New teeth, new heart

21 Feb, 2014 | Thailand
OM International
An elderly man receives a new set of teeth at Mercy Teams Internationals medical clinic at the Japanese Well village at the Thai-Burma border, as well as a new heart.
The minute SweeChoo from Malaysia arrived at Mercy Teams International's (MTI) medical clinic at Japanese Well village at the Thai-Burma border on her first day back after being away, she found an elderly man waiting outside the clinic.

Bakyee (a respectful Burmese term for an elderly man), what can I do for you?” SweeChoo asked.

“I want to make a set of dentures,” he replied, opening his mouth for SweeChoo to check. He was totally edentulous, meaning he had no teeth left.

Bakyee, a full set of upper and lower dentures will cost you 3,000 Baht (the equivalent of about 100 US Dollars),” SweeChoo told him. Although dental treatment is free, patients are asked to pay for the laboratory charges for dentures.

“I cannot afford this," he replied. "All I have is this 1,000 Baht that I have with me now.”

SweeChoo called the lab technician to see if he could reduce his charges, especially for this poor man. After a while, the lab technician said, “OK, the cheapest I can give him is 2,500 Baht.”

Bakyee, you will have to pay 2,500 Baht,” SweeChoo told the elderly man.

“OK, I will,” he answered.

“How are you going to pay the balance of 1,500 Baht,” she asked.

“I will get the money somehow.”

After taking impressions for his dentures, SweeChoo asked the elderly man to return two days later.

Second visit

Bakyee returned to the clinic two days later, and after SweeChoo did the necessary dental work for him, he paid her the balance of 1,500 Baht.

“How did you get this money Bakyee?” she asked.

“I borrowed it from a money lender.”

“How much interest do you have to pay for this amount?” she asked.

“I have to pay 100 Baht per day as interest until I have paid back the whole sum.”

Making a quick mental calculation, SweeChoo was shocked to realise Bakyee was committed to paying seven per cent per day! Having read many horror loan shark stories in the newspapers, she shuddered at the thought of this poor old man getting into the grip of loan sharks.

“No, no, Bakyee, you take this money and give it back to the money lender today. I will find a way to pay for your dentures. Make sure you give the money back today, immediately,” she insisted.

Third visit

“Have you returned the money?” was SweeChoo’s first question to Bakyee on his third visit.

“Yes, but the money lender charged me 50 Baht interest just for the half day,” he answered.

After treatment, Bakyee asked SweeChoo’s assistant, Boo, how a person becomes a Christian. After sharing the gospel with Bakyee, Boo prayed for him and gave him a DVD about Christmas and Jesus.

Fourth visit

SweeChoo fitted Bakyee with his new dentures, and he gave her a big smile. She asked, “Bakyee, do you want to have Jesus in your heart?”

Nodding, Bakyee said that he had watched the DVD about Christmas and Jesus every night.

Bakyee, would you like to pray to accept Jesus into your heart?” SweeChoo asked again.

Saying yes, Bakyee was led by the MTI team in prayer, and they welcomed him into God’s kingdom that day.  

Praise God that Bakyee not only has a new set of teeth, but a new heart too!

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