By: Dr. Gina Wintermantel, CVM Affiliate Ministry Director
As we have been preparing for our 40th year celebration of God’s work through CVM, I have been reflecting on my journey and the impact CVM has had in my life.
I first learned about CVM when I was in undergraduate study at the University of Illinois, where I attended the Urbana ’87 Mission conference. Through the years my involvement has gone through various stages from short-term mission seeker, veterinary practitioner, short-term mission participant, board member, and now staff member. What a journey it has been the last 29 years!
Since I can’t share an entire 29 years of history, I thought I would highlight five lessons I’ve learned from CVM that have impacted me greatly.
The first lesson I learned was about having a heart willing to serve. Dr. Dorminy responded to God’s call to use his veterinary skills overseas to teach people how to better care for their animals. Showing love by meeting this practical need opened the door to share about the love of Christ. The Lord gave him a contagious passion to draw other veterinary professionals to do the same, thus Christian Veterinary Mission was founded in 1976. I am blessed to have learned many things from Dr. Dorminy, but the two that stand out strong would be sharing your passion and inviting others to be a part of it, and also the importance of finishing well. Did I tell you that Dr. Dorminy was 53 when he founded CVM? And this year at 93, he is still encouraging veterinarians around the world to use their gifts for God’s glory.
The second lesson would be in leadership. Throughout the years of involvement with CVM, I have continuously observed our leaders display humble and serving hearts. I have seen this lived out when I worked with our long-term missionaries overseas, when I served with other board members, and as I have come to know our staff members. Our executive director, Dr. Kit Flowers, is one of the first people to grab an apron and begin serving others. When I am working with my co-workers, I have the opportunity to experience Philippians 2:3 lived out: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves”.
The third lesson comes from having spent some time living with long-term CVM missionaries on the field. Relational living has a lasting impact on a community. As the missionaries teach and train others to help improve animal health and production, they have the opportunity to build deep and lasting relationships that eventually result in spiritual discussions. Spiritual discussions often lead to transformed lives, and new brothers and sisters in Christ!
The fourth lesson I have learned is that whatever talent, ability, occupation, or gifting you have to offer, it can be used for the glory of God. Veterinarians don’t have to go overseas to share the Gospel. If you pray and seek the Lord, we will find that He opens the door for us to share right where we are at the moment. I have been challenged to live out my faith in family life, community life, and the workplace, not just on Sundays at worship.
And last but not least, the fifth lesson, through the affiliate veterinarians I have been blessed to work with, I have seen God’s compassion and mercy displayed. These amazing men and women find “the least of these” either in their communities, or in distant regions, and they reach out to train and empower them. My co-workers overseas do this on their own time, through their jobs or clinics, through relationships with students, and also by participating in short-term missions. They continually inspire me to live daily for Christ and die to self.
CVM has been a blessing in my life, and I hope that this group of people the Lord has called to serve together blesses you too!