by Anne Crosby
God’s love was recently demonstrated through a group of dedicated volunteers in Page, Arizona. The Page All Nations church hosted a free dental clinic Sept. 23-25, attracting over 200 people in need of care. During the three days the clinic was open, approximately $200, 000 of free dental and dermatology services were provided. Patients expressed that they were overwhelmed by this gesture of love and service.
The idea for the clinic came from Dr. Calvin Kim, a dentist and church member living in Washington state. Kim contacted Pacific Union Native American Ministries Coordinator Nancy Crosby about hosting a dental clinic for the community in Page, and soon after that a planning team formed. Each member was eager to make the event a reality. “God led, and through a series of events and much prayer, each detail fell into place,” Crosby said.
On Sunday, Sept. 22, a mission group called F5 Challenge, together with volunteers from Build and Restore International, arrived ready and willing to help. The two groups comprised a total of 73 volunteers from across the United States and Canada who sacrificed time and money to serve.
During their stay in Page, part of the group—which included licensed contractors and painters—roofed the church building and parsonage and repainted the church exterior.
The rest of volunteers set up a tent in the church parking lot and prepared to provide dental services starting at 9 a.m. Monday. The medical group grew beyond the initial seven dentists to include two medical doctors (one being a dermatologist), three massage therapists, and several nurses.
The tent was packed with patients each day, and many patients needed multiple procedures. The dentists offered extractions, fillings, x-rays, and more. Additionally, patients received medical advice and screening, were offered counseling with the pastor, and could meet with the Bible worker. The event generated interest in church services, and approximately 40 requests were made for Bible studies.
On Tuesday, Sept. 24, Kim and another dentist gave a presentation on oral health and hygiene to 183 second graders at a local elementary school. Staff at the school said it was the best talk on oral health ever presented there.
Volunteers at the clinic observed that although the patients seemed nervous and distrustful at first, smiles began to break out as people left the tent with their needs met. One Navajo grandmother remarked, “This is some of the best dental care I have ever received. Not only did they do x-rays and clean my teeth, but they also filled three cavities and replaced a crown.” Another woman told a volunteer that she had been embarrassed about her teeth, but now she felt respected and was happy to learn better ways of maintaining oral hygiene. A young Navajo father said, “I have always been afraid of dentists. But these dentists are so kind.”
Many patients traveled from hours away to attend the dental clinic because of the scarcity of quality dental work on the reservation. Another obstacle is that the cost of dental services in Page is often too expensive for many local residents. The Page All Nations church is grateful that they could fill this urgent need. “We hope that this event positively impacted this community and that residents saw God’s love through each volunteer,” Crosby said.
Top of page: A husband and wife from Tennessee work as a dental team at the free community clinic hosted in Page, Arizona, in late September. The clinic was co-hosted by Pacific Union Native American Ministries—and a total of 73 volunteers from across the U. S. and Canada showed up to help. Photo: Miguel Manzo
The core team of people who made the dental clinic possible (left to right): Danny Kwon, attorney and executive director for Life and Health Network; Calvin Kim, dentist and founder of F5 Challenge; Randy Meyer, executive director of Caring Hands; and Nancy Crosby, Pacific Union Native American Ministries director. Photo: Miguel Manzo
While volunteers helped at the dental clinic, additional volunteers with Build and Restore International worked on reroofing the Page All Nations church. Photo: Michael Johnson
A volunteer pauses for a photo while helping re-roof the church in Page, Arizona. Photo: Michael Johnson