Come to Church and Open Wide

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New Hope Christian Reformed Church in Lansing, Ill., is attracting people from its community with an offer of free dental services.

Dr. Gene Keessen, a retired dentist, and his wife Jan, a nurse, had often talked about volunteering their skills in an overseas location. Circumstances prevented that, so they were happy to volunteer right in their own church. They work in a corner of the church library, where a clinical area has been set up with a dental chair and equipment received through donations.

They provide cleaning, check-ups, and fluoride treatments for families who are in need and for new area residents as a way of introducing them to the church. Patients who need further dental work are referred to area dentists.

Patients often come in response to ads in a local paper, and the church also reaches potential patients through the local food pantry.

Each patient receives a packet with devotional materials and information about the church. Patients often spend some time with the pastor, Rev. Ildefonso Torres, and some have attended Sunday worship services.

About the Author

Ruth Moblard DeYoung, a former Banner news correspondent and teacher, writes children's books. She is a member of Hope Christian Reformed Church in Oak Forest, Ill.