You have probably noticed that Jesus begins many parables saying, "The Kingdom of Heaven is like..." Think how confining human languages must have been to, well, a deity. It is so awe-inspiring to watch the Rabbi make attempt after attempt to help his followers grasp the height, the breadth, and the depth of the amazing Kingdom of God.
I've worked for years in vocational ministry trying to paint a vision for what it means to be on mission with God, how that mission might differ from person to person, and the importance for each of us to consider our own talents and passion. But it can be difficult to illustrate these concepts and capture everyone's imagination.
The following article by OC member, Joe Trammel, is a beautiful picture of how the people of God can use their talents and passion to orient their life around the mission of God.
Missional Discipleship Minister
One of the goals of the Otter Creek Mission Committee is to spread the love of Christ in areas that we as church members do not normally see. In the past, our mission team has traveled to Guatemala to provide dental services to a population that has a difficult time seeking and obtaining dental care. However, we found an opportunity to take this same mission to a much closer destination.
Collinsville, AL is an economically depressed small town about 15 minutes from Ft Payne, AL. The county that Collinsville is in is over 80% Hispanic and each Central American country is represented. Our team partnered with a local Hispanic Church of Christ for a 3-day clinic from July 20-22, 2017. We provided free dental services, while the church staff attended to spiritual needs. Carlos Martinez, the minister at the church, reports that since the first of these events 4 years ago, church attendance has increased 30%.
Dr Don Moore and his son Collin (OC members), joined me and my son, Max, for this effort, along with a nephew, Carson Hill. Also on the team were Jim and Joan Newsom of Spring Hill, TN, Drs Ted and Virginia Beazley of Goodlettsville, TN, and Dr Mary Wallace of Gadsden, AL.
The clinic began on the morning of July 20. We had three dental units stationed by three dentists. We attempted to provide the most urgent dental care after consulting our resident medical director, Dr. Moore, who provided much needed blood pressure screenings. We saw over 40 patients on the first day and provided multiple restorations and extractions.
We saw several more patients on the second day, helped by Dr Wallace. Our goal in triage was to help the patient to be able to chew without pain at least on one side of the mouth. Abscessed and infected teeth are always seen in these clinics. Our goal is to eliminate infection and pain.
The final Saturday clinic was filled by appointments made by church members. We were able to see these patients relatively quickly, because they were seen about 6 months ago in our previous clinics.
We are grateful to the support “staff”, the church members, and the dentists. This is an effort which takes a lot of pre planning and packing of dental supplies. This mission also requires translators, flashlight holders and assistants. It also requires someone to ensure the sterilization of instruments and cleaning of units between patients. It also requires “office staff” to make sure that patients are entered and integrated into the flow of the day.
Over 135 patients were seen in this three day clinic, providing several restorations or extractions per patient. Several Bible studies were scheduled with at least two baptisms. The church members are always so appreciative of our efforts. To God be the glory! Many thanks for the many prayers by OC members and shepherds!
Dr. Moore renamed our effort, “The Guatabama Dental Mission Trip.”