Periodically medical and dental teams will come to the town of Barra (1.5 hours by boat) and provide free medical care to the Costa Ricans living on the river. My neighbors came by a few days ago and told me about a group of Christian gringos that were holding a free dental clinic in Barra. The neighboring pastor told me to be ready to go at 6, and he would pick me up in his boat.
At 7:30 we got underway, and by nine we were in Barra. I felt so awkward, standing in line with my Costa Rican neighbors, trying to figure out how I was going to ask the gringos to give me free dental care. I figured they would probably think I was a tourist, or would not have time for me because I could pay a hefty sum of money and get my teeth cleaned in the states. Man was I wrong.
The group was incredibly friendly. They were a team sent out by Christian Dental Fellowship, an organization that sends teams of dental students all over Latin America and Africa, with the goal of inspiring them to find ways to use their dentistry as a ministry to build the kingdom.
They made me feel like a prince, everyone coming by to introduce themselves and hear my story. They even invited me to eat lunch with them. When it was all said and done, I had a set of clean teeth, a bunch of new missionary connections, and a bit of perspective on what these missionary groups look like to my friends and neighbors here on the river.