Latter-Day Saint Missionaries Give St Lucia Youth Something to Smile About

Elder & Sister Nish Giving a presentation

When missionary couple David and Theresa Nish, from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, noticed a need for improved oral hygiene for children living in St Lucia, they knew it was time to do something about it.  

Enlisting the help of the Church's Welfare and Humanitarian Services Department,

young Latter-day Saint volunteers, the St Lucia Government and local school administrators, the 'Dental Hygiene Project' was born.

The young women were given the responsibility of purchasing the supplies needed for the dental hygiene kits. They began by enquiring at various shops to find the best value for their money.  

Eventually 3,200 toothbrushes, 3,200 tubes of toothpaste and 3,200 plastic cups were purchased and then assembled into 3,200 zipper-lock plastic bags for distribution by the Nish's to local primary schools.  

The project was funded by Latter-day Saint Charities which receives donations from Latter-day Saints and others around the world.

Vieux-Fort Young men & women packing kits

“There are few dental facilities or clinics in the communities,” Sister Nish says. “And when they get dental decay and their teeth fall out, that is it, they don’t have any more teeth.”

“We found they weren’t brushing their teeth adequately” David says. “We realized if we got involved at the Primary school level there was probably a better chance for children to understand about oral hygiene”

The dental hygiene project has been moving forward since January 2020 under the direction of the couple, and now includes primary and special-54ed schools.  

The Nish’s work with school leaders to set up appointments to teach the children and distribute the dental hygiene kits.   

They delight the younger children with role play and stories that teach why brushing your teeth is important.  

Very happy children

“The response and gratitude from the local school administrators for the Church’s help has been overwhelming,” David said. “Most were astounded that we gave the dental kits out with no strings attached.”

The dental hygiene project is one of many service projects with which the couple have been involved. Missionaries for just over a year in St Lucia, the

Nish’s spend their days and most evenings looking for ways to serve the people.  

“We work with people. We talk to people, we hear what their problems are,' sister Nish says.

Elder Nish continued, “A lot of what we do—we don’t know why we do it at the time—but a month or two or three months down the line it just all seems to fall into place.”  “It really is not us, it’s the Lord working through us.”