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Heaven's Family Magazine
June 2014 Issue

Aching Dawn

The Critical Medical Needs Fund at Work in Myanmar

Patti Samuels, Critical Medical Needs Ministry

mother-and-son

Dawn Nwe Nwe and her son, Ngun

For Dawn Nwe Nwe, this wasn’t the first time God had proven His faithfulness to her. As she sat in a portable dental chair at our Myanmar clinic waiting for an anesthetic injection to do its job, she told us a story.

A few years earlier, her remote village was suffering from famine. Over just a couple of nights, an overpopulation of rats had eaten all of the village’s unharvested rice, a phenomenon that occurs about every 50 years in Chin State after the flowering of the bamboo forests (see our article in the May 2009 issue). Months later, when all her stored rice was depleted, Dawn Nwe Nwe’s family of seven was starving.

Dawn told us she had decided to test God.

Without prolonged prayer or ceremony, she challenged the Lord to keep His promise to supply all her family’s needs. Then, as she laid her head down that night to sleep, she stopped wrestling with her doubts.

The next morning brought a knock at her door. Upon opening it, Dawn was met by a woman holding a pot of rice. “Here,” she said, “I have some extra that I want you to have.”

As Dawn recalled God’s faithfulness to us, tears flowed down her increasingly-numb cheeks.

Dawn then related to us how she learned of our free dental clinic, and how the Lord had provided for her and one of her children to make the 3-day journey from her remote Chin State village. Both she and her son, Ngun, suffered from painful infected teeth.

Our clinic was part of a week-long training of national missionaries—to teach them how to extract the pain-filled teeth of those whom they seek to reach in remote villages—made possible by gifts to the Critical Medical Needs Fund and the National Missionary Fund. When people open their mouths to receive relief from tooth pain, they are much more likely to open their hearts to the gospel. (Read more about that project in our April magazine by clicking here.)

Surrounded by the dental team in training, 7-year-old Ngun Tin Thang gets his decayed tooth extracted (left) while his mother looks on nervously (center); Mom’s turn came later, when it was then Ngun’s turn to nervously watch.

Finally the lidocaine sufficiently numbed Dawn’s aching mouth and, under the supervision of an American dentist, Myanmar students Chin Chin and Nan extracted her cavity-infected tooth. It was the first dental care either Dawn or Ngun had experienced in their lives.

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At left, Dawn Nwe Nwe tearfully telling us her story of God’s faithfulness while waiting for the anesthesia to take effect; at center, with a basket of fruit she brought the next day to express her gratitude; at right, mother and son begin their 3-day journey home


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The dental trainees, Chin Chin (at left) and Nan (far right) surround one of their instructors and two patients

The next day Dawn and Ngun stopped by our clinic, glad to be relieved of their former tooth pain. Dawn presented us with a large basket full of fruit to express her gratitude, not only for the dental care she and her son had received, but for the funds a team member had given to pay for their long journey home. God had proved Himself faithful to Dawn once again.

A NOTE FROM PATTI:

Patti Samuels

Patti Samuels

For those of us who don’t live in developing nations, dental care may not seem like a “critical” need. But tell that to someone who can’t sleep, eat or drink because of mind-numbing tooth pain, and who lives days away from the closest dentist—whom they can’t afford anyhow. Now that six students have been trained, they can continue providing vital dental services to the poor in Myanmar year after year. By extracting infected teeth, some lives will even be saved…and many will come to know Jesus as well! Dental-trained national missionaries have a new motto: “The way to a sinner’s heart is through his mouth!”

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