Catch the Vision - Dental
After a very busy season, it was almost quiet at MOHI this past week. (The key word there being ALMOST!) Spring seems to have sprung in Haiti. I realized today that "Spring" to me means trees budding, crocuses popping up, birds making lots of noise as they return from their southern homes. To Haitians, however, it's usually associated with lots of wind - which blows dust everywhere - which often leads to colds. Often times it destroys crops, too. Quite a different picture from mine. Here's what the missionary compound looks like this evening. Can anyone say MANGOES?!!!
We hired a back hoe and operator this week to continue working on the Thozin soccer field. Of course, the kids are already playing on it whenever the back hoe is not on it. It's really great to see the kids have a wide open space to play in at the school!
We had a full week of school. Teachers spent time reviewing for exams this coming week. Once exams are finished, it's vacation time. I suspect the soccer field will be full of kids the entire week of vacation. I have to wonder how difficult it will be to grow grass on the field. Will it require an alert guard 24/7 to keep the kids out???
Holger and Sigrun continue working with two groups of students on baking. They are currently exploring marketing options. They are excited to see other organizations beginning to order fresh baked bread for their visitors. The students would really like to begin baking cakes that can be sold for special occasions.
The need for dental care in Haiti is just mind boggling. When our partners, Bless Back Worldwide, first started bringing dentists to MOHI, they were so saddened by what they saw. Most of the students teeth were just full of decay. Many had already lost permanent teeth, simply due to a lack of available alternatives. When your child is screaming in pain from a tooth, you take the tooth out to resolve the pain issue. Tooth repairs were usually not even considered and if they were the costs were prohibitive.
Dr. Chris Kibler and Bless Back Worldwide launched a fluoride swish program in our school. He trained our teaching staff to do the swish with their class once a week. The program has caused a marked improvement in the overall dental health of our students.
Catch the Vision
Mission USA fanned the flames of this vision when they shipped donated dental equipment to us and then added Dr. Jim Birong to their team that joined us in Haiti last month. Dr. Jim set up a dental clinic in the north of Haiti a few years ago and created a dental "insurance" program to keep costs to the patients at a minimum. He has shared much of his knowledge and experience with us and given us a great starting point.
With collaboration from Dr. Jim, Mission USA, Bless Back Worldwide, and others, we are quite eager to begin the full-time dental clinic. We are aiming to begin in May, when our new dentist should become available to work. The long-term goal for the dental clinic, which we believe the Lord has imparted, is for it to eventually become self-contained and self-sustained.
To achieve this goal, we intend to start out servicing our students (free) and neighbors (low cost) well. (As Dr. Jim Birong has taught us, we want to save as many teeth as possible and do "pretty" fillings.) During this time we will be building an outstanding, strong reputation of excellence for the dental clinic, like we have for the school. This phase will be dependent predominantly on funds donated specifically for the dental clinic. These funds will cover necessary expenses such as dental clinic staff, dental supplies, facility and equipment maintenance and repairs, and utilities.
When the time is right, we will expand to include orthodontic services. This will be for those who have the means to pay for them - most patients will travel from metropolitan areas once a month for this. At this point paying patients and school class sponsorships would provide all the funds necessary to fund a completely self-sustaining dental clinic, while still providing free services to students and low cost (or free) services to those without the means to pay for dental care.
Ways to Support the Vision
If this excites you, as it does so many of us at MOHI, please prayerfully consider partnering with us in this endeavor.
Pray for this ministry regularly
Pray for MOHI leaders to have godly wisdom and understanding concerning the dental clinic
Pray for healthy relationships - unity and peace between staff members, staff and directors, between organizations working together
Pray for every need to be met so there would be no lack
Pray that the Lord would add to our numbers daily those who would be saved through the ministry taking place in the dental clinic
Become a financial partner
Give a one time donation online or send a check to MOHI, PO Box 884, Gardner, MA 01440 (Please specify "dental fund")
Commit to give a particular amount monthly ("stay tuned" for more about this)
Solicit donations of goods (tooth brushes, dental floss, tooth paste, fluoride, etc.) from your family's dentist (and invite him/her to visit Haiti with you!)
Become an ambassador for MOHI to those within your sphere of influence
Some of our best supporters, hardest working volunteers, dearest friends came through someone just talking about our work in Haiti. Even though they personally did not have the means to "do much" financially, their willingness to share often brought major blessings to MOHI. Here are just a few out of numerous examples:
One man spoke with the owner of a local lumber yard. He decided to ship enough pre-cut lumber to us in Haiti to build all our school benches one year.
One couple introduced us to another couple who set us up with a satellite internet system - the first in our city. That put us in a position to help some Sri Lankan soldiers when a Tsunami hit their homes which spawned a friendship. That friendship led to MANY friendships, a trip to Sri Lanka, and the rescue of 32 children, which led to MOHI and the Hands and Feet Project discovering each other... the story goes on and on.
One young woman told Bless Back Worldwide about us which turned into a visit which turned into an amazing medical ministry and ongoing partnership.
Purposefully talk with family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, business owners whose businesses you frequent, guys on your basketball team, parents you chat with at the playground, your dentist, lawyer, doctor... You get the picture. Make a point of telling people about MOHI and more specifically about the dental clinic and how they, too could become involved.
Visit MOHI in Haiti to share your time and skills
If you are a dental professional, contact us to arrange a time to come work in the dental clinic.
Promote and lead a trip to Haiti - invite dental professionals and anyone else who would be an asset to any aspect of MOHI's ministry in Haiti. Contact us so we can help you get started.
Thank you for your interest and support of Mission of Hope International. Please feel free to communicate with us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org at any time. We love to hear from you and to know that you are standing with us in prayer.