Back to Oaxaca!
Mark Shreves and Cyndy Smith are flying off to Oaxaca tonight to serve with our ministry partner Adventures in Life. They will be photographing AIL’s Fall Medical Mission in Eloxochitlan. They will be taking portraits and printing photos too. They will be back October 22nd. Please keep them in prayer.
Don’t forget to check our FB page for updates during the week. Thanks mucho!
Give the Gift of Life
A pair of these Toms Shoes will set you back $98. Buy these and Toms will help one person in need. One for One is their motto. Right now our friends at Adventures in Life are offering you a chance to help a whole family in Oaxaca for life. For $99 you can buy a Sawyer Water Filter for a family in one of the areas Adventures works in. Areas where availability of clean drinking water is scarce and they can’t always afford to buy bottled water, so they drink water that is not clean or safe. They have no choice. A Sawyer Water Filter will filter 1 million gallons of water in its lifetime. Realistically, for the life of the family!
This #cyberMonday and #givebackTuesday consider giving the gift of Clean Water! You can learn more about Adventures in Life’s plan to give Sawyer Water Filters to the areas where they minister at the following link> http://conta.cc/1yE8RJp
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!
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.
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.
Team Oregon is in Oaxaca
This is the Team from Grace City Church, in Corvallis, Oregon
They took this photo at the Mexico City Airport, yesterday, before boarding the plane for Oaxaca.
Please be praying for them as they prepare for a week of ministry with Adventures in Life…Summer Camp with 40-50 kids under the age of 12!
brotherjoe will be posting more photos today and tomorrow on Facebook, you can go HERE to see or to Adventures in Life FB page HERE.
Back in Mexico!
I’m ( brotherjoe) in Mexico for the next week doing some photographing and planning for this Summer with Dave Miller, executive director of Adventures in Life Ministry.
Please keep us in prayer…for safety, good weather to photograph in and patience.
What was to be a relatively simple flight from Tijuana to Oaxaca, via Mexico City, turned into a long day of travel on a bus to Oaxaca from Mexico City. This time of year the local farmers are burning off the corn fields to prepare the land for planting of the next crop of corn. The airport in Oaxaca is downwind from many of these farms and was closed down yesterday due to the thick smoke coming from these farms.
We had to re-schedule or cancel some meetings since we weren’t able to get to Oaxaca til about 630pm. Our original flight had us arriving in Oaxaca at 930am. That’s ministry in Mexico. Things change, stuff happens, you have to be patient and flexible.
Thankfully, I’m used to it now so you just roll with it.
I’m excited to be in Oaxaca. Praise God!
You can keep track of what we are doing here and on Facebook www.facebook.com/MISSIONfocusedPhotography
Adventures in Life www.facebook.com/AdventuresInLife
Serving Alongside Adventures in Life in Mexico
We have been blessed to photograph the work of Adventures in Life in Mexico over the past 4 years. This photo was taken in the main marketplace in Oaxaca, with the owner of the world famous NIEVES OAXAQUEÑAS CHAGÜITA. Our friend Crystal (Multi Cultural Cooking Network) posted a nice little article about the work Dave Miller and Adventures in Life Ministry has been doing in Mexico, you can read the article HERE.
Oaxaca 2013 :: Serving Alongside Adventures in Life Ministries
L to R: Raquel, Claire, Jolene, Cyndy, Arlene, Judy, Linda with Ty in the middle
MISSION focused has been actively serving in Mexico with Adventures in Life Ministries since February of 2010. It has been a real blessing to see up close the work Dave Miller, executive director of Adventures in Life, and their ministry partners in Mexico are doing.
The above photo is of the 2013 Adventures in Life Spring Medical Team, posing for a photo in San Diego, before heading South for Oaxaca. They are in Oaxaca this week seeing folks that they saw last March, and attending to new people who come to their clinics this week in the different towns and villages. Please keep them in prayer.
MISSION focused photographer Cyndy Smith, is photographing this year’s Medical Mission.
