I've found the Cambodian people (and especially Stronghold Cambodia) to be very respectful and friendly; it's a great culture in which to serve and be served.
Our St. John mission team (Karen, Vicki, Vivian Bill, Damian,and me) get along great and function excellently as a team. We see 10 child patients per day (ages 8-15) in grades 3-6.
My dental "dream team" consists of Diane, Naomi, Karen, Vicki and Vivian. Diane Esala is from our St. John congregation and she and her husband are here in Cambodia volunteering for 2 years at Stronghold Cambodia. She is a nurse who teaches the children English and Christianity, and is my dental assistant here. She knows all the kids and is able to reassure them before each procedure. She screened the children medically before we came and obtained their parents' permission to do dental care. Naomi is my excellent interpreter, she is Pastor Jesse's wife, and has a lot of Bible knowledge and Christian experiences. She knows each child in the program and teaches them on a daily basis. Diane and Naomi are very trusted by the children and this helps me, as well as the children, to have a great experience. Most of them have never seen a dentist before.
My sterilization assistants are Karen, Vicki and Vivian. They have been rotating each day. Rounding out the team here is Tim Esala, Diane's husband, who has kept us up and running by problem-solving issues with electricity using our dental drill. Pastor Jesse has moved out of his office for the week so we can work in the air conditioning... a huge plus here in the 90 degree heat. Each child dental patient is warmly greeted, asked what dental problem they are having and then our "dream team" prays with them to ask for God's guidance, safety and comfort. If the procedure gets difficult, Diane verbally prays to Jesus for help as Dr. Mike works on the problem. Prayer helps a lot.
After treatment is completed, we give each child a sticker, a hug and a "high five" hand clap. Not too long afterwards, we see them around Stronghold Cambodia smiling and happy to be relieved of any pain that they may have had. We hope that each procedure we do can make a difference in their lives, along with everything else that the Stronghold Cambodia team does....all for the glory of Jesus.