Swift Current dentist Dr. Lawrence Reimer compared his work in third world countries – that is, ridding locals of rotten teeth – to planting trees. Reimer was this year’s guest speaker at the 48th annual Saskatchewan Prayer Breakfast held April 11 at the Conexus Art Centre.
Dr. Reimer’s first experience was in Honduras where he pulled a diseased tooth from a woman suffering with Malaria and Typhoid. “I didn’t think she was strong enough to handle the procedure so I asked the local doctor to have a look at her. She didn’t have the $10 fee, so I paid it.” He extracted the rotten tooth from the woman who had walked 1.5 miles to see the dentist, and he called that first experience his subway tree. “For the price of a Subway, I may have saved the woman’s life.” He continued with descriptions of removing a coffee bean from a child’s ear with tweezers in Africa and called it the tweezer tree. Perhaps the most chilling experience happened also in Africa. He and others had noticed a women sitting against a tree holding her hand on the side of her face, a posture familiar to anyone who has ever suffered a toothache. She hadn’t stood in line with the others so at the end of the day she was called to the dentist. “She probably had never been to a dentist in her life.” Her teeth were really bad so he began extracting them, one particular tooth did not want to come out. He could feel her jaw moving as he struggled with the tooth and finally, “with one big heave” the tooth came out with a golf ball-sized piece of jawbone attached. He called this experience the patience tree. “This woman had probably had been suffering in pain for years.” A few days later she returned all healed up and thanked Reimer. This was his patience tree he said, marvelling at the woman’s patience.
Before he began his talk he quoted the Dalai Lama; “If you think small things don’t matter, try sleeping with a mosquito.”He ended his talk by challenging the audience to plant their own trees by sending messages of appreciation and thanks to caregivers; he mentioning specifically those involved in the Humboldt Bronco’s bus crash. “One hundred thousand mosquitos contributed over nine million dollars in support.”
Lieutenant Governor Thomas Molloy was Master of Ceremonies and he introduced Dr. Reimer. Moose Jaw Mayor Fraser Tolmie offered the opening prayer, and Reverend Carla Blakley of the Canadian Lutheran World Relief offered the prayer for the province. Premier Scott Moe and Opposition Leader Dr. Ryan Meili read selections from the Bible. Mr. Jordan McFarlane of Conexus Credit Union offered the closing prayer.
Attendance at the Prayer Breakfast this year was 640 people, similar to last year’s numbers.