The Brentwood Baptist Mobile Dental Unit was in Rogersville again this past weekend doing free tooth extractions for over 60 patients and cleaning teeth.
Through a partnership now with Brentwood Baptist, Sparta Baptist Dental team and Of One Accord Ministry, hundreds of Hawkins County residents have been served over the past decade who don’t have insurance, and live in constant pain because of decayed teeth.
In 2013, Brentwood Baptist Church, from Brentwood Tenn. developed a one of a kind mobile dental unit equipped with 2 state-of-the-art mobile dental offices to take into Appalachia and other rural locations to offer free dental clinics. It seems health organizations have opened across America in the past years serving lower income families on a sliding scale fee, but few places offer dental and vision services desperately needed in Appalachia.
Through a unique connection, Of One Accord Ministry offices received a call in 2013 telling about the new mobile dental unit and the church wanted to make its inaugural run to East Tennessee.
The first mission trip seemed to be a perfect connection both for Brentwood Baptist Church and for the ministry. One day was spent in Rogersville and one in Sneedville. That trip has sparked from one to two mission trips each year to East Tennessee serving low income families who suffer toothaches, simply because there is no affordable insurance plans for their dental needs.
Brentwood, acquired several dental groups who partnered with them on these 1-2 day mission trips to targeted areas from their headquarters just below Nashville. One of those teams was from Sparta First Baptist Church led by Dr. Greg and Carol Boston.
On their first trip to Rogersville, they learned they graduated from Carson Newman together and both Sheldon Livesay and Dr. Boston were on the same floor in their dorm. That’s where Dr. Boston met Carol who he has been married to over 50 years.
Dr. Boston and Carol have always wanted to express their faith in God serving others, and for many years have traveled all over the world on mission trips. Dr. Boston formed a group of volunteers both from his church and his dental office to accompany him as a team as they served overseas. The Boston’s met an Alabama dentist Dr. Phillip Huggins who they enlisted for an overseas trip but who now joins them as they travel to Appalachia serving in Hawkins County.
When they arrive in the spring and again in the fall, it’s almost like a family reunion. Our local ministry team enjoys seeing them return again. Livesay tells that Dr. Boston has stated many times, that he has served in some of the most poverty stricken 3rd world countries, yet the people of Appalachia experience worse tooth problems than most other places of the world, which might be attributed to the amount of sugar in processed foods in America.
Since many people in the team work, they dress to leave Friday after work driving to Appalachia, serve through the dental mission trip, Saturday and Sunday morning, pack up and leave at noon to drive back to Sparta, rest a little and be back to work on Monday.
We never take them for granted and the great sacrifice they give every time they come up. Local residents leave the dental units with tears streaming down their faces, not because of the pain of getting extractions but because they are grateful they will be pain-free when they heal. It is common to see them hug the team members in gratefulness.
The primary job of Christians is to tell others why we do what we do and this team is no exception. If you come for an extraction, you will hear the good-news of Jesus Christ and have someone offer to pray for your needs and offer you a Bible before you leave.