Equipping Vets Through Online Learning

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By: Stephen Cowden, CVM E-Learning Coordinator

The Internet is a fascinating place. (I think “fascinating” is one of the more hopeful adjectives we could use.) Not only is the Internet a means of conveying news and information, but it’s grown into a colossal forum for sharing opinions. These days the opinions seem especially hostile, and I’ll confess that most of my bad moods are brought on by perusing too many online news sources or surfing Facebook for too long. It often leads me to wonder: Can God work through the Internet?

According to my extensive searches, the Bible speaks very little about the Internet. But if God can speak through donkeys and floating hands, not to mention working through droves of sinful people, God’s work of redemption can certainly extend to online interactions.

Obviously you are aware that CVM has a blog, and you probably know that it has a website. But did you know that CVM recently began a free online learning site?

You may wonder how e-learning is beneficial to mission work. Here’s how: CVM’s e-learning platform is a means by which we are expanding our relationships, training, and resources. It allows us to extend them further than we’ve been able to up until now. It places learners (you) first by allowing them to train at the time, location, and pace that suits them. (My favorite way to learn is to sit at the kitchen table in my pajamas with a pot of coffee; second to attending CVM Shortcourse, that is.)

We’ve developed free online courses on topics pertaining to US vet students and professionals, short-term missions participants, and vet professionals interested in long-term service. So no matter how you live out your faith through the veterinary profession, we have something for you! And whatever you believe to be your next step, you’ll find something of interest on CVM’s e-learning platform.

Just to whet your appetite, here are a few items we’ve already developed:

  • Call to Veterinary Missions, featuring stories by several CVM fieldworkers
  • Blessing Your Missions Host by Dr. Lauren Charles
  • Abiding In Christ by Dr. Barry Schwenk
  • Discerning Your Call and Ministry by Dr. Fred Van Gorkom

I’m particularly excited about a brand new series of courses called Traversing Cultures. Dr. Karen Stoufer, author of these courses, says this about them:

“I am excited to have the Traversing Cultures series available on our CVM e-learning site. My cross-cultural experiences have convinced me of the blessings that God can give us when we are open to learning from those in other cultures and worldviews. I would love to see everyone have opportunities to be blessed, and to share blessings with others, but in order to increase the odds of a positive experience, we need to be as well prepared as we can.

“A big part of that preparation is cultural awareness, knowing how to communicate humility and respect in another culture, to be non-offensive, and to be a learner in an unfamiliar setting. I hope that these mini-courses will encourage people to learn more, read more, and be confident enough to step out into the unfamiliar for the sake of the gospel.”

Other CVMers having said the following about the Traversing Cultures courses:

  • “An eye-opener about cross-cultural differences and approaches to deal with our problems. A must for all international travelers.” –Skip J.
  • “CVM’s hot and cold cultures course is a quick, fun and easy way to start you thinking in a cross-cultural manner, be it across an exam table or across the ocean.” –Devon S.
  • “This course was an amazing introduction into the differences of cultures and helped me realize my own worldview so I can better prepare for working in other cultures. I highly recommend this course to anyone who works with people of a different culture or background, or anyone who is planning to travel cross-culturally. I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT!!!” –Page W.

This feedback is encouraging for us to hear, and we are delighted to continue developing quality resources for your training and education.

I invite to join, explore, and learn from our online learning materials. It’s easy for you to register yourself on our e-learning site. Simply navigate to www.cvmusa.org/learn and click “sign up now.” Enter your email address and choose a password. Then click the link in the email you’ll receive, complete your profile, and you’re in! You’ll want to click the menu at the top left and open the catalog to see all the wonderful courses available to you.

Let’s keep learning and improving together, for the glory of God and the expansion of his Kingdom!


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The Trials of Life

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By: Dr. Glenn Gaines, CVM South Central Region Representative

It was going to be another wonderful devotional breakfast at the Louisiana Veterinary Medical Association meeting. We would have breakfast, students would share about their mission trip to Honduras, then someone would share God’s Word and the group of attendees would go on to the meetings for the day. However, this meeting turned out to be different. I am sure you remember Baton Rouge experienced the worst flooding they had ever seen last year. By one vet’s account, he had more than 36 inches of rain in 34 hours!