The photo below is of this year’s Adventures in Life FMO Men’s Ministry Week Oaxaca, that just finished up in February. It was a busy week, unfortunately they didn’t have any internet connection, so we are working on photos now and hope to have some to show soon. The photo was taken by Jim Wanglund, friend of the Mission who was photographing this year’s Men’s Week in Oaxaca.
Adventures in Life :: 2013 Men’s Ministry Week
Jim Wanglund is on his way to Oaxaca for this year’s Adventures in Life Men’s Week of Ministry. This will be Jim’s second trip to Oaxaca to photograph the work of Adventures in Life. Please pray for safety and good health for the men on this year’s Mission.
Internet access is limited at the site where the men will be working, so what updates we get, will be posted on our Facebook page HERE(facebook.com/MISSIONfocusedPhotography)
The above photo of Jim was taken at Hierve el Agua in 2011.
The Adventures in Life 20th Celebration was a great evening to come together and thank God for the work that He has done through Adventures in Life in Mexico. I always look forward to these gatherings because I get to see good friends in the Los Angeles area that I don’t get to see as often…So Sunday was an added bonus for me!
Grady Martine and Paul Lathrop. I’ve known these guys for some time. Grady was the one who God used to get a hold of me back in high school. He and another friend Danny Mandagie, wouldn’t let me not go to Younglife…as hard as I tried, God had another plan. I am forever thankful to both of them for dragging me to Younglife.
Paul and Grady grew up together in Pacific Grove, and Paul came to live in San Diego with Grady in between missionary stops in Columbia and Mexico. That’s when I met Paul.
Paul and his wife Deanne, at the Adventures in Life 20th Celebration.
My good friend Ernie, with his lovely daughter Adrienne. Wife and Mom, Joy, couldn’t make it to the Celebration.
I think Ernie and I met back in 1995 or 96, when we were both leaders with Younglife in San Diego. We used to meet together for a men’s Bible study group every Monday. Paul was part of that men’s group, along with another friend Brett Bristol, who didn’t make the celebration on Sunday.
I don’t recall who moved up to L.A. first, but in a few years…Paul, Brett and Ernie all had moved to L.A. and started meeting with Dave Miller. I had met Dave sometime after he and Grady started Adventures in Life. Grady and his wife Barb had moved up to the Pasadena area when Grady began working on his Masters at Fuller Seminary.
Dave with Ernie and Adrienne at Restaurante Guelaguetza, where the 20th Celebration was held.
Ernie, Paul and Brett all became involved in some way or another with Adventures in Life over the years and I think we have all been blessed by this ministry. I never had a chance to go to Mexico with Grady, Paul, Brett or Ernie. Perhaps in the future. I do know that these are friends that I will have for a lifetime! This is another reason why I am thankful for Adventures in Life!
Here’s to another 20 years of ministry!!
Adventures in Life :: History
Adventures in Life is celebrating 20 Years of Ministry in Mexico. Last night there was a great gathering of friends, family and ministry partners in Los Angeles at Restaurante Guelaguetz. If you find yourself in the downtown LA area and want to try some great traditional Oaxacan food, you have to go to Restaurante Guelaguetza!
My friend Crystal Johnson put together this great video that was shown last night. It gives you a short glimpse into how Adventures in Life started from conversations between the 2 founders Dave Miller and Grady Martine.
For more info about Adventures in Life and their ministry in Mexico please go HERE.
Ensenada 2012 :: An Overview of the Week of Ministry with Adventures in Life ~ Dios Es Amor Church
Terry Schwartz being prayed for by the kids at camp!
Terry worked hard and took lots of great photos. These are just a few to give yall an idea of what God did this week.
This is the heart of who we are as MISSION focused, to use the gift of photography to document what God is doing through ministries like Adventures in Life and small local churches like Dios Es Amor in Ensenada.
Dios Es Amor ~ Adventures in Life Kids Camp 2012
First Baptist Church of Salinas spent the week with Adventures in Life, sharing the love of Christ with the kids and remodeling the kitchen at Dios Es Amor Church. The men worked hard and got tons of work done…Please keep the next group, from Gardena Valley Baptist Church and Panorama Baptist Church, in prayer as they come to Ensenada to finish the work that began last week.
