This past week, I was given an amazing opportunity to accompany 13 other extraordinary men and women on the first ever mobile dental mission with Grateful Samaritans to Sittee River, Belize. The team was assembled to help provide dental health care to the students of Sittee River Methodist School in the Stann Creek District of Belize; however, this presented a challenge in and of itself. With less than half of the group having any resemblance of a medical background, would the rest of us be of any help at all?
Make no mistake that these were, undoubtedly, the right people for the job. Each having been hand-picked picked by God himself, these missionaries were ready and willing to be used as His Hands and feet. As we arrived at Camalote Camp in Belmopan, we were reminded of one thing before setting off to Sittee River. “God doesn’t call the qualified. He qualifies the called.” Our worries were gone.
Yet, as this fear subsided, it seemed to be replaced by yet another unknown: the rain. In the weeks leading up to our arrival, the entire of country of Belize was exposed to incessant rainfall, leaving many of the local communities flooded. As it turned out, Sittee River was one of these affected villages. The group was unsure whether we would be able to make the 2-hour trip from Belmopan to Sittee River as the rain continued to fall.
Knowing that it was out of our hands, the group put our trust and faith in God. His will be done. We awoke the next day, anxious to see if the weather would allow us to continue the trip as planned. Cloudy skies overhead, but we decided that the rain had ceased just long enough to attempt the drive. Two hours later, we pulled the 15-passenger van and the RV into Sittee River where we would begin our mission work the next morning. God is faithful!
After receiving a little training on dental charting the night before, I could not wait to get to work. I had the pleasure of working directly with my dad. While he performed the dental screening, I was able to input information into the computer regarding cavities, dental decay, missing teeth and much more. As dad put it, I would “draw pictures” of the children’s teeth on the computer. I was amazed by how comfortable the kids were as they entered the room. This was a testament to how great Jim and Meredith were with the kids as they picked the students up from school, gained their trust, and brought them over to the clinic. Again, these were exactly the right people for the job. We were able to do our job successfully because of the hard work from the rest of our mission team. From the screening process, the kids would rotate to nutrition & hygiene to learn how to better care for their teeth before ultimately having their teeth thoroughly cleaned in the RV. The dental RV (Sam 1) was parked right next to the clinic to allow for a smooth transition between each station.
In two days, we were able to collectively care for more than 70 students and adults, treating the entire Sittee River Methodist School in the process. The following day, the students would be gone attending a local Garifuna festival. In the meantime, the group took on a variety of tasks at the school including playground renovations, computer systems repair, taping and painting hopscotch and distributing clothes and school supplies. With the hot sun blaring down on us for the first time this trip, we worked diligently until lunch time. We had a few unexpected visitors as the children arrived back early from the parade. It was an awesome sight to see the smiling face of each kid as they ran toward the new & improved playground, challenged their friends to a game of hopscotch on wet paint, and collected their goodie bags.
Throughout the week, many of our “fun day” plans were cancelled, but we did what each of us came to do. We served Christ by serving others. God was good to us this week and remained faithful to us in all things. I could not have asked for a better group of people with which to experience God’s grace. We came to impact the lives of others and were, in turn, impacted just as much from the local community. I look forward to the day when I can return to relive fifth row seating, rainy golf cart races thru pothole-filled roads, the true affects of okra, and the smiling faces of the each life touched this week.
Remember, God doesn’t call the qualified. He qualifies the called! I urge you to step out in faith and allow God to use you in a real way!