My wife Marianna and I spent a week at Young Life Malibu camp as adult campers along with 511 teen students and their leaders. This camp serves the YL clubs in Oregon and Washington state. We received a behind-the-scene understanding of how teens meet Christ through Young Life. Personally, it was a life changing week for me!
The camp pastor for the month was Kent Williams, a career YL man from Clackamas, OR — he is a 48 year-old leader who is very funny, deeply genuine and uniquely effective with teens. He is fulfilling his life purpose making the Scripture relevant so he can bring teens to trust Christ as their Savior. And he does it very, very well.
One evening during an adult / staff mixer, I visited with Kent and noticed he was missing a front tooth. He wears a “flipper” to disguise the hole. I thought: “I have friends who could fix that!”
A week later, I called Kent with the idea of bringing him to Fort Worth for a permanent replacement; I was not prepared for his response. Kent told me at that very moment he was praying about his insurmountable dental problems. He became very emotional. He couldn’t believe I called at the very moment he was praying! Well, when he told me that, I was overcome too. He explained that he was not missing just one tooth, but most all of his teeth. I asked him to email me a description of his dental problems so I could share it with my friends. Here is his email:
KENT's RARE DENTAL CASE
I feel that fixing my jacked-up teeth would be an incredibly HUGE job, that I feel that I should explain a bit. I should probably send photos too. (I will follow up this email with some shots of my mouth.)
- I have congenital missing teeth. I think I’m missing 17 permanent teeth, which includes 13 + 4 wisdom. (e.g. Half the teeth in my 48-year old mouth grew in between the age of 6 and 11.) *For example: I have 4 total adult molars & 4 baby molars (See - I told you it’s crazy!)
- None of my molars touch at all. So chewing has been an issue since I can remember. (and years of subsequent jaw-clicking)
- I currently have a “flipper” (my 3rd now) that i received the day after my honeymoon, when a “Maryland Bridge” broke. It has been amended and patched multiple times.
- My wife hasn’t ever had a husband with a real smile. (I celebrate 25 years of Marriage in a couple weeks.)
- I still have a “Maryland Bridge” on my lower that I received in 1986 (same as the failed upper Maryland)
- This is so depressing to be even typing this. My teeth situation truly feels unsurmountable to me.
- My two front teeth have been eroded over the years, since that is the only location that my teeth touch.
- My local dentist suggested, instead of implants, that I buy a “Snap-On Smile” which covered my original teeth. Sadly, I did… the result was a mouth full of extra-large unnaturally-shaded teeth that were all slanted at an angle. *My wife and daughter couldn’t hold in their laughter at the sight of them. (They’ve since been placed back into their box and forgotten about… the fake teeth, that is, not my wife and daughter.)
I went for a consult to finally fix my bite/jaw/teeth years ago, and when the Oral Surgeon/Cosmetic Dentist said “It’ll take 2 years & over $40,000 to fix your situation.” I went home sad and hung up my dreams of doing anything about it.
Some of my trepidation has been that my job is to speak. I’ve been given the opportunity to share the Gospel to whomever the Lord brings into my path and I have been afraid of doing something that would affect my speech.
There you have it, I bare it all to y’all. Hoping that doesn’t turn you away.
In His Grip,
After this email, Marianna and I asked a local Fort Worth Oral Surgery Group to take Kent’s case. They obtained impressions and CT scans of Kent’s mouth and jaw bones, and, the group has agreed to perform a full-mouth restoration —donating their time. However, there are hard costs related to the surgery that will be in the $26,000 range.
So here is what I am requesting. Would you help pay for the hard costs? It is a great investment! I am asking you to make a NON tax-deductible contribution for Kent’s dental restoration. You can give anonymously if you would like.
If more funds are received than needed, they will be given to Kent Williams' Young Life budget.
Kent is scheduled for surgery Monday August 21 at the Fort Worth John Peter Smith Hospital, Facial Oral Surgery facility. It will be a four- or five hour procedure.
Kent and his wife Janie are staying with Marianna and I. They are returning to Portland Friday August 25. When he leaves Fort Worth, Kent will have full dental implants— upper and lower — and a permanent solution with perfect teeth allowing him to confidently chew, laugh and introduce teens and adults to Christ.
Jim & Marianna Wilson
- friends of Kent
- Jamey Dyson
- Steve and Judy Johnson
- Jennifer and Brian Kieta
- Steve Parker
Organizer and beneficiary
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