This dream began with a toothache. A shopper, one of thousands who wander the PACS thrift store each year, mentioned to manager Rhonda Whitney that her tooth hurt. “Do you have a dental clinic?” she asked.
That set Rhonda dreaming about starting a dental clinic at PACS. She shared her dream with one of her dentist friends, Robert Stafford, and he started imagining ways to turn a PACS storage closet into a dental clinic. "Just a chair with access to water and electricity. I wonder what it would take and how quickly we could do it?”
As with many dreams, time passes slowly before reality arrives. PACS purchased the house next door to the thrift store and began remodeling it to become a medical clinic. US laws made that impractical, so they remodeled it again, this time to become a dental clinic. For Dr. Stafford, dental services manager of the new Gateway Grace Dental Clinic, this dream has moved at glacial speed.
“There’s a woman who runs a bakery in Damascus,” Dr. Stafford smiles as he tells the story. “She makes the world’s best banana bread, so I’m often in her store buying bread. When she learned about our dream for a dental clinic, she asked me what we needed so she could focus her prayers. I told her that we needed just the right employees, people who would love our patients so much that they would know God loved them.”
She added her prayers to the dream, and every time Dr. Stafford came for banana bread she asked him how it was going.
“Haven’t found the employees yet,” he would answer. “No problem,”she replied. “It must not be time!”
By the middle of August, the remodeling was nearly complete and the clinic was given three comfortable dental chairs, the necessary equipment, and x-ray machine. Then, in God’s perfect timing, the dream came together when He staffed the clinic with a wise clinic manager, a kind front desk person, a gifted hygienist, and an experienced Christian dentist.
“God answered your prayers,” Dr. Stafford told his banana bread baking prayer partner. “It was time,” she said with a smile.
Sue, a PACS friend and the clinic’s first patient, waited in the rain for the doors to open. “I have needed dental work for years,” she said,“but it was a luxury my fixed income didn’t allow. Now I will be able to smile again.”
There are still a number of specific needs at the clinic. If you'd like to learn about donating, please call PACS at 503-252-8500 or go online at www.pacsonline.org/donate.