Short-Term Highlights Archive
July 2012 - BOLIVIA
training that sustains
Since the day of its inception, CVM has focused on not just providing solutions to problems, but rather on training, equipping, and empowering people to succeed in finding their own solutions to problems. As an organization, CVM is guided by eight values that shape how we do what we do. One of these values is “Training that Sustains,” which states: The goal of our work is the transformation of individuals, groups, and communities through balanced ministry to spiritual, physical, mental, social, and ecological needs
“Training that Sustains” is the ministry value we are highlighting from a short term mission trip experience this past spring. In April, Dr. Shawn Kari and his son, Jesse, traveled to Bolivia for the third time to partner with VetRed, Dr. Lauren Spears, and Dr. Bill and Heidi Janecke. Shawn is a veterinarian with an ambulatory ultrasound practice in Southern California, and he traveled to Bolivia for the first time in 2009 to put his ultrasound skills to use!
During Shawn’s first visit, he focused his attention on establishing relationships with the small animal faculty and students at the University as a means to further the gospel amongst the veterinary community. And he did this by teaching them the basics in ultrasound. They started out with two days worth of lectures, and then they dusted off their ultrasound machine and put their new knowledge to use. The next few days were filled with scanning normal animals and perfecting basic skills. Once the local veterinarians in the surrounding area of Santa Cruz discovered that ultrasound could be performed locally with some degree of competence, the floodgates of cases were opened. And the next three months were filled with case after case!
Shawn returned to Bolivia for a second time just three months later. This time he was able to focus his attention on improving the foundation he had laid just months before, honing the faculty’s ultrasound skills, and building relationships. He was extremely encouraged by the skills they had acquired in such a short amount of time! And during his most recent trip in April, he spent time, once again, honing skills, building relationships, and updating the vet school faculty on new imaging material.
Shawn recognizes the importance of relationships and training even more than the value of his expensive equipment or topnotch skills, hence he keeps traveling back to Bolivia and pouring into the people. And even across the really steep language barrier, he somehow knows their stories, the names of their spouses and kids, and even their favorite sports team.
He affects the people he works with in Bolivia because he cares about them personally and he has something to offer them that can drastically change their lives professionally. When asked to share his favorite part about his most recent Bolivian experience, Shawn stated, “My favorite part was seeing the excitement on the clinicians faces that the technology or ultrasound was a difference maker in their lives and the lives of those around them. They will never be the same again.”
And Dr. Moira is a beautiful example of someone who will never be the same again! During Shawn’s visit, Dr. Moira shared, through tear-filled eyes, that she knew absolutely nothing about ultrasound when he came down the first time. And now she scans between 10 to 15 small animals every day in the teaching hospital at the university, and she’s the vet that the city, of two million people, sends their pets to for ultrasonic diagnostics. And this past May, she spoke at the veterinary conference in Santa Cruz as the canine ultrasound expert!
Praise the Lord that Shawn’s teaching is multiplying! Three years ago, he came to Bolivia and taught a group of vet school faculty the basics in ultrasound, and now they are the ones doing the teaching! Shawn is a beautiful example of a man who used his ultrasound skills and his veterinary knowledge to teach, train, empower, and facilitate his fellow veterinarians to serve others through their newly acquired ultrasound skills.
Thank you to all our short-termers who teach, train, empower, and facilitate veterinarians to serve others through their profession, while living out their Christian faith! And a special thank you to Dr. Lauren Spears and Dr. Shawn Kari for their contributions.
Photos provided by Lauren Spears and Shawn Kari
April 2012 - Mongolia
Serving in Missions
CVM provides many opportunities for veterinary students of all levels to serve through our short-term mission program. For those students interested in long-term veterinary missions, we offer our Missions Preceptorship Program. The focus of this program is to provide students with hands-on training and one on one mentoring with a CVM fieldworker, as they seek to pursue God’s calling to serve long-term.
Over the past few years, this program has granted students the opportunities to serve in countries such as Bolivia, Haiti, Cameroon, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Mongolia. This past March, Eunice Kan, one of our preceptees, boarded a plane headed for Mongolia. She spent four weeks working with V.E.T. Net, a Mongolian NGO, at their small animal clinic in the city of Ulaanbaatar.
