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
Fall in Oaxaca
We had the blessing of photographing Adventures in Life Ministry’s first Fall Medical Mission in Oaxaca last week. The photo above is the Team that traveled from the U.S. to serve with Dave and AIL. You can read a great re-cap of the week at AIL Ministry’s blog HERE.
We will be posting more stuff and photos from the week soon.
Travelling Light to Oaxaca :: Gotta Love Think Tank Photo!
It was a long day of travel…it all started on May 16th at 830pm San Diego time and ended in Oaxaca, Mexico at 630pm local time, May 17th. I’ve been to Oaxaca 8 or 9 times in the last 4 years, photographing for Adventures in Life Ministry.
The first time I came I had my Shapeshifter and Airport International, along with a smaller roller with clothes that I would checkin. I’ve learned over the past few years what works for me, and in the end that’s what matters. I have also learned that the airlines in Mexico don’t care what’s in your roller. If they want to be sticklers for the rules, they won’t let you bring your rolling case on board. Especially if it weighs 24kg and the limit is 15kg! Oops!!
I love my Shapeshifter pack, it holds what I want and with some coaxing, I can fit it with the gear in the photo in the overhead bin of an AeroMexico Embrear Jet.
So this is my Think Tank Photo Shapeshifter…I love it! I love Oaxaca and can’t wait to see more of the beautiful city. I will be posting as much as possible, but come Tuesday, I will be up in the mountains above Oaxaca for a few days shooting in Tlaxiaco…not sure if I will have wifi. We will see….
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.
2012 Guelaguetza :: Oaxaca
The Guelaguetza, aka Los Lunes del Cerro (Mondays on the Hill) happens the last 2 Mondays of July in the streets of Oaxaca City, and in surrounding towns and villages throughout the State of Oaxaca. It’s a celebration of everything that is Oaxaca. It’s a wash of color, sound, smell and taste that makes the culture in Oaxaca so unique.
If you ever get a chance to visit, you really must come during the Guelaguetza.
Oaxaca 2012 :: Outreach Club in San Baltazar
Monday was the first day of Adventures in Life Outreach Club in San Baltazar, Oaxaca. There were over 75 kids from the church and community that came to learn more about Jesus. There were also 10 women who came to their Women’s Ministry sewing clinic. You can see a few more photos on our Facebook page HERE.
Guelaguetza Parade 2012 :: July 21st
The streets were jam packed with people who came to see the 80th Anniversary of La Guelaguetza parade, down the middle of downtown Oaxaca.
It was a long day…you can see a few more photos from the parade on our Facebook page. You can go there by pressing HERE or by clicking link to the right. More photos soon.
Long, fun day…time for some rest!
Oaxaca Summer 2012 :: Locked and Loaded!
Victory Loves Preparation!
Bags are packed…ready as I will ever be. I’m heading off to Oaxaca tonight for 2 weeks of shooting with Adventures in Life Ministry. This will be my 6th trip down in 3 years, and I have learned a few things over the years.
I have learned a few things over the years…no matter how well your prepared, something will happen that will throw you off and cause you to change directions in order to “keep up!” So I basically gear up for the unexpected.
The biggest lesson of all, is that ministry in Mexico is fluid. God is in control and He knows the beginning from the end and everything in between. So if I rest in that assurance, I can go with the flow and ministry will be a lot more fun and successful.
In the end it’s not about whether I’m shooting with a Canon or Nikon camera, or if I’m using a PC or a Mac.
It’s about using the gifts that He has given me to the best of my ability.
So I prepare as best as I can, and I bring what gear I think I will need and use, and then I do my best to shoot what God shows me in a manner that brings Him the most Glory!
All Glory to God!
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…
Terry in Ensendada :: This Is Who We Are
This is Terry. He is a Marine. He is wearing makeup. Probably camouflage to help him blend in more and not be seen, in order to get the shot. He appears to be printing photos…
Part of what Terry is doing, what MISSION focused is all about, is blessing folks with photos. To often groups go on mission trips, take tons of photos, and the people they are working with and ministering to never see any of the photos, save the quick look at the screen after capture.
