harnessing the power of photography for good

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Choose Wisely :: Using Photography to Bless and Encourage

DSC_3499Our goal is to use photography to bless others, serve our fellow man, and bring glory to God in all we do.  Last weekend we had the honor of photographing Military Families in San Diego.  Many of the families hadn’t had formal portraits of their family in some time, due to the demands of Military life…

Dunhill has created a series of videos, Dunhill “Voices,” highlighting people who exemplify  “elegance and achievement.”

This video of photographer Don McCullin is quite extraordinary.  He is known in the photography world as a “war time photographer,” a term he hates.  His words are haunting and compelling.  A reminder of why we choose to photograph the good, the beautiful…things that encourage and bless.  You don’t have to be a photographer to appreciate this little video.  There a lessons to be learned on many different levels.  Thanks to David Sims for creating this beautiful video.

We want to Bless Military Families in San Diego!

We want to Bless those who serve or have served in our US Armed Services!  We will be offering Free Family Portraits for Military Families several times this year.

Our first Portrait sessions will be Jan 25th.  If you are in the San Diego area and have served or are serving, email us.  We want to bless you! Photo sessions for Jan 25th are limited to 20 Families.   mission.focused@yahoo.com

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San Diego Rescue Mission’s Sleepless San Diego

Sleepless San Diego is coming up, September 21-22 at Liberty Station.  We are excited to be part of this great event to help raise awareness and money for the SD Rescue Mission as they work to help the homeless in San Diego.

If you are in San Diego and want to help support the Rescue Mission, or you want to sleep-out under the stars for the homeless, you can go to the following link the learn more> http://goo.gl/BdDS8s

Blessed!

Raul was paralyzed from the chest down when the truck he and his cousins were in was hit by a gas truck that didn’t stop…that was 7 years ago.  It hasn’t been easy for him or his family but they continue to trust God for their needs and God has been faithful in His grace and mercy.  The family is a great testimony of what it means to trust God for everything and remaining faithful to Him despite the circumstances of life.

Pastor Raul and his family.

I first met Raul’s Dad, Pastor Raul, in 2010 when he came to Oaxaca to serve alongside Adventures in Life during the February Men’s Ministry week. Pastor Raul wanted to see photos we were posting but he does not have Facebook, he told me his Son did.  That’s when I became “friends” with Raul. It was a blessing to be in Guadalajara this week, where I got to finally meet Raul in person!  It’s been a great week of ministry…

We finished up work at the church on Friday and eating lunch when Raul asked me if I would take some photos of him on the grass.  Of course I said yes!  I didn’t realize that this would become one of the hardest photo sessions I’ve ever done…After taking photos of Raul he asked the folks from AACF UCLA, who were serving with Adventures in Life in Guadalajara, to come join him. As I started photographing and watching as the family gathered around Raul for photos, a few things really stood out to me.  Raul wanted some nice photos where he was not in the chair…for a few minutes he was just part of the family posing for photos, smiling, having fun, goofing around…Honestly, it took every ounce of strength I had to keep the tears back!  I’m taking photos, praying and thanking God for the blessing of being here in Guadalajara to photograph this beautiful moment.  It was magical!

This is the power of photography.  Once all the photos were done, Raul looked exhausted and was left lying on the ground, he looked in pain but had a big smile on his face.  I had to take a walk and compose myself.

The interesting thing is I don’t think some of the folks in the photo understood what just happened…The lesson was not lost on me.  I am blessed!

Adios Oaxaca!

This was our set up in 2010 when Terry Schwartz and brotherjoe first came down to Oaxaca for Summer Camp.  We brought 2 compact HP Printers to print 4×6 portraits of the kids at camp.  Since then we have been down to Oaxaca for Summer Camp 3 of the last 4 years and we have learned a lot about how much gear we need to bring.  We definitely used to bring too much back then.

This year, with 2 Summer Camps back to back, it’s been a busy week and half.  We now leave one of the printers in Oaxaca, so we don’t have to bring it down with us anymore.

The kids are just as cute as they were in 2010!  And the blessings are just as huge.  Amazingly, there are still kids who have never had their photo taken! That’s why we come to Oaxaca.

Tonight brotherjoe heads off to new territory for Mission Focused….Guadalajara!

We have never photographed on mission there, so it’s gonna be exciting!!

Adios Oaxaca!  Cya soon.

Cooking & the Gospel

Adventures in Life Ministry is dedicated to spreading the hope that can only be found in Jesus.  Dave Miller, Executive Director of Adventures in Life, will also tell you that it’s not enough to preach Jesus.  In Mexico, the mortality rate for children under 5 is twice that of the United States, mostly due to malnutrition and hunger.  Children can’t hear the Good News of Jesus when the “grumbling” and hunger pains are all they can think about.  And when they do have an opportunity to hear about Jesus, and come to saving knowledge of Him…the question still remains, where will their next meal be coming from?Photographing on mission with Adventures in Life in Oaxaca I have seen their work as they try and deal with these issues.  At Summer Camp, the kids get 3 full meals a day, packed with tons of protein.  Many of the kids who come to camp might have some sort of meat protein once a week, if that. They can have as much as they want!

This Summer they began an exciting new “culinary arts” program.  Partnering with recent Le Cordon Bleu graduate Yesenia Martinez who lead the classes in our camp kitchen, she taught the first group of students in a sort of cooking boot-camp, giving them information to help them understand what a career in cooking might look like.  On their final full day of camp the young students were brought to Oaxaca City to meet Chef Rodolfo Castellanos, Owner/Chef of Origen Restaurant.  With the help of Bricia Lopez of Guelaguetza Restaurant in L.A. the kids got to visit, get to know and cook with Chef Rodolfo in his kitchen.  It was a great morning and the Chef was more than gracious about sharing his story and how he worked hard in kitchens all over the world before making it back to Oaxaca to open his own restaurant.  He encouraged them to dream and work hard, regardless of if they wanted to be a Chef or not.

It was a exciting to see the kids look around at his restaurant and listen to someone who is from Ocotlan, Oaxaca and think that with a lot of hard work and perseverance they might be able to be a Chef as well.

These are issues most short term missions never address.  I think many of these missions trips are so focused on spreading the Good News to as many folks as possible, they never think about the physical needs of those they are trying to minister to.  It’s safe to say Adventures in Life is trying to meet the physical and spiritual needs of those they are ministering to.

Thanks again to Chef Rodolfo for being such a gracious host.  Thanks to Bricia Lopez of Guelaguetza Restaurant and thank you to Chef Yesenia Martinez for your willingness to come to Oaxaca and share your passion for food with the students.

Guelaguetza Parade…a few photos

One of the great things Adventures in Life is does, is they encourage those coming on mission with them to engage and experience the culture of Oaxaca.  The Guelaguetza is the biggest cultural celebration in Oaxaca, some would say all of Mexico.  It’s a chance for the different communities in the State of Oaxaca to come into the city and celebrate “being” Oaxacan!   The last 2 weeks of July every year, the city is alive with music, color, art, food and dance…a cultural kaleidoscope!

These are just a few photos of the Guelaguetza parade.  If you ever get a chance, and I highly encourage you to…come visit Oaxaca during the last 2 weeks of July!  You won’t be disappointed.

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