As I was growing up, my family was richly blessed by a man named Dr. Schaffer. This man was a dentist/orthodontist based in Florida, and he decided to help missionary kids be able to have straight teeth.
Every three months, this man and his wife would load their supplies up and fly to southern Mexico where I lived. He would then spend 3-4 days doing orthodontics for missionary kids. His wife was his assistant on the trips. They would stay in a room at a local Bible seminary, and the local missionary community would organize whatever he needed. I lived in a large city where several missionary families were based, and we would sign up to provide lunches, dinners, and provide transportation to and from the airport and wherever he needed to go. A missionary mom organized the schedule of patients prior to his arrival and made calls to each family. He required no payment for his services.
This was a huge blessing to me! My family did not have enough support (like many missionaries), and braces would have likely been too expensive for us to afford. And my teeth were horribly crooked!
But, thanks to Dr. Schaffer and his generosity, I have straight teeth!
There are many ways that dentists and orthodontists can be missionaries.
- They can travel and work alone, like Dr. Schaffer.
- A group of dentists and/or orthodontists can plan to come together.
- Sometimes they accompany a medical caravan. In addition to medical care, people can have their teeth checked and receive fillings and tooth extractions. This is a great way to help poor indigent people that cannot afford dental care or don’t have a dentist close. This is a great way to partner with a local missionary or church to reach out to their community and teach more people about Jesus.
Have you thought about becoming a dentist or orthodontist? Share this post with your own dentist or someone that you know that is planning to become one!