DCF’s last mission team of the year returned to the U.S. just in time for Thanksgiving.  We will celebrate the holiday, recognizing God’s goodness in our lives, our freedom, friends and family, as well as the opportunity to use our skills in serving others less fortunate.
A heart of thankfulness is never more evident than when we travel to Haiti where a team of 10 worked very hard treating almost 600 people on the island of LaGonave during November 12-19.  Haiti is by far the poorest country in the western hemisphere and yet it contains the nicest dental facility that we ever visit.  West Indies Self Help (WISH) staff have been our hosts for almost 20 years.  Part of their mission is to maintain a small dental clinic which provides a great base for our work.  Since last year the clinic has even been air-conditioned.  In the past, temperatures inside the clinic could reach the 90s in the afternoon.  God’s grace is evident in things both large and small.

One of the biggest blessing in my life is to have dental colleagues who are committed to regularly joining in DCF’s effort to teach and mentor students.  This year Ellen Thrailkill and her assistant, Holly, from Pickens, S.C. returned for the second straight year. Greg Bottone from Mt. Pleasant was also along on the team after a break of a couple of years absence.  Greg brought along his assistant, Charlotte, to experience her first mission trip. The students learned a lot from each of these seasoned dental practitioners who have a sincere desire to share their lives and experience with young people.

A couple years ago an enterprising nurse educator partnered with the Wesleyan Hospital on LaGonave to start a nursing school.  It’s now accredited and we were privileged to do exams and treatment on many of the students.  We were impressed with their desire to learn and the fact that most had good oral hygiene.  Hopefully one day they will be examples to their patients when it comes to dental health issues.

While Haiti lacks many material assets, it is made up of a people who have not given up.  Their worship is lively and even though there are few jobs, they manage to continue to trust in God’s goodness.  Their faith is strong, most seem joyful, and we returned home uplifted and committed to continuing to mission to the country again in November of 2017.

All in all, 2016 has been another wonderful year in the life of DCF.  Thanks to all who have participated, whether on a mission trip, social function, bible study, prayer time, speaking at a meeting, to just sharing a meal with a brother or sister.