Grace Global Outreach:
Christian Veterinary Mission in Bolivia
My husband Jason and I are members of GFC and serve on the mission field long term in Bolivia, South America with an organization called Christian Veterinary Mission. You may at this point be saying…
What?!?…Veterinary? Do the dogs and cats need evangelism?
Are you going to try and save all the street dogs?
What exactly does a vet do on the mission field?
We have had these very questions and many more.
For most people, our mission is a bit difficult to wrap their heads around. So, let me share about our ministry. We actually do college ministry. I work at the largest public university teaching English and veterinary medicine, that is my “official role.” But, in reality, the teaching is my avenue to get acquainted with the students and the professionals. Jason works at an orphanage as the maintenance man, but also works alongside me with the students.
Before the dreaded Covid, our weeks were very different than they are now. We were having weekly bible studies, mentoring time, student surgeries, and clinics in the countryside. Covid changed everything. Now our campus is completely virtual… so I teach online, and it’s challenging to get to know the students. We are not allowed to have any activities on campus. The university hospital is open, so I’m able to work alongside the last semester students interacting with them during the day. We’ve had to be flexible.
I’m going to digress a bit, so bear with me. I’m reading a lovely book about spending every minute communicating with our God. I want to be able to do this and grow in my intimacy with Him. It stated that God was the “Great Stirrer-Upper,” saying, “One thing He seems to have determined is that we shall not fall asleep. We make or discover paradises for ourselves, and the paradises begin to lull us into sleepy satisfaction. Then God comes with His awakening hand, takes us by the shoulders, and gives us a thorough awakening.” We sure understand this in our lives… from being called on the mission field to the recent global pandemic. We have been stirred up!
Our ministry has changed. Now, students sign up to come to our house monthly for lunch and bible study, followed by surgery practice; and we are able to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with each student. We’ve also continued bible studies through Zoom with the professionals.
We do still provide veterinary/evangelical campaigns in the countryside. Let me explain. Once a month we pack up a group of students and professionals and head hours away into the isolated parts of Bolivia to partner with a local church/evangelistic team to put on an “event.” We treat and do surgeries with the animals, but we also share the gospel with the local community. The last community was really only one small family and they were not very open to the gospel, but as we all know, God has a plan and likes to stir things up. So, the focus of the ministry shifted from the community to the team. The question was asked of each student or doctor… What does a relationship with Christ mean to you? Boy, the variety of answers! As some were so passionate about Christ, others had really not given Him much thought. The highlight was when one of our previous students, now a vet, said she had not really thought much about Christ until Jason and I came and now that has all changed.
When things are stirred up it’s often difficult to see clearly what’s happening, but when things settle, we might see God’s plan.
“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.”
– Jeremiah 17:7-8