harnessing the power of photography for good

Posts tagged “faith in God

Praying for Trevor is Great! Wanna do more?

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Trevor with his wife Alicia and their 2 kids

 

#trevortime #BeatThis #cancersucks

Go to the following link below or go HERE, to learn more about our friend Trevor and how he learned he had cancer.   We all know somebody who has battled cancer or has in the past.  Please read, pray, share and consider how you might help…

We believe in a big God who still does miracles today!  Please continue to pray that God would heal Trevor completely and that the Trevor would continue to be a light to those he encounters who don’t know Jesus yet.

Friends of Trevor have set up a Give Forward page to help alleviate the costs of battling cancer, here is the link> http://bit.ly/1qlAgho

 

 

 

 


Praying for our friend Trevor

Our friend Trevor is battling cancer.  He was diagnosed earlier this year and has begun chemo and radiation treatment to beat down the cancer. Then the Doctors will go in and cut it out.  Please join us as we pray that God would fully heal Trevor.  That the Doctors would have the wisdom and discernment to know how to best treat Trevor and that God would be glorified in his life.  Pray for his wife Alicia and their 2 kids as well.   All Glory to God!  Thanks!

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Choose Wisely :: Using Photography to Bless and Encourage

DSC_3499Our goal is to use photography to bless others, serve our fellow man, and bring glory to God in all we do.  Last weekend we had the honor of photographing Military Families in San Diego.  Many of the families hadn’t had formal portraits of their family in some time, due to the demands of Military life…

Dunhill has created a series of videos, Dunhill “Voices,” highlighting people who exemplify  “elegance and achievement.”

This video of photographer Don McCullin is quite extraordinary.  He is known in the photography world as a “war time photographer,” a term he hates.  His words are haunting and compelling.  A reminder of why we choose to photograph the good, the beautiful…things that encourage and bless.  You don’t have to be a photographer to appreciate this little video.  There a lessons to be learned on many different levels.  Thanks to David Sims for creating this beautiful video.


Adios Oaxaca!

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.


Cooking & the Gospel

Adventures in Life Ministry is dedicated to spreading the hope that can only be found in Jesus.  Dave Miller, Executive Director of Adventures in Life, will also tell you that it’s not enough to preach Jesus.  In Mexico, the mortality rate for children under 5 is twice that of the United States, mostly due to malnutrition and hunger.  Children can’t hear the Good News of Jesus when the “grumbling” and hunger pains are all they can think about.  And when they do have an opportunity to hear about Jesus, and come to saving knowledge of Him…the question still remains, where will their next meal be coming from?Photographing on mission with Adventures in Life in Oaxaca I have seen their work as they try and deal with these issues.  At Summer Camp, the kids get 3 full meals a day, packed with tons of protein.  Many of the kids who come to camp might have some sort of meat protein once a week, if that. They can have as much as they want!

This Summer they began an exciting new “culinary arts” program.  Partnering with recent Le Cordon Bleu graduate Yesenia Martinez who lead the classes in our camp kitchen, she taught the first group of students in a sort of cooking boot-camp, giving them information to help them understand what a career in cooking might look like.  On their final full day of camp the young students were brought to Oaxaca City to meet Chef Rodolfo Castellanos, Owner/Chef of Origen Restaurant.  With the help of Bricia Lopez of Guelaguetza Restaurant in L.A. the kids got to visit, get to know and cook with Chef Rodolfo in his kitchen.  It was a great morning and the Chef was more than gracious about sharing his story and how he worked hard in kitchens all over the world before making it back to Oaxaca to open his own restaurant.  He encouraged them to dream and work hard, regardless of if they wanted to be a Chef or not.

It was a exciting to see the kids look around at his restaurant and listen to someone who is from Ocotlan, Oaxaca and think that with a lot of hard work and perseverance they might be able to be a Chef as well.

These are issues most short term missions never address.  I think many of these missions trips are so focused on spreading the Good News to as many folks as possible, they never think about the physical needs of those they are trying to minister to.  It’s safe to say Adventures in Life is trying to meet the physical and spiritual needs of those they are ministering to.

Thanks again to Chef Rodolfo for being such a gracious host.  Thanks to Bricia Lopez of Guelaguetza Restaurant and thank you to Chef Yesenia Martinez for your willingness to come to Oaxaca and share your passion for food with the students.


Promise Keepers San Diego :: Called Out

My first experience with Promise Keepers was at Anaheim Stadium in 1994 (seen here, before becoming a baseball only stadium).

