For many years in addition to DCF trips, Dr. Bill has participated on mission teams through Global Health Outreach. GHO is the short term international service division of the Christian Medical and Dental Associations (CMDA) providing both medical and dental care. Additionally, the February team included 2 physical therapists and a Physician Assistant with dermatology training. The following is his report:

GHO solicits team members from all over the U.S. Everyone heads to Managua, the capital of Nicaragua to rendezvous. After a brief time to get acquainted, a short night’s sleep, we load the bus and head 6+ hours to a small town called Jalapa in the northern portion of the country. This served as our base of operations to support the clinic 30 minutes down a very bumpy dirt road.

In the developing world, short term teams such as ours serve people without access to healthcare mostly because of financial limitations rather than a lack of providers. We frequently treat patients who have traveled long distances to reach the clinic. Three other dentists and myself addressed a steady line of waiting patients all week. This trip was unique in that Kacey Medlin, a recent MUSC grad, joined the team specifically to gain more experience in extracting bad teeth. By the end of the week, Kacey’s confidence level had soared.

 

 

Like any mission trip, we can experience many “highs” and a few “lows.” Working together with brothers and sisters in Christ is a true joy. Alternatively, there can be gaps between what patients want or need and our ability to address everyone’s concerns. 

While healthcare is a definite goal for a trip such as this, it’s just as important that people leave the clinic feeling loved and knowing that God has not forgotten. Jesus is referred to by lots of names in Scripture such as “light, bread, living water, the Word, etc.” He also is our living “hope” in spite of the difficulties of life whether we are Nicaraguan or American. For this, we say thanks be to God!