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  • Raeanne Newquist

Mariama *Patient Highlight

Mercy Ships runs a dental clinic in a town about 45 minutes from the ship. It's an incredible place where patients receive free dental care by our incredible staff who live and work in the town. Dr. Pearl, one of the most incredible women I've met, heads up the clinic and her passion and love for the Senegalise people is infectious!

The Communications Team wanted to capture some photos of dental patients and feature some of them, so we took a team out to the clinic to meet some patients. When I mentioned to Dr. Pearl that we wanted to feature a patient, she immediately knew who would be the best candidate... Mariama. Then she proceeded to tell me of her unique situation.

Mariama had been living with a painful toothache for 6 months and was thrilled to now be receiving free dental work at the Mercy Ships Dental Clinic. Her tooth pain was not unique, in fact, we see many patients with terrible tooth decay and poor dental hygiene, resulting in painful situations. What did make her situation unique is that she is deaf. Mariama uses sign language to communicate with her family. However, the sign language she uses is not a "traditional" sign language, it is a made up sign language amongst her and her community.

When Mariama arrived at the clinic with a family member, there was concern that they wouldn't be able to clearly communicate what the problem was and the level of pain. But our God is a God who loves to take the impossible and make it possible! One of our local day crew that works at the clinic, knows the special sign language that Mariama and her family use! Can you believe that? He also knows this special, made up sign language! How great is our God?!! And how great is his love for Mariama, that he would provide someone special who could understand her and clearly communicate to Dr. Pearl what her needs and concerns were.

I was so encouraged getting to hear this story, watch Mariama communicate and be understood, and see her incredible love for Dr. Pearl who was able to understand and help her.

Our God is a God of details. No matter what obstacle is thrown at him, he will overcome it. Nothing in our life will hinder him from seeing us, hearing us and understanding us. Even if we think we speak a language that no one else understands - our God knows the language of our hearts and he understands us.

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