Wichita Mobile Dental Clinic Brings Smiles
"The homeless population in the United States is one of great diversity that continues to increase in number. Although data on the oral health status of individuals who are homeless is limited, studies consistently report both the perception and clinical evidence of dental needs among this population as well as a low utilization rate for dental services." -TB King (Oral health needs and access to dental care of homeless adults in the United States).
The needs of the homeless are numerous and often undocumented. The statistics on the number of homeless in the US are in constant flux and the health care issues they suffer go untreated and unrecorded. Often homeless men and women go to the ER and receive minimal care or stop in a clinic where they are shuffled through so the next patient can be seen. This is not always the case; there are exceptions, and the Mobile Dental Clinic in Wichita, Kansas, is one.
Jim, a homeless patient, came to the Mobile Dental Clinic after leaving the Emergency Room. He had been in twice for the same problem—an infection in his mouth that continued to get worse. The ER had administered round after round of antibiotics for two months with no improvement. Jim was in pain and needed the problem-causing tooth to be pulled. His oral health needs actually exceeded that one tooth, and the Mobile Dental Clinic dentist proceeded to extract several infected teeth. Jim later returned to meet Dr. Chris Majors, a volunteer dentist who offered follow-up work like cleanings and x-rays at no cost.
The care Jim received was a combination of the services and accessibility of the Mobile Dental Clinic, as well as the spirit and generosity of the volunteer providers who choose to serve Jesus with their time. Because of this, men like Jim see love expressed in a tangible way.
Click here to learn more about our Mobile Medical Ministry.
Church Plant Growth in San Diego
Cuco came to the United States from Mexico to follow God's calling on his life—teaching others about Jesus. When Cuco arrived in San Diego ten years ago, he quickly connected with World Impact. It was there that he met his future wife Robyn. After they married, they continued to serve the community and seek God's guidance for the future.
Passion drives Cuco as he serves as the Pastor of Puenta De Vida, a World Impact church plant. The desire to see others meet Jesus and discover new life in Christ drives his ministry. The Holy Spirit works through him in teaching and leading others to the truth of Scripture. Cuco knows that "It's most exciting when God touches the lives of people when they receive Jesus."
Before Puenta De Vida was established, Cuco and others led prayer walks through the community, seeking God's guidance for the church's future location. On one of these prayer walks, Cuco met a man named Antonio. Antonio knew about God and had some church experience, but he did not have a relationship with Jesus. Cuco expressed plans to begin a Bible study and was excited to see Antonio's interest. God began to work in Antonio's heart through the regular Bible study meetings, and Antonio came to know Christ as his Savior.
Antonio and his wife Cecilia assisted in the formation of Puenta De Vida and participated in Cuco and Robyn's commissioning—a time of blessing the new church plant. A month or so after the church began to meet, Cuco baptized Antonio and Cecilia, welcoming them into the family of God. Since then Antonio and Cecilia have been treasured members of the church. God is cultivating wisdom in Antonio; he often shares what God has taught him during their weekly small group. Cecilia has stepped up in serving the church in many ways, including initiating a prayer time for children before Sunday School.
Cuco desires to see the church continue to grow into a family that loves and serves each other and their community well. It is exciting to see how God is using Cuco and Robyn to further His kingdom!
To support Cuco and Robyn, click here. Select Click To Change Designation, choose Staff By Name, and click Moya, Cuco & Robyn.
The Urban Church as Teacher - Efrem Smith
I am a product of the urban church. I am both a child of Redeemer Missionary Baptist Church; an African American Church and Park Avenue United Methodist Church; a Multi-ethnic Church both located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I am a child of urban culture. I grew up in the soil of urban life and the sub-cultures of both Hip Hop and the unique artistry of the legendary Prince. I have such a high regard for urban life and the urban church that it has felt strange for me to live outside of the city for the last four years in the Outer East Bay of Northern California.
Living outside of the city has afforded me the unique opportunity to see how suburban areas and bedroom communities are rapidly changing. Gentrification, continued growing metropolitan development, and the economic crisis in the US has led to the suburbs developing urban issues and challenges. Gentrification has displaced the urban poor to suburban and rural rental communities. Light rail as one element of metropolitan growth as helped to the dismantling of the social walls between the haves and the have not's. The economic crisis has led to suburban people developing "urban problems." Well educated, upper-middle class people are now finding themselves unemployed and upside down on their homes. Places that were built for the well-resourced are now dealing with the social challenges that were seen as just going on in the hood. It's not all bad in the suburbs though (just as it's not been all bad in the city). There is the beauty of the continued increase in multi-ethnic diversity in the suburbs as an example.
One thing is true though, what the suburbs and bedroom communities are becoming is not what churches that were planted there 10 to 20 years ago were anticipating. Church growth, program-based, and multi-site strategies alone cannot deal with the present and future mission field of the suburbs. Many suburban churches were built around the people coming to the church being resourced, highly educated, with relatively stable families, and a surrounding community that offered very little ethnic diversity. What a prime mission field for a large, program-based, multi worship experience, and multi-site vision. Now please know that I'm not putting these strategies down. They work very well in a certain mission field, but more and more that mission field will no longer exist. If suburban churches aren't strong in areas of compassion, mercy, justice, racial reconciliation, and Christian community development they will begin to soon struggle if they are not struggling already. Now there will be a few mega churches that will be able to ride out a soon outdated wave of privileged homogeneity, but many others will find that wave harder and harder to surf.
This is why I believe this is the perfect time for suburban churches to learn from urban churches. This will take insight, humility, and a stronger Kingdom mindset. Many resourced suburban churches only tend to see cities and urban churches from the perspective of how they can help them instead of the help they can receive from them. The way in which urban churches understand suffering, have stood the test of time as spiritual anchors, understand what happens during the week may be more important than what happens in worship on the weekend, and have had to stare more visible demonic forces in the face, could be a tremendous blessing to suburban churches. Will suburban churches be willing to become urban students?
The urban church though will have to decide if she is willing to strive to become a better missional teacher to suburban churches. If the urban church strives to become a teacher in this way, she must admit the ways in which she has been held captive to the things of this world such as the race matrix. The more the urban church becomes a Kingdom force of truth, transformation, reconciliation, and justice the better teacher she will become. The urban church must fight off the temptation of becoming such a commuter church that she loses her identity as a community transforming church. I praise God for all that I've learned from the urban church. I continue to learn more and more. What about you?
Taken from Efrem Smith's blog. To learn more about Efrem, click here.