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Good morning! This is God!

“Good morning! This is God! I will be handling all your problems today. I will not need your help. So…have a good day!” This stark quotation greets all who enter the dining area of the Alfredo House. Though posted on an inconspicuous bulletin board, this citation shouts at all who pass by: Don’t fear! I got this! I can handle the unexpected!

Up and down. From one side of the street to the other. Splashing through puddles, spotting coffee and coco bushes, waving at children ambling off to school, our team arrived at Loma Larga, our second village of the week.

We quickly started unloading tables and supplies at the village school, designating one school room for the dental clinic, one for the ophthalmology clinic, and one for the health clinic. Though the health and ophthalmology clinic were busy, the dental clinic served the most patients today, extracting many teeth from adults and children in the community.

I had the opportunity to observe an extraction at the end of the day after running trash to the burn pile behind the school. Our teammate, Rupa, a surgical tech by profession, stood to the dentist’s right and handed her instruments as the patient was lying calmly on a portable chair. The dentist worked steadily to remove the affected tooth, while Rupa rinsed used and bloodied instruments first in a bucket of soapy water, then in a chlorhexidine solution, then finally a rinse in plain water.

In the midst of the many extractions and fluoride application, many of the nurses experienced an unexpected finding among our patients. A stoic security officer was discovered to suffer with depression. A young mother with four children had a positive pregnancy test, a difficult finding when feeding four children is already a struggle. Another nurse diagnosed a speaking impediment in a small child, although that was not the apparent reason for him coming to the clinic.

These unexpected occasions brought to mind the little sign on the bulletin board of the Alfredo House: I can handle your problems today, the unexpected. Thanks, God, for handling our problems and shouldering our burdens. Nothing is unexpected for you (Many other places but see Jeremiah 33:3 as one example).

~Mary Dolan

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