Katherine Sunderland, a vet student from Virginia, was given the opportunity to serve on her first short-term mission trip with CVM to Nicaragua. Katherine and her team spent a week working alongside Pastor Oscar and Tamy Gaitan.
Katherine 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?
Katherine: They are a great chance to meet new people and see new perspectives. They are very humbling. You get to see a different side to veterinary medicine. I learned how much the ministry puts towards their people and how much they want to mentor those who want to follow God. I saw how the children’s church went around to each house to pick up the children and how much the leaders work to get the youth involved.
Q: What was encouraging and/or surprising to you about short-term missions service?
Katherine: It was different to see how other countries worked and what different cultures thought about animals. Even though we couldn’t communicate with the people well, you could tell how grateful they were for us coming and doing work.
Q: What was particularly challenging to you during this time of service?
Katherine: Just to see so many people living below the poverty line. It is a very different lifestyle and hard to see how some people live yet they were fine and kept in good spirits and were all very welcoming.
Q: What did you learn about the particular challenges facing the local community in which you served?
Katherine: I learned about how the government operates and how it does not encourage the people in some aspects. I learned how a war a few years back really hurt the country. I learned how most of their incomes were based on trades and it was just very eye opening to me, how hard everyone worked and how young children were already working to help support the family.
Q: How was the local community impacted as a result of CVM’s service in this area?
Katherine: They were so grateful that we came to help with their animals and it allowed us to connect with the people on a personal level. We were able to spay a lot of females helping with population control and also treat many wounds and flea/ticks which increases the well being of the animals. Every person seemed so grateful we were there to help them.
Q: How was your faith impacted as a result of your short-term missions service?
Katherine: My faith grew so much on the trip. I was surrounded by God loving people. I heard their stories and it helped push me out of my comfort zone and give even more of myself to God.
Q: How will you continue to debrief this experience once you are home? Who will you discuss these discoveries with?
Katherine: I am sharing my story with our local chapter and I have talked to so many people and veterinary students about the opportunity I had.
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?
Katherine: God is calling me to become more involved in my community and pushing me to interact more with my fellow students that also love God. He is also calling me to go on another trip. A void has been filled by these trips and I look forward to the next opportunity he will put in my life.
A special thank you to Katherine Sunderland for allowing us to share in a little piece of her journey to Nicaragua! 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!