This is Terry in action 2 summers ago in Oaxaca, Mexico. We were taking portraits of all the kids who came to camp so they could go home with a photo of themselves.
This was a huge blessing for us, realizing that many of these kids had never had their photo taken! It really is a privilege to be able to do this.
As Terry is still in Ensenada, please keep him in prayer. He will be taking portraits tomorrow of the kids at the Dios Es Amor camp.
We will be heading down to Oaxaca next week for another kids camp, where we will be taking portraits of the kids once again!
All Glory to God!
Ensenada Bound with Adventures in Life
Terry Schwartz will be representing MISSION focused in Ensenada next week with Adventures in Life, working with Pastor Jesus Vera and his church, Dios es Amor. Please keep Terry, Dave Miller and Pastor Jesus in prayer, along with the different groups coming to Ensenada to minister alongside AIL this coming week.
I found this old photo of Terry, in camo, and Mike Saucedo, far right. It’s hard to find photos of photographers since they are usually behind the camera and not in front. So the fact that I have 2 photographers in 1 photo is a bonus!
Terry has been faithfully serving God with his skills in photography for as long as I’ve known him, over 10 years. Please keep him in prayer as uses his gifts for God’s glory this week in Ensenada.
Hopefully he will have time to post photos on our MISSION focused FB site, so keep an eye out.
Oaxaca 2012 :: Long Short Term Friendships
Dave Miller shared over at his blog Notes from Dave, about the Power of Photography
Dave Miller talking with Jaime about how the make textiles on the looms
Yes, Dave does share about MISSION focused and our relationship with Adventures in Life, but why I’m sharing this again is to follow up with some photos that I was able to take for Jaime. Read Dave’s post HERE and this will all make more sense. Continuing the friendship…
Jaime and his son
When talking with Jaime I asked what his son’s name was. He said they did not give him a name yet…they were waiting to see his personality in order to find a name that fit. Plus, it’s not like he won’t respond to you just because he doesn’t have an official name. Makes sense to me.
After taking these photos we had a few photos printed up for Jaime and his wife and Dave and I delivered them. The family was blessed almost as much as we were. Jaime asked how much money we wanted for taking the photos, we told him nothing. We do this because we love Jesus and want to serve our friends in Mexico.
The relationship that began many years ago with Doug and Julian (Jaime’s Dad)…using photography, again,to continue the relationship!
You can see more photos from Adventures in Life HERE.
Elizabeth :: Photographing in San Pedro Amatlan
This is Elizabeth.
I first met her in July, 2010 with Adventures in Life. I was in Oaxaca, Mexico with Terry Schwartz, photographing with MISSION focused. Pastor Chable’ hosts a camp for kids during the summers at his ranch. He brings kids down from some of the surrounding towns in the mountains above Oaxaca. Many of these kids never leave their little towns, and if not for this camp, most will never leave their town.
Me and Terry were there to photograph the week of camp, and take portraits of the kids so they could take the photos home as a memento of the week. Many of the kids had never had their photo taken, or had a photo of themselves!
During the week of camp I noticed a few things about Elizabeth. She had a beautiful smile with these great dimples, but she didn’t always smile. She had maybe 2 or 3 pairs of clothes, which she rotated and mix & matched during the week. This was typical of most of the kids that came from the mountain towns. At times I would see her playing with the other kids, and other times she would be off by herself, like the photo above…
The camp was made up of kids from all parts of Oaxaca and a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds with ages ranging from 6 to 16. The age difference made things interesting when it came to spending time with them and how the counselors would counsel them, but there were no real issues to worry about.
Fast forward to this Friday in San Pedro Amatlan, in the mountains surrounding Oaxaca. Me and Cyndy are taking photos with the Medical Team, and taking family portraits as well.
Who do I see? Elizabeth.
