Do you believe that 90% of people have only taken photos on a camera phone versus a camera? In the article I was reading the author said he did not believe the statistic was true. I think his opinion is coming from a very American point of view. The statistic was not referenced so there is no way to know where it came from. However, there are other statistics that are well documented. Like the fact that more than 1.3 billion people live in extreme poverty barely surviving on less than $1.25 a day. And nearly ½ of the world’s population, more that 3 billion people, live on less that $2.50 a day. Overall 80% of the world population lives on less than $10 a day. These people are not spending their money on cameras. However, they are spending money on the ability to communicate. More people on earth have access to cell phones than toilets. Out of the world’s estimated 7 billion people, 6 billion have access to mobile phones. It has been amazing to watch the increase in mobile phone around the world over the past 15 years. These phones are not iphones with high quality cameras.
Because people don’t have cameras they don’t have printed pictures of themselves. We at MissionFocused know this first hand as we interact with people we are talking photos of. We did not just want to be another bunch of photographers who come into a village and get a kick out of how the kids react when we show a few photo to them on the camera. Our desire is to leave them with a lasting image of themselves.
Here are a few of the women who were thankful for their photos.
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.
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.
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!
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.
We had a great time on Saturday, December 8th, blessing Military Families in San Diego. MISSION focused gathered up a bunch of talented photographers to offer Military Families in San Diego an opportunity to have their Family Portraits taken at Liberty Station. We had 36 families, representing the Navy, Marines and the Army, come join us Saturday morning. It was a beautiful morning to bless those who serve our country and their families. You can see more photos HERE.
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!!
Our friends at Adventures in Life Ministry are celebrating 20 years of ministry in Mexico. We are truly blessed to have been able to photograph what God is doing through AIL in Ensenada and Oaxaca. In the next few months we will be sharing a few of our favorite photos from the last 3 years that we have been photographing for Adventures in Life. You can learn more about the work of Adventures in Life by going HERE. Enjoy!
Our 2nd trip to Oaxaca in July of 2010 for AIL Kids Summer Camp at Pastor Chable’s farm in Zimatlan, Oaxaca.
The above photo was taken as we were waiting for a bus so we could make our way to Tlacolula from the city…I remember hearing Dave say,” jump on the nicest bus”…which we did. In the mean time we passed up 4 or 5 buses and ended up waiting another 30 minutes. I was fine, but the gals apparently had to go to the bathroom. The nice bus ride was 40 minutes to our destination….
This was taken in San Felipe Guila, about an hour away from the city of Oaxaca. We were there with the Medical Team. The folks there loved the photos, we took over 70 portraits in 2 days….of families, kids and different combinations of friends and family. What a great time
The men had just finished eating at one of Dave’s favorite roadside eating establishments, Taqueria El Rodeo, across the street from the main bus station in Oaxaca City (if you ever find yourself in the area you must go eat there)…and we were walking back to Casa Arnel when we bumped into these guys. The world famous Tuna de la Urse, one of the best roaming minstrels in Mexico and beyond… They travel all around the world competing and winning. They played for us and then the men got to pose with them! Great food and great music!
Happy 20 years of ministry to Adventures in Life! We hope yall have at least another 20! Praise God!!
2010 AIL Summer Camp at Pastor Chable’s farm (Zimatlan, Oaxaca Mexico)
3 years ago I made my first trip to Oaxaca with Dave Miller and Adventures in Life. I have known Dave for quite some time and I have many friends who have been very involved with AIL over the years. I almost made it Ensenada 15 years ago, give or take a few years, with AIL but it didn’t happen.
Terry in action at 2010 AIL Summer Camp
Understanding that God’s timing is perfect, I finally made it in February of 2010. It was on that trip that I began talking with Dave about bringing more photographers to Oaxaca in order to photograph the work that AIL was doing and to take portraits of kids and families in Oaxaca.