Dave Miller, Executive Director of Adventures in Life, taking some time to recharge and rest during worship.
You can see more photos from the week on our Facebook page HERE…
Ensenada 2012 :: Done for Now!
Jesus Velarde…at the end of a long week.
Terry made it back home safely, praise God!, with over a 1000 photos in the can…pray he gets some rest so he can look through all the photos and pick out the best to share.
Please keep the work in Ensenada in your prayers as well, the work continues this coming week. Check out the following video Dave Miller made, re-capping the week of ministry.
It’s gonna be another busy week for Dave, as he helps direct the work of Adventures in Life in Ensenada then jumps on a plane for Oaxaca on Friday.
More photos soon!
Ensenada 2012 :: Summer Camp
Dave Miller, Executive Director of Adventures in Life Ministry shared this photo (that Terry Schwartz took) on the Adventures in Life FB page, along with the following text….
7 years ago we (AIL & Dios Es Amor Church) started this camp with a few volunteers and 15 kids from Dios Es Amor Church in Ensenada… Now we have a leadership team of over 20 people from Dios Es Amor and almost 90 kids, most of whom do not attend any church… God has been faithful in helping us see a dream move from an idea to reality…
Praise God for the work that’s happening in Ensenada this week. If you want to help more kids go to summer camp, feel free to email Dave at firstname.lastname@example.org
Adventures in Life~Ensenada
This is Dave and Chelle Miller. Dave is a blessed man to be able to minister alongside his lovely wife this summer in Mexico.
The volunteers and campers, arriving for a week of fun, fellowship & Jesus.
Terry is in Ensenada now, photographing what God is doing there with Adventures in Life. He will be taking photos for Pastor Jesus Vera’s church, Dios es Amor, and taking photos of the kids who will be coming to camp this week. The following is the first report from Terry, chronicling his journey to Ensenada on Saturday, July 7th.
The trip down and the first day in Ensenada were both challenging and uneventful all in one go of it, if that makes sense.
At noon I had got everything in order and was ready to hit the road, and so I hit it hard. As I approached the border I jumped off the freeway to secure insurance and a few pesos. But alas as I walked into the first insurance office and dropped my registration on the counter, I was soon told that they could not fully insure my lovely little car. Not full insurance just cover any other cars or persons. At the next insurance office the same story; I was about to give up and head home, I was not going to take El Bandito de Amor across the border without coverage. I stopped in BajaMex and they agreed to cover me. This kept me from slinking home in abject failure and disgrace.
I arrived safe and sound about three hours late, but in time for dinner, call me anything but late for dinner. After meeting the rest of the team, we had a lovely dinner prepared by the Pastors family.
I met Pastor Jesus Vera and his lovely wife Mirtha, of the Dios es Amor Church, who will be sponsoring the camp. Tomorrow, Sunday, I will take portraits of Church members before heading off to camp to immortalize the children on film or in the modern vernacular, on Flash cards.
Keep us in your prayers, GOD bless you.
Dave and Chelle, along with the folks from First Baptist Church, Salinas.
This week those serving with Adventures in Life will be remodeling the kitchen at Dios es Amor (God is Love Church), and they will be hosting a camp for 100 kids, 80 who do not go to the church. This is the beginning of a great summer season of ministry for Adventures in Life. MISSION focused is blessed to be serving alongside Dave and AIL.
Missionary Follies…by Dave Miller
Missionary Follies… when separation replaces real mission engagement…
Dave Miller is Executive Director of Adventures in Life. Adventures in Life has been leading groups of short term missionaries to Mexico for 20 years, ministering primarily in Ensenada, Guadalajara & Oaxaca. MISSION focused has been to Oaxaca several times to photograph the work of AIL.
Dave shares some real keen insight into ministering in Mexico, which is relevant to all missionaries world-wide, that is important to remember.
You can learn more about Dave HERE and Adventures in Life HERE.
