Dentistry may not be the first thing people think about when it comes to health care, but it is certainly one of the most vital. It can also be expensive, which makes it nearly impossible for those experiencing homelessness. And that is where Medical Teams International’s Mobile Dental Program comes in as they recently swung by for the day to serve the needs of the women and children at Shepherd’s Door.
“We love partnering with Portland Rescue Mission. And it’s the love of Jesus Christ that brings us all here to help each other, because there’s a great need for dentistry for people who don’t have access to it due to finances,” said Mobile Dental Clinic Manager Suzette Wallace. “Extensive dental work can be so expensive, and through the work of our volunteers, we’re blessed to be able to provide it for free.”
The MTI Mobile Dental Program travels to low-income areas, and other places where people have need, to meet a very tangible need, and making lives better as a result.
“We’re still learning to how to triage the needs and help people understand that we are here to get them out of pain and discomfort,” Wallace explained. “We’re not just here to do examinations and look for decay, we want to make sure people don’t go home in discomfort and with a toothache.”
One resident of Shepherd’s Door that was particularly thankful for MTI’s work was Marci. Marci has been a part of the Mission’s 12-month New Life Ministries for about nine months now, and she continues to be amazed at what God is doing with the program as a whole, and with her individually during her time as a resident here at Shepherd’s Door.
“I am completely in awe all the time around here at the level of services we get here at Shepherd’s Door. It’s unbelievable,” she said. “The dental team at MTI was very generous, and they were compassionate and comforting.
“It was such a blessing we had this access to dental care, and that it was brought here to us, because it can be really hard to come by.”
As Marci explained, though she had a minimal amount of dental work done right before entering Shepherd’s Door, it had been many years prior to that before she had even considered stepping foot into a dental office.
“The dentist doing the work was really, really nice and treated me with respect and dignity,” Marci said. “I felt valued.”
When Marci graduates from New Life Ministries, she is considering staying on for Service. (Service is an optional second year of vocational training where participants learn valuable work and life skills while taking on additional leadership responsibilities at the facility). She’s also thinking about going into missions with someone like YWAM, or another organization.
Do you know someone that needs help overcoming an addiction and/or starting their recovery journey? If so, find out more about our New Life Ministry for women and children at Shepherd’s Door, and/or our New Life Ministry for men at The Harbor.