We heart this ongoing series–a virtual trip to the coffee shop with organizations to help you go there, serve Him, and love them even better.
(For more thoughts about why you might join an agency–and a handful of reasons you might not–make sure to check out He Said/She Said/You Say? “Should I go overseas with an organization?”, both the pros and the cons.)
Today, because they’re based in the Northwest U.S., we’re grabbing a berry smoothie with Christian Veterinary Mission.
Pull up a chair.
TELL US WHAT YOUR AGENCY SPECIALIZES IN. WHAT ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT?
CVM’s vision is to share Christ’s love through veterinary medicine. We challenge, empower and facilitate veterinary professionals (vets, veterinary technicians, and veterinary students) to serve others by living out their Christian faith.
Through relationships built around the care of livestock and pets, the gospel can be shared in locations often closed to other missionaries. We call this the “animal bridge”.
Many of the unreached people groups are livestock-based societies that while not open to the gospel, would welcome someone who could help them with their animals. From grassroots rural workers to university professors, what we have in common is our use of the “animal bridge” to reach people.
HOW LONG HAS CVM BEEN AROUND, AND HOW LARGE ARE YOU GUYS? IN WHAT COUNTRIES ARE YOUR GLOBAL WORKERS LOCATED?
CVM was founded in 1978 by Dr. Leroy Dorminy, who was inspired by a West African woman who said not to come to help, but “Come and teach us, that we can help ourselves.”
We now have 38 long-term veterinarians and technicians placed in 16 countries and approximately 600 volunteers who serve short-term each year in about 50 countries.
TELL US ONE STORY THAT EXCITES YOU FROM WHAT YOUR ORGANIZATION IS DOING.
In Uganda, Dr. Daniel Graham is implementing a successful rabbit project among the Batwa people, who were looked upon formerly as slaves.
Daniel teaches a course on caring for rabbits, and all about rabbit husbandry. Then those who complete the training course and demonstrate that they have built the housing necessary are given a pair of rabbits.
The first offspring come back to the project for the next round of training and recipients. This gives him the opportunity with each lesson to share the Gospel and biblical principles and build relationships leading to spiritual conversations where it would be very difficult otherwise.
Daniel started a School of Ministry where pastors and church planters are trained by studying through the entire Bible in a year and then sent out. From last year’s class, 3 students in a Muslim area have planted 5 churches, and asked Daniel to come to their area to give additional training.
Three other students have gone to the Batwa people and are planting churches there—locating several groups of Batwa in more remote areas where they were previously unknown. They want Daniel to move there and help plant churches—an opportunity that opened because of the rabbit project.
When Turkeys Become Your Church Project
Last year, after Daniel trained on evangelism and disciple-making, he challenged each student to prayerfully choose someone in the surround community to evangelize and disciple, putting into practice what they had learned.
To kick it off, each student invited their new friend to the small neighborhood church which Daniel and a Ugandan doctor has worked together to get started. When these new friends gathered, Daniel taught a course on animal husbandry for turkeys.
Thus it became a church project! At the end of the course, each participant got a pair of turkeys to take home; as it was for the rabbits, two offspring would be returned to the project for the next opportunity.
This provided an opportunity for the students to continue their new friendships, visiting to ask how the turkeys were doing, and to evangelize and then disciple the ones they had felt the Lord led them to select from the community.
The turkeys were a great success themselves. But better yet, many families started coming to church.
They explained that they had thought the church was just for the kids program, not for adults. Now over 120 new people attend church, and a number have committed their lives to Christ and become baptized.
These are a direct result of using turkeys to show the love of Christ with human compassion and evangelism. From humble turkeys to new life in Christ!
“Use the Tools that God has Given You”
You never know what might happen when you use the tools that God has given you to reach out to those around you who are desperate for love and hope.
God uses veterinarians, especially to reach people who rely on their livestock for culture and survival.
In Tanzania, one church planter tells of going to a village and only getting to talk to about 6 people. But the next day, the veterinary team arrived.
As they treated animals, people would ask why they were helping them—an immediate opportunity to talk about the love of Jesus.
Over the next couple days, they got to talk to more than 80 people and 60 made decisions to follow Christ—and a church was planted. One of the village elders gave his own property as a place for the new church to meet.
In Central African Republic, a veteran missionary begs for veterinarians to come join their team. “We have years of good relationships. We have spiritual materials translated. But when I go out to the Fulani cattle camps, I can’t help with what they hold most dear. A veterinarian would make all the difference.”
He knows. We previously had a vet there for a year, and it made the difference.
5 WORDS TO DESCRIBE the CULTURE of CVM. GO.
- Christ-centered (multi-denominational)
- Supportive and Flexible
- Collaborative partnerships
LET’S TALK BRASS TACKS. GIVE US THE 411 ON YOUR APPLICATION AND TRAINING PROCESS.
We encourage people to participate with CVM to get to know us as an agency first. This might be going on a short term mission trip with us, or attending our long term missions orientation (generally a 2.5 day seminar offered once a year). It could be coming to a “Real Life, Real Impact” conference at a veterinary college (six times a year), or completing some of our free online modules.
Our first step is a simple Missions Interest Assessment form and a learning needs assessment that helps us recommend specific trainings based on an individual person’s experience.
Common recommendations for serious candidates would be
- language learning and cross-cultural training
- support raising (deputation)
- Biblical foundations
- Perspectives on World Christian Mission course
- Training of Trainers in Participatory Methods (offered by CVM about once a year)
We ask for six references (two professional, two personal and two spiritual).
Once an applicant is approved by our personnel committee, they become an official candidate and we come alongside them and their church as they do further training and support raising.
WHAT KIND OF GLOBAL WORKERS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR AT CVM? PAINT US A WORD PICTURE.
We are looking for veterinary professionals with a commitment to Christ.
No two positions are alike. Some work in rural villages with subsistence farmers. Others teach at universities. Some serve in modern animal clinics with pets in cities or large animals in the countryside, while others teach with what they carry in a backpack.
We work toward sustainability, participation, and transformational development.
A CVM worker needs flexibility, resilience, creativity, and the humility to serve under national leadership. All of our workers serve with an in-country partner.
Rarely do we have more than one CVM worker in a given location. Teams are inter-denominational and international in make-up.
Singles, married and families serve with CVM around the world. We have women and men, and both large animal and small animal veterinary professionals.
WHAT WOULD YOU CONSIDER “RED FLAGS” IN THE APPLICATION PROCESS?
Red flags would be those who are rigid in how they think things should be done and unable to partner with national believers.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE LOOKING IN AN OVERSEAS DIRECTION?
Think about how you can use your profession where you are now to share the love of Christ with those you work with and those you serve. Start now to use that animal bridge to build relationships.
Pray that God will give you a vision for how these skills might serve overseas.
Contact CVM now! Come to our conferences, check out our website, try out a short term trip, contact our US-based regional representative for your area and get to know us.
We would love to come alongside you as you explore the possibilities even if you don’t go overseas for another ten years. We are a fellowship of Christian veterinary professionals serving together wherever God has placed us.
Some people come to us with a specific calling to a specific part of the world. Others have a vague sense that God might be calling them but no idea where, when or how. Let us be a part of your journey.
or email International Programs Director
Dr. Brad Frye at email@example.com
AND DON’T MISS…
- Our entire Meet an Agency Series
- “Reaching the Unreached = Danger” and More Missions Myths Debunked
- Your Career, Globally: What Could I Do with a Business Degree in Overseas Missions?
- Unreached People Group Focus: Japanese
- Unreached People Group Focus: Han Chinese, Xiang people
- The Generation Who Can: Reaching the Unreached with News They Can’t Live Without