Yesterday I learned of a potentially grave consequence for mission work in my area of Latin America.
An organization with whom I am acquainted here in Oaxaca is in danger of being asked to leave the area. It is an organization that is involved in some vitally important work in helping spread the Gospel in Southern Mexico and Central America.
What, you might ask has been their crime? What is it that they may done to anger their national hosts and the leaders of the community where they serve?
They have chosen to work alone and not be involved with the larger community of people who live around their ministry base. To put it another less charitable way, they have decided to not engage the community where they serve and have instead chosen to live a separate missionary life devoid of local contact. It was not always this way. There was a time when people in this community respected and felt connected to the larger work of this ministry. The missionaries saw it as part of their ministry to engage and connect with the community in a variety of ways.
With the passing of time and a new generation of younger workers, that is no longer so. Children of the missionaries no longer attend community schools, their parents deciding it is best to send them to the private English speaking school, which is miles away. This was effectively the first step in breaking community with the very people they are serving.
Next was a gradual diminishment of personal involvement with the local Mexican church, choosing instead to worship together at their compound in English. Now I know that these local churches are not the best, but perhaps those local missionaries could have been part of really helping and supporting the new emerging and struggling Christian community in Southern Mexico.
The people of the village, remembering the past when leaders of this ministry would be in homes and side by side locals in the market and at school meetings are feeling abandoned and neglected. They are trying to figure what they must have done wrong to warrant such a pull back from a relationship that had transcended generations.
They are hurt.
Now the leaders of the village are saying that if the outsiders do not really want to be part of their community, why should they continue to let them live there. Should anyone be surprised?
I believe when missionaries from another country go to live in a foreign land, for the sake of the Gospel, they should become part of the local community.
I do not favor missionary compounds and have learned over the years that locals tend to subtly resent missionaries who refuse to be part of their community. That is one of the primary reasons my own ministry, Adventures in Life, has worked hard to stay connected to communities in ways that can enable us to be seen as part of that community. It is that connection that helps us to really understand the culture of the people we are striving to serve.
Let me give you an example.
A few years back, all across Mexico, people in rural areas were talking about the Chupacabra. For the uninitiated, this legend is almost equivalent to the tales of the Loch Ness Monster. The Chupacabra was a nasty beast that would kill your animals, and maybe even, your young kids.
I happened to be in a village at that time with an in-country missionary when a woman named Gloria mentioned her fear of the Chupacabra. Because I was aware of this legend, she and I immediately had a bond that transcended our cultural barriers. We were able to connect.
My missionary friend, who had served that area for almost 20 years had no idea what we were talking about or what this Chupacabra was. He told me he never pays much attention to those types of things or the local goings on across Mexico, choosing instead to stay focused on his missionary work.
Hear me well on this… If your missionary work, be it in Mexico, Los Angeles, China, or your local Starbucks does not include understanding the local customs and culture of the people you are called to serve, you are going to fail!
This is what that mission organization here in Oaxaca has failed to understand and because of that, an entire ministry may soon lose its opportunity to continue some very important work. There is evidence that at least some in the organization have gotten the message. Over the last few weeks, leaders have started attending local services and asking the local church to pray that they are not forced out.
I wonder when they will begin asking for forgiveness and repent for rejecting the very people they have been called to serve.
Because if they don’t, their ministry will soon look as if had been attacked by the notorious Chupacabra of Mexico.
Oaxaca Medical Team:: Bang for the Buck(or Peso)
Dave Miller, executive director of Adventures in Life (AIL), was talking with one of the men yesterday in San Felipe Guila, Oaxaca, Mexico. That’s where this years Medical Team has been ministering, today and yesterday.
He asked, “why are you guys here? Nobody comes here (to San Felipe Guila).”
If you look on the map, there really isn’t much there. Most of the men in the town have left to find work in the city, near the border or in the U.S. Folks leave the town, they don’t come here for vacation, or even for missions trips.
Dave and I were talking today about his question, and it really was a good question that opened itself up to further questions of how short term missions is done across the globe.
