Due to the pandemic, the initiative was carried out remotely [Photo Courtesy of the South American Division]

South America

Virtual meeting brings together dentists and launches association for dental missions

The initiative aims to encourage the missionary involvement of professionals in the area and integrate them into projects of this nature

Brazil | Luciana Santana Diniz

Josias Almeida is a dentist in the State of Paraná. At one stage of his life, he decided to leave everything for two years, including his new office, to be a missionary, to attend to soldiers and refugees from the Iraqi war, in 2017 and 2018. There, he took care of people from the city of Mosul, which had a population of 4 million inhabitants and was totally devastated by the war.

The services were often carried out in refugee camps. During this period, Almeida served 10,000 people, 5,000 of which were children. Aiming to integrate and motivate all Seventh-day Adventist dentists and dentistry students to get involved in volunteering, just like Almeida, the Faculdade Adventista da Bahia (Fadba) held the 1st Meeting of Adventist Dentists of Brazil, in which the Association, Adventist Dentists of Brazil, was organized to plan missionary actions around the world.

With his story, Almeida left a message to those who attended the meeting, which was held remotely. “After this experience I had in my life I learned that no matter where I am, my heart will always be a missionary with anyone who sits in my [dentist] chair,” he pointed out.

For the Fadba Dentistry student, Jaiza Carneiro, what she heard during the event prompted her to plan to participate in missionary initiatives. “I always wanted to be a volunteer anywhere in the world. Sometimes we think we need a lot, but I realized that we can smile back at someone and relieve pain too. From beginning to end, the meeting was a great professional learning experience...”, she emphasized.

According to one of the event's coordinators, dentist Kendall Capibaribe, "[the meeting] provided a lot to the students, who, in addition to being inspired for mission, had access to lectures by professionals who are also experts and authors.”

The meeting also included the participation of Pastor Odailson Fonseca, Michelson Borges, a journalist from the Brazilian Publishing House (CPB), and singers Daniel Lüdtke and Pedro Valença. Also present were missionaries and doctors Marcelo Sousa, his wife, Juliana Sousa, and Doctor Carlos Prado.

Association of Adventist Dentists of Brazil

During the meeting, the objectives and purposes of the Association of Adventist Dentists of Brazil were discussed, as well as the nuclei that will make up the entire mobilization. “We needed an organization to work the missions, mainly. Sometimes we didn't know about other voluntary actions that took place. The idea is to create partnerships with other institutions, such as ADRA, and give every dentist the opportunity to be a missionary,” explained Kendall, now president of the initiative.

The Association is divided into the mission, social and scientific nuclei. After its official formation at the beginning of the meeting, Kendall launched a fundraising challenge to purchase a portable chair for missionary assistance. At the end of the meeting, the fundraising goal had already been reached! “We already have the chair for our first mission,” celebrated Kendall.

This article was originally published on the South American Division’s Portuguese news site