Thoughts from Executive Vice President Jacque Spence
Our Ebeye dental and ophthalmic team is wrapping up its two weeks of free clinics in Ebeye, Marshall Islands. They have two lofty goals: one, to perform 250 cataract surgeries and two, to perform hundreds of preventative dental care procedures for local school children.
Our team is currently humming along, with everything going as planned, so far. The behind-the-scenes work it took to pull this mission together, however, was far from idyllic. You see, Dr. Harry Chambers, Canvasback's Dental Committee Chairman, had an unusually difficult time recruiting volunteers this year. Many of the dentists he was counting on were unable to go. We had no idea how we were going to gather a full team in time to do this important work.
Yet, as the mission date drew closer and closer, things began to fall into place. Dr. Pete Lubisich, who was previously unable to go, found a way to join the mission and bring a full support team from Portland. Then, another of our regular dental volunteers received some important documents allowing him to volunteer for the third time in a year! We recently reconnect with Rhea Yap Waters, a previous dental hygienist volunteer, who was able to jump on board and complete the team.
As if these cascading blessings weren't enough, God continued to give. For example, we have five Walla Walla University students assisting with the ophthalmic team. That's five extra volunteers to ensure patient safety, lead out in worship, and do the myriad small jobs that allow these missions to run.
Finally, I want to praise God for the three incredible support members of the team: Wakein Deunert, Janet Burki, and Tom Lengyel. Wakein is our Executive Assistant, and her energy, love, compassion, and language skills will make our work far easier. Janet is an amazing logistics expert who will do everything in her power to make it happen. My husband, Jamie, says, "With Janet on the team, you have nothing to worry about." Tom is similar in that way; nothing daunts him. He can fix anything!
Through the stress and the uncertainty, God provided. We are excited to work with children and adults in Ebeye, restoring sight to the blind and preventing further suffering in children.