Jack Popjes Blew It as a Dad

I’m pleased to host a guest blogger today, writer/speaker/missionary Jack Popjes. I trust you will be inspired by his words.

Jack Popjes

Our youngest
daughter, Cheryl, was born with amblyopia, commonly called lazy eye—a condition
in children when vision does not develop properly in one eye. When she was two
years old, an epidemic of trachoma swept through the Canela village in Brazil
where we worked. This is a serious eye disease that, at that time, had blinded
six million people worldwide. Most of the Canela and all our family were
infected and we worked day and night treating the sufferers with antibiotic

we took off Cheryl’s bandages, we saw that our toddler’s lazy eye had turned
aside even more. The optometrist prescribed glasses and an eye patch to wear
over the good eye to force the lazy eye to work. Each year he wrote
stronger prescriptions.

After three
years of service in Brazil our director ordered us to go on furlough much
earlier than planned. “Your financial support continues to be so low,” he said,
“you are borrowing money from other missionaries to buy groceries. Go back home
and raise adequate support before you return to Brazil.”

When we
arrived in Canada the eye specialist said, “It’s a good thing you brought your
daughter in to see me today, her prescription is wrong, her lazy eye needs a
different treatment. In another month or two it would have been too late. Her
lazy eye would have gone completely blind.”

He prescribed
different glasses, as well as a patch, and gradually her eye improved so much
that by the time she entered college her vision was near normal.

I finished writing this story, I gave it to Cheryl to read and she exclaimed,
“You mean if we hadn’t been so under-supported and poor, you would have stayed
for nearly another year, and I would have gone blind in one eye? I never knew
that. Dad! This happened 45 years ago, why didn’t you tell me earlier!

Yeah, why
didn’t I?

Because I
failed in one of the most important duties parents have—to tell their children
what God has done for them. All through the Old Testament, God commands His
people to remember what He did to benefit them and their families and to tell
their children, even to write them down.

Just before
singing God’s praise for a long list of things that He did on earth for His
people, the poet urged his listeners to action, “Let this be written for a
future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the Lord” Psalm
102:18 (NIV).

This incident
encouraged me to keep going through my decades of daily journals and find
incidents where God answered our prayers, where He protected us, where He
arranged amazing co-incidences for our family. I continue to write them up,
wanting to leave them as a legacy of God’s actions for our children,
grandchildren and beyond.

So, what
about you?

How do you remember the
God-stories in your family’s life?

How do you pass them on to
future generations?


Jack Popjes started writing stories for missionary newsletters
during the decades he and his wife were Bible translators in Brazil. For the
past twenty years, he has blogged weekly on missions, church, Christian
spirituality, and Bible translation. His current blog is INsights & OUTbursts. He
has published three books and e-published two books of story based
articles—all selected from his blogs. His story telling ability makes him a
popular speaker who averages sixty speaking events each year.

Read about Jack’s writing life at The WordMan