Kristen Livengood, a vet student from North Carolina State University,was given the opportunity to serve on her first mission trip with CVM. Kristen and her team of 9 (2 pre-vet students, 4 vet students, 2 family members, and 1 vet Dr. Page Wages) spent a week working in Alaska.
Kristen was kind enough to answer a few questions for us.
Q: What did you learn about missions during your time of short-term service?
Kristen: I knew this beforehand, but I am so thankful of the reminder that missions isn’t comfortable. God never said it would be, but calls us to it anyway. This wasn’t necessarily a trip of comfort–it was cold, we had heavy bags of supplies to carry around, we slept on the floor, and we subsisted off of beef jerky and granola bars. Yet, through this experience and God’s grace to open the eyes of my heart, I remembered that Jesus’ life wasn’t a comfortable one when He came to earth on mission for me. And especially when He died for me. My cold fingers seem quite insignificant in light of all He has done, and I can honestly say that a spirit of positivity, hard work, dedication, and generosity flowed from our team’s focus on the Gospel during our ministry throughout the week. In particular, I learned how Native American Missions is different from other missions teams I’ve been a part of, both here in the US and internationally.
Q: What was encouraging and/or surprising to you about short-term missions service?
Kristen: I was encouraged at the openness of Native Alaskans to our group offering to pray with them. They are a loving, welcoming, warm people. A gesture that, here in Raleigh is often taken offensively, was most commonly eagerly accepted in rural Alaska.
Q: What was particularly challenging to you during this time of service?
Kristen: The getting there. I knew very few of the details of our travel or trip itinerary prior to departure. I have to admit I was a little nervous about this, going far from home in a pretty rugged environment with a group I knew at surface level (prior to the trip–now I know them quite well!) I now understand why Dr. Wages doesn’t share many details with us ahead of time. Her motto is “no expectations” because it is hard to know exactly where God is going to lead, and if we haven’t bound ourselves to a particular schedule, we feel more freedom to follow His guidance.
Q: What did you learn about the particular challenges facing the local community in which you served?
Kristen: The villages face challenges of alcoholism and gambling (we saw evidence of this, and sadly heard about it from children) as well as very high suicide rates.
Q: How was the local community impacted as a result of CVM’s service in this area?
Kristen: Many adults, children, streets, and homes were prayed over, and many copies of the Gospel were shared in each village. I pray that God’s Word, which has incredible power and is truly alive, will keep working in the villages even after our presence has been forgotten!
Q: How was your faith impacted as a result of your short-term missions service?
Kristen: I feel now more than ever that living on missions, both in my normal days and in making time to go on trips like these, is the reason God has led me to veterinary medicine. I think it’s my calling, and that gives me peace and excitement about what adventures God will call me to next.
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?
Kristen: I want to live out the Gospel every day of my life, not just while on trips outside of my comfort zone where I HAVE to depend on the Lord. This is sometimes hard for me, in a fast-paced veterinary curriculum–I just settle into a busyness routine, and with distraction, my heart is prone to drift away from Kingdom focus. But, I really do believe part of the reason I am in vet school at NCSU is to be a light for Jesus among my classmates and our faculty. I hope I can do this in word, deed, and by continuing to develop the CVM chapter at NCSU.
A special thank you to Kristen Livengood for allowing us to share in a little piece of her journey to Alaska! 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!