By: Dr. Mary Ballenger, CVM Fieldstaff serving in Mongolia
“Tell me more about God. You are telling me things I have never heard.” This was spoken by a Mongolian teenager who lives in the depths of the countryside in western Mongolia. And was spoken to one of our short-term workers who traveled 2 ½ days to this teenager’s remote home. A 4th year veterinary student from Michigan committed her finances and her time this summer to help reach the unreached. She was so thrilled in the interest that the young people had in knowing about God, Jesus and the Christian lifestyle. As she said, “Sadly, the interest in knowing God among young people in the USA is not as strong as it is in Mongolia. The Mongolian young people are so open to hear about the Creator of Heaven and Earth.” Unfortunately so many Mongolians worship the creation and not the Creator, so what a special time this was for this veterinary student to receive so many questions about the Creator and be able to sow into the lives of the Mongolian young people.
Christian veterinary students from western countries typically want a veterinary mission trip to only include hands-on veterinary work. Of course, this is a big part of veterinary missions, but not the only aspect. The fact that we are veterinarians working with Mongolian veterinarians in a country with over 60 million livestock opens many doors that don’t normally open to a typical missionary. These open doors are not just to countryside veterinarians and herders, but also to others including the young people living in the countryside. These young people are often children of herders, but in many cases are children of families living in the very small countryside communities. We are always thankful for the western veterinary student who commits to the harsh countryside life to build relationships with both children and teenagers as well as the adults.
Earlier this summer, a first year veterinary student from Alabama committed to live in the countryside with one of our teacher teams for the full 50 days! In fact, he had only been accepted to veterinary school a few months before moving to the Mongolian countryside for 50 days. Last summer as a pre-veterinary student, he came with a veterinary school team for 2 weeks. That is when the young people in the Mongolian countryside captured his heart. He committed to return in the summer of 2017 for the full 50 days that our V.E.T. Net teachers live in the countryside. As you can imagine, he sowed many seeds and watered many seeds as he lived the Christian life while making great friends with the Mongolian children and youth in the area of the countryside where he served. After he returned to the States, he was to report for his first day of veterinary school within days of his return!
We also had another veterinary student from Virginia Tech who committed her months of June and July to help with the V.E.T. Net Veterinary Intern program. What a blessing she was as well. She brought a lot of practical knowledge with her. She was a former high school science teacher, a current equine farrier and very knowledgeable in equine behavior. She contributed in many ways to the Veterinary Intern program this summer.
Thank you to these and other veterinary students who have dedicated themselves to Mongolia this year.
Want to hear more from the Ballengers? Visit their webpage and sign up for their prayer letter!