One of the great things about being a veterinarian is that we can use our veterinary skills to go places where we wouldn’t go otherwise. Drs. Paul and Barb O’Neill travelled to India to serve among the Gujjars, a nomadic people in Northern India. Paul and Barb write:
We almost didn’t go…our intended destination was Northern India which was cancelled, and it took a few weeks to re-design the mission, our visas took 3 attempts and then we discovered our plane tickets were accidentally cancelled 9 days before leaving! But God’s mysterious hand was at work because we immediately loved the Gujjar people when we saw the one picture CVM sent so we pushed through.
We arrived in Delhi and went to the next province north, to Haridwar, where there is a strong Hindu presence along the Ganges River. There we ministered to the Muslim Gujjar people–a semi-nomadic tribe famous for the milk produced from their water buffalo, and for climbing trees to chop off tender branches for them to eat. The buffalo were quite good to handle and the Gujjars helpful and very appreciative of our being there. Our host family was wonderful. We stayed in their house except for two trips away, the farthest one being north of Rishikesh (Himalayan foothills) where we needed to trek in, cross rivers and sleep on mats on the ground–we loved it the most. We were blessed with a nutritionist in our party of 4 (2 Americans and us), so we would always be chatting about parasites, nutrition and fertility problems, after checking and treating the animals. We had a little stash of balloons, bubbles and stickers for the kids too, which delighted them. Our last day in India was spent helping a doctor who ministers in the Delhi slums.
Our host was often exclaiming, “This is a miracle!!” One miracle occurred when we visited a Hindu family up in the Himalayan foothills to find that the elder had been healed by God, and they were now Christian. Another day, our team member’s wallet was left behind in a restaurant and recovered the next day. A prominent Muslim Gujjar sought out our host out to ask more about Christianity when he found out we were in the neighbourhood. And there were more, more than we could realize, especially since the political climate is causing there to be persecution to any other people than Hindu.
Talk about culture shock! We never felt it as much as after this trip. We are still processing all the experiences we had and seeing how God is working. Wow, we are so blessed here in Canada…NEVER take it for granted. God is working all the time, even when the media and our eyes are telling us otherwise. Rejoice and remain faithful! Love and blessings to all.
Paul and Barb