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.
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!
We have been so busy serving and photographing all over San Diego and Mexico, we have neglected updating our site. We apologize for lack of new content and we will be updating what we have been doing in last 6 months and share more about our fun crazy summer! For now, here are a few photos from our recent trip to Oaxaca with Adventures in Life Ministry. We will explain more about what God did soon…
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
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.
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.
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.
Brotherjoe is in Oaxaca once again, photographing Summer Camp at Pastor Chable’s. He will be there till August 4th, then he will spend the next week in Guadalajara photographing camp there.
There is no internet at the camp, but when possible, photos will be posted on our Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/MISSIONfocusedPhotography and on the Adventures in Life FB page, https://www.facebook.com/AdventuresInLife
This was the great team of folks who were serving the kids at the camp this past week. Please keep brotherjoe in prayer…Thanks
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….
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It’s time for Oaxaca…come Friday I will be on a plane, with Cyndy Smith, heading for Oaxaca, Mexico. It’s been busy the last 2 weeks and as Friday approaches, I’m looking at another busy week. Hopefully I will be able to get some time to prepare, spiritually, for my time in Oaxaca. I’m really looking forward to this trip.
2010 Adventures in Life Oaxaca Medical Team
My first trip with Adventures in Life was back when the men’s work week and medical team outreach happened at the same time. Since then, the medical team outreach was moved to March and I haven’t had the chance to join another AIL medical team trip, so this should be fun.
2010 AIL Men’s Ministry Construction Team
That trip 3 years ago has become a real special experience for me as I look back. From that trip, God began to clarify how we, Mission Focused, can use photography to help further the reach of the Gospel and help those working in the missions field.
Terry in action
Since that first trip with AIL, God has continued to show us how we can serve those that are serving in the field. One of the things we started doing is taking family portraits. Oaxaca is the second poorest state in Mexico, and family photos is a luxury item for many.
It is our hope that taking these portraits will help the local church and missionaries to reach out to their community and build relationships in order to share the Love of Christ with them. And we can leave a lasting reminder of our visit…since too often, photographers come and go and the people they are taking photos of never see a photo other than the image on the back of the camera.
Cyndy and brotherjoe (me) will be sharing photos and stories during the week, so stay tuned. We will be posting on Facebook as well, so if you haven’t, please visit our FB page and “LIKE” us while your there 🙂
It was a long week of work, fun, and fellowship…it’s great to see this final video taken inside the completed storage rooms that the men built during the week.
If you want to come and experience Oaxaca first hand this summer or with the men, next February, contact Dave Miller at Dave@AILMinistry.com You can learn more about Adventures in Life ministries HERE
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…
Tonight we got together one last time, all the men who were serving this week, along with Pastors Americo and Norma, and some of the families that served alongside us this past week in Oaxaca. It was great to break bread with our brothers and sisters in Christ after a great week of serving Jesus.We took one final group shot in front of the new storage rooms the men built this week in Tlacolula.
As we prepare to leave tomorrow, it becomes an obvious time to reflect and thank God for his faithfulness. Nobody was seriously hurt, the work was completed, and relationships have strengthened renewed for those who have been to Oaxaca before, and new friendships for those coming for the first time.
Sometimes after these short term missions, we can forget once we get back home, that ministry continues after we leave. It’s that whole perception that if were not there, ministry must stop and wait til we come back 12 months from now. Nope!
The work is hard. Hermana Norma said it well tonight, that though her joy is in Christ, she will miss us. Sometimes just having fellow believers join you and fellowship with you, even for a short period of time, is therapeutic in and of itself. Showing up is enough. We don’t always have to do something. More on this when I get back to SD.
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**
Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.
And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
(Matthew 5:1-12 ESV)
This morning Dave shared from Matthew 5, the Beatitudes.
It reminded me of something I heard and never forgot. I was a young christian and going to Emmanuel Faith Community Church in Escondido, Doc Strauss said “there are lots of people who say they love God, but very few truly love Jesus.” He was talking about having a passionate personal relationship with Jesus. Being fully surrendered to the One who I owe everything to. All that I have is His.
Dave shared how much of Mexico is culturally religious and in much the same way many Americans fall into the same category. As followers of Christ, are we looking at the Beatitudes as a check list for our faith? As if we will gain eternal life if we get all our boxes checked off before God calls us home. Christians have been told that they need to “do things” for the kingdom in order to become more like Christ. We pray before meals, go to church, attend Bible study, read our Bible…and somewhere along the way we were told we should evangelize and go on mission. Romans 6 tells us that obedience leads to righteousness.
Dave really hit it home when he said that we need to have obedience with purpose.
Today is Thursday and in less than 2 days we will be on our way back to the states. Are we really serving Christ out of a deep passionate desire to honor Him with our whole life? Or are we here because it’s what christians are supposed to do? Where are you going?
The great thing about our relationship with Christ is that while God demands perfection from us, He sees us covered by the blood of the Lamb. By God’s Grace, we are given the Holy Spirit to help us along the way on this process of sanctification, becoming more like Jesus each day.
I love the photo above. It reminds me of what our relationship with God is like…
As I watched this scene unfold, I couldn’t hear what he was saying to his son, but it didn’t matter. I know what was being conveyed by his body language an the fathers smile…what I saw was a picture of God reminding me that He is there for me. Though I may mess up or fall on my face, He is there to gently remind me that His Grace is sufficient. I don’t have to “try” so hard. Obedience with purpose.
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 🙂
This morning Dave shared from Acts 1
In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.
And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
(Acts 1:1-8 ESV)
As we prepare to go to San Baltazar today to work and fellowship, Dave gave us some perspective on where we were going.
In the United States, about 90 percent of short term missions work is done in Mexico. And 90 percent of that is done in the border areas of Mexico and the U.S.
Where we are going, San Baltazar, is not on the map when it comes to short term missions…Americans don’t go to places like this. Dave was was encouraging everyone to remember that everyone will be watching us, we are literally going to the ends of the earth when it comes to missions. Folks in this part of Mexico don’t have a favorable view of Americans, we have a chance to change their opinions of Americans and christians from the U.S.
I won’t have a chance to post anything in San Baltazar, since the church doesn’t have internet…so keep us in prayer and I will be posting when we get back to Tlacolula tonight.
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!