Community Clinic Brings New Vision

A patient was selecting his frames after a free community vision clinic when he was asked which ones he liked.

“Whichever. You can choose them,” he muttered.

The volunteer persisted, “Which frames do you want?”

The patient broke down crying. When he had composed himself, he said, “Nobody has ever asked me what I wanted before. All my life, I have never felt cared for. But now I feel that from you all today.”

A Tacoma Rescue Mission staff member who helped coordinate the community health event shared that her favorite place to be during the clinic was at the table where patients selected their new glasses. She loved watching patients try the frames on, look in the mirror and select the ones they wanted.

“Choices give dignity," she shared with the mission team. "Most of these people wake up and live their entire day every day with very few choices. It was exciting for them to get to make a choice how they wanted to express themselves.”

It is very difficult for people experiencing homelessness with state insurance to get a vision appointment. They often have to wait six to eight months. This is especially challenging because their day-to-day living situation is so unpredictable. When they finally have a vision appointment, they only have a few different frames to choose from. As a result, their socioeconomic status can easily be identified simply by the glasses they wear.

At the LifeBridge Vision Clinic there were dozens of high-quality, name-brand frames from which to choose. As patients looked in the mirror, their faces would break into huge smiles. It was priceless.

This was the second LifeBridge Church Vision Clinic directed by Eden Yoon, Ophthalmologist. The dream began during the pandemic when Yoon recruited fellow LifeBridge Church plant members to volunteer with him to serve meals at Tacoma Rescue Mission.

While serving food, Yoon met one of the Rescue Mission staff members who was part of the recovery program. He shared that he had been reading the Bible for the first time in his life, but he was having trouble with his eyesight.

That is when it clicked in Yoon’s mind, “Why don’t we organize a free vision clinic for people at Tacoma Rescue Mission?”

The Rescue Mission was elated to pursue the project together. This opportunity had never happened before. In May 2021, LifeBridge Church hosted their first vision clinic, seeing over 100 people experiencing homelessness.

The second clinic happened just under a year later, in February 2022, and served around the same number of patients. This time, multiple miracle stories were heard and experienced.

The LifeBridge Vision Clinic doesn’t simply help people see more clearly; it gives them a new vision of who Jesus is, how much He cares about them and what He can do in their life.

Featured in: May/June 2022