Allan W. Stevenson, DDS General Dentist
www.trailridgefamilydental.com 205 W. Highway 95, Parma, ID 83660
The Power of the Unexpected How a Pleasant Surprise Turned Into a Practice Tradition
It’s the start of a new year. For many of us, that inevitably entails talking about goals and plans for 2019. While making resolutions and setting objectives is a great practice, I want to encourage you to leave some space for surprises and unexpected adventures. Sometimes the events we don’t plan for end up being even more momentous than the ones we do. That’s certainly the case with our annual mission trip to Guatemala, which became an integral part of our mission at Trailridge Family Dental through the happiest of accidents. My connection with Guatemala began some 30-plus years ago when I traveled to the country as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It was an incredible opportunity, and one of the greatest learning experiences of my life. But when I returned after completing my mission, I honestly never expected to step foot in the country again. That is, until 2015, when a friend of ours, Cindy Atkinson, told me about an opportunity to return to Guatemala for dental missionary work. Her cousin, Dr. Nathan Tollman, also happens to be a dentist who served a mission in the Central American nation. When I told her about our parallel lives, she could hardly believe it. “You have to give him a call,” she said. “I’m sure he’d love to have you come along.” A few months after speaking with Cindy, I was on a plane to Guatemala sitting next to Dr. Tollman. Once I touched down, I had the chance to do dental work for those who desperately needed it. We treat patients dealing with serious issues all the time, but they’re nothing compared to what people in rural areas in developing countries are facing. Many of the folks we treated
had never been to a dentist in their lives. Seeing the way their faces lit up after treatment is something I’ll never forget, and that experience inspired me to make these trips an annual event. Since that first mission in 2015, I’ve returned to Guatemala every spring. The last two years, I was able to bring along some of our staff members. This year, I’ve invited my family as well. I’ve grown so much from these trips, and I want to share that growth with the important people in my life. One of my daughters is currently serving a mission in Lubbock, Texas, but everyone else is excited to help in Guatemala however they can. In addition to reconnecting with a place where I spent a crucial period in my life, the trips are a chance to observe and partake in the generosity of the human spirit. It’s meaningful to give of yourself, but it’s also heartwarming to see others give. When a community of people works together to help others, there’s no limit to what you can achieve. Our upcoming trip to Guatemala is an event we’ve been anticipating for months. However, that never would’ve been the case if I hadn’t jumped at the random chance to join Dr. Tollman in 2015. With that in mind, I encourage you to leave space for the unexpected this year. You never know where it may end up taking you.
The proceeds from all of the oral cancer screenings we perform between now and the end of March will go toward supplying tools, treatment, and education to the people of Guatemala. Call us today to schedule a screening and contribute to this great cause.
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