I don’t profess to know much about short term missions philosophy and methodology, but I know what I’ve seen over the years as a photographer for Miles Ahead ministries and other groups that do short term missions.
The idea of, “bang for the buck” is an interesting concept. Dave shared a story with me of an missions leader telling him that trips with AIL are “cheap” in comparison to other missions groups. That he loved what AIL is doing in Mexico and he could see that real help is happening through Adventures in Life ministries. Bang for the buck!
But…what AIL does isn’t flashy, fashionable or trendy. Not that short term missions should be any of those things, but that missions leader was looking for something with more “show,” that would look good to the church that sent the group. They wanted big extravagant events and projects that look good and project well when doing a power point presentation to the missions folks and pastors.
What I’ve witnessed over the last 3 years, in the time I’ve been coming to photograph AIL ministries, is relationship and community building. A belief that working with local churches and pastors, and long term missionaries like Pastor Rolando in San Felipe Guila, is smarter than trying to come to an area and “do something” big for big’s sake.
Pastor Rolando & his wife
Adventures in Life understands that those in the trenches know better than any missions director in the states. That bigger isn’t always better when it comes to doing short term missions. By asking those who are ministering long term in the field, and living alongside them in community, Adventures in Life can partner with and help these missionaries better reach those who don’t know Jesus yet.
Unfortunately, too many U.S. churches want the big dog and pony show that looks good on video and looks good when sharing from the pulpit.
That’s not what Adventures in Life is all about.
Whenever I am getting ready to go on a mission trip I have people ask me why I go. It makes me stop and reflect and ask the same question, “WHY DO I GO?” Sometimes I feel like I do it just to appease my feelings of guilt caused by me having so much materially when the rest of the world has so little. I also fear that I go just because I love to travel. However, deep in my soul I pray that my desire to go is so that I can show God’s love to people around the world.
I have been on a lot of different mission trips, with a lot of different purposes, to a lot of places around the world. No matter what the purpose of the trip; whether building a house or an orphanage, installing water filtration or stoves, conducting VBS or teaching nutrition; the common response from the local people has always been that they can’t believe I would leave my family and travel so far from my home to help them. Just the mere fact of being present in their lives shows them how much God loves them.
Most of the people around the world live very simple lives, where every day is pretty much the same as the rest. It causes great excitement and anticipation when a short-term mission group roles into their little village. I am sure some Missiologist will disagree with me; but I believe that it is not so important what you do, as that you Just Do It. (Can I borrow that from Nike?). I sincerely believe that if at all possible everyone should go on a short-term mission trip sometime in his or her life. A few days before Keith Green (a Christian musician popular when I was a teen-ager) and two of his children were killed in a plane crash, he wrote an article entitled “Why YOU Should Go On The Mission Field” . He says you need to go: 1. Because Jesus has told you to go. 2. You should go because the need is so great. 3. You should go because … … …Click HERE to read more of the article.
On Friday I will be traveling to Oaxaca, MX for my second trip with Adventures in Life Ministry. Last year I went with their Men’s Only Build Week (some how I snuck in to photograph their work building a Bible school). This year I will be photographing their Medical Ministry Week. AIL understands the needs of the people in Oaxaca and partners with local churches to bring economic, physical and spiritual health to them. Stay tuned in for daily updates and keep the team in prayer.
Oaxaca 2012 :: Ministry and Mission Can be Messy.
MISSION focused welcomes guest blogger Dave Miller, executive director of Adventures in Life
The other night I was in church when one of the men who recently served with me in Oaxaca pulled me aside.
He wanted to say thanks for a great week of ministry and then he started to share about how he had been impacted by his experience.Hermana Norma, making fresh tortillas!
It seems that before he left for the airport, he went into the house where we were staying and noticed Norma, the wife of Pastor Americo, crying.
He knew why.
The night before, Norma had shared how hard and lonely the work can be in Oaxaca. She told us how when our team of men leave, all of a sudden the house is again quiet and organized.
