November Dental/Medical Outreach to Zhitomer

September of this year, leaders of four organizations, Mission to Ukraine, Emmanuel/Operation Blessing, Youth with a Mission (YWAM) and Smile Alliance International, met to explore the possibility of combining their respective resources to create one large medical-evangelistic outreach to two villages in the Zhytomir region. The reason for this was that both Mission to Ukraine and Emmanuel had scheduled medical and dental teams to arrive in Ukraine on almost exactly the same dates in November, and that “coincidence” was felt to be potentially a God Thing.

During the week of November 5-10 the outreach became a reality. A team of physicians, nurses and therapists combined with one of dentists, a dental hygienist and assistants to bring much needed care to two outlying communities, Ivanopyl and Volytsya, both about 90-100 kilometers southwest of the city of Zhytomir in Ukraine. Physical exams, health counseling, eye exams and dental treatments were provided in community buildings that were provided through the efforts of Pastor Peter Levchenko of Central Baptist Church in the town of Chudniv. As part of the outreach, the people who came for treatment were invited to also listen to Christ-centered programs each day during lunch, which was provided. Reportedly, many souls were won to accept and give their hearts to Jesus during these meetings. Praise God for His blessings!

The dental van, operated by YWAM and staffed by Dr. Ina and myself, was brought out to both villages and was used to provide restorative care for many, as it is equipped for the more complicated procedures involved with that. Portable dental equipment was also set up at each visited facility to provide for emergency care such as extractions, and the one hygienist was kept busy doing cleanings and dental health care instructions.
This report is written by Dr. Richard Nelson, a dentist with Smile Alliance International, living in Ukraine and working to help establish the dental programs of both the YWAM dental van and the new medical building operated by CBN/Emmanuel/Operation Blessing.

My thoughts on this venture are this:

  • First, it is a joy to see the faces of those we are able to help. These people simply do not have either the money or even the access to the services we provide, and their appreciation for what little we do for them is always overwhelming to us.
  • Secondly, we had glitches, as always happens, especially when so many people are involved. But everything worked out, maybe not exactly as we had planned, but God’s name was lifted up, with our human efforts being covered with the Blessings of the Holy Spirit, and it was our privilege to be a part of this outreach. I do not know the exact number of people involved, but I can count up at least 24. Most were from the two teams from America. Mission to Ukraine’s team came from the Indianapolis, Indiana area, and the Immanuel team was from the Atlanta, Georgia area. From what I could see, we all had the same purpose, to bring praises to God through our work, and I enjoyed meeting and fellowshipping with those I had time to meet.
  • Lastly, we were only able to treat a small percentage of the people who came to us hoping for help. It is not easy to have to turn away any one of those dear people. The need is so great in this country, both for physical help, but also for their spiritual needs. We are here because our great God loves and cares for these people, and His love compels us to strive to help, not in our own efforts but in His power and in His Spirit. We know God is doing something here in Ukraine, and it is awesome to see. May God be praised for His Greatness, and for allowing us to be a part of His plan

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