We at Global CHE are pleased to share with you the recent veterinary and agriculture progress made my Tom & Diane Schiefer and Christian Veterinary Mission. With permission, their trip report, humble testimony and a few pictures are shared below!
Dear family and friends,
We have just returned from a 17-day mission trip to Guatemala with an awesome team. It was a blessing to minister to so many people and animals. We are still trying to process all that happened on the trip and the number of ways we saw God work daily. As happens so often on a mission trip, there were so many miracles that occurred that after a while we just began to expect them as the norm. I wonder why we expect miracles every day in Guatemala and don’t expect them in our daily lives here in the U.S.
We spent 13 days in the field vaccinating, worming and treating the animals brought to us. There were horses and cattle, a lot of sheep, pigs, dogs, cats, thousands of chickens, turkeys and ducks. Our final total of animals we saw for the 2 weeks was 8,741. We worked in western Guatemala everywhere from the hot and humid coastal plains to the high 10,000 ft. mountain areas, sometimes in the clouds and sometimes above the clouds. We were blessed to only have to work in the rain several days which helped with people bring their animals to us.
Working with 2 different indigenous groups, the Mam and the Quiche, in 16 different communities brings with it all sorts of challenges. Not only are the people groups different but each community has its own personality and ways of doing things. Some of the communities are joyful, affectionate and welcoming, while in others there is sadness and fear of outsiders. Some treat their animals with respect and worth, others with roughness and somewhat inhumanely. The team worked hard at not only showing everyone how to vaccinate and treat their animals but also how to handle the animals properly. We like to remind them of the verse God gave us for them 6 years ago, Proverbs 12:10, which says that “a righteous man cares for the needs of his animals”.
For Diane and me it was a joy to help GCE begin a work in 6 new communities this trip. We will miss the communities that we have worked in over the last 6 years and the relationships we developed with them. They have completed the CHE program and are now moving on and are more self-sufficient. But we are excited to see new communities beginning the first steps in the CHE program and look forward to working with them and helping them work through the next 5 years with GCE.
So, what are the high points of this trip? Well first, God giving us a wonderful team to work with. They were very flexible and adapted well to the daily situations, from working animals to playing with the children to ministering to the women and praying for the sick and needy. There were a lot of fingernails painted, hands massaged, balloon animals made and frisbee and beach ball games. Stories were read to the children and the children read some Bible stories to us. For Diane and me it was a joy to see some of the pigs that were shared and passed on to others from the pig project we started several years ago and the quality and high litter size of these pigs. We even castrated some pigs in a mini-mall parking lot. I got to share my testimony in the community I fell in a year ago and what happened to me in the 12 hours afterward. I believe it spoke to the hearts of those there. It was also a real blessing to have Dr. Jack Rhyan share with some of the communities ways to raise bees and also teach some basic parasitology to them.
We do not know how many people’s lives we touched on this trip, but it was probably somewhere between 500-1000. What we do know is that many of those people we were able to interact with will be better off physically, mentally and spiritually because of the people who committed to taking the time to go on this trip and make a difference in the lives of others. Without them, and a grant from a Rotary Club in WA state, so much of this would not have happened. I know that the team would tell you that they were blessed beyond what they did for others and that all the praise and glory should go to God who led us, protected us and was in every part of the trip.
Tom and Diane