Raising Calves, funding mission

Two young women are using their skills and their heart for mission in a remarkable way.

“It really just happened,” says Laura Gardyne (25) of the project that she and Leah Murray (21) are running on a farm near Gore. Laura is a vet and in 2021 she acquired a calf when she was assisting a dairy cow that was giving birth. She decided to fatten him at the family’s farm, feeding milk twice a day with the help of Leah. Then Leah, a farm worker, was able to contribute six more calves from her parents’ dairy farm; three others came from another farm, and the idea was born.

This herd of 10 young bulls is still on the Gardyne farm, looking heavy these days and due to be sent to the freezing works in autumn. This should bring around $1,500-1,600 for each, which will go to support mission workers, via the Waidale Trust — a local fund run by Christian farmers which supports people in a number of organisations from SIM to TSCF and Scripture Union.

The fact that these two young women would contemplate such a project is testimony to how they were raised. Laura explains: “At church, mission was talked about quite a lot because a lot of the farmers who went to our church are part of Waidale. Kids my age would have heard about it through Sunday school. It would come up as a part of normal lessons, and missionaries would come and visit us.”

Importantly, both girls’ parents are actively involved in various aspects of mission. When she was 8 years old, Laura’s parents took the family to Africa where they visited the Paines in Ethiopia, and the Youngs in Malawi — both of them SIM mission families with children of a similar age to Laura, who says, “I guess that was my first real understanding of what they were doing overseas, seeing some of the sacrifices they had to make to be over there.”

Leah is related to Margaret Currie, who was a mission partner in Malaysia and then Mongolia, where she became executive director of the Prison Fellowship.

Both young women were keen to make this project work when it was suggested to them that their small herd could be used for funding missions. Leah encourages other young people: “Just appreciate what you’ve got, and what God has given you, that you can give back to others. I find it’s quite a rewarding feeling giving to others that you haven’t personally met, but they are doing God’s work.” Laura adds,”You have unique stuff going on in your everyday life, and you’d be surprised how God can use that. It can be something quite small — just a few calves!” Leah is already into the next phase, fattening nine more calves born in spring, 2022.

—Zoë Cromwell Leah and Laura

[Note: Generation Z refers to youth currently 10-25 years old.]