Just a glimpse…just a glimpse of what real-life long-term international missions look like, feels like, sound like is what I needed, and the CVM Apprenticeship program facilitated just that. As a [then] rising 3rd year veterinary student at North Carolina State University, I was seven years into what I believe is a call on my life to long-term missions. I had thought about it, talked about, read about it, and journaled about it for so long. And that month of apprenticeship brought together so much of what I had learned, provided so much context for things missionaries had told me and developed new pieces of my worldview. I got to live cross-culturally and glean from the experiences of people doing it much longer than me. I was able to interact with missionaries of various countries, pray for them, and be prayed for by them. I think I got a sense of the difficulty, the toughness, the uncomfortableness of cross-cultural life on Mission. At the same time, I got to taste the captivating joy and crystal-clear realness that can be experienced when living directed by the Creator. I think I now romanticize Missions less, but my desire for it is so much deeper.
God also blessed me with a greater understanding of the global nature of the Body of Christ. It is the most inclusive exclusive group on the plant. An open invitation to join is offered to those of all languages, all ethnicities, all backgrounds, and all birthplaces, regardless of appearance, class, aspirations, or means, dependent on one condition only: that they accept that Jesus Christ is the one way, the most ultimate truth, and the fullest life (John 14:6). And those the Body does not get to love as brothers and sisters, they love as fellow men and women created in the very likeness of God Himself. Nowhere else have I experienced a community as far-reaching as this. Nowhere else have I known such a motley and diverse group of individuals so full of unity and peace and joy. A sense of knowing and understanding felt across cultural and language barriers based on a shared faith in Jesus feels like coming home to a place you have never been. That kind of mutual love upon a first meeting is one of the most beautiful things I have ever experienced, and it’s made the Body feel more real than ever.
The most exciting bit is that we all get the opportunity to be a part of this global Body! I am realizing that being “rooted and grounded” in a personal relationship with Jesus is the best preparation for Missions there is. Never have I felt more alive than when offering my hands, my mouth, my heart, and my passport to the direction of Jesus. The sheer realness of life as a member of this Body of Christ pursuing the Mission of my soul’s Savior is unmatchable, and that is a realness I long for each of you to experience– first right where you are, and then maybe in some far-off place too!
Trey Cook will graduate from veterinary school at North Caroline State University in May of 2021. He accepted Christ when he was young but it was in high school when he was baptized and started to see his faith grow. Prior to college, he started to feel the call to International Missions and as a student served on mission trips to Scotland, Peru, and the Navajo Nation. He has since completed a Missions Training course and in the summer of 2019, he completed a CVM Apprenticeship trip serving in Asia for a month. The CVM Apprenticeship Program partners vet students interested in long-term missions with existing CVM long-term vet missionaries to help discern this special call on their life.