By: Malia Drennan and Dr. Rebecca Quam
The journey to long-term missions looks different for everyone. It is a journey filled with incredible events that God uses to build His Kingdom.
I want to share with you just one of many examples of the journey to serve in long-term missions. Rebecca Quam felt that God was calling her to serve overseas, and as she walked that path of obedience, God was faithful to surround her with prayer warriors and financial supporters. This eventually led to the purchase of a plane ticket, packing her bags, and departing for South Africa.
Her story speaks of the impact that CVM’s Shortcourse made in her discerning, her calling, and her journey to the field.
I think we often fail to see the full extent of God’s preparation and design, but this story begins with her undergraduate studies in Michigan. After Rebecca’s freshman year, she went to Uganda for a month on a short-term mission trip and then, the next summer, God managed to drop her into an all-expense paid trip to South Africa doing biology research. During that trip, she was struck by the dichotomy between white South Africans living with all the western luxuries and the black South Africans living primarily in poor townships and villages with no running water, three sided corrugated steel shacks, and a monotonous diet of pap (a corn mash).
Fast forward a few years and the Lord managed to send Rebecca all the way to Scotland for her veterinary degree. She was excited knowing that a UK degree would be accepted in many countries around the world (including South Africa).
Upon graduation, she settled into small animal practice back home in Washington State and became involved with emergency animal shelter programs (set up during emergencies to house animals displaced by flooding, earthquakes, tornados, etc). It just so happened that CVM’s Shortcourse conference offered an extra training in emergency animal shelters that year, which led Rebecca to participate in order to learn more. This was her first experience with CVM and she was hooked. She was inspired by the stories of veterinarians who were carrying out God’s calling across the nations.
Ever since the mission trip Rebecca went on during her undergrad years, she had pondered serving in missions overseas long-term. However, after graduating vet school she assumed that it would be many years before she could consider long-term service due to her large student loans. While at her second Shortcourse, Rebecca was participating in a small group prayer discussion where she talked about her desire to serve in missions. Another attendee asked what was holding her back, and so she shared that her student loans were large and keeping her from serving. The individual told her about MedSend, a non-profit organization that helps medical professionals while they serve the Lord overseas by making their student loan payments. It was as if a door had opened which revealed a plethora of possibilities.
After quite a bit of prayer, Rebecca decided to move ahead towards long-term missions and trust God to close the door if He had other plans. Thankfully, He never did close that door. Since her two trips to Africa had affected her heart, she knew that was where she wanted to serve and found out about a perfect position in South Africa, where God could utilize her small animal skills, that was available in South Africa.
Over the next year she applied for long-term missions with CVM and student loan repayment with MedSend, and she was accepted by both! Rebecca also went on a vision trip to the university where she hoped to serve to meet those she would be working with and to sign the necessary agreements. That summer, at her third Shortcourse, her deputation was officially started and the first supporters joined her team. She attended the long-term mission track that year to learn more about deputation and serving overseas.
The hard work of deputation took 18 months, and many miracles, to reach 100%. Then the excitement of giving notice at work, booking tickets, and applying for a South African visa began. However, before she moved to Africa, she wanted to do all she could to prepare, so after the three months’ notice she had promised the practice owner were up, she attended a month long missions preparation course at the Center for International Training in North Carolina. It was a wonderful time of mental and spiritual preparation and training that has been invaluable during Rebecca’s first few years in the field. Finally, almost six months after her deputation reached 100%, she landed in South Africa and began this new and wonderful period of service.
Rebecca’s story is just one of many of God’s calling, His faithfulness, and walking in obedience to that call. I am delighted that Shortcourse played such a part in Rebecca’s story!
Do you feel like God might be calling you to the mission field? Do you have questions about what your next step should be? Or perhaps you just need some time for fellowship, to worship and pray with others at a beautiful retreat center? I would like to invite you to the 16th Annual Shortcourse in Kansas City, Missouri from August 23-26, 2017. I encourage you to reserve your spot today at www.cvm.org/shortcourse.