Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Summer Missions-ACF

This year we have a number of summer mission opportunities. Our Missions are a great opportunity to have some fun and share the love of Jesus with people during the holiday period.

Are you looking for an opportunity to grow in your walk with the Lord, serve in a team setting, and develop your leadership skills? 

It may be the year to consider joining ACF Summer Mission Team!
Each year ACF offers an opportunity for young adults to work alongside ACF Summer Mission Team in Africa through the Summer Mission Team program.
Whether you are painting an orphanage in Kampala or talking to people in an open market in Kumi-Uganda, being on the front lines of ministry will open your eyes to God’s love for the nations and help you discover His plan for all people to be part of His Kingdom. You’ll develop a clearer worldview, a better understanding of the commonality of the human experience, and a broader perspective of African Christian Fellowship.

Uganda Dental Mission

The Coon Rapids VFW and Coon Rapids North Star Lions Club joined forces Sunday to support a dental mission to the African country of Uganda.

Coon Rapids North Star Lions Club members Terry Hedberg (left) and Diane Buszta were waffle makers Sunday at the Coon Rapids VFW.

The Lions club served an all-you-can eat waffle breakfast at the Coon Rapids VFW. The event also included a bake sale.

Proceeds went to help defray the cost of the Uganda dental mission being undertaken in January 2012 by Dr. Joni Richmond and staff from the Metropolitan Pediatric Dental, which has an office in Fridley.

They will be joining other dentists and their staff on the two-week mission to provide free dental treatment to children with HIV/AIDS at a hospital in Kampala, the capital of Uganda.

According to Tami Meyers, Coon Rapids VFW Auxiliary, the idea for the fund-raiser came about when her daughter Molly, a dental assistant with Metropolitan Pediatric Dental who has been chosen to go on the mission trip with Richmond, was looking for ways to pay for the trip.

“Although the mission is organized through African Christian Fellowship Minnesota located in Woodbury, the expense of the airfares for the dentists and their staff are not funded by them,” Meyers said.

Meyers has worked with the Coon Rapids North Star Lions Club in the past on fund-raisers and this breakfast is “wonderful way to raise money for the cause,” she said.

Richmond has taken Metropolitan Pediatric Dental’s participation in Give Kids A Smile Day in the Twin Cities to the next level by her involvement in this dental mission, Meyers said.

According to Richmond, this will be her sixth trip to Uganda on the dental mission.

The program was started 10 years ago by Dr. Paul Musherure, a pediatric dentist from Uganda who now practices in the Twin Cities.

He got the idea for the Uganda dental care mission after being invited by a Colorado dentist, Dr John Sexton, to go on a mission trip to Romania to work at an orphanage treating many children who otherwise would not have access to proper dental care, Richmond said.

Musherure believed children with HIV/AIDS in his home country of Uganda would benefit from the same dental treatment and organized the first trip to Uganda in 2003, She said.They chose the Mildmay Center in Kampala, a Christian nonprofit organization headquartered in the United Kingdom, that runs outpatient hospitals/centers providing care and training to HIV/AIDS patients, according to the African Christian Fellowship, USA website.

The Kampala center is one of several Mildmay locations around the world and treats AIDS/HIV patients.

When Richmond heard about the mission program, she jumped at the opportunity to take part, she said.

“I get way more out of it than I give,” Richmond said.

Richmond will be accompanied on the mission trip, which runs Jan. 12 through 28, by her husband, Dr. Justin Stevens, a general dentist, pediatric dentist Dr. Sally Schutte and general dentist Dr. Sara Podoll.

Support staff from Metropolitan Pediatric Dental going include Molly Meyers, Karrie Schutt and Shelly Hoeykens, who will be making her third mission trip to Uganda.

But the Colorado connection remains in place because the dental practice there will be providing the mechanical and electrical power units necessary for the work of the dentists at Mildmay Center, Richmond said.

According to Richmond, the team expects to treat some 500 children with HIV/AIDS during the two weeks in Kampala.

“There are lots of children with HIV/AIDS in Uganda,” Richmond said.

At Mildmay, the dental team will work on children from not only from Kampala and its twin city of Entebbe, but also children from the rural areas surrounding the two cities, she said.

“The children are bused in to Mildmay,” Richmond said. “It is more efficient than us going out to the rural areas.”

But it won’t be all work for the Minnesota dental team. Members will also have the opportunity, if they wish, to go on a three-day safari, she said.

Volunteers in Uganda work with the dental team members all the time they are there, especially as interpreters, Richmond said.

“That’s very nice,” she said. “They give us a lot.”

Accommodations for the visiting dentists and their staff are hostels at Mildmay, for which there is no charge, Richmond said.

According to Richmond, Musherure is a “great help.”

“He makes the translation a lot easier,” Richmond said. “He knows the culture and that really helps.”

The dental care provided by the mission team includes teeth cleaning for all children plus fillings and crowns where needed, according to Richmond.

In addition, all children receive toothbrushes and toothpaste, Richmond said.

“We can’t do root canals because of the possibility of the children getting an infection,” she said.

Going to Uganda and providing dental care to the children with HIV/AIDS “makes me appreciate all the little things we have” such as health care, Richmond said.

This will be Molly Meyers’ first year as a member of the dental care team heading to Uganda.

And for the 2002 Coon Rapids High School graduate, it is something in which she has wanted to participate since she started work as a dental assistant at Metropolitan Pediatric Dental, Meyers said.

Meyers has worked full-time at Metropolitan Pediatric Dental for five years and before that as an intern, she said.

“Dr. Richmond asked me to go with them,” Meyers said.

“It will be chance for me to help people and it will be a new life experience for me,” she said.

As part of preparations for the journey to Uganda, Meyers needed six immunizations, including one for yellow fever, all of which she was able to get in one trip to the doctor, Meyers said.

Meyers is “very excited, but a little nervous” about going to Uganda, she said.

What makes her a “little nervous” is the length of the journey, Meyers said.

That’s because the team will first fly from the Twin Cities to Amsterdam in the Netherlands, a trip of 7 1/2 hours, then take another plane for the nine-hour flight to Entebbe.

According to Richmond, Kampala is nine hours ahead in time from the Twin Cities.

Meyers’ longest plane trips up to now have been to Costa Rica and Mexico, she said.

But she is hoping that while in Uganda, she will have a chance to hook up with her cousin, Rebecca Meyers, who is from Ohio, but is now doing mission work in the African country, Meyers said.

Metropolitan Pediatric Dental has offices in St. Paul, Eagan and North Oaks, besides Fridley.

To learn more about the African Christian Fellowship Minnesota Uganda dental mission go to