By: Dr. Susan Stewart
What little girl who loves animals has not dreamed of becoming a veterinarian some day? I certainly did! And because I had great support I was able to realize that dream. When I was in high school and met Christ, the dream was transformed into a passion to serve Christ through vet medicine.
It was then that I met a dynamic, smart, witty, committed vet from Georgia, who had recently started an organization of Christian veterinarians. God filled Dr.
Leroy Dorminy with vision and passion and then empowered him with the capacities and relationships to move the ministry forward. I met Dr. Dorminy when I was a veterinary student and CVM was a toddler, 35 years ago. I was so relieved! I had a passion to serve through veterinary medicine and here were people who said:
“We also know vets have a role in God’s kingdom work, come join us.”
I have seen a lot of change in CVM as we have learned, grown, and developed to middle age. But the purpose has stayed constant, the melding of the great commission: “go and make disciples of all nations” (Mathew 28:19) and the great commandment: “love your neighbor (the one not like you, the Samaritan) as yourself” (Luke 10:27). CVM has challenged, empowered, and facilitated many to serve who have encouraged others to hear God’s call to follow Him, and to live deeply committed lives of service and love.
Recently I asked Melissa White, a CVM staff member serving in Northern India, what she thinks is the greatest impact God has in the world through CVM and she said it is the network of veterinary related believers all over the world who encourage each other into discipleship. I agree. You are a part of the network if you choose to be. Depending on how you are connected, you may see and participate in the visible work of CVM through meetings, Shortcourse, this journal or through a small group of fellow students or professionals who meet and pray together regularly. Or perhaps you see CVM through the eyes of one who goes short or long-term to a mission area
to serve, or who is aspiring and getting ready to go. Or perhaps it was a timely meeting with one who was there to listen to, love you and pray with you, to give you encouragement when you needed it or celebrate with you.
Maybe you feel connected to the CVM network as a participant through your own ministry, whatever that may be – in your practice, in your church and community,
as a supporter of CVM programs and long-term field staff, or a participant or organizer of short term work. A hallmark of CVM is that we, together, encourage creativity and innovation, listening to the Spirit to guide our service. That means you can join in an existing ministry, or find encouragement for God’s calling to your veterinary-related ministry. There are so many ways to serve Christ through your workplace every day. We would love to hear about what God is doing and share within our network, perhaps giving others the idea as well or possibly giving you connections with others engaged in similar ministry.
CVM is part of a growing network of veterinary related organizations serving Christ around the world. Through our participation with other Christian vets
and their organizations around the world, we grow together; seeing our ministry through their eyes, partnering in ministry together, and learning about how God is at work. What would it look like if you were to take an active role in the partnership with CVM affiliates?
When I think of the long-term impact of the work of CVM over 40 years, I find many examples of people being fed, comforted, and cared for through trauma, poverty, grief, drought, and war. People have found Christ and become His disciples, in turn sharing love and His saving grace with many others. Farm families improve production and children go to school and have health care. Local evangelists in Nepal and Ethiopia can support themselves through providing livestock care services. Local livestock related businesses model Christian values at work. Our ministry influences training and development of vets, vet agents, and farmers as well as government and regulatory systems.
As you have read this, have you seen your ministry reflected here? Would you like it to be? CVM is not an “it”; the group, the organization, them. CVM has always
been us, committed people serving Christ passionately through veterinary-related work as we are called, loving and caring for one another even as we challenge each
other to serve. This means anyone can step in, step up, and have a positive impact on our work toward the future.
In the past, CVM has often excelled in moving through change to engage the passion and commitment of many for service. The challenge of 40 years is not to rest in who we have been together, but to allow God to constantly renew and transform us while building on the best of who we are. The advent of enormous changes in the way the world communicates and relates through social media and technology continues to create possibilities for CVM in the future. Also, with the growing number of Christians outside the Western world, models of mission are changing. Countries such as Brazil and Nigeria have massive numbers of believers they are sending to the world.
One of the beauties of a 40 year history of blessing and being blessed in service is the learning and opportunity created in us to continue changing and growing as we are led by God as He moves in the world. We can choose. Do we let the structures and processes we have created to bring us to 40 years limit our ability to listen to God by continuing to do things “the way we have always done it”? Or do our structures allow us to be an ever new organization answering God’s call to ministry? I am in, are you? Let’s see what God has in store for us for the future!