This is something many people in short-term ministry and mission miss. When we get on a plane to head home, those folks we have been serving aren’t getting on that plane.
The next morning when we wake up in our beds, and hop into our nice spacious showers, hit the hot water and lather up with that high quality shower gel, the folks to whom we gave everything we had for a week or two, will still be on the field.
When we are back at our everyday jobs, people like Americo and Norma will still be trying to manage a ministry that spans 4 different communities from Santa Cruz to San Baltazar.
And no one will be there to help them, or encourage them.
These are the messy lessons you learn when you really start to connect with people in the field. You begin to hear their stories, see their lives, and know their hearts, and it gets harder each time to leave. You realize that the simple act of climbing the steps to the plane for the flight home has become a chore.
Brother Joe asked me to blog a recap of our recent men’s trip to Oaxaca.
I could tell you of all the work we got done, the building we did, the pictures that were taken, the computers that were given and the stories that were shared.
But important as all that is, it is just stuff.
The real work of mission and ministry is done in the heart. Keith experienced that work when he came up on Norma that morning wiping the tears from her eyes.
It was the connecting work of the Holy Spirit that had been done on the heart of two totally different people, from two completely different countries in a way that cannot happen unless people are willing to practice the power of the presence of Christ personally.
It is hard, it is messy, but it also our calling if we truly want to serve.
Oaxaca 2012 :: Taking it Home!
The men gathered with Pastors Americo and Norma and their kids, inside the newly finished storage room for one last team photo before heading for home
After our little celebration dinner Dave gathered the men together one last time to encourage and thank the men for all their hard work and dedication to this years project in Oaxaca. Sharing from Colosians 3, Dave encouraged the men to continue to do “good” when they get back home. Paul reminds us in vs 11, that we are here serving Christ as fellow believers and servants of Jesus. We are no longer Americans, Mexicans, Lutherans, Oregonians or whatever label you wanna use…we all belong to Christ.
Dave said that he is thankful that the all of the men took their time and talents to come and serve in Oaxaca with Adventures in Life this week, but if they do nothing else for the Kingdom of God this year, he would be sad. Dave encouraged the men to continue to serve Christ and others when they get back home.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
(Colossians 3:16-17 ESV)
Kingdom work never ends. It was a great week of ministry and a blessing to be a witness to the work that God did through the men this week. If you want to see some photos from this week you can visit our Facebook page HERE.
More photos soon…
Oaxaca 2012 :: Family Photos
MISSION focused began photographing military families (free of charge) 3 years ago, as a way to say thank you for serving our country. It has become one of the biggest blessings for us as a group of photographers. When I began coming down to Oaxaca with Adventures in Life in February of 2010, I started thinking that maybe we could take the concept of free family portraits to Oaxaca, as way to extend the reach of the local churches. After talking with Dave and Pastors Americo and Norma, they liked the idea…we decided to try it out and see how it went.In this photo, I was able to gather, was 3 generations of one family, spanning 4 generations. The young girl in red was the daughter/great grand-daughter; the gal in brown was the mom to the young girl and grand-daughter of the women in native Zapotec clothing; and then there was grand-ma/great grand-mother(bis abuela). How cool was that! What a huge blessing to be able to take what most likely was their first photo of the 3 of them.In July of 2010, Terry came with me to Oaxaca to help photograph a kids camp Adventures in Life was leading for kids who live in the mountains surrounding Oaxaca. Terry and I were able to take portraits of every kid and print them so they could take the photo home with them.Along with a photo of themselves, we gave them a copy of the camp photo. Our plan was to go into some of the towns Americo and Norma are ministering in and take family portraits, unfortunately we got rained in. There was so much rain the first couple days we were stranded and unable to go and take photos. brotherjoe, Dave, Cyndy, Jim and Terry, with the owner of the famous Chaguita Nievas Oaxaquenas (ice cream like dessert) helados stand in the middle of the market in Oaxaca City.
