Dr. Julie Kyle, a veterinarian from Vermont, was given the opportunity to serve on her fourth short-term trip with CVM, this time to India, where she spent three months working alongside Melissa White.
Julie was kind enough to answer a few questions for us!
Q: What did you learn about missions during your time of short-term service? What did you learn about your hosts’ ministry in particular?
Julie: This is my longest short-term trip with CVM, 3 months, and I was better able to see what it’s like to serve long-term. One of the things I experienced was the longing for encouragement from home. Emails in particular, whether long or short, were tangible reminders that people were praying for me and were a very real part of my short-term experiences. This longing to hear from home made me realize how important it is to keep in communication with the missionaries that our Church supports. As for Melissa’s ministry, spending three months with her helped me to understand how much more difficult life is in a developing country. Things we take for granted here, like consistent electricity, fast internet, good roads and one-stop shopping, plus efficient government agencies are all things that slow down daily life overseas. I learned that it takes a lot longer to “get things done”, and that this can be a source of stress for the ministry hosts.
Q: What was encouraging and/or surprising to you about short-term missions service?
Julie: The hospitality of the Nepali-speaking people of the lower Himalayas was so encouraging. Everyone was so kind and friendly, even folks we passed on the streets. Whether a family was rich or poor, they always showed us honor by preparing tea, putting together a meal, and having us sit rather than stand.
Q: What was particularly challenging to you during this time of service?
Julie: The most difficult part for me, especially in the first month, was feeling useless as far as my veterinary skills were concerned. I also felt useless not knowing the language and sitting through entire conversations without being able to understand or contribute to what was being said. This was God’s way of humbling me, and for that I am grateful.
Q: What did you learn about the particular challenges facing the local community in which you served?
Julie: An ever increasing population and new construction have made water a commodity that divides and defines rich and poor, the haves and have-nots. On a spiritual level, there is great division in the Church, with denominational splintering and lack of outreach to neighbors. The ever-present Hindu idols, incense and Buddhist influences are oppressive to the Church in a very real way.
Q: How was the local community impacted as a result of CVM’s service in this area?
Julie: The biggest impact was seen in the village where Melissa has been working with three different community groups in training up animal healthcare workers, forming committees to designate donations of goats and chickens, and teaching folks about basic animal health through trainings. Most of the people of the village accept and welcome these new interactions, giving them hope for change and helping them to dream about a future. Melissa hopes to help the local church look outside and see where and how they can minister to their neighbors, especially the Hindus and Buddhists.
Q: How was your faith impacted as a result of your short-term missions service?
Julie: It is always difficult when God prunes me, shows me the idols I have been clinging to, or humbles me in my pride. All these things took place while I was in India, so while it wasn’t easy or pleasant, it was very, very good.
Q: What next steps of faith is God calling you to as a result of this trip? How can CVM support, encourage, and equip you for these next steps?
Julie: The hardest part about coming home was going back to work and being on-call again. I didn’t miss that at all! So the biggest step of faith will be endurance, patience and perseverance. God uses my work to sanctify me and it will be a step of faith to continue to submit to him in that. May he give me grace for the year ahead, one day at a time.
A special thank you to Dr. Julie Kyle for allowing us to share in a little piece of her journey to the India! May the Lord continue to use this experience to touch the lives of others.
Not able to participate in a short-term trip but have a heart for what God is doing through them? Support CVM’s short-term missions by giving to our short-term missions program!