Worth a Dime
By Lisa Harper
Recently I had the great pleasure of joining Jonathan and Addy Harper on a mission trip with Hope International Ministries to the Dominican Republic. The purpose of Hope International Ministries is to bring hope, help, and healing to the precious people of the Dominican Republic.
The stats from the five-day clinics were truly remarkable:
· 230 volunteers plus 42 interpreters, and additional Dominican volunteers = 272 workers total.
· Workers came from:
o 6 countries
o 22 states
o 79 different churches
o 8 different denominations
· 3307 patients seen
· Almost 6000 prescriptions filled
· 461 optical patients treated
· 270 dental patients cared for (this included 58 dental hygiene cleanings by the lovely and capable Addy Harper)
· 518 people prayed to ask Christ to be their Lord and Savior
· 134 youngsters enjoyed a basketball camp on-sight.
All of these wonderful results would not have happened without sufficient unity among all of the Hope team members. (To see photos and videos of the great work done, visit and like the Facebook page of “Hope International Ministries.” You will be blown away.)
The Hope clinics consisted of three areas: Medical, Optical, and Dental. Helping in any area is truly an honor.
Much to our surprise and joy, Jonathan and I were assigned to the Dental Clinic area. In a nutshell, for the Harpers, while Addy was cleaning the teeth of wonderful Dominicans, Jonathan and I were able to pray for them before or after their cleanings/dentist visits.
But here is a clearer perspective:
A handful of talented dentists also volunteered their time to help with the cleanings and perform those highly skilled and critically important teeth extractions. Four dentists, Doctors Jim, Warren, Joe and Scott, carefully removed dozens of compromised teeth every day. One beautiful lady actually had six teeth pulled in one sitting. (Talk about BRAVERY! And you think YOU had a tough day???) But these dentists couldn’t perform those alone. They needed the sturdy and steady presence of four capable dental assistants: Patti, Kimberly, Lori and Jasmine.
It really took a team to help each area of the clinic optimally function. For our dental area, two sterilization specialists, Michelle and Josh, made sure every instrument and tool was adequately germ-free, time after time. Then there were crucial translators such as Raphael, Papito, Jorge, Alba, Yvette and more. You see, while most of the patients spoke Spanish, we also had some who only spoke and understood Creole. Occasionally, a few understood both Spanish and Creole, and just a few translators could translate in both of those languages. Sometimes we had people caringly and carefully communicating in English, Spanish and Creole, all for the well-being of ONE patient. If that doesn’t take some coordination, patience and unity, I don’t know what does.
The Bible has something to say about serving with unity, too:
For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. -- Romans 12:4-6a
As the hours rolled on, within the first day, we realized that many of us were overlapping in our areas and helping each other. I saw professional dentist with decades of experience walk over to each other’s chairs for consultations and advice. I even witnessed dentists change patients, according to the skills of each doctor and the needs of their patients. This demonstrated great care and humility in my book. The dentists were putting the best interests of their patients first. How many of you would like to have one of these dentists as your own here in the states? They were awesome. They even had a sense of humor along the way.
“Everyone smiles in the same language.” – Behappy.me
Then there was Kelly. She had the ear of the dentists, and was the one to be called upon at the conclusion of each dental patient’s visit to “check them out” and record whatever prescriptions and instructions the doctors gave for their patients.
But all by herself, Kelly couldn’t do all of that “checking out” plus organize the incoming patients according to their needs, so I offered to assist her by putting the patients in the best available chairs for cleanings or extractions. I wanted to do what I could to help keep the flow of the dental care going in the clinic.
Once the patients were finished with the dentists or Addy (the one and only dental hygienist on the team), either Jonathan, Jorge, Jacqui, a few other volunteers or I prayed for each one (usually with an interpreter), gave them a Bible in Spanish or Creole, explained the free packet of fluoride they were given, and handed them a departing gift.
Were we done yet? Not quite. How would each patient know where the pharmacy was if they needed to wait for a prescription, and how would they know where to exit the clinic? That’s where the teenage volunteers of Simon and Jeremy stepped in. (Yay for Generation Z). They escorted each patient to the appropriate final stations and saw them to their proper place of safety to conclude their visit.
Oh, we can’t forget Patti, one of the dental assistants. She would return every clinic night back to her room to inventory all supplies and get them ready for the next day. Her bedtime was likely after midnight. (That lady deserves some extra love and chocolate!!)
The unity of the team (including the grace and mercy of a healing God) were paramount.
Do you get my drift? Are you picking up what I am laying down about our “2019Hope4DR” trip?
Check out what these famous people had to say about the importance of unity:
· “Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.” -- Helen Keller
"Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success." – Henry Ford"The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team." - Phil Jackson"None of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful." – Mother Teresa
· "The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime." – Babe Ruth
Memories were made and lessons were learned from our recent mission trip to some beautiful and needy Dominicans and Haitians.
Whether your next team building adventure is on a mission trip abroad, in your local workplace, or in your neighborhood, church, school or house, how about purposing in your heart to be a catalyst for a united effort for good and for God? After all, we are so much better together.
As my fine husband, Pastor Scott Harper, often implores our Harper family, “YOU make the choice.”