Wendy's story

As part of Torch’s Sight Loss Friendly Church campaign we encourage churches to think about reaching out to people with sight loss in their local community. Meet Wendy, who along with two other volunteers in Bristol, is committed to making this happen.

 

Wendy feels it is important that Christians within churches reach out to those in their local communities who are experiencing sight loss, and why this is an issue very close to her heart. Wendy actually knows what it is like to experience sight loss herself, and has felt the devastation and loneliness that so many people with sight loss feel.

Wendy says, "I became a befriender because the Lord has led me to this, even though I was born with a congenital eye defect. In my early teens I suddenly lost my eyesight. Social workers did not have time to sit down and talk things through with me. Neither did my consultant. Who could I turn to? Yes, I had the Lord, but I felt so lost and alone.”

“With this scheme I will be able to go into people’s homes and be a listening ear – which I didn’t have – be a comfort to them, and give them gentle encouragement to empower them, so that they can really understand that though they have sight loss it is not the end of their life. They can still have a quality of life and make decisions for themselves.”

“A lot of people with sight loss think ‘What can I do?’ ‘Where do I go from here?’ They think of the negatives and not the positives. I have been led this way because the Lord said it is positive… ‘Yes, you lost your eyesight, but I can use you to help others in a similar situation, and bring life back to them.’ And this is my goal. To bring light back into their lives where at the moment they feel there is darkness. So that they can step out, out of the door of their home, and feel ‘Yes, life is worth living again.’”

Torch Area Development Officer for the south west said, “It has been an absolute pleasure to get to know these three volunteers and to enable them to go ahead with reaching out to people in their local community who are experiencing sight loss. I know they will make a huge difference to the individuals they meet.”

Salem Chapel has been doing its part in becoming sight loss friendly too – with two braille readers and others with sight loss in the congregation it recognises the importance of this work. There has also been support from the other churches in the area.

This is a wonderful example of Christian faith being put into action and sight loss friendly churches taking an extra step of outreach.