During the last two weeks of March, CVM had 99 short-term mission trip volunteers in the field. We are thankful they chose to spend their spring break serving with us. The trips were to Honduras, Guatemala, India, Uganda, Alaska, Haiti, Mongolia, Nicaragua, and Appalachia. We asked the volunteers to reflect on their experiences and share them with us.
By Dan Paulo
Short Term Mission Trip to Honduras
My wife Kathy and I recently returned to Honduras with a Christian Veterinary Mission team. I have previously led several teams to Danli in southeastern Honduras and Kathy has often accompanied me. This time we were leading a team of six veterinarians, one veterinary technician, five family members, three Honduran veterinary students, three Honduran drivers, and three Honduran high school translators. We traveled under the auspices of Christian Veterinary Mission and SAMS (Society of Anglican Missionaries and Senders) and were working within the Episcopal Diocese of Honduras to provide veterinary services to animals in the Danli area. Our local contact was a SAMS missionary.
Our team carried in medicines, equipment and supplies. In addition to carrying supplies, our accompanying family members supported us by preparing the daily lunches for our team and an always unknown number of hungry local helpers. One spouse organized our daily devotions, while another served as a fluent translator. They also helped with crowd control when necessary and were able to help spread the message that we came as Christians and were representing Him by sharing His love.
We had invited three Honduran veterinary students to join our team and this year two fourth-year and one fifth-year student (Honduras has a five year curriculum in veterinary medicine) worked with us. All of the U.S. Veterinarians seemed to have a hidden desire to teach and were eager to share with the Hondurans. For their part, the students gave us insight into local customs and history, as well as animal diseases. The team began each day with morning devotions and after breakfast, we would load our gear and travel to one of several rural communities. Each village that we visited was within the parish boundaries of one of the churches in the Danli area. Upon entering a village, our team would divide into a livestock team and a pet animal team. We then provided vaccinations, parasite treatments, medications, and surgeries as needed to horses, cattle, pigs, chickens, dogs, cats and rabbits. In the end we had treated over sixteen-hundred animals.
Our mission was purposely scheduled to include a weekend so we could attend church services together in a village where we had worked. This year we attended the new rural church of Santa Maria Magdalena and we were fortunate to be there on a communion Sunday since a priest is only available on alternate weekends. We recognized several faces in the church of people who had been to our veterinary clinics earlier in the week, including one canine patient who walked in during the service and napped under the altar.