One of the many by-products of the Mongolian V.E.T. Net Ministry has been the formation of an Advisory Board. Little did I know 17 years ago just how important this Board would be to our ministry. The Board is comprised largely of men and women who have been to Mongolia on short-term mission trips and who have contributed to the ministry in various ways – spiritually, physically, technically, or financially. Some have returned year after year – 20 trips is the current record. All have committed to continuing their encouragement and support of the V.E.T. Net Team.
Strangely, my biggest concern through the years has been worrying that we would not have enough going on to keep our Advisors interested and coming to the annual meetings year after year. It turns out I had nothing to worry about. V.E.T. Net has become the primary ministry of this dedicated group, and keeping them engaged and interested has never been a problem.
This year our Advisor’s Meeting was unusual. We met in early April in rural, western Tennessee. We usually meet in more metropolitan areas, where the resources are in greater supply. But this year we were hosted by the hometown churches of Dr. Hillary and Michael Mincher, two of our long-term veterinary missionaries. Never have we been as spoiled as we were by the hospitality of the folks who love and support this amazing couple. In between meetings and advisory events, we were treated to hiking, fishing, and shooting – and my did we have food!
Our Advisors have been meeting since 2002, and this year we had 28 from all over the US and Canada. As always, the meeting began with worship, followed by reports on our various projects. Two of our Mongolian leaders were with us this year to share about the 10 teams which V.E.T. Net sent into the Mongolian countryside this spring. These teams are sharing the Gospel with remote herders as they provide them with much-needed training and modern veterinary medicines.
These leaders also shared their plans to start a model dairy operation. Since dairies are just now beginning to appear in Mongolia, there is a great need for professional expertise. Dr. John and Laurie Day were with us, and they are both dairy veterinarians who have committed to joining our long-term mission. One of the things I miss most in Mongolia is fresh, clean milk; and with the aid of volunteers like John and Laurie, perhaps one day soon we can solve this problem. During the meetings we also talked about the need for an expanded Large Animal Facility, which we use to provide practical training for our interns and for the remote veterinarians.
This year’s Advisor’s Meeting was a special one for my wife, Frances, and me, as we used the opportunity to dedicate our book, Tend My Sheep, to our friends and fellow workers. These folks have been – and continue to be – our partners in the ministry and in our effort to spread the Gospel. Together with them – and with our friends Joe and Judy Lenard, Francine Thomas, Bob Brown, and Kellie Moeller – we have shared a vision and witnessed God’s glory in the changing lives of the Mongolian people.
As we ended our time together this year with a prayer, we thanked God for His blessings on our humble ministry and for His Grace in allowing us to share in His kingdom mission. To God be the Glory!