McFarland Orthodontics in Guatemala

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We got back from another life-changing dental mission trip to San Juan Sacatepéquez, Guatemala on Saturday. We were privileged to serve hundreds of wonderful people, and have returned home with a renewed appreciation of our neighbors in the world.

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Our team consisted of 25 volunteers and 11 translators. The team, led by Dr. McFarland and his wife Karen, has described this year as the “best trip yet!” (We say that every year, but still!)

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One huge part of the trip is that we got to use dentistry to make a small difference in the world. We were able to help over 200 Guatemalan patients who desperately needed dental care. We got to take some of the pain away, and restore many mouths back to health.

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It is important to note that not all of our team members have a background in dentistry! We utilized many types of skillsets to serve the needs of the villagers in San Juan Sacatepéquez. A few examples of what our team accomplished was installing 8 wood burning stoves and 3 latrines. We also built a home for a village widow, led VBS for children, organized a women’s health conference, and handed out pigs and chickens to families who could use them to feed their families and/or start micro-businesses.

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Another ongoing project we have been working on the last several years has been the construction of a permanent dental clinic in San Juan Sacatepéquez. Having a permanent clinic will help our organization meet dental needs for the poor year round, rather than the few weeks out of the year that we are currently in Guatemala. The construction is completed and all we need to do now is equip the building for dentistry. How exciting!

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In dental mission trips of the past, we moved at an exhausting pace, with the goal of doing as much good as we were able to in the span of a week. In theory that is a noble goal, but we realized how much we were missing out on with our heads down in our work every hour of the day. This year, our goal was to slow down a bit. We have learned that there is so much value in being able to spend time with the people we encountered on a much deeper level. We were able to look around and notice all the wonderful things God was doing during our stay.

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McFarland Orthodontics has the privilege of partnering with our patients year-round in local outreach efforts, and we’d love for you to partner with us in our global outreach efforts too! If you are reading this recap and feel the desire to join the team in 2018, we would love to hear from you! You can email Lauren@macsmiles.com if you’d like to get in touch with us about a future trip.

Here are more pictures from the trip!

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