By: Helen Woolsey, CVM Fieldstaff in Mongolia
We have many friends serving across the world right now, and when I (Helen) think of them, I always wish I could sit down over a cup of coffee (latte, actually) and hear what their lives are like. I love to hear the big stories of God’s faithfulness and see the pictures, but I would really like to know just what life is like for them every day. I decided some of you might be curious what that is like for us, now 9 months into living here, so grab your coffee, tea, OJ, or latte, and join me in ‘A Week in the Life of the Woolseys!’
The Non-Government Organization, V.E.T.Net, that we are associated with here has a large office in a separate location than the veterinary clinic that Justin works at. But, every morning all the V.E.T.Net staff begins their day with devotion time at the main office. Sometimes this time is a staff sharing a testimony or prepared devotion, sometimes it is a prayer time, and once a week there are small groups that meet. Justin begins each day this way at 8am, and then when it is over around 9 he gets a ride to the clinic with the other clinic staff. The kids and I go to this devotion time twice a week, on Mondays and Fridays. We do this to grow relationships and be a part of the V.E.T Net family, but can’t go everyday as it would take too much homeschool time.
Most of Justin’s time is spent at Enerehk (Mongolian for Caring) Animal Clinic which is the clinic that is a branch of V.E.T. Net. Here he oversees treatment of patients, answers questions about diagnosis and care, and sees appointments when a ‘foreign vet’ is desired. He also has teaching time in the morning once a week where the clinic is closed and he teaches lessons on topics suggested by the other veterinarians and leadership. Enerehk Animal Clinic has the vision to be the first referral clinic in UB, so as much training and practice as they can get is needed. Our apartment is located very close to Enerehk so most days he gets to come home for lunch and that is a blessing to us!
One of our teammates is spending furlough time out of the country right now, and this has given Justin the opportunity to be a part of the Master’s Program that V.E.T. Net has for its veterinary staff. This program is in conjunction with the local vet school here as well as connections with a few vet schools in the states. V.E.T. Net has a curriculum put together by many foreign vets, all in English. They are to complete coursework as well as a large research project. When the veterinarians have completed the requirements, they have earn a Master’s in Veterinary Science. (Unlike in the US, when the vets here graduate from Vet School it is a regular undergraduate degree) Justin helps with this by facilitating the recorded classes, giving quizzes and tests, answering questions, and assisting in the research projects. He has really fit into this role nicely. I have always known he would fit well here using his teaching skills. Adding this to his schedule proved to be an adjustment and learning curve at first, but he is getting used to it and doing great.
Justin and I are still taking language class 6 hours a week as well. The Mongolian language has proven to be very difficult to learn, but we ARE learning and are sticking with it for now. Our teacher is an incredible blessing and we cannot imagine our Mongolian experience without her. She has turned into a dear friend and encourager. The kids hang out at language class with us. Sometimes they pick up some words and sometimes they just play. Our teacher loves for them to have plenty of snacks so she always spoils them with having their favorites on hand.
As for the kids and I, Caleb and I do four full days of homeschooling a week right now. Caroline wants ‘work’ some days, but most of the time her babies need lots of care, too! On Fridays, the kids and I stay at the V.E.T. Net office after devotions for the day. V.E.T. Net has both a daycare for babies to preschool age and a before school/after school ger for the school aged staff children. The Mongolian children all have school at different times, so, Caleb and Caroline spend the day at the ger with other school aged kids. They play, learn some Mongolian words, and have homework to do when I can get it together. While they are entertained with that, I teach two English classes for the V.E.T Net staff. One of my classes is Advanced Conversational English, and one is Writing. My ‘students’ really want to improve so it’s fun to be a little part of making them better! This has really been a good outlet for me to get out of the house and have some adult conversation and have the chance to feel like I have a place at the office.
I am continuing to lead a Bible Study for the all the girls that work at Enerekh. This has been a good time for me to press into the lives of these girls, make better friendships, and disciple them along the way. Justin meets every other Saturday for a men’s Bible Study made up of the V.E.T. Net veterinarians. This has been a good time for him in the same respect.
Finally, we are involved with V.E.T. Net’s student ministry when we can be. Many students from the universities in UB come to V.E.T. Net on Wednesday afternoon/evening for a meal, devotion, and small group meetings. Most of the students are not Christian so this is an incredible time for relationship building and mentoring. It’s been a blessing being involved in the lives of the students we have gotten to know. Our kids are always a good ice breaker in these times because the students all think our little American kids are just the cutest…and our kids love the attention!
We are busy, but we are blessed. I have been studying about Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42 in preparation for my girls Bible Study and it has been a good reminder for me in this season of life we are in. My prayer for our family is that we would serve like Martha, but not forget to sit at the feet of Jesus like Mary. May we not ever grow too busy to sit at His feet. There is no better place to be and no other place we are more welcome.
Want to hear more from the Woolseys? Visit their webpage and sign up for their prayer letter!