This article was written by Sam Roberts, Missions Assistant Team Leader at the Arkansas Baptist State Convention.
Missions giving through the Dixie Jackson Arkansas Missions Offering provides Arkansas Baptist churches a unique opportunity to reach their communities with the Gospel by offering free medical and dental services. Since 2010, thousands of underserved Arkansans have received free medical and dental care and hundreds have trusted Christ through Medical and Dental Missions of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC), a mission funded 100% through Dixie Jackson.
At the request of a local church or association, the ABSC Medical and Dental Missions Team Coordinator, Jennifer Allbritton, schedules a clinic to be held on a Saturday. The host church’s responsibilities include providing adequate space for the clinic; securing volunteers from the church to serve on various teams, including evangelism; recruiting medical/dental professionals; and promoting the clinic in the community. On the Friday morning prior to the clinic, the Medical and Dental Missions Team gathers at a storage facility in Northeast Arkansas to load equipment and supplies into a trailer and begin their journey to the host church. Within a few hours of arriving on a Friday afternoon, the team transforms the church campus into a fully functioning medical and dental clinic that will be ready to welcome patients when the clinic opens at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday morning.
Each year, 12-14 clinics are scheduled across the state. Covid forced the cancellation of all but one clinic in 2020 and the first three scheduled in 2021. Attendance has also been impacted by Covid. However, on a recent Saturday, the ABSC Medical and Dental Missions Team arrived at First Baptist Church in Cherokee Village at 7:00 a.m. for the clinic. Although registration was scheduled to begin at 8:00 a.m., the team was excited to see a group of 25-30 people already gathered outside the church’s main entrance eager to see a dentist. A total of 65 patients were seen that day and 94 teeth were extracted. Five people responded to the Gospel by trusting Jesus!
Here are the results of the first five clinics of 2021:
- 161 patients
- 181 digital x-rays
- 180 extractions
- 15 people trusted Jesus
The Medical and Dental Missions Team is actively recruiting volunteers for upcoming clinics. Volunteers requested include dentists, dental assistants, hygienists, physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and optometrists. Churches wishing to host a Medical/Dental Clinic and those wishing to volunteer their services are encouraged to contact Jennifer Allbritton, ABSC Medical/Dental Missions Coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Sam Roberts, ABSC Missions Team (email@example.com).