harnessing the power of photography for good

Casa Arnel

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.

Looking Beyond…

I’ve been inside the Cathedral de Oaxaca numerous times over the past few years.  I never paid attention to some of the details, or I just never “looked” long enough.  Looking beyond the gate, I noticed the cross with the sun…

I’ve seen this lady walking the courtyard in front of Iglesia de San Matias Jalatlaco, which is next door to Casa Arnel, for the last 3 mornings.  At first I thought she might be praying the rosary, but no beads.  Watching her, she appears to be praying.  I must have watched her for at least 20 minutes this morning while I was reading Proverbs and listening to some Hillsong praise music.  It made me think, in light of the worship series Pastor Miles is going through right now, am I fully worshiping Jesus with my life?

The details really jumped out at me, and as I watched two gals try to light a candle below, I saw Jesus(really).

I saw this candle of Jesus.  Yes I know…He doesn’t look like this.  As I was trying to get a photo that I liked, it became a reminder to me that I need to keep focused on Him.  In my photography and my life as a whole.  That there are things in my life that I’ve taken for granted, I don’t know if it’s because it’s always been there or that I’ve “seen this before” as in some of the details in the cathedral…
I am truly excited to be in Oaxaca.  My biggest prayer is that I would be focused on getting the images that need to be seen.  The images that would glorify Him and best show what He is doing in Oaxaca.  This being my third men’s week, I want to view it as if it’s my first time here.  There are men who are here for the first time, along with guys who have been down to Oaxaca multiple times over the years.  
If I keep focused on the Cross of Christ and remember why He had to die on the cross…I have no choice but to humble myself and realize I am in no position to ask for anything other than that Christ would be glorified in my life.
Please keep me and the men in prayer.  That the work gets done in a manner and spirit that brings Christ glory!
Soli Deo Gloria

Observations, Ocotlan & Being Yoked

Walking down the street from Casa Arnel, on the way to Ocotlan and guess what I see in the car window…Go Chargers!

The view from the road to Ocotlan…

On the bus ride to Ocotlan….reading God’s Word! 

Pineapples!  Lots of Pineapples!

Walking through the market I saw this Dad talking to his son…it looked as if he was encouraging his son, he had a big smile as he was talking with him and gesturing and holding his son’s head in what can only be described as a loving manner.  Not sure who the other kid was, if it was his brother or friend, but he was smiling too, even though you can’t see his face in the photo.  Trust me, it was all good.

I love all the colors in the market, but unfortunately they use these blue and red tarps to cover and shield the market area from the sun…but it casts this blue and red shade on everything.  So when i saw these beautiful bell peppers in the sun I had to get this photo!  I wish yall could have seen this in real time…the colors just popped!!

I took this photo for Cyndy…since she couldn’t make it this time to Oaxaca and seems to only know how to take photos of flowers and her dog!

These guys don’t look so happy… after-all it is market day in Ocotlan and they’re for sale!

I love how big and colorful the churches are in Mexico.  Yes it is a Catholic Church.  But It doesn’t stop me from acknowledging the God I serve and having reverence and awe for how big He is and how small I am!  And remembering that He died on the cross for my sin that I might have life and breath…to serve Him with my whole heart.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
(Matthew 11:29-30 ESV)

What a great reminder…this yoke weighed about 40 pounds.  Can’t imagine trying to roll with this on my back for more than a few seconds.  It reminds me that I need to trust Christ first and foremost for all my needs.  That while I was the only photographer able to make it to Oaxaca this time, it is a team effort.  The work is made easier and less burdensome with the help of many hands.  I believe that’s why we are told in Hebrews

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
(Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV)

I am encouraged by what I see in Oaxaca…and the main work hasn’t begun yet.  It was a great day with God!

Oaxaca Day 1

Our landing in Oaxaca was uneventful and we arrived at Casa Arnel about 8:30am, had a nice breakfast, with awesomely sweet orange juice from fresh squeezed from local oranges. We washed up… I cold showered then we proceeded to the center of town near our hotel, visited some lovely Churches. Churches that had a sense of worship and where it was nice to spend a moment with GOD. I know some may have a problem with icons and so do I. But I ignored them and worshiped an awesome GOD, and sat in amazement as I considered my wonderful Savior and Lord, our Messiah Jesus.