I asked if she remembered me, in what little Spanish I speak, and if she still had the photo we printed for her 2 years ago. She said she still has the photo. I dont’t think she remembers me, but I remembered her. I was excited to see her and to know she is doing well in the little town of San Pedro Amatlan. I asked her if she was coming to camp this summer? She didn’t know. That makes two of us. We will see if I can make it up to camp in July.
Hopefully she will be able to add the photo above to her collection of photos. What a blessing!
Oaxaca Med Team :: Fruit of the Loom(s)
Next door to the church in San Baltazar is a family that has a textile manufacturing business, they make knit ware on the loom, from wool, cotton, silk and other assorted materials. The father, Julian, has been a big help in the past as was part of the team of locals that helped build the church over the years.
Doug, Noemi, Elizabeth and Brian in front of the church in San Baltazar in February 2012
Doug got to know Julian during their time of working together while building the church. Doug took a photo of himself and Julian that found its way back to Julian, via Dave, and now hangs proudly in the house of Julian. Talking with Jaime, Julian’s son, he said his dad still talks about Doug and his experience helping build the church.Jaime and Dave, who is holding the photo of Doug & Julian
Dave shares…As I walked in the door, I saw it. A picture I have seen a million times on my computer. It is one I have used on the Adventures in Life Ministry web site. It was a picture of my friend Doug and the new friend he made in Oaxaca, Julian, Jaime’s dad.Everyone in the family remembered Doug and the day that photo was taken. I listened as they shared about their dad helping us build the church next door and his work with us alongside Doug in Tlacolula.
Oaxaca Med Team :: Notes from Dave
Dave Miller, with Adventures in Life just wrote a great blog about the power of photography. He gives us huge props as well…You can read his blog at his blog site “notes from Dave” or by going HERE.
Oaxaca Medical:: Portraits
What happens too often in “missions photography” is those serving bring their cameras, in all its forms, and take photos…then they show the photo in the small screen and that’s that! They go home, share photos on facebook, tell stories of what God did and talk about going back soon (most never do).
Seeking to use photography in new and creative ways to bring honor and glory to God…we began taking family portraits in Oaxaca, Mexico. We print and give photos to those whose photos we took. Hopefully building trust and respect with the folks Adventures in Life is seeking to minister to.
We have learned that what we take for granted in the states is something they really don’t worry about, since family photos are a luxury item. So when we can give them the photo we just took, it’s powerful stuff. Our hope is that through photography, another opportunity to share about God’s Love will happen during the delivery of these photos.
Interested in using your gifts to help us photograph what God is doing in Mexico, let us know! For now you can visit the Adventures in Life Facebook page HERE to view more photos.
2012 Oaxaca Medical Team
2012 Adventures in Life Oaxaca Medical Team
Monday was a long day, we were originally gonna be in a small town called San Pablo, but we ended up going to San Felipe Guila. The team saw 39 patients in the clinic and we expect to see even more on Tuesday as we go back to the same town.
Please continue to pray for safety and divine appointments this week. 2 young teenage gals prayed to accept Christ as their Lord and Savior today! Praise God!!
You can see more photos at the Adventures in Life Facebook page HERE.
Oaxaca 2012 :: The Power of Photography
Having been to Oaxaca several times now…the goal at first was to help document the work of God as through Adventures in Life in Oaxaca. As we look to the future, 2012 and beyond, our goal hasn’t changed and I believe God has allowed Mission Focused to see more, a bigger picture if you will, of how we can use photography to bless others and continue to show the world what He is doing in the mission field.
Dave Miller with the Mission Focused crew, in the market enjoying some traditional Oaxacan helado(ice cream)
In past trips to Oaxaca, Terry Schwartz, Jim Wanglund and Cyndy Smith have seen first hand what God is doing. As we continue to beat the drum of using photography to document the work of God in Oaxaca, and in other parts of the world, we would love for you to join us.
For now, our focus is firmly on Oaxaca, but there are folks who wonder what its like or if it’s safe…take a look at this interview I did with Dave on my last trip to Oaxaca. Mission Focused is preparing to go down to Oaxaca at least 2 more times this year. If you are interested in coming down to minister with your camera or without, let us know, we would be glad to talk with you more.