The Chuuk Islands of Micronesia, called Truk during WWII, comprise a breathtakingly beautiful group of islands in the western Pacific Ocean.
Dental Ministry to Three Storm-Ravaged Islands
by Dr. Jack Mitchell, DMD
In March of 2015 a Category 5 typhoon did extensive damage on these islands and the neighboring Yap island chain. GDMMissions, with the help of God’s people, mounted a relief effort that brought help to these islands in the form of electrical generators, chain saws, food and other essential items. In July, a small dental team came alongside several national church planting men to help with the dental needs of those impacted, and to give the church planters opportunity to share Christ with island folks who continue to struggle with their living conditions.
The first location of ministry was on the main island of Weno. Because of its many cement block buildings, this island didn’t suffer as much physical damage as some of the less developed outer islands. Nonetheless there were several injuries reported and people had gone with meager food, essential supplies and electricity for a number of weeks. Our team ministered with Pastor Mike Abbe of Grace International Baptist Church. Each day overwhelming numbers came for dental care—more than we could possibly treat. However, church members were faithful in sharing the gospel with all who came, even if we were unable to meet their physical needs.
The outer island of Tonowas, an island which the Japanese used as their command center during WWII, was our next place of ministry. This was the first time we had access as a medical or dental mission to this very spiritually needy island. A small group of graduates from Harvest Baptist Bible College of Guam came to Tonowas to help our team by translating, registering patients, sterilizing instruments and dispensing medications. Their greatest help, along with the local church planting pastor, was in assuring that all the patients heard a clear presentation of the gospel. This ministry was so important on this island which has no Bible believing church. The fact that our team was encouraged by the islanders and their leaders to return in the future was a testimony to God’s wonderful grace!
On the island of Fefen, our team supported the efforts of church planters Truly and Lency Erras. Once again the dental needs of the patients were overwhelming—each patient needed multiple tooth extractions and many of the children had serious dental infections. Many people on this island had lost so much during the typhoon and several had lost everything. They were very appreciative of the physical help we could give them, and we trust that the gospel which was presented will have a lasting impact.
There is a tremendous spiritual battle being waged on these and other Micronesian islands, in many ways much greater than the battles that were fought here during the war in the 1940’s. Many cults are trying to make inroads, some in ways which take advantage of the desperate needs of the people. We are thankful for the opportunity God has given GDMMissions to impact these islands with the true gospel which is, “the power of God unto salvation.”