Back Medical Dental Unit sets sail on maiden voyage
August 13th, 2013
By Kaylan Christopher, Staff Writer
On Friday, August 9, the new Medical Dental Unit left the church parking lot at 6:00 a.m. for the first national mission journey to East Tennessee, making stops in two of the area's poorest communities.
A team of 31 Kairos and Brentwood Baptist medical volunteers, including doctors, dentists, nurses, and hygienists, went to partner with Of One Accord Ministry. Together, they hosted two half-day clinics including dental services, health screenings, and activities for kids.
On Friday, they made their first stop in Sneedville, hosting a clinic from 2:00-7:00 p.m.
Sharon Fairchild, Mission Journeys Minister, said, "When we got there, a man man drove up on his riding lawn mower and asked if we were pulling teeth. We told him to see if he could get on the list. … Later in the day, we had space, so he came back and we pulled seven teeth. He went home and came back again later on his mower to tell us 'thank you.'"
At dinner that night, the team talked with their waitress at a local diner, explaining to her why they were there.
Amy Fairchild, Medical Dental Unit Coordinator, said, "She had some dental issues but didn't have insurance, so we invited her to the clinic the next morning. She was there at 8:00 a.m. and we were able to take care of her."
On Saturday, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., they set up shop in Of One Accord's parking lot in Rogersville.
There they provided scheduled dental services and health screenings, which consisted of a general health questionnaire plus glucose and blood pressure checks. Most of the patients didn't have access to a doctor or dentist, or didn't have funds for one.
Michael Vaughan, a Nashville-based dentist on the team, said, "The MDU let us minister to their spiritual and physical needs. We saw people in desperate conditions—experiencing pain, embarrassment, inability to chew their food. We were able to give each person a diagnosis and ideas for treatment. And we did as much dental work as possible."
For a pre-determined 150 kids in need, volunteers donated backpacks filled with school supplies, set up games and crafts, offered fluoride treatments, and handed out food boxes. And to all, they served up a free lunch.
One 6-year-old girl, Lilly, got her backpack then went to pick up her box of food from Tabitha Taylor, a Kairos volunteer, and asked if it was all for her. When Tabitha confirmed it was, Lilly said, "You mean I get to eat today?"
Tabitha said, "Ministry is awesome, and it's fun to be involved around the world, but there are people struggling in our own backyard. Sometimes we don't even know it, and sometimes we just ignore it. It's really humbling to be a part of something like this."
At the end of the weekend, the team saw 24 medical patients, gave 40 fluoride applications, cared for 27 dental patients, pulled 87 teeth, and shared the gospel 34 times. One young man gave his life to Christ and every patient that came through the clinic was prayed over.
Sheldon Livesay, Of One Accord's Founder and Director, said, "Our number one goal is create events and activities like this, bringing people together. There's a church on every corner, but nobody is coming. We have to get outside the church walls, meet people's needs, then present the gospel."