travel bursary reports
Before I went to Honduras a lot of people asked me what Christian veterinary mission was... How do you do short term veterinary mission? I had a learnt response but actually part of the aim of this trip for me was, not only to serve God and learn more about him but, also to investigate the possibilities of longer term missionary service and how my skill set may enable that. I will try and briefly describe the set up in Honduras!
The long journey to Tegucigalpa went smoothly and my bag and I arrived safely to meet up with the American counterpart of our team (this was a huge answer to prayer as it was my first time actually travelling that far on my own.)
God blessed the team from Christian veterinary missions (CVM) with a diverse group of individuals from different backgrounds and stages of life. This was one of the big encouragements and ‘highlights’ of the team for me as it made our daily devotionals very interesting. It is amazing when God brings such different people together and how we can be so united because we are family in Christ!
The team was made up of ten students and three vets and we stayed in a ranch in the Agalta Valley working for a local organisation called Honduras Outreach International (HOI). This is an organisation that was set up 25 years ago by local Hondurans working in the Agalta valley. HOI runs several programs in this region including medical centres, schools, agricultural support, agricultural and veterinary teaching and even water hygiene and development programs teaching people to start and run businesses. The veterinary work is just one branch of the organisation.
HOI owns several ranches (we lived on one during our time in the Agalta Valley) and employs many local people to work with the cattle on the ranches. We spent some time working with these cattle which are used as a teaching facility (animal management, pregnancy diagnosing and artificial insemination). The vet that was leading the team has been teaching several people here and we had the blessed opportunity to see some of these local farmers ‘graduate’ in a pregnancy diagnostic course that the vet has been running over the past couple of years.
However, most of our time was spent travelling to different communities in the valley (there are about 25 villages in the Agalta Valley that benefit from the work of HOI). We carried out a range of small and large animal work in these villages such as surgeries and parasite treatment on cats, dogs, horses and pigs. The team was divided into three groups and each day we had the responsibility over a different area (large animal, surgery and surgery preparation). In the end we dewormed 237 dogs, 17 cats, 400 horses, 56 pigs and 567 cows. We castrated 9 dogs, 1 cat, 61 horses and 21 pigs and we spayed 37 dogs and 7 cats as well as pregnancy diagnosing 270 cows!
You may still be asking how this is “mission” ... Well for one there is no practicing vet in the Valley so the people are dependent on HOI for veterinary work which has huge impacts on their income and so we are providing a service in the name of Christ with the hope of demonstrating God’s love to these people and supporting the work HOI are doing. However, one of the most important things that we did was teaching bible stories to the local children and spending time playing, praying and crafting! My hope and prayer for this area is that the work of HOI will continue and can be built upon to glorify God and proclaim his gospel in the Agalta Valley.
We had the opportunity to do some other things on top of the veterinary work to enjoy fellowship with the locals. We hosted a ceilidh with the people who work at the ranch (it was a bit of a birthday party for me but provided a wonderful way to laugh and share time together.) We also had the opportunity to join the local pastor on some house visits and we were able to pray for those people with him and we also joined in on several services and bible studies with them.
All in all, it was an incredibly busy two weeks and I have so much to thank God for! We had very long days starting at 5.30 am and working in the hot sun. I thank God for his protection of the team that generally everyone experienced good health. I thank God that the team experienced wonderful unity and for the special times we had studying the bible together and the opportunities to encourage and build each other up in our faith and knowledge of Christ. I thank God I had the opportunity to meet and spend time with the people in Honduras and for how the Christians there challenge me to live my life full of passion for Christ. I pray that God would be glorified in that country and that the children that we met would come to know Christ because even though veterinary work is important for them nothing is more important and transforms lives than knowing Christ!
It would have been nice to be able to spend longer there, to get to know the local people more and have more opportunities to talk with them more directly about God. The two weeks has given me a lot to think about… about how I want to live and how I want to serve God with the abilities he has given me. I enjoyed the veterinary work but I enjoyed those moments and conversations with the children and people there so much more!
Thank you for the financial support you provided that helped me go and serve God!
Read our reports from those we have supported through bursaries!