photo dental campThere are many ways to wait. The type of waiting can be determined by what we are waiting for. Last week, 16 mobile dental units were set up in the church hall, and the gates were opened. We began with the students, but word soon got out. There was a dental clinic in town, and even with a team of 50 – the line did not seem to reduce.

You think I would have learned by now, to load up enough minutes on my phone (air-time) that I am not left “out of credit” in the middle of a team’s visit. But, a failed phone call jerked me into reality,  I would have to venture out of the gates in order to, “top up.”

I was hardly near the exit when I saw a mother with two girls, dressed alike. They had clearly put on their Sunday best to come and try to see the dentist. We chatted a bit, as the guard, Lucia, explained to me their story.

“They came all the way from Korogocho,” she said, “to see the dentist.”

Korogocho is the location of our newest center – the newest community to interact with Missions of Hope – the farthest in distance from our main center.

Lucia knew as well as I that it was the last day – that no more patients would be seen. I walked out the gate to buy my credit, heavy hearted for this family and the many others without access to simple dental care.

Many families like them continued to wait, even after they were told that they would not be seen. Their waiting was rewarded with toothbrushes, toothpaste, and lessons in dental hygiene as the camp concluded Thursday afternoon.

Waiting, hope against hope, that they would be seen. Or, more often than not, that their children would be seen.

And, we also find ourselves in a season of waiting. The third Sunday of advent, one candle left to be lit.

We wait.

We anticipate.

We expect.

It’s a different kind of waiting, then the line outside of the gate. We are told that He will come. We have seen it once before.

But, often, we feel the same. Hope presses against our reason, as we wait for a sign that doesn’t seem to be coming. Will we be left out, receiving left-over supplies? Or worse, will we leave another behind, unaware that they were waiting too?

Will we be forced to shove ahead of the one next to us, simply to find a place inside the gate?

But the one we are waiting for comes out of the gate, heavy and carrying what looks to be the very weight that we know. His eyes, full of more than we can understand. Grief, mourning, and suffering beyond what even we have yet known. Yet somehow there is all joy and peace, and, even more, faithfulness. Is that how to describe it?

Steady – unmoving, it is as if we can see it all – time, that is.

All of time, in his eyes, on his shoulders, as he walks out of the gate.

Towards those waiting for their teeth to be checked, for cavities to be pulled, and even more, to receive care. To receive attention, and to know that they have made it past the gate. Shouldering the weight of the gate, we are ushered inside, by those eyes that hold time.

We know we will be seen, because we already are.

He has come, and is coming still.

And we wait, hope pressed against our chests, to see him where he comes.

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