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September 8, 1999






Baylor helps Tanzanian pastor gain vision
___By George Henson
___Staff Writer
___DALLAS--Pastor Kelly Zeramula had a vision for reaching the people of Tanzania for Christ, though his eyesight was all but gone.
___Now, with the help of Baptist missionaries and doctors, his physical vision matches his spiritual vision.
___Zeramula said his eyesight began failing in 1991. Eyeglasses helped, but his vision continued to deteriorate. In the last year, he had become almost blind.
___"In the street, he would walk in front of cars," retired Southern Baptist missionary Betty Ann Whitson said.
___The state of medicine in Tanzania found doctors giving Zeramula no hope for his vision ever improving.
___In mid-July, Zeramula found out the trouble was not with his eyes, however, but instead was caused by a tumor on his pituitary gland.
___In Tanzania, surgery was out of the question and complete blindness was only a matter of months away.
___Zeramula contacted missionary Rob Moor, however, and told him of his circumstances. Moor immediately contacted Whitson and her husband, David, who now serve at North Dallas Baptist Church.
___The Whitsons and other missionaries activated prayer chains. Meanwhile, films sent to America and shown to doctors at Baylor Medical Center in Dallas confirmed the tumor was large and needed immediate attention. David Barnett, a neurosurgeon at the hospital, agreed to do the surgery.
___"It's a fun tumor to treat," said Barnett, a member of Park Cities Baptist Church in Dallas. "It's a fairly straightforward procedure, and the prognosis is really good. I had been told of how the Lord was using Kelly, and I was glad to help him get back to the work he had been called to."
___Before Barnett could do the surgery, however, Zeramula had to get to Dallas. He had to secure a visa and a travelling partner because his blindness had gotten to the point he could not travel alone. Because of time restraints and bureaucratic red tape, these were no easy matters. But through the machinations of God and the willingness of missionaries to be available, Zeramula arrived in Texas Aug. 3.
___The surgery went without complications, and Zeramula's sight has been restored.
___For the Whitsons, this has been an exhilarating experience to help their friend.
___"We were missionaries there in Bukoba when Kelly became a Christian. To be able to help him like this is great," Whitson said.
___Zeramula's wife had to stay in Tanzania, and the first thing the Whitsons did was call her after his release so that she could hear his voice.
___Mrs. Zeramula still has a little problem believing his healing, the pastor said. "She keeps asking me, 'Can you really see?'"
___The entire process has left Zeramula himself in a state of wonder, Whitson said. "I think he has been totally overwhelmed at the hospitality of people in America."
___And the difference between African and American medicine was a big surprise, she added. "The doctors took time to explain to him what was going to be done, and after they explained everything to him, they asked if he had any questions. Doctors do not do that in Africa."

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