If you have ever been on a mission trip, one thing you will notice is that everyone serving seems to have a camera. What you see is someone taking a photo, usually of kids, and then they show the image on the screen of the camera and that’s it. The folks you are serving never see the photos ever again. Our goal as a ministry is to fix this problem. The Summer of 2010, Terry Schwartz came to Oaxaca with me to photograph AIL Summer Camp at Pastor Chable’s farm. We brought with us 2 HP printers so each student that came to camp could take home a photo of the whole camp and a picture of themselves. The photo above is of our “command center” that week.
Cyndy has been to Oaxaca several times, like Terry, to take portraits and to photograph the work of AIL in Oaxaca.
Some of the students looking at their photos from this summers camp in Oaxaca.
One of the biggest blessings for us is knowing that we were the first photographers to take some of these students portraits! It’s something that I can never forget or take for granted. We live in a world here in the U.S. where everyone has a camera, whether its a traditional camera or a phone with one. And to think that someone has never had their photo taken?
I took this gal’s photo in 2010. She is from San Pedro Amatlan, a small town several hours in the mountains above the city of Oaxaca. Cyndy and I visited this town with AIL’s Medical Team in March, where we had the chance to photograph families while we were there.
I recognized her from camp and I asked her if she was coming to camp in July. She was not able to make it. I also asked her if she still had the photo we took of her in 2010. She smiled and said “yes.” We took the photo above of her with some of her family…we left this and other photos we took before we headed down the mountain that evening.
These are some of the portraits we have had the privilege of taking over the past 3 years in Ensenada and Oaxaca…
This Summer was a blessing for us as a ministry. Since we started taking portraits of students at camp in 2010, we have been able to take portraits several different times on numerous trips to Oaxaca with Adventures in Life, in a half dozen locations around Oaxaca and in Ensenada with Dios es Amor Church this summer! Praise God!
2012 AIL Summer Camp
It is our desire to help ministries like Adventures in Life by documenting in photographs the work they are doing, and help AIL and the local church in areas like Oaxaca and Ensenada extend their reach into the community through photography.
MISSION focused is now a non profit 501 (c) 3, registered with the State of California and the IRS. If you would like to support the work that we are doing in Oaxaca and in San Diego, it would be a blessing to us. At this point in time we are not set up for credit card donations, so for now you can send a check payable to “MISSION focused” to the following address: MISSION focused ~ 8030 La Mesa Blvd #326 La Mesa CA, 91942
If you are a photographer, and have a desire to use your gifts for God’s Glory and to serve others, we would love to talk with you about future trips we are planning….
All Glory to God!
MISSION focused teamed up with Adventures in Life 3 years ago this Summer, we took photos of AIL Summer Camp. That’s where we first began taking portraits of the kids at camp and printing onsite so they could take the photo home with them.
Too often on missions trips the folks who are serving, take tons of photos but they rarely leave any. Most of the time, after taking the photo, they show the photo on the small screen of the camera and that’s it! I have been guilty of this myself.
It is our desire to use the gift of photography to bless others and bring honor and glory to Jesus. One way we can do this is by taking the portraits of the kids and printing them for them.
Adventures in Life Summer Camp 2010
The kids receiving their photos
Terry Schwartz was down in Ensenada earlier this month taking portraits of the kids who came to the Dios Es Amor Summer Camp. These are just a few of the kid portraits he took. I am sure Terry was blessed just as much, if not more, as the kids were.
If you want to join us on one of these missions trips as a photographer, let us know. We love to share the blessings.
You can see all the portraits that Terry took at our Smugmug site HERE.
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!
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…
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!
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!
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 email@example.com
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.
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.
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.
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.
MISSION focused will be in Oaxaca this summer, photographing the work of Adventures in Life. While we are there, we will take a few hours to photograph the beautiful pageantry of the Guelaguetza. Looking forward to witnessing and photographing what God is gonna do in Oaxaca this summer. Stay tuned…
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.
