The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Guayaquil, Ecuador, reached around 580 people with a message of hope through a free dental campaign. Responding to people’s physical and spiritual needs is the main objective of the Smile and Hope International Foundation, a Texas-based organization that provides assistance through humanitarian and community projects in several countries around the world.
Just south of Guayaquil, around 580 children, teenagers, and adults, benefited from the free dental care provided by the foundation at the Luz de Oriente Seventh-day Adventist church during six days in September 2022. The clinic included a place where those who wished to do so could register for Bible studies. Those who were interested were also invited to evening meetings and could choose to be visited by a pastor.
Ignacio Pérez, an Adventist pastor in Texas, United States, and the foundation’s coordinator, said he enjoys the opportunity to serve others. “The world is full of needs. We may not be able to free millions, but I have learned that we need to shine where we are and with the tools we have,” Pérez said.
The medical teams included up to six dental specialists from Mexico’s Montemorelos University. They offered gum treatments, fillings, and teeth restoration, among other treatments.
Milton Izquierdo, pastor of the 38AVA church district, said this is the second time these brigades have served in his territory, and he noted that these activities have drawn the people served to study the Bible. “We know that Jesus’ faithful example was an example of service. In the same way, we intend to reach people, care for their needs, show them the love of Christ, and introduce them to Scripture,” he said.
At the end of the clinic, 23 people who have been studying the Bible were baptized at the local Adventist school. Two days later, volunteers distributed more than 70 bags of food items and cleaning supplies in a low-income residential area of San Eduardo.
The Smile and Hope International Foundation is always looking for volunteers. Those who want to use their gifts to extend a helping hand to others in need are always welcome, organizers said. Another visit to Ecuador to provide health and outreach activities is in the works, probably for 2024, they said.