Dr. Merlino travelled to Myanmar (formerly Burma) in February to teach eleven Burmese men to extract teeth. This was her first time working with mPower, a mission agency dedicated to teaching locals skills that they can use in their communities. These men had previously had a week of classroom teaching (anatomy, sterilization, preventing cross-contamination, diagnosis, etc.) Dr. Merlino and two other dentists taught them hands-on. The men were required to extract twenty teeth in order to graduate from the program. Many hurting people came to the free clinic held in a local church building. They also worked with two orphanages and a home for the handicapped – this was the first time many of these people had dental care.
Dr. Merlino happily reports that all of the men graduated. Following her departure, the men continued to work out of the church for another week before moving out into the villages around their homes in different parts of the country. A government official came by the church. The local government had apparently given the team the clearance to practice dentistry, however the team had concerns that the official may have come to verify paperwork. “So I asked the newly graduated students what happened, and they told me that they pulled his tooth!” What a great testimony!
“I am very proud of all these wonderful men. I pray for their protection as they seek to serve the Lord with their new skills. Usually I travel to another country and try to take care of as many needs as possible in the short time I am there. On this trip, I was actually able to “multiply”. Now, as I am back home, taking care of my patients, these men are serving the people in their communities and the villages around them. I hope to join another mPower trip in the future! Dr. Merlino has since travelled back to another part of Myanmar and to Kenya with mPower, continuing to pass on those skills God allowed her to gain.