I’ve had the blessing to travel multiple times to photograph with Adventures in Life in Oaxaca, Mexico and each time I have learned something new about the people of Oaxaca that has blessed me and encouraged my faith. One of the biggest lessons I have learned is the need to build relationships and earn trust with the folks I am photographing. While Adventures in Life is technically an organisation that takes folks on “short term missions” to Mexico, at the heart of AIL is a desire to make a long term lasting impact in the lives of the people they minister to and with.
The only way that happens is by making and sustaining long term relationships.
Dave Miller recently shared a conversation he had with a big church in the US that was wanting to minister in Oaxaca. They had heard about Dave and the work that AIL was doing in Oaxaca, and wanted Dave to introduce them (the big US church) to his friends and contacts in Oaxaca.
Dave understands and really thinks like a Mexican when it comes to ministry and how things “get done” in Mexico. It something he has learned over the years through trial and error and much observation, and he really wants to share the Love of Christ with his friends in Mexico. Because of that, he is quick to listen and slow to move when it comes to groups coming to Oaxaca and wanting to work with him. Or in the case of the big US church, they just wanted his contacts and didn’t want to “work or partner” with him.
Dave has had other big US churches come and want to work with him, but he has had to say no, because they wanted to “do things their way” not taking into account what the local church or long term missionaries wanted or needed. He had to take a pass on working with those churches. That’s what he had to do as well with the latest big US church that wanted to meet his contacts.
At this point you might think its a pride thing and that Dave didn’t want to share his futbol with anyone, but that’s not the case. Dave really eats, drinks, and breathes Mexico! He spends half the year ministering in Mexico and working with local churches and missionaries. Much of that time is spent building new relationships and deepening old existing ones. These relationships have come over time, as he has ministered alongside local missionaries and churches. Dave Miller, with Pastor Chable’s Family
Having sweat, bled, cried, prayed and lived with them over the years, he has earned their trust and respect. Something Dave has come to cherish and guard. The folks he is ministering with, are his friends and he has become part of their family. This isn’t just ministry contacts they, the big US churches, want him to introduce them to, it really is his family.
Don’t know about y’all, but family really is sacred. Not something you mess with. When you meet family, and become family, it’s an honor that you don’t take lightly. Especially since it’s not something that comes easily or quickly, even with the family of Christ, both in Mexico or in the US.
In the end, it really is all about our relationship with Christ and with each other, as we seek to share Christ with those who don’t know Him yet.
Respect the family!
If you want to come experience Oaxaca first hand, feel free to contact Dave at firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s about that time…for everyone to head for home. Before everyone leaves, wanted to share a few photos of some of the amazing folks we had the privilege to serve alongside this week. Pastor Rolando with his family and the Adventures in Life Medical Team, in San Felipe GuilaPastor Chable’ with his wife Estella and her mom and their son Hiram. With the beautiful view of the valley of San Pedro Amatlan behind them. Team Oregon! Jolene, Fran, Arlene and Claire. Great gals from Burns, Oregon
Pastors Americo and Norma, with their children Ruth and Julian. Surrounded by the great folks on this years Medical Team.
Friday we celebrated Hermana Norma’s Birthday! Here she is with the shawl and flowers we gave her.
Can’t have a birthday without a birthday cake…and fire! Janet and Raquel have already left for home…but we still had a blast celebrating Hermana Norma’s birthday without them 🙂Before I forget…It’s been a real blessing to serve alongside Cyndy Smith. She has traveled the world on many missions over the years, and she is a great addition to MISSION focused family and this week couldn’t have been possible without her. She has been a real trooper this week. Missions deep in Mexico is very different than what you may have experienced along the border towns and she has learned to be quite flexible with how things are on mission in Oaxaca.
We will be continuing to post when we get back to the states, photos and stories, so stay tuned and please visit our Facebook page for more info and photos. You can see our Facebook page HERE.
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.
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.