Mary McDonald has a passion for animals. As a veterinarian she blends the care for animals with the Gospel. She and her husband Jack, have a farm in Virginia where they raise and care for animals, but also use it as a demonstration farm for helping to prepare vets for global ministry.

This month she will lead the largest Farm Animal Refresher for Missions course she has ever had with twenty vets. “It’s very hands on,” says Mary. “Many vets including small animal vets do not always feel comfortable going on short-term mission trips with Christian Veterinary Mission* when they know they have to do large-animal work. A few years ago, I decided to host this refresher course called F.A.R.M. (Farm Animal Refresher for Missions). It helps them get up to speed and refresh things they learned in vet school but haven’t done in a while.”

Dr. Mary uses her farm horses and neighbors loan out sheep, goats, chickens, and pigs. They cover things like safe handling, vaccinating, deworming, and they review some of the different diseases that they might encounter in the majority world but wouldn’t necessarily encounter in the U.S. “I also show them how to do an animal workshop using participatory methodology for the field,” says Mary.

But the refresher isn’t just about veterinary work – it’s also spiritual. “I teach a workshop on how to share the Gospel, how to write and share your testimony, and a worldview analysis for cultural differences. We eat, share fellowship, and encourage each other as we prepare for the upcoming overseas work we will be doing.”

“I ask the vets to present their testimony as if they were in a village and were sharing their story and weaving the Gospel into it. It’s such a privilege to teach these vets who want put their skills to use, but who also want to be ambassadors for Christ.”

More about Mary and Jack McDonald: Missionary profile

The McDonalds are missionaries with the Society of Anglican Missionaries and Senders, with whom they previously served in Cochabamba, Bolivia, teaching animal husbandry and helping in micro-finance projects. In addition to their work as Deacons at The River Anglican Church, Mary has developed a large-animal demonstration site at their home in Catawba where she prepares U.S. vet teams for global ministry. Mary is also overseeing goat projects as part of an evangelism and community development program in Uganda and works with International students at Virginia Tech as well as with Veterinary students.

*SAMS has a collaborative Partnership with CVM through Mary’s ministry.