Lauren Spivey, vet student from Auburn, was given the opportunity to serve on her first short-term trip with CVM to San Luis, Mexico. Lauren and her team spent a week partnering with I Care International and Rene Bustamante, hosting veterinary health clinics.
Lauren 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?
Lauren: I learned that building relationships with people is key to missions or any ministry really. We worked with the same team of government workers in our spay/neuter clinics all week and even though there was a language barrier, we were able to show them love throughout the week as well as model the Christian life through prayer and how we interacted with each other. As far as Rene’s ministry, I learned he regularly sets up clinics for veterinarians, ophthalmologists, and dentists to come down and serve the people in these areas. His organization is really investing in discipling and supporting young people that want to pursue Christ and make a better life for themselves. We had one young boy with us the whole trip who comes from a difficult situation but wants to go to law school to one day return and help Rene with anything he might need. Rene’s organization is paying for him to finish high school and plans to support him through law school as well. I was very impressed overall with everything this ministry is seeking to do and how they are drawing people in.
Q: What was encouraging and/or surprising to you about short-term missions service?
Lauren: It was surprising to me how fast you form a bond with the people around you, including my teammates and the people in Mexico. The Mexican people truly expressed how thankful they were for us to be there helping them and were so welcoming and loving the entire time. The first day in clinics was a little frustrating and exhausting for everyone trying to figure out what supplies we had to work with and how we were going to set everything up. But is was so crazy to see how fast God turned those frustrations around and bonded our team through His spirit. By the end of the trip, we were riding in the van back toward the U.S. border sharing our testimonies and speaking words of encouragement over one another. It was a life changing moment for me.
Q: What did you learn about the particular challenges facing the local community in which you served?
Lauren: In El Golfo, the town has always primarily been a fishing village as the town is literally right on the water. However, we learned that sometime in the recent past the government placed a fishing ban and that has driven a lot of business out of the area. In addition, the local church there is trying to plant another church in a city about 2 hours away. As of right now, they have purchased a dirt lot and put up two cement walls themselves. They essentially buy more cement blocks and materials whenever they have a little bit more money, so for now the church is two walls and a dirt floor.
Q: How was the local community impacted as a result of CVM’s service in this area?
Lauren: There was definitely a large impact from the spay/neuter clinics themselves as well as the toys that we handed out to children wherever we went. Overall, the impact came through interacting with the government workers we were around all day. There were also additional conversations had between several team members and people waiting to pick up their pets asking why we were there and why we would do this for them which led to pointing to Jesus’s service to us.
Q: How was your faith impacted as a result of your short-term missions service?
Lauren: God did a lot of pruning on this trip. He convicted me of my own impatience when things don’t go the way I want them to but also showed me how exciting it is to follow Him and see how He’s working in other parts of the world. I love speaking Spanish and interacting with the people in Mexico was such a blast. God showed me how big His heart is for each and every person He has created and how regardless of cultural, ethnic, or economic differences, we are all united in Christ.
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?
Lauren: I really am strongly considering going on this trip again if it is offered over Christmas break in December 2017. I am looking for a mission field that I can invest in long-term through short-term trips like this as a part of my veterinary career. Any prayers over this would be greatly appreciated!
A special thank you to Lauren Spivey for allowing us to share in a little piece of her journey to Mexico! 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!