The speakers at the CVM breakfast meetings are not told what to speak on, but they are encouraged to see what God lays on their hearts. As you can imagine, it can be a multitude of topics; but this day the devotion was on ‘Spiritual Seasons Of Life.” With the flooding still very much on the minds of people, Dr. Baker shared a great devotion and talked about the “Winter Season” people go through in their spiritual lives.

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Reflections from the Field

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Dr. Rebecca Ladronka, a veterinarian from Michigan, was given the opportunity to serve on her third short-term trip with CVM to Ghana where she worked alongside CVM Associate Ann MacCormac.


Rebecca was kind enough to answer a few questions for us!

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Our Lives are in His Hands

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By: Dr. Fred Van Gorkom, CVM Staff

About 30 turkeys huddled together in the barnyard.  Thanksgiving was approaching.  They were concerned.  Who would be taken this year?  One had a remarkably longer neck than all the others.  You don’t want to be the long-necked turkey just before Thanksgiving.

About 30 of us gathered in the small, well-lit conference room.  We were discussing how violence is increasingly a part of missionary life.  Actually, it always has been.  “Rejoice… for so persecuted they the prophets who were before you,” Jesus said.

Suddenly, a door behind me smashed open with a startling crash.  Before I could look, another door across the room also burst open.  Two masked gunmen charged into the room, pistols outstretched, jerking back and forth, threatening and fiercely shouting. Planned attack!

The gunman behind me yelled, “Get down on the floor!  Get down on the floor!”  The girl on my left immediately complied; the guy on my right appeared stunned, frozen.  Not a good way to be.

But it was confusing!  The other gunman roared, “Put your hands on the table where I can see them! Put your head down!” He shouted this over and over.  Who to comply with?

This is a point of heightened danger, when two are trying to take control of thirty.  I put my hands on the table.  “Put your head down!”  I put my head down, but looked sideways a bit, and slid off the chair to my knees in case the other terrorist wanted me on the ground.

But now he barked, “Pull out your wallets!”  I had to look. Long necked turkey.  “Put your head down!” he demanded fiercely.  I complied.  Mostly.  They took our wallets and fled.

Actually, this was one scenario of an all-day security training yesterday.  High adrenalin! As the two trainers (remarkably similar size and shape as the masked gunmen) debriefed after this scenario, they asked, “Raise your hand if you didn’t put down your head.”  Only a few honest people raised their hands.  One trainer pointed at me. “At least you Mr. Redhead need to raise your hand…”  They’d noticed me.  Long necked turkey.  Maybe I should dye my hair?

Some of the security training was just common sense, or lessons we already know from 33 years of international travel.  However, it was good to be reminded; and the scenarios are real enough to make you think about what you’d say or do in different types of emergencies.

The day went fast!  But I loved the wrap-up.  They shared 2 Timothy 1:7,

For God has not given us a spirit of fear,

but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

So we train, but we don’t fear.  We be as wise as we can, as prepared as we can; but in the end, our lives are only in His hands.  Who is willing to go to “dangerous” places to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with those who have never heard?  I am.  My “life is hid with Christ…” “What can man do to me?”  If I am killed, I go Home!  Lord, help us be wise, but not fear.

Want to hear more from the Van Gorkoms? Visit their webpage and sign up for their prayer letter!

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Bring What You Have

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By: Dr. Bill Rishel

I first met Dr. Leroy Dorminy at a CVM Board meeting. I was a rookie so maybe that is why he sat down right next to me. He introduced himself and then immediately started with, “Let me tell you my vision for Christian Veterinary Mission.” As he talked there was that smile and the twinkle in his eye that told me this was really going to be a special friendship.

Prior to each board meeting for the next eight years I would call Leroy to ask what he was thinking.  Those were such great times for me to hear what one of Gods servants had on his heart. You could always hear his concern for students, veterinarians and the people they serve around the world. What wisdom he had in relationship building with people from so many different cultures!

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