I observed the Stations of the Cross and meditated on how very much our Savior suffered so that we who know Him have passed from death to life, Jesus paid a debt that He did not owe, one we could not pay.

We did have some trials hit our group, Jimmy got pick pocketed and lost some important stuff, but I’ll let him elaborate on his blog.I got left behind a couple of times, of course Bro Joe and Jimmy did not agree with my assessment but I’ll stick to my left behind story. One great thing that came of it is I could go to Churches and other sights and relax as I unhurriedly took in the sights and sounds of Oaxaca. Enjoyed children laughing, playing, either hiding or mugging for the Mission Focused Paparazzi, people praying, and merchants hawking their wares on the city streets.

Pray for James and I’ll talk at you later.


let the fun begin…

its sunday nite, 1037pm oaxacan local time and i finally had a chance to get online.  theyve been having issues with their wifi here at casa arnel.  this is the same place i stayed a few days in back in february of this year.  so the few time ive had time to do stuff online, the wifi wasnt working or on or something like that.  no worries.  the wifi aint that fast either, that hasnt changed so loading lots of pics will continue to be an issue…

friday afternoon, getting ready to dance…

text ya back later….gotta go dance.   friday afternoon in zocalo

friday afternoon in the zocalo

dave, chillin in front of santo domingo

santo domingo: taken with diana 20mm lens on the canon 5d

more fun w diana lens.

we got to oaxaca fine.  met up with dave, nori and becca.  took lots of fun photos on friday.  saturday they had a concert in the zocalo, to celebrate the election of the governor of oaxaca.  they had tatiana,  i guess shes mexicos answer to hana monana.  the crowd was full of parents of girl tweeners waving wands, i think thats part of her schtick.  that was in morning.

this is tatiana

in the middle of saturdays parade

dancing in the streets

later in the day, they had a huge parade through town, showcasing all the different cultures of oaxaca.  each area was represented by dancers and music.  we had a front row seat, and once the parade finally started, terry and i jumped into the street to shoot it.  nobody said anything to us, so why not.  i almost go clobbered by some spinning dude with i huge head-dress.  i think ike has video of it, if i can get it i will show it.

im not sure what kind of access i will have to internet this week, so i will post when i get a chance….

monday the fun begins!  please keep terry and i in prayers.

long long long day 1…done!

my long day that started friday nite in downtown san diego is almost done.  its about 1045pm in oaxaca casa arnel is fairly quiet…i had a nice nap in a hammock this afternoon, up on the balcony.  and then it was off to the races.  we took a cab to the center of town and have been walking since.  we did take a cab back to the hotel tonite and my feet are barking.  the center of town was full of activity, there was some sort of celebration goin on with tons of folks walkin around downtown, along with lots of folks hugging and kissin on each other.  they celebrate valentines in mexico as well.  these are a few of the pics i took today…enjoy.

chillin in oaxaca…

in oaxaca now.  i survived the trip into tj and flying out of the airport wasnt so bad.  certainly an experience.   i took the volaris airline shuttle from dtown san diego, changed buses in tj, and after getting over the border and a few different checkpoints in the airport, i was ready to wait……

my thinktank airport international...gotta love it

bus change in san ysidro

watching folks go by in tj airport

having arrived at the airport gate 3 hours before my 145am flight, i had some time to kill.  so i found a place i could grab a drink, plug in my computer and get some editing done, and wasted the time away.

somewhere over mexico

dave miller, head cheese with adventures in life and sean, self proclaimed “redneck” from eastern oregon, picked me up at the oaxaca international airport (or should that be landing strip) and took me to casa arnel hotel, where im at now.  this place is really cool.

casa arnel hotel, oaxaca mexico

i like the colors….

im pretty tired from the flight over, but i think im gonna go walk around and see what i see…Praise God!