Why We’re Here

It takes a village to help a village. Recently, a team of U.S. dentists and assistants traveled to Guinea, West Africa, for a medical outreach in Labe in conjunction with Hope Clinic, a CAMA Services hospital. Besides the dentists and assistants, translators were needed, as well as nurses to inject anesthesia, people to give medicines, others to sell tapes, people for crowd control, two workers to pull teeth, people to hold hands and offer comforting noises, people to sterilize instruments, technicians to keep air and electricity coming to the dental machines, and a couple of women to cook.

“It was lots of fun,” says Jon Erickson, on staff at Hope Clinic. “I love the food, meeting new people, and relieving pain from those who have suffered for months and years.”

Erickson and a national worker named Moses were assigned to do extractions. “I love to pull teeth—so weird, but that’s me,” confides Erickson. The team was so busy that there was little time to chat. “As soon as I finished pulling someone’s teeth, people were taking the tray for cleaning, others sprayed and cleaned the chair and light, and sometimes before I could get my gloves off, a new person was standing at the chair.”

Nevertheless, Erickson was able to talk to several the patients. “A couple of times I sat down at the end of an extraction and would ask if they knew why we had come. Most were clueless, and some guessed to help the poor.

“I said, ‘Wrong. The Fulani people are the richest group in the country, but God sent us to explain a way to have a close relationship with Him.’ I told them that Jesus took the place of punishment for bad things we had done and came to replace our bad heart with a good heart.

“Pray for these people who were touched by us,” says Erickson. “I cannot even give you any numbers of people we saw. I do know that one day Moses pulled more than 140 teeth!”


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