“Where is Moldova?”. If you’re like most Westerners, this is first thing you ask. Moldova is in Eastern Europe, a former Soviet Republic who gained their independence in August 1991, as a result of dissolution of the USSR. It is a small country, squeezed between it’s more well-known and former Soviet brethren, Romania and Ukraine. Per capita, it’s the poorest country in all of Europe and on top of that designation, a majority of working age men and women emigrate to other European countries for a decent shot at gainful employment and send their earnings home. They will work for about nine continuous months and then go return home for a month to see their families.
Enter Serving Him; Serving Him is a fantastic non-profit agency that helps set-up and support dental and medical clinics in three different countries, the newest of which is Moldova. Their clinic in Moldova had its grand opening just last year, in the Fall of 2015. My dear colleague, Dr. Tom Whinery is now the country lead for the clinic in Moldova, which means he’s in charge of recruiting and supporting the teams that go on trips to the clinic. He helps to recruit dentists, doctors and lay-people to dedicate a week of their time and talents to serving this impoverished country, with the aim of scheduling multiple trips per year. The doctors and dentists work feverishly all week seeing as many people and patients as they can for four days, while the lay-people get to talk to people as they are in the waiting room as well as just keeping them company.
The dental and medical clinic—which are housed inside the local church—is operational year-round and staffed by a small staff as well as with a resident dentist. And while local patients will still encounter a small fee to see a dentist at the clinic, it’s still much less than visiting a local dental office. The clinic genuinely cares about the local people and wants to ensure cost is never a reason to turn away someone in need of care.. All the patients that are seen while the visiting doctors are in town are not just from the capital city of Chisinau, but also from the neighboring, small villages, some of which will never have access to a local dentist, except for this unique dental ministry. The church’s ultimate aim is to share the Gospel of Jesus with anyone who comes through the clinic. All other benefits, whether they be medical, dental or provisional are a side-note to the aim of ensuring that their ultimate spiritual needs are addressed.
Dr Whinery recruited Dr. Macalik to join him in entering into this impoverished context in the Summer of 2015 and she didn’t think twice about wanting to deploy her skills to help those that may otherwise never get the chance for affordable dental care. She has made serving a central theme of her dental career and considers it an honor to hone the skills God has given her in order to serve those most in need. With this being her sixth mission trip and with having an actual roof to work under, complete with 2 assistants (her prior trips usually involved working under a shade tree), the people of Moldova were genuinely appreciative of her care, and the dental clinic was more modern than any other clinic that she’s worked in before. Please pray for those she’s yet to encounter and that she would be given wisdom on which peoples would be most benefited by her excellent care for her next dental mission trip.