Last February Terry came back along with Jim and Cyndy to help take portraits. Unfortunately Jim got sick and had to stay back at home base as Terry, Cyndy and I went out to take photos.Terry in action last FebruaryCyndy taking photos of some of the local kids in San Baltazar, February 2011The reality is this: In the parts of Oaxaca that Adventures in Life ministers in, family photos is a luxury item that most families can’t afford so they don’t think about it. The best example I have of this is Hermana Norma’s parents, Santiago y Julia.This is a photo of Santiago and Julia’s wedding day in 1965. Santiago is at the head of the horse that Julia is sitting on.Terry took this photo of Santiago and Julia last February. It wasn’t until we showed Hermana Norma this photo that we learned that this was the first photo of the two of them since their wedding day. I was in Santiago and Norma’s house yesterday and there was this photo hanging on the wall.
This is the power photography! This is why we come to Oaxaca and this is why we choose to use our gifts for God’s Glory.
**to see more portraits please visit our Facebook page HERE, and while your there please LIKE us**
Oaxaca 2012 :: Wednesday in San Baltazar
We spent the day in San Baltazar, about 40 minutes southeast of Tlacolula. To get an idea of where we are and have been, take a look at this little video Dave put together.
It was good to be in San Baltazar. This first trip I came with Adventures in Life was to San Baltazar. The day was quite successful as the men put a roof on two adobe structures at the church that will be the kitchen and a Sunday school class room. Before work began they gathered to pray and strategerize for the day…The men are putting up a greenhouse next to the adobe buildings…this will be version 2.5You can see more photos on our Facebook page 🙂
Oaxaca 2012 :: tecnologia’ desafiada
tecnologia’ desafiada = technology challenged
This was the theme for today in Oaxaca. It shouldn’t have been so.
I was able to get some work done but my computer was acting up, more than ususal for those who know how messed up my computer is…but it works, that’s what matters. Thankfully there have been no issues with my camera so while I couldn’t do much editing and posting most of the day, I was able to keep shooting. This is home base…where I work when I’m not running around taking photos of the men this week. That’s the computer in question, currently working….to the left, a Toshiba laptop donated by someone from the Rock to the Jesus Geeks, who in turn washed and waxed it and donated it to Americo and Norma, to be used at the training center thats being worked on this week and for use by the local church. This week the men are using it to check in with family back in the states.The machine that Adventures in Life and Harvesting Hope have to drill wells with needed some work done on the drive shafts. Some of the men who were in Oaxaca in January with Harvesting Hope took back to the States the drive shaft, to have a new one machined. Sean brought it with him when he came to Oaxaca this week. When Dave and Chable’ started to put the drive shaft together, it was just a hair too thick. Thankfully, there is a metal machine shop that has a metal lathe in order to adjust the drive shaft to make it work. The photo above is of the machinist working on the drive shaft.Dave and some of the guys from Harvesting Hope came to this same shop 2 weeks ago and they were amazed at how many old classic machines they had, and that they still worked.
One of the machines was an old Lodge & Davis Machine Tool Company of Cincinnati, Ohio. I did a little searching online and saw an old Lodge & Davis machine, reportedly from the 1890’s, that looked newer than the machine above.I know that in the States, most metal lathe machines are computer controlled…but the machinist in Tlacolula got the job done old school style with a good caliper, a good eye and the human touch.
I started to think tonight, with my computer now cooperating… Canon recently unveiled their new flagship EOS 1DX and Nikon just announcing the new D800 & D800E…do we need more technology and more megapixels? I’m using and still loving my EOS 5D. Not too long ago I was walking through church when this kid I know walked up to me and saw my camera on my shoulder. He said something like “ohhhh, is that the 5D Mark II!?” I said nope, I’m rolling with the original 5D. He immediately lost interest and walked away….
Really! I felt like smacking the kid up side the head! Is that what it’s come down to. Unless you have the latest and greatest camera, you don’t matter or you can’t take great photos….just so there is no question, the answer is NO!
That old Toshiba lap top will be a blessing to the local church and to Americo & Norma. And as hard as it might be, I will strive to serve Jesus and take photos that honor Him with my viejo(old) 5D.
Praise God for old technology!