If you have ever been afraid of the dentist, spending a week in a dental clinic would either be your cure or your worst nightmare. Thankfully for me, I like dentists and I have no problem with the sight of blood. For five days this week I volunteered in a local hospital to work with 4 dentists who are in Africa with Logos Hope. 2 are from the USA, 1 is from the UK and one from Fiji. All treatment and medicine in the hospital is completely free, so people flock to the clinic to have their teeth fixed. Sadly most people need to have a least one tooth extracted, as they are in such a bad state. I had the privilege of working alongside the dentists, providing them with the tools they need for the job. After each dental treatment the dentists take time to pray with the patients before sending them on their way.
Sitting in a room with 9 Chinese people and one German friend politely listening to a language I cannot understand is not my usual way to spend a Sunday evening, but it seemed like the thing to do. Over the last few weeks I have taken the time to study and learn some Mandarin – the most commonly spoken language in China – with some Chinese friends onboard. The teacher of the class has a passion for connecting with and sharing the gospel with Chinese people living in the countries we visit, who are often very isolated from the community around them. I came along on this outing to make friends, practice some Mandarin, and to show that it is not only other Chinese people who care about them. Specifically I met one man who enjoyed practicing his English with me and was very encouraged by our visit. Others in the group took the time to share the gospel with them. I hope to learn a lot more so I can actually have a basic conversation with Chinese people, and hopefully my friends on board will help me.
While the ship was in Bermuda, my colleagues and I asked for donations for school supplies – pens, notebooks, pencils, erasers etc – for school kids in Africa. Today I had the chance to distribute the gifts that the people of Bermuda had donated. First we shared with the kids where we came from, about the ship, and then the Gospel. They were all very receptive to what we had to say. Then they all lined up and each of us gave them one item of stationary to help them with their studies. We also gave some more tools to the teachers and for each classroom, these included an atlas, a bible, scissor sets, highlighters, a blackboard and wall charts. Though these donations will not last for very long, we hope that we have shown that God loves them and cares for their needs, and that they have listened to the message of hope that we have brought.