra 5 days to do surgery and post-op exams. In all, by God’s grace, about 2,000 people were screened and 208 surgeries were performed—mostly for cataracts, but also for trachoma. We almost ran out of medications. Back in Juba, we met with the Director General of the Ministry of Health, who urged the doctor’s continued assistance. We can now facilitate other eye-care professionals who wish to volunteer at Buluk Eye Center, through our partner ministry, Agape Mission.
Lady with glasses had tracoma and cataract surgeriesDr. Guzek is working to assist two difficult children’s cases—one with cataracts and the other with cancer of the eye (retinoblastoma). He donated four large suitcases of equipment to the Buluk Eye Center, and shared a large part of overall costs personally and through supporters of his ministry, Gifting the Gift of Sight.
One of the eye nurses, to whom we paid a total of $800, was so deeply humbled by it, feeling like Peter to ask God to depart, being sinful (Luke 5:8). The “normal” salary is $8.00 per month, and even that comes 3 months late. The cataract surgeon makes $12.00 per month. The nurse typically eats one meal per day. The $800 was more money than had ever been received at one time, and would also help the extended family. A picture of Jesus is in every room in the home, to protect from marauders who take anything of value, and who may rape or kill as well. A bottle of water that cost 1 South Sudanese pound (SSP) a few years ago, now costs 25 SSP.
The apostle Paul wrote “for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.” (1 Cor. 16:7 ESV). They did not want to take meal breaksAmong the adversaries are fear of S. Sudan, seeming unnatural red tape, and officials who refuse visas. Even the heat. But a wide door of opportunity slowly opened before us, to God’s glory. A lady at Malakal town expressed it--This must be from God. Who else would come here and give free eye help? For a much better sense of the trip, please view the 7-minute trip video at the www.RMNI.org homepage. We are working on possibly bringing a dental team for 2018. We would also like to assist anyone volunteering at Buluk Eye Center. Contact us if interested.
We’re grateful for all who prayed and gave. This was a team effort at every stage. Thank you, and honor to God.
Jim Sutherland
Dedicated eye team


After returning home from Africa on May 6, on May 10 Sage, our 70+ pound German Shepherd, took Judy Sutherland where she didn’t want to go, fracturing her femur. Many providences followed, including having a preferred surgeon arranging surgery 45 minutes after arriving at emergency. Surgery was on the 11th. On the 12th at least 6 deacons from Lookout Pres. showed up with lumber and built this amazing ramp (railings were added later). RampJudy came home on the 12th. Without that ramp, she could not have gotten in the door. Since then meals arrived, with visits, and assorted angels have cleaned, ironed, called and visited. She just had to visit her 5th grade class for a farewell. She is retiring.

Prayer Power

  • Thank you for praying for God to bless the recent S. Sudan trip. He did.
  • Jim did not burn out (despite almost zero personal time on the Africa trip).
  • Praise for divine appointments on a variety of flights to and from Africa.
  • Ellen Fox is doing well at Lohutok--now into 8 years without returning to the USA. She faces difficult challenges, but is strong in faith and has excellent local support.
  • Pray that a battery-powered video projector and very portable large screen will be used to best effect in UN refugee camps. Plans are to show the Jesus Film and similar videos, as well as seminary curriculum from ThirdMill.org, etc.
  • Pray for a solid peace in S. Sudan. Several recent rounds of talks have essentially failed. Security is improving overall, but the conflict is creating huge food shortages and great suffering. Pray for godly leaders and for glory to God through the church.
  • Pray for Judy’s healing from her fracture.
  • Pray that the upcoming Disciple Making Movement (DMM) conference will equip leaders there well. 50 Discovery Bible Studies have started in one UN camp as a result!
  • Continue to pray for the 19 chaplains at Juba and Malakal. They greatly assisted distributing reading glasses and the overall eye ministry at Malakal. They also carry forward DMM work. Pray that youth gangs will not gain footholds inside of these camps.
  • Pray for conversions and the power of the Spirit, as well as for divine appointments at the Westside housing project. We sense many such meetings.
  • Pray that I’ll be able to wrap up the AFAM missionary census this year. Thanks for your prayers!


David Acellam and GearDavid Acellam participated in the Lookout Mtn. Pres. Ch. (LMPC) World Mission Conference in March 2018, together with other Africans. RMNI partners directly with three of these outstanding men, and introduced the fourth to LMPC.  While here David spoke in three other churches, and had lunch with two pastors. He returned with suitcases of clothes, books and reading glasses. During the conference LMPC raised $17,893 for food relief in Juba! Friends donated a year’s worth of home school materials for his two older children, and he was provided with office software and Third Mill seminary curriculum on micro-SD cards. David is our primary S. Sudan ministry coordinator, who currently is principal of Grace Theological College in Juba. He oversees ministry in both the Juba and Malakal UN refugee camps on behalf of LMPC and RMNI. RMNI is underwriting him and another ministry partner to attend advanced Disciple Making Movement training in June.  He is a very capable, diligent and faithful brother.

The Reconciliation Report is a publication of

Reconciliation Ministries Network, Inc.
PO Box 2537 Chattanooga, TN 37409-0537

Phone: 423.822.1091

Jim Sutherland, PhD, Director