A Trip to the Dentist

Written by a PI Worker

To be honest, I was frustrated. Like many people around the world, I confess that I am terrified of… the dentist. Nonetheless, I needed to go and so we searched for a dentist open during these days (covid19) and finally found one a bit far from where we live. After taking a taxi, I arrived only to find that the electricity was out… with a two hour wait time for it to come back on! It was already 6pm, and feeling defeated (yet relieved!) I went outside to call a taxi to take me home, pondering on the waste of finances these two taxi rides were going to be. The trip turned out, however, to be worthwhile.

As we sat in traffic on the way home, the driver turned around and said, “Can you believe it? We are supposed to be social distancing! Yet, the city looks how it always does.” I agreed, pointing out that because it was Ramadan, people probably wanted to be with their families. I went on to tell him the reason I was out. Surprisingly enough, this man was having dental issues as well! We talked about the hospitals and the costs. The man was sad as the public hospitals are not offering dentists at the moment, which means he must remain in pain, or pay a larger price like I did at a private hospital. Being a taxi driver, he explained that his family wasn’t making enough money before the pandemic, and he couldn’t afford dental care. He was in a lot of pain, but there was nothing he could do. Before I knew it, this man poured out his soul to me. He described how he wasn’t fasting because his family could not afford the elaborate meals to break the fast. He admitted to using alcohol to ease the pain of his tooth. He almost cried and he said, “I beg everyday for Allah to have mercy on me. I know it is a sin, but I continue to do it. I can only hope that Allah has mercy for me and my pain.” My heart broke for this man as I explained that God did have mercy on him, and this act of mercy is a man named Jesus. I explained the gospel to him, pointing out that no one was enough and that everyone had too much sin. I told him about how Jesus could save him.

Now, I would like to say that this man repented of his sins and immediately decided to follow Jesus. Unfortunately, that was not the case. In a study led by Turkish churches, they came to the conclusion that it took a Turkish person an average of 77 presentations of the Gospel before they believe. 77! I don’t know how many times this taxi driver heard the gospel. Maybe 1, maybe 56. All I know is that he has now heard it, and that this event could eventually play into his future belief in Jesus. The cost, the time, the inconvenience of a planned appointment that didn’t happen –  it was all worth it. As I exited the taxi, he said, “Please pray for me. Maybe your God will have mercy on me.” I promised him that I would. Will you join me in this prayer?