It was an experience that I can still remember and it was when God really showed me the importance and the power of men who come together to pray and hold each other accountable.  Since 1994 I think I have been to 4 other Promise Keeper events, either to attend or photograph.This past weekend Promise Keepers was back in San Diego at SDSU‘s Viejas Arena.  The last time I was at there it was for the Rock Church Easter Service in 2007.  It was fun to wander around underneath, hard to believe it was 5 years ago since I was last there.Volunteers getting their assignmentsIt was a blessing to help Promise Keepers document this year’s conference in San Diego.  It was their last event for the year and it finished well.  Promise Keepers might not be filling 60,000+ seat stadiums right now, but I was exciting to see what God was doing.  They are trying to equip and encourage the men of the church.  Young and old and everything in between!   Calling them Out to be Men of God…in their marriages, families, churches, work places and communities.  There is talk of Promise Keepers coming back through San Diego next year.  If they do, I will be there!  What a blessing!


A Look Back at August 2012

Since returning from Oaxaca at the beginning of August, it seems like I have been going non-stop.   As I sit in Chick-fil-A and look back it’s hard to believe that it’s September 3rd.  Where did August go?

It’s a good thing I have photos to look back on to help me answer this question…if not for that, I don’t know what I would do.  So, as a way to maintain some sanity and to share what God has been doing I share these photos of August 2012.  God is good!

Beginning of August, finished photographing Summer Camp in Oaxaca, with Adventures in Life.  Taking portraits of cute little kids and some not so little kids….I got to spend some time with family, always a blessing.   We came together to celebrate my youngest niece Olivia’s 9th Birthday.

2002 Rock Church Staff photo, taken by Rafael Delgado.
In August I started looking through and uploading on Facebook old photos from the archives.   Photos are great reminders of what God has done in the past and a way of showing those who came before us.  This photo is from a 2003 Rock Church baptism at Mariner’s Point, Mission Bay.I love this photo.  Pete Giordano took this photo at one of the first Rock Baptisms, Mariners Point, I believe in 2001.  He is a great photographer who loves black & white film.    The photo speaks for itself.

August 16th, the Rock Academy started school.  I have had the privilege of photographing at the Academy for several years now…I watched a few kids graduate this past May that I have known since they were in elementary school.  It’s always fun to see the new faces as well as the familiar ones, in expectation…Blessings on the Rock Academy for a great school year! 

My friends kids, Valeria, Veronica and Diego.  It was their first day at their new school…August 18th, taking photos in San Marcos at Knob Hill Elementary.  Rock Church North County was there to help beautify the campus…over 150 folks came out that day.  That afternoon, Warriors Indoor Club Soccer…Photos are from the 18th and 25th.Rock North County had a Marriage “Date Night” on August 24th.  They asked us to document the evening and take portraits of the happy couples…Rock North County Baptism, August 27th at Carlsbad Lagoon.  A great place to declare your faith in Jesus publicly…August 31st, Friday night lights.  Rock Academy Football team had their season opener versus Capistrano Valley Christian. It was a close game but in the 2nd half Capo Valley pulled away winning 35-21.August was busy, but after looking through several thousand photos I can’t complain.  I get to use my gifts to serve Jesus and bless others!  Hopefully September does’t go as fast…


Adventures in Life :: Twenty

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!!


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!


Oaxaca Camp

Summer Camp is something most U.S. kids get to do sometime in their life. But in Oaxaca, Mexico it is a real novelty. This week Adventures In Life has hosted 62 kids for a fun filled four days on a farm.

There are fourteen staff people at the camp to love on the kids and to provide them with a fabulous experience. Seven have come from Evergreen Church in Pasadena, CA, Three from other parts of California, 1 from New York, 3 from Guadalajara and 1 from Ensenada.

The kids have come from all areas of the State Oaxaca: San Baltazar Guelavila, San Pablo Villa de Mitla, San Pedro Amatlan, Citla, Puerto Escondido,Oaxaca City, Zaachila

Joe & I have been at camp to document the week and to provide portraits for each of the kids.

To see more photos go to our Face book page


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.


Terry in Ensendada :: This Is Who We Are

This is Terry.  He is a Marine.  He is wearing makeup.  Probably camouflage to help him blend in more and not be seen, in order to get the shot.  He appears to be printing photos…

Part of what Terry is doing, what MISSION focused is all about, is blessing folks with photos.  To often groups go on mission trips, take tons of photos, and the people they are working with and ministering to never see any of the photos, save the quick look at the screen after capture.

This is Terry in action 2 summers ago in Oaxaca, Mexico.  We were taking portraits of all the kids who came to camp so they could go home with a photo of themselves.

This was a huge blessing for us, realizing that many of these kids had never had their photo taken!  It really is a privilege to be able to do this.

As Terry is still in Ensenada, please keep him in prayer.  He will be taking portraits tomorrow of the kids at the Dios Es Amor camp.

We will be heading down to Oaxaca next week for another kids camp, where we will be taking portraits of the kids once again!

All Glory to God!


Ensenada 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.


Missionary Follies…by Dave Miller

Missionary Follies… when separation replaces real mission engagement…

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.

You can learn more about Dave HERE and Adventures in Life HERE.

Enjoy

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.


The Gift of Worