by Ajit Vargis
ALL GLORY TO GOD
The dental team is an unique opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus. For us, our opportunity lies in Zimbabwe. We get to talk to people and give them at least a few words of hope, no matter how busy we get. We make use of that time well to share the Good News , because it’s not just the patients watching and listening, but also the translators, those who have come with the patient, and the helpers in the clinic.
I make sure I pray and ask God for help before starting each day when on mission. I take the time to thank God and give Him all the glory at the end of the day. On our recent trip, it was not long before I realized that I needed God’s help, especially when wishing for x-ray vision in order to see wisdom teeth for extractions and gauging the depth of cavities. We know that God showed up on our behalf and that we were able to make a useful contribution to this Community, both spiritually and medically.
For the EMAS Zimbabwe team, a typical work day started around 8 am and ended by 7 pm, depending on the crowd remaining and the daylight left for the local people to travel back. We tried to get back to base camp before it got too late. Even though we are taught to save teeth, the reality in missions is that most of the time extractions are necessary because the access to care is limited and expensive. So most people choose to get rid of the offending tooth.
As part of a team we have to be willing to be flexible and to help wherever and however we can. Putting others before ourselves is key, just as Jesus showed us by His example.
One day, a lady travelled from Harare to Karanda by bus for three hours to see us. Her teeth had been badly decayed for two years, but when she had head about our visit to the hospital, she hoped that we could help her. The trip must have cost her greatly, and she likely had to borrow the bus fare to get to us and then back home.
There, in the land of baobab and thorn trees, we had the privilege to restore this lady’s teeth and her smile. The joy she showed after treatment was priceless. All glory goes to God alone. Who are we that we are chosen to go there and provide this treatment for a lady we have never met? What a joy for us, and her smile says it all.
The holistic approach is to provide physical care, but most important, to shine the light of Jesus.
The long-term vision, God willing, is to have local personnel take over from us and continue what we are blessed to have begun.
Thank you for being a part of bringing hope and smiles to the people of Zimbabwe through short-term missions, with a long-term perspective.
Dr. Ajit Vargis is the EMAS Zimbabwe Team Leader.