Hooray for Crooked Teeth!
To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, June 16. Click here for photos to share while telling the mission story.
Twelve-year-old Ryleigh Moore was thrilled! Her teeth were terribly crooked—and even the dentist agreed!
The dentist had told Ryleigh during a regular checkup that her teeth probably needed to be straightened with braces. Only two children had braces at Ryleigh’s school, Parkersburg Academy in Parkersburg, West Virginia.
“I thought it would be cool to have something in my mouth to show off to people,” Ryleigh said.
Ryleigh had to go to a special dentist, an orthodontist, to decide whether she really needed braces. A few days later, she skipped a few hours of school so an orthodontist could take X-ray photos of her teeth. The orthodontist asked her to open her mouth wide. Ryleigh opened her mouth as far as she could and she heard a popping sound. The orthodontist declared that Ryleigh really needed braces: Not only were her teeth crooked, but the popping noise meant her jaw had a problem that only braces could fix.
The orthodontist told Ryleigh’s mother that the braces would cost U.S.$6,000.
Mother was shocked. She began to cry when she and Ryleigh got into the car. She didn’t earn enough money working at a hospital to pay for braces, and health insurance wouldn’t cover the cost.
Then Mother remembered that God loved Ryleigh even more than she did.
“I’m not going to cry,” she said. “Let’s pray and trust in God.”
Ryleigh agreed. But she wasn’t worried at all. She couldn’t wait to tell her friends at school that she needed braces!
That evening, Mother and Ryleigh prayed for God’s help to find money for the braces. Ryleigh’s little sister, Reagan, also prayed for the braces. The family prayed again in the morning.
When Mother started the car to take Ryleigh and Reagan to school, the car’s radio came on, and it wasn’t set to the usual Christian radio station. Mother reached over to change the station, but then she froze. A commercial was playing, and a voice said the word, “Braces.” Mother turned up the volume. The voice announced that an orthodontist was having a special contest and the winner would receive free braces. It didn’t cost anything to enter the contest. All you had to do was go to the orthodontist’s office for a free checkup.
Mother didn’t dare think that Ryleigh might win free braces. But since the checkup was free, Ryleigh had her teeth X-rayed by another orthodontist. She opened her mouth wide and again heard the popping sound. “That’s not good,” the orthodontist said. “We should stop the popping. You need braces.”
After the checkup, the orthodontist’s assistant wrote Ryleigh’s name on a piece of paper for a drawing for free braces. The next month, on May 12, the name of the winner would be drawn out of a hat.
Ryleigh and her nine classmates in the sixth grade prayed about the braces. Mother prayed, too. They prayed about the contest, but mostly they prayed that God would help Mother pay for the braces.
The day of the drawing came—and went. Ryleigh and Mother forgot about the contest but kept praying. A month passed. One day in June, Mother was working at the hospital when the phone rang. It was the orthodontist’s assistant.
“Which hospital department do you work in?” the assistant asked.
Mother told her.
“OK, I’ll see you soon,” the assistant said and hung up. Mother was confused. She didn’t understand what the assistant was talking about. Two hours later, Mother looked up from her desk and saw the assistant standing there. She was holding a bunch of colorful balloons and a sign, saying, “Congratulations! You have won free braces for your daughter!”
Mother couldn’t believe her eyes! She began to cry with joy.
“It was very overwhelming,” Mother said, her eyes filling with tears as she remembered that day. “I realized at that moment that God answers prayer.”
She called Ryleigh to tell her the good news. The first thing that Ryleigh wanted to do was tell her friends that God had answered their prayers.
“I was excited to tell my friends who had prayed for me,” she said. “I was really thankful that God had answered our prayers.”
Three years ago, the Thirteenth Sabbath Offering funded 35 evangelistic meetings across West Virginia, where Ryleigh lives, so more people could learn about Jesus. Thank you for your mission offering.
Kerra Ball and her daughter, Ryleigh Moore, talking about the miracle braces in Parkersburg, West Virginia. (Andrew McChesney / Adventist Mission)