Goats are great! And what is clear is supporters of VIMS think so too. For those of you who are new to VIMS, let me explain.

Vincentian priests and brothers serve in very poor countries. We encourage them to raise goats themselves or develop relationships with local goat herders so that, thanks to generous donors (like the people reading this blog!) families can care for their own goats and raise some baby goats too.

VIMS promotes the occasional Give-a-Goat appeal. We ask $25 for each goat. We recently sent $3,000 to Rwanda-Burundi thanks to our Father’s Day (goat) appeal. Families are getting their young goats now. Of note, some families have built communal goat pens since goats like being together. These families share the responsibility of caring for them, milking them, and what-all else. So, goats help build community in addition to helping families live better!

Since we first started our Give-a-Goat appeal, we have sent $17,000 to help Vincentian missionaries serve our brothers and sisters in a few different countries.

Something I hadn’t anticipated was donors asking if they can name their goat. The answer is yes! I have a list of names that includes nieces and nephews, moms and dads (some in heaven, some still here with us) and even politicians and public figures! Some goats have been given in thanksgiving for blessings of various sorts. The list goes on. Clearly goats are great! And, they are darn cute too!

I recently spoke to leaders of the Vincentian community from around the world when we were gathered in Rome for a big, important meeting (which I will write about elsewhere). I encouraged them to start a goat program. Why? Because goats are great! They didn’t believe me when I told them I have helped raise, feed, and milk goats. My brother and sister-in-law have had goats since they married more than 40 years ago. Even though I prefer city-living, I know my way around a goat pen!

Here at VIMS we think Goats are Great because they provide healthy milk which children love to drink. Families sell goat milk too–a few extra bucks helps the family buy other things they need. Young children learn lots of lessons from helping care for goats too. See why I say “Goats are Great?”

Keep your eyes open for our next Give-a-Goat appeal. (Just so you know, you can go to www.vims1617.org anytime and give a goat.)

Let us pray for relief from excessive heat, an end to fires and floods, and health and strength to all who serve people who are suffering.

Fr. Mark

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