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!!
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!
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.
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.
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 🙂
Adventures in Life Ministries was started over 15 years ago by 2 friends of mine, Grady Martine and Dave Miller. The ministry continues today… their Vision is to make known the transforming power of the Gospel through short term missions in Mexico.
They do this by developing ministry partnerships to reach the heart of Mexico(their Mission).
MISSION focused has had the honor of partnering with AIL over the last 3 years to help them, through photography, to make known the transforming power of the Gospel in Mexico.
Cyndy and brotherjoe are going to Oaxaca at the end of March to continue documenting the work of AIL in Oaxaca.
Jolene, part of the Medical Team in 2010, checking a patients heart and breathing
The Medical Team will be serving in different parts of Oaxaca, partnering with local churches and missionaries, to bring basic health care, via a small mobile clinic, to folks who might not receive any medical attention at all.
You can follow the work of Adventures in Life at their website www.AILministry.org or you can visit their Facebook page HERE. You can also view videos of recent AIL ministry trips at their YouTube channel HERE.
Of course, if your curious about what MISSION focused has been doing in Oaxaca, you can look HERE.
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
This photo was taken on our last trip to Oaxaca with Adventures in Life. That’s Pastor Steve from Las Vegas showing off his wedding ring, ooops! Hopefully his wife Frankie doesn’t notice.
Watch out! Photopeeps gonna get you!!
Photopeeps this Wednesday, February 29th, 7pm 3rd floor of Rock Church.
We are in our 3rd week of exploring how much fun we can have with a camera….all are welcome to our Intro to Photo fun classes, even if you missed the first 2 classes. Please bring your camera and be ready to have fun.
Photography is Fun!!
This Wednesday we will be talking about Aperture…
learning how much fun we can have controlling the image…come join the fun!!
The men from Buffalo, posing for 1 more photo after a week of hard work, fellowship, and fun. Left to right: Adolph, Brad, Ed, Big Boy(aka Brigham) and Willie (in the wheel barrow)
I first met Big Boy 3 years ago, on my first trip to Oaxaca. It has been a blessing getting to know him over the past 3 men’s work weeks in Oaxaca, along with some of the other men from Buffalo, New York. What I have seen, especially this year, was God bringing men from all over the United States and Raul from Guadalajara, Mexico, and quickly molding the men into 1 group in order to complete the work that God had brought them down to Oaxaca for. Every year has been different, not necessarily better or worse than others, but God was clearly present from the first day of work.
For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.
2 Chronicles 16:9
Without a doubt the credit for this belongs to Jesus! The men came and were ready to work and like Big Boy, there were quite a few men that had been to Oaxaca before, so they knew what to expect. Adolph and his son Willie came in 2011…it was great to see Willie step up and work hard during the week. Brad and Ed were new this year, but it looked like they’ve been down to Oaxaca before. Paul Bembia, who is part of the Buffalo crew couldn’t make it this year, he was missed. I’m sure Bid Boy and the guys from Buffalo will continue to share about their experiences in Oaxaca, and hopefully more men will join them next year in Oaxaca!
Dave Miller made this little video at the end of the week with Big Boy, take a look. If you want to learn more about Adventures in Life and the work they are doing in Oaxaca, Mexico, you can go 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…
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**
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.
This morning before breakfast Dave shared the story of Lazarus, from John 11: 1-44
He made some obvious comments about the fact that Jesus could have raised Lazarus without going to his tomb, with a simple conversation with His Father Lazarus could have been raised from the dead Or that Martha didn’t have to run out to meet Jesus, but she did. Jesus went to the tomb to show everyone that He had the power to raise Lazarus from the dead…
Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.
John 11: 41-42
In the same way, Dave said by us men coming to Oaxaca, it was a way to show those serving long term for the Gospel that they are part of and connected to the body of Christ outside of Oaxaca. It would have been easy for the men to give money and not come, but to give of their time and talents as well, means more and shows that the men care. Dave shared how Americo and Norma, missionaries here in Oaxaca, are constantly giving…leading Bible studies, church on Sundays at multiple locations. Every day is ministry. They don’t get to “go home” at the end of the week like we do. Ministry continues to happen. The blessing to them isn’t always the work that is done by the men, which is nice. It’s the time of fellowship and friendships that are made, knowing that there are men from another country who would come and help serve alongside them, sharing the load or yoke, even for a short time, means tons to them.
Forget all the hoopla, programming, and production value…sometimes just showing up is all that’s needed. Now isn’t that refreshing!
Work continues. Here are some photos from today…
Norma and the hermanas: wonderful servants and cooks preparing lunch for us.
more photos on our facebook page HERE
This morning Dave shared out of Nehemiah 1: 1-11
Nehemiah was in mourning when he heard that the walls of Jerusalem were broken down and that the gates were destroyed by fire. After weeping, mourning, praying and fasting he sought the Lord that God would allow him to rebuild what had been destroyed. Dave mentioned that just as men came from all parts to Jerusalem to help fix the wall, the men this week have come from all over the United States and Mexico because we heard there was need in Oaxaca. The men have come here to Mexico, with willing hearts and servant attitudes to serve the people of Oaxaca and in essence, be cup-bearers of the King. Being willing to give our lives for Christ.
It was a great choice of Scripture as the men begin what will be a hard exhausting week of work. All Glory to God!
You can view more photos from today on our facebook site HERE, please take a second and “like” us…thanks!