A team of 21 wonderful people returned to San Marcos de Colon in Honduras September 17-24, 2016, partnering with the Good Samaritan Baptist Mission. We were the first group to visit since the death of the founder. Besides our usual program, we tried to be an encouragement to the staff who are dealing with the sadness and grief in the loss of their beloved sister, Joan Tyson.
We were a combination of veterans of previous mission trips and some new friends. MUSC dental students, graduate dentists, a pre-dental student, spouses, interpreters, and helpers were a part of the mix. We came from as far away as Wisconsin, a wide age range and different spiritual backgrounds, but all shared one objective to be used by God to serve the dental and optical needs of the people who would come to our clinic.
Thanks to James Moore, we were able to provide prosthetic tooth replacements for the first time on a DCF short term mission trip. James was given a short course by a friend who is a dental laboratory technician, accumulated needed materials, and packed a heavy bag. The rate of tooth decay is very high in Latin America due to a love of sugar, especially sugary beverages. Front teeth often fall victim to dental disease at a very young age. To be able to replace missing or non-restorable teeth was a joy for us and a huge blessing for the patients. Talk about smiles and hugs!
Mission trips are often filled with unusual examples of God’s provision and grace if we but open out eyes to these events. One in particular occurred during our visit to Honduras. We offered reading and sun glasses as an adjunct to the dental care. Over 300 pairs were taken and by the end of the 5th day, only ONE pair remained. How about that for planning!
During the week we saw a steady supply of patients and ended up rending almost 700 total dental procedures. Unfortunately, we couldn’t meet everyone’s need, but we did make a dent. This is the 6th year that we have visited this site, and our empirical observation is that we think that the dental condition of the patients that we are treating is slowly improving.
Thanks to those who participated on the team and for those at home who supported us with prayers, finances and love. We are called to make our “offering” and trust that God views our efforts as worthwhile. I can say for all of the team, that it’s a pleasure to serve and we are truly more blessed to give than receive.