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Liseth’s Story: “I Was Blind But God Gave Me New Eyes”

Doctors told Liseth she was going blind. But then her Compassion project stepped in to provide sight-saving medical care.

God gave me new eyes

You’re five years old and celebrating your birthday for the very first time. There’s a blur of colour as children rush round you, laughing and joking. You want to join them but your vision impairs you.

This was Liseth’s reality.

The news no parent wants to hear

Two years ago, Blanca, Liseth’s mum, was sat on a bus, tears streaming down her face. She was returning from a doctor’s appointment and the results hadn’t been good. Her neighbours had been talking, saying her husband would leave her once he discovered Liseth was going blind.

Liseth and her mum

Blanca’s mood lifted when the health worker from Liseth’s school told her there was a chance of eye surgery. Excited, they rushed back to the national children’s hospital for an appointment but once again left with bad news.

The doctor told me it was too late and that maybe Liseth could wear glasses, but there was no guarantee of any sort of improvement.

Feeling all her hope drain away, Blanca started to pray.

I asked Him for hope. I said, ‘Please Lord, show me a light of hope, something to help us,’ and so He did, when later through a neighbour I heard that children could be enrolled in a Compassion programme with many benefits.

Liseth began attending one of Compassion’s church-based Compassion projects in Plan del Pino, El Salvador. And thanks to her child sponsor, she was able to celebrate her birthday for the very first time.

Determined not to give up

Having reviewed Liseth’s medical file, the project staff were left puzzled. While the doctors kept telling Blanca there was nothing to be done, no one could provide a diagnosis.

As Sonia, the project director explains, "We were very happy to have Liseth in the project and after listening to her medical history, we wanted to make sure she had the proper care. That’s why we decided to take her to [have] new check-ups and find a diagnosis for her condition."

Blanca and Sonia took Liseth back to the children’s hospital where they saw many of the best doctors, but still no one could provide an explanation.

The doctors said there wasn’t anything to be done but to accept Liseth was going blind. Yet there was still no diagnosis.

Refusing to believe this was the only option, Sonia requested a Compassion funded medical intervention to take Liseth to a private ophthalmologist.

“We went to a private clinic in San Salvador city,” Sonia recalls. “I was there with Blanca and Liseth. We couldn’t believe what the doctor told us, he said that Liseth’s right eye could improve its vision with a cornea transplant, but it needed to be scheduled as soon as possible.”

Liseth's new eyes

At home, Liseth was already spreading the news that God was going to give her new eyes. But when Francisco, Liseth’s dad, heard about the transplant surgery, he refused. “He was afraid that the anaesthesia could kill Liseth,” explains Blanca.

Time to be brave

Summoning all her courage, Liseth went to the project and asked for a meeting with Sonia. Sitting together on the church steps she told Sonia, “I’m not afraid to have this surgery, but my dad doesn’t want me to have it.” The two of them prayed together, Liseth adding, “Lord, thank you because you will provide wisdom for my dad, so I can have my surgery.”

Liseth praying

The preparation for the surgery continued and the project received a second medical intervention to cover the cost of the surgery. All that was needed was Francisco’s permission and an important phone call.

Finally, Sonia got the news she’d been waiting for. The cornea bank had sent a cornea for the transplant, meaning the surgery had to take place the following day.

At home, Liseth plead with Francisco, “Please dad, please let me have my surgery.”

In her room, she prayed even harder, and since Christmas was a few weeks away, she prayed, “Dear Lord, I want to be able to see. That’s what I want for this Christmas.”

The following day, Blanca took Liseth to the project, where Sonia was hoping to receive the whole family to take them to the clinic. As they boarded the van, an out of breath Francisco appeared from around the corner, ready to join them.

Arriving at the clinic, Francisco finally gave his permission, nodding his head and shaking the doctor’s hand.

An answer to prayer

Opening her eyes, Lizeth was greeted by a new and exciting world of colours, shapes and sizes. God had answered her prayers. Sonya shares:

We’ve never seen Liseth this thrilled. She was already a happy child, but now she is blossoming, happier than ever. She loves to colour pictures and stays inside the lines, she is able to draw and to write.

Liseth knows she must take good care of her eyesight and doesn’t mind applying eye drops each hour, because she knows this is a huge blessing. “I’m happy with my new eyes!” Liseth says joyfully.

Sponsor a child in El Salvador


WORDS : Nora Díaz, Emily Johnstone

PHOTOS : Nora Díaz



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