News Release

"Now, I Can See"

LDS Charities continues to impact lives as man regains sight

The Free Eye Expedition held in July 2017 in Benin City by the LDS Charities- the humanitarian arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, left behind a legacy of restored sight and membership of the Church to Mr. Solomon Agbonkoko, a widower and retired civil servant.


“I have been living life in total darkness.  I had forgotten what light looked like.  It was pure darkness for several years until now.  I did not even know some of my grandchildren by their faces.  It was very bad.   But I thank God for this Church, I can see again,” he said.

The ailment was a cataract.  According to Dr. Rita Momoh, an ophthalmologist and president of the Benin City branch of the Ophthalmological Society of Nigeria, full-grown cataract could lead to permanent blindness.

The octogenarian observed that he was not only living in physical darkness but in spiritual darkness as well.  After a surgical operation, Mr. Agbonkoko felt it was time to find out more about this unique church that gave freely to the needy and indigent of society.  So like the tenth leper who returned to thank Jesus Christ in the Holy Bible, Mr. Solomon Agbonkoko thought of bringing items of thanksgiving to the church but was counseled to receive missionaries instead.

“I didn’t know how to say thank you. Because I stopped going to church long ago, I went to the unit close by to seek advice about what to bring for Thanksgiving.  But I was advised by the leader (Bishop) to receive the missionaries instead.  Now I read a lot.  Among the first things I read after my sight was restored were tracts from the missionaries, who have been visiting me regularly.  I am also reading the Book of Mormon now.”

Mr. Agbonkoko believed that God wanted him to see again.  His friends knew that he had lost his sight and that had affected him badly.  So when the announcement was made to the church's congregation about the free eye clinic, a member friend of his visited him with the news.  He reluctantly went to the venue and was surprised at the immediate attention he received, which culminated in the surgery.

“After the surgery, the church brought me home, blindfolded, in an official bus.  It was late at night.  About 10 pm. They brought me home.  The pain was much, but I prayed to God for comfort.  I slept very well that night. And in the morning when I woke up, I noticed light filtering through the blindfold.  I could not believe it. But God had blessed me with my sight again.”

LDS Charities works to prevent avoidable blindness and visual impairment as it strengthens eye care services to the poor by mentoring vision professionals who work in health care organizations. It also provides equipment, supplies, and organizational support to these eye care professionals and programs.

Specialists volunteer their time in a short-term program in which they help provide training, equipment, and supplies to assist local eye care professionals and programs. Since 2003 more than 550,000 people have benefited from Church vision projects throughout the world.

97,000 people were served in the 40 countries through LDS Charities vision projects.

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