Townsend Sees Jesus Through Free Glasses

May 27, 2017 | Andrea Schellenberg

One little church with an average membership of about 15 regular members in Townsend, Mont., had a big dream: to bring free vision care to a small community in central Montana that lacks an optometrist. With a few months of planning, a lot of prayers and help from Merlin Knowles, Montana Conference president, that dream became a reality April 14–15, 2017. 

In a rented county fairground expo building, a temporary vision clinic was set up that allowed each patient a professional eye examination. Patients, who normally would not schedule this kind of medical care, walked in and were registered. There were no identification or insurance requirements. The patients were to just come and be treated free of charge. 

Once registered, each patient had a regular eye examination. Optometrist Tasha Schellenberg spent quality time giving each patient a thorough exam. If a prescription was written, they were immediately taken to a table where a large selection of quality eyeglass frames were displayed. Once they chose their frames, the frames were sent off to have the prescription lenses put in, then the frames were shipped back to Townsend Church for dispersal.

The final stop was the pastoral station, where the patients were given the chance to have special prayer and to receive literature. In total, 134 patients were served during the two days of the free clinic. 

It is such a blessing to reach people where their physical needs are, then watch them open up with their spiritual needs as well. There were many requests for personal Bible study, stress-relief counseling, parenting classes and numerous other needs. While the free eye clinic helped so many, the Townsend Church is excited about all the other possibilities that have opened up for them and to reach other areas in the community where the church can be actively involved.

Optometrist Gayle Daniels provided the use of the eye clinic equipment. Her foundation, Better Vision Better Hope, was responsible for the donation of the glasses.