Dr. Jessie Scott

When asked to describe her recent mission trip in three words Yankton dentist, Dr. Jessie Scott, states “The words I would use would be: perspective, priorities, and gratitude.” Dr. Scott had the opportunity to travel to Chimaltenango, Guatemala this past January with her assistant Martee Herman and said her life has been changed ever since.

“I went with a group (of dentists) I found online, they go several times a year.” She explained how welcoming the group was to her, and how for many of the 30 dentists it was their first time traveling with a mission group as well. “I always wanted to go on a mission trip, just to do something to give back. I needed something to revive. You get so used to practicing (dentistry) that you need something to break that up,” Dr. Scott expresses.

“Guatemala is very friendly to mission trips,” says Scott explaining why this is such a popular destination for missionaries. Legality issues limit the amount of mission work that can be done here in the United States, and she explains this is why so many people travel to provide services elsewhere.

The days were long and consisted of lots of hard work, but Scott insists it was worth it. “We got up and got on a bus by 7 o’clock at our hotel and a bus would drive about an hour (from Antigua where they were staying) and we would get to the little town (of Chimaltenango),” Dr. Scott says. She reveals when they arrived at the church where the equipment was set up, there would be long lines of people patiently waiting to receive dental work. “We just pulled teeth,” Dr. Scott explains, “Our goal was just to get people out of pain.”


The group of dentists saw patients ranging in age from 2 to 80 years old. The total number of patients treated is unknown, but Scott estimates that over the five days in Chimaltenango “we extracted nearly 2000 teeth”.

But things did not always go as planned while there. “Because we were set up in a church, it wasn’t really built to handle the capacity that we needed to hold all the air compressors and the lights, so we blew fuses all the time. But we had one of the dentists’ husband come along and he was very mechanically inclined, so he fixed a lot of things.”

When asked about her family’s opinion of this trip Dr. Scott chuckles and states, “They hated it. I was gone for a week and it was the first time I had ever left them, so they weren’t very excited about that.” But as much as they worried about their mother Scott’s children understood why she was going there and knew “these people needed me to go in order to get better”.

“Before I left, (my kids and I) went through all their toys and clothes and got everything that was decent and put it in these

bags. I went with four big suitcases full of stuff that was put out on a table and after people had treatment, they were able to go to the table and pick something out,” Scott says.

“I explained to (my kids) how they didn’t really need three pairs of shoes when this person that I’m going to work with has one, and they have shared it with their siblings for ten years. So (my kids) really understood that these people needed us to go.”

When asked her favorite part about the trip, Dr. Scott states with a smile, “I was just so impressed with how grateful the people were there, and how thankful they were. When we went they would come to the clinic in their nicest church clothes. They were just so appreciative.”

Dr. Jessie Scott states this is not her last mission trip. “I am not sure when I will get to do (another trip), I promised my kids not for a few more years,” she says laughing. “But I will go on another trip, I hope several more trips. It changes your perspective.”