We were blessed to receive weekly updates from Eunice while she was there!
Excerpts from weekly updates
“I can’t believe I'm in Mongolia; it feels so surreal. I felt like I was in a movie when the plane flew over the breathtaking view of low rolling mountains dusted with snow. I was definitely naive thinking that I would land near flat plains dotted with round tents and flocks of sheep or herds of cattle. There is a sharpness to the cold air that penetrates deep into your lungs here in Mongolia. The roads are paved but bumpy and it is rare to come across any smooth stretch of road. As you drive deeper into the city, the traffic thickens and everything slows to a crawl. Rules, lines, and signs are just guidelines and cars come within centimeters of each other as they maneuver around in the traffic.”
“V.E.T. Net, the organization that I am working with, is amazing! They are very involved in their community and do their best to help the Mongolian people through education programs for veterinary students and veterinarians, educational trips to the countryside where they teach English and animal husbandry, English classes at the office, and more. I have been very blessed by everyone working at V.E.T. Net. They are all excited to teach me the Mongolian language and I am starting to pick up a few words and phrases here and there”
“I’ve spent most of my time working in the small animal clinic. And we have had all sorts of interesting cases! A veterinarian from Massachusetts (one of CVM’s short-termers) flew in on Sunday and he has been working at the clinic since Monday. There were a lot more dogs with torn cranial cruciate ligaments and other strange problems that came into the clinic. On Wednesday, the American veterinarian performed a lateral suture surgery to fix a torn cranial cruciate in a dog. And I got to scrub in and help out with the surgery! On Thursday, we performed surgery on a 6 month old 45kg dog that was hit by a car a week ago and had a fractured humerus. It is the first humerus I have ever helped fix and it was quite the experience. I felt like I was playing tug of war for about an hour. The muscles had tightened and the two broken pieces of bone overlapped quite a bit. And in order to put the bones together correctly, we had to stretch out the muscle with a person on either side pulling with all their strength. The surgery lasted about 2 hours, and I am glad to say that with a lot of prayer and muscle strength, we managed to fix the fracture. It was a lesson in patience, creativity, and team work for us all.”
It was definitely a very different experience than previous short term trips I have been on and I got to focus a lot more on the relational aspect of missions which I loved. During my short term trips, I was never able to form deep connections or share and exchange life stories with the people like I was able to do in Mongolia. Spending a month working with CVM and V.E.T. Net really showed me God's heart for the Mongolian people, their hearts and their lives. It definitely encouraged me further in my passion for long term missions and affirmed God's calling for me to do that work in the future. The preceptorship program allowed me to catch a glimpse of what it is like as a long term missionary and I loved it. I learned that it is not about me going in and doing a lot of vet work to help the people, but rather it is about letting God work through me.”
This is just a beautiful glimpse into Eunice’s time in Mongolia and a beautiful glimpse into how a preceptee spends his/her time in country. Please pray with us that God will raise up more students, like Eunice, to participate in the Missions Preceptorship program for the 2013-2014 academic year.
If you have questions about how to apply for a Missions Preceptorship with CVM, please feel free to contact Dave Curtiss by email or phone (206-546-7577) or Dr. Denise Ward by email or phone (206-546-7344).
Thank you to all our preceptors and preceptees for your time of service, and a special thank you to Eunice Kan for her contributions.
Photos provided by Eunice Kan
January 2012 - honduras
RELATIONSHIPS AND PARTNERSHIPS
CVM desires to develop relationships and partnerships with organizations that empower all members toward building sustainable ministries. Thus, CVM seeks to find ministry partners whose programs will be empowered, rather than disempowered, by CVM short- term teams. God has been faithful in finding those partners, and over the years, CVM has had the privilege to partner with many Christ-centered organizations that God is using to build His Kingdom all across the globe.
Honduras Outreach Inc. (HOI) is one of these said partners, and CVM has been partnering with them since 2004. HOI operates in the Agalta valley of Olancho, and this valley is home to approximately 50,000 people, many, if not most of who are impoverished and subside on less than $800 per year. This rural, agricultural area contains thousands of cattle, hogs, horses, mules and poultry. HOI has been working in this area for more than 20 years, and they help to provide medical care, public health, economic development, training in agriculture, children’s education (kindergarten, elementary, and middle schools), and Biblical/spiritual training for local pastors. Veterinarians provide care and treatment for livestock of underserved residents and farmers in the valley, while also sharing the love of Christ.
This past January, a team of eight, led by Dr. Natalee Beck, traveled to Honduras for a week to partner with HOI. The team, consisting of six vets (both small and large animal), one vet tech, and one pre-vet, kept their hands busy while there. They traveled to 5 different villages where they performed 83 small animal surgeries (majority dog spays/neuters), 29 castrations, 18 vaccinations, and 301 de-wormings. They also spent time educating the communities on preventative medicine and animal husbandry.
Trip participant, Dr. Edward Fang, acknowledged that while the team's practical focus may have been to offer veterinary services—their overall goal was bigger. "Our purpose was to merge the love of Christ through veterinary medicine."
Reporting on the trip, Dr. Fang stated: "It really was amazing to see 6 doctors come together to not only work with the animals, but also build relationships with the people. I hope and pray these relationships built would be the seeds that grow over the years, nurtured by Christ's word, and would be long-lasting and fruitful."
We at CVM appreciate the relationships with our partner organizations, and we pray that these relationships, which span continents, would bring glory to the Lord. We are one body, with many parts – let us not forget this! “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ.” 1 Corinthians 12:12
Thank you to all our partners and participants, and a special thank you to HOI, Dr. Natalee Beck, and Dr. Edward Fang for their contributions.
Photos provided by Dr. Edward Fang
July 2011 - India
EMPOWERMENT THROUGH TRAINING
CVM promotes participatory training through which individuals work to identify their training needs and are empowered to ongoing physical and spiritual growth in their relationship with God, themselves, their families, and their communities. This is what CVM calls “training that sustains.” This is one of our ministry values which we are highlighting from a short term mission trip experience this summer.
In July a team of four led by Dr. Suzannah Strauss, travelled to India to partner with India Gospel League (IGL). As a partner that exemplifies training that sustains, IGL’s primary focus is on Evangelism and Church Planting. The organization has incorporated rural and community development as part of its outreach. One of the components of the rural development program is Animal Husbandry. This is included as part of the rural development program because of the need and relevance to the primarily agrarian community that they serve. The services include providing micro-loans, grass–roots level training, alternate feed at subsidized cost, an awareness of government plans for farmers, medical assistance and formation of cooperatives. A model dairy farm has been established that is a hub for the farmers to sell their milk, buy alternate feed and receive training. Most of these services help generate the economic engine of both the individual family as well as the entire community.
Although CVM has partnered with IGL since 2006, this summer Dr. Strauss and her team consisting of, Giselle Boertjens, Gretchen Landin, and Dr. Owen Davies put together the first veterinary training camp for IGL healthcare workers in a village about 1.5 hours from Salem. They performed various procedures and taught four hours of fundamental animal health education to forty village healthcare workers, all of whom were women. Dr. Strauss writes, “It was quite a sight to watch them perform physical examinations on cows at the IGL farm in their flip flops and saris!”
A week after this training one of the IGL summer interns showed the CVM team a photo of a healthcare worker in a village women’s meeting, showing a CVM diagram of a cow to the ladies attending the meeting. In less than a week, the knowledge was being transferred at the village level. A few days later the CVM team visited a village and met the local pastor who expressed his gratitude saying that since 2007, when IGL and CVM began veterinary camps in his village, there has been a dramatic change for the villagers: their animals are healthier and more productive, and they have had no outbreaks of Foot and Mouth Disease. This change has increased their interest in the local church, and the pastor says that his congregation is now growing rapidly.
Thank you to Dr. Suzannah Strauss for sharing this report on the outcomes of her team’s service and the impact of sustainable training through past CVM teams serving this ministry in India.