harnessing the power of photography for good

Posts tagged “Dios es Amor

Adventures in Life, Oaxaca & Photography

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!


Sewing in Oaxaca

The Church at San Baltazar had their first Women’s Ministry Outreach last year when they put on a sewing class during the Children’s Club. On the first day they had only 6 ladies show up. By the last day there were 20 women and 14 of them finished a project.  They had 3 sewing machines to work on.

This last week there were 8 women when the class started on Monday and by Thursday there were over 30 women who wanted to learn to sew.  Another sewing machine had been donated, so now there were 4 machines that the ladies shared. Four of the ladies finish their projects and sixteen are still working on theirs.

Most of the ladies in San Baltazar know how to hand stitch and embroider but have never used a dress pattern or sewing machine before.  Lilia, who had taken sewing classes before will be continuing the sewing ministry by teaching a morning and an afternoon class every Wednesday at the church. There are 26 women signed up to take these classes.

The women really enjoyed talking and sharing life together. Fabric is very inexpensive to buy in Oaxaca so making their own clothes and their kid’s clothed is a great help to the family.

To see more Photos go to our Face Book page and like us


Portrait Time at Dios Es Amor Summer Camp 2012

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.


Ensenada 2012 :: An Overview of the Week of Ministry with Adventures in Life ~ Dios Es Amor Church

Terry Schwartz being prayed for by the kids at camp! 

Terry worked hard and took lots of great photos.  These are just a few to give yall an idea of what God did this week.

This is the heart of who we are as MISSION focused, to use the gift of photography to document what God is doing through ministries like Adventures in Life and small local churches like Dios Es Amor in Ensenada.

Dios Es Amor ~ Adventures in Life Kids Camp 2012

First Baptist Church of Salinas spent the week with Adventures in Life, sharing the love of Christ with the kids and remodeling the kitchen at Dios Es Amor Church.  The men worked hard and got tons of work done…Please keep the next group, from Gardena Valley Baptist Church and Panorama Baptist Church, in prayer as they come to Ensenada to finish the work that began last week.

Dave Miller, Executive Director of Adventures in Life, taking some time to recharge and rest during worship.

You can see more photos from the week on our Facebook page HERE


Ensenada 2012 :: Done for Now!

Jesus Velarde…at the end of a long week.

Terry made it back home safely, praise God!, with over a 1000 photos in the can…pray he gets some rest so he can look through all the photos and pick out the best to share.

Please keep the work in Ensenada in your prayers as well, the work continues this coming week.  Check out the following video Dave Miller made, re-capping the week of ministry.  

It’s gonna be another busy week for Dave, as he helps direct the work of Adventures in Life in Ensenada then jumps on a plane for Oaxaca on Friday.

More photos soon!


Ensenada 2012 :: Summer Camp

Dave Miller, Executive Director of Adventures in Life Ministry shared this photo (that Terry Schwartz took) on the Adventures in Life FB page, along with the following text….

7 years ago we (AIL & Dios Es Amor Church) started this camp with a few volunteers and 15 kids from Dios Es Amor Church in Ensenada… Now we have a leadership team of over 20 people from Dios Es Amor and almost 90 kids, most of whom do not attend any church… God has been faithful in helping us see a dream move from an idea to reality…

Praise God for the work that’s happening in Ensenada this week.  If you want to help more kids go to summer camp, feel free to email Dave at info@ailministry.org


Adventures in Life~Ensenada

This is Dave and Chelle Miller.  Dave is a blessed man to be able to minister alongside his lovely wife this summer in Mexico.  

The volunteers and campers, arriving for a week of fun, fellowship & Jesus.

Terry is in Ensenada now, photographing what God is doing there with Adventures in Life.  He will be taking photos for Pastor Jesus Vera’s church, Dios es Amor, and taking photos of the kids who will be coming to camp this week.  The following is the first report from Terry, chronicling his journey to Ensenada on Saturday, July 7th.

The trip down and the first day in Ensenada were both challenging and uneventful all in one go of it, if that makes sense.

At noon I had got everything in order and was ready to hit the road, and so I hit it hard. As I approached the border I jumped off the freeway to secure insurance and a few pesos. But alas as I walked into the first insurance office and dropped my registration on the counter, I was soon told that they could not fully insure my lovely little car. Not full insurance just cover any other cars or persons. At the next insurance office the same story; I was about to give up and head home, I was not going to take El Bandito de Amor across the border without coverage. I stopped in BajaMex and they agreed to cover me. This kept me from slinking home in abject failure and disgrace.

I arrived safe and sound about three hours late, but in time for dinner, call me anything but late for dinner. After meeting the rest of the team, we had a lovely dinner prepared by the Pastors family.

I met Pastor Jesus Vera and his lovely wife Mirtha, of the Dios es Amor Church, who will be sponsoring the camp. Tomorrow, Sunday, I will take portraits of Church members before heading off to camp to immortalize the children on film or in the modern vernacular, on Flash cards.

Keep us in your prayers, GOD bless you.

     Terry Schwartz

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.