This has been an incredibly busy season for me. It seems that every day we are headed off to a different village to do animal health training, do a follow up visit to someone we have trained, or to go searching for quality goats and chickens for our farm and other villages. Honestly the travel on the bumpy mountain roads can be exhausting at times. And usually when we reach the village, there is lots of hiking up steep jungle paths as we try to reach remote areas. Some days I wonder “What impact am I really making here?” The needs seem endless and the task at hand is just too great for me and my small national team. It’s easy to get so caught up at times with the task at hand and everything that needs to be done that we don’t stop to see what God is really doing through us and around us. Instead of asking, “What impact am I making here?” I should be asking, “What is God doing here?” In all the busyness and travel, I have been trying to ask this question more and allow God to open my eyes to see the work that He is accomplishing.
Since coming here we have trained over 40 local missionaries to be animal health workers in their villages and places of ministry. We give them a four-day training, some veterinary equipment and medicine and send them back to their villages to serve their communities. We try to follow up with them and visit them, but sometimes this is challenging since they work in remote areas and sometimes in different states. We have found that without regular follow up and more training they easily forget and stop practicing what we taught them. This can be discouraging to see. But in every batch of trainees there are always a few that have the aptitude and keen interest in the work and have remarkable testimonies of how doing the animal work has opened up doors for ministry in the village where they serve. I hear these stories and I realize that even if only 1 in 40 people end up using this animal health work to bring people into the Kingdom then it is all worth it. So I want to share some stories, not of what I am doing, but what I have seen God doing in the lives of some of the people I have trained.
Timothy, Siliguri, West Bengal. Timothy lives in a poor tea garden area on the outskirts of the city of Siliguri. His daily job includes collecting stones from the river and loading them into trucks. He gets paid only a few dollars a day to do this challenging work. He has two children and lives in a small tin roof house by the river. He converted from Hinduism to Christianity about 10 years ago and now is serving as an evangelist with his small church in a predominantly Hindu village. He was very excited to learn the animal work because his village has so many animals that are in poor condition. He is now going door to door treating the animals and is finding that people who used to not accept him are now welcoming him and calling him to their homes. He said he has had many opportunities to share his faith with people because of the animal work.
James, Sumbaria village, Sikkim. James came to one of our trainings back in February. He lives in the state of Sikkim in a predominately Buddhist area. He has a wonderful sense of humor and is frequently joking and singing. At first he wasn’t very confident doing the animal work, so he would go to people’s homes and tell them, “I’m not a doctor but I can pray for your animal to get better.” He has some pretty amazing stories of cows and goats miraculously being healed after he prayed for them!
Raju, Assam. Raju is a pastor we trained in 2017 that lives in the state of Assam. He was sent by his church in 2008 to an area where there were no Christians. He has received a lot of persecution since being there and has almost left a few times because of the difficult living situation. After doing the animal health training he started actively treating animals in his village and now everyone calls him “Doctor Pastor”! The needs are so great that villages 50 kilometers away are calling for him to come treat their animals. He said God is opening so many doors for ministry through the work that his small church has doubled in size this past year!
Santos, Samalbong Village, West Bengal. Santos is a young man who felt God calling him into full time ministry six months ago. He signed up to be a missionary with his church and they sent him to a remote village to help start a church where there were no believers. He said the first few months there were very hard since the local people didn’t want to listen to him or accept him. But since starting the animal work, the people are happy that he is there and he is hoping that slowly he can start sharing about his faith with them. He doesn’t receive much money or support from his church so he said that selling the medicines and providing animal health services is giving him some additional needed income so he can continue living and doing ministry there.
Thank you for your prayers for these faithful servants of God and for me and my small team here as well. I hope to see many of you when I come home to the States in July!