by Mike Zurn, Assistant Director
In the weeks that followed HBM’s medical relief efforts at Misión Rescate (next story), my eyes were opened to the pain suffered by too many Haitians related to severe tooth decay and related infections. This was due, in large measure, to my conversations with an experienced and committed missionary dentist named Mike Callan. Upon my return from Misión Rescate, plans were put into motion for a dental mission to Jeremie and some rural areas nearby.
Dr. Mike has a passionate heart for dental mission work that honors Christ. He combed on-line government surplus equipment sites and on-line auctions and found a re-built self-contained, portable dental delivery unit and a new dental chair with stool. He assembled an air-filtration system for the dental unit that connencted to the Mission's air compressor. He then purchased all of the medical supplies and medication necessary to relieve pain and fight infection. May God bless Dr. Mike!
On April 13th, Dr. Mike, his assistant Gary Houzenga, and I departed from Chicago-O’Hare with all of the dental equipment and supplies. In Florida, we were joined by Kevin Mayfield, a friend of Haiti Bible Mission who packed boxes of pancake mix and jars of peanut butter, and we arrived in Jeremie the next day. For the six days that followed, the dental team worked out of two country churches and the Mission compound, restoring and removing diseased teeth and sealing healthy teeth for scores of Haitians. Dr. Mike commenced each doctor-patient relationship with prayer, always acknowledging his love for Christ and appealing to our Lord for a blessing on behalf of the patient. Dr. Mike’s consistent prayerful assertion, "O my God, we love you." became my personal battle cry during these clinics.
Dr. Mike saw 2-3 patients per hour. The work itself did not go quickly due to the severity of disease he encountered and the time it takes to restore salvageable teeth. In addition, most patients had multiple issues. One clinic lasted over 10 hours. Gary clinically assisted Dr. Mike and encouraged him physically, emotionally and spiritually. Kevin kept clean tools and instruments in good supply and worked with a Haitian in autoclaving hand pieces, while learning enough Creole to assist with patient care. I ran "post-op" and dispensed medications and managed the "waiting room." Altogether, the dental team gave pain relief to around 100 people.
All of the dental equipment delivered by the team remains at Haiti Bible Mission for future dental missions. Haiti Bible Mission and the churches it serves were extremely blessed by the ministry of Dr Mike, Gary and Kevin. The Mission is particularly indebted to Dr. Mike Callan for his generous donations of time and treasure, given in humility and service to the God who so loved the world, that He gave His one and only son.