For years Joiner and Zwart Dentistry has invested in continuing education conferences every two years by attending the American Dental Association national meeting. These meetings are held in different cities each year, typically cities such as Orlando, Las Vegas, or San Francisco. This year the dental meeting was being held in Hawaii. As much as we all felt Hawaii would be a fun location, we didn’t feel it would be a wise stewardship of resources. Throughout the years doctors have participated in dental short term mission trips in countries of Mexico, Guatemala and Haiti. Therefore the decision was made to forgo the far away expensive continuing education conference and instead invest in a short term mission trip as a team.
The choice for a mission site was quite clear as Dr. Joiner has been traveling to United Christians International (UCI) mission site in Haiti over the past several years. We have also been blessed to be involved in the development of a dental clinic at UCI site as well as supporting a young Haitian man, Jocenel, to complete dental school over the past six years.
Joiner and Zwart Dentistry was also able to donate many pieces of
dental equipment and supplies. Many items have been brought down in extra bags each trip down, but the biggest donation was made in 2017 when our Remsen satellite clinic was consolidated with our new Orange City location. Many of the large pieces of equipment were shipped aboard a bus donated by Unity Christian High School. In collaboration and a dentist from Canada, the equipment was able to be installed and the clinic opened in Haiti in the late fall of 2017.
Jocenel graduated from dental school in Port as Prince in 2017 and began working three days a week at UCI while commuting back and forth to Port au Prince (a 3-4 hour journey) when not working to be with his wife who stays in the city. Jocenel is from the Caimen area near the UCI mission site and stays with family when back. (photo of Dr. Joiner visiting Jocenel and meeting his mother)
The draw for us as an office to support the mission of UCI is that UCI was created to be a sustainable mission in which it will not be reliant on foreign support long term. Rather, they have organized it as a way to lift up the economically depressed region, offer jobs and create a future of hope both financially and spiritually. If interested in reading more of the incredible story of God’s great work through JeanJean and Kristie Mompremier(De Boer)in Haiti, please visit their website at www.ucihaiti.org. (Photo below of the Mompremier family)
In order to support the vision of creating a sustainable mission that will impact the community of Caimen in the central plateau of Haiti, the team that we sent was focused on prevention. The reason we focused
on prevention is that we did not want to go and do work that the Haitian people can do themselves. When American mission teams try to do everything themselves, they end up hurting those who they aim to serve. Therefore we had two goals in which we aimed to support Jocenel by screening and referring patients to his clinic and also teaching over 600 kids how to brush and prevent tooth decay. We also aimed to teach a couple of young women the basics of dental hygiene in the hopes that one or both will be able to begin supporting Jocenel, the UCI dentist.
The next blog post will describe the work we did in more detail. Our team consisted of two dentists (Dr. Joiner and Nicole del Carpio Tengan from Milwaukee), five dental hygienists (Tricia Bauer, Dawn Huizenga, Julie Schneider, and Crystal Schroeder from our office and Brooke Ullom who is Dr. Joiner’s niece who practices in Waterloo), as well as one dental assistant Alisha Cooper. The team was rounded out by Kim Vande Zande (our bookkeeper) and her husband pastor Mark Vande Zande and several spouses, children, and friends for a total of 17 team members ranging from age 12 to 76.
The timing wasn't right for our entire team to go on this mission trip. Dr. Zwart had a newborn, BreeAnn is pregnant and others had life situations that made it that this was not the time. Even so, everyone was able to help out from helping with logistics, scheduling, or just making sure our office was covered while gone. The trip was only possible by our entire team pitching in, which we are thankful for.