By Dr. Craig Hunter, DMD
I had the opportunity to join with mPower Approach on a dental mission training trip to the country of Uganda, Africa. We were in the capital city of Kampala, hosted by the Gaba Community Church. The training focused on a new type of training for both mPower and ITEC; the making of acrylic partial dentures to replace missing teeth.
Whether as a result of dental decay or injury, many people find themselves missing a single tooth, all their teeth, or something in between. For them, eating becomes a challenge, and most are concerned with the way they look when they smile.
Our team was made up of Dr. Tim Williams, Linda Webster, and myself. We had the privilege of teaching three young Ugandan men, with previous dental training, how to fabricate acrylic removable partial dentures. Using a teaching program put together by Dr. Brian Harris of the University of Louisville in Kentucky, the three students were able to learn the necessary skills following a five-day educational module. We were even able to replace a front tooth for one of our students who had broken his off in a motorcycle accident a couple years before:
All the students are Christ-followers that had received training two years ago in the extraction of teeth. They understand that the REAL purpose of the skills they have learned is not to just replace missing teeth, but to use these skills as a way to reach people with the Good News found in the hope offered to us by a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Each of the students received all of the equipment and supplies they will need to provide this service to the hurting people in Uganda. However, many of the supplies will need to be replenished periodically, so the students were instructed to charge a small fee to their patients so the ministry can be self-sustaining.
As always in new undertakings, we learned what worked and what will need to be modified in future training trips. We have every reason to be confident in the desire of these men to serve our Lord and Savior, and their ability to reach people for Jesus through the skills and equipment they now have.
We are thankful for our partnership with mPower, and for their gracious invitation to join them in the mission to make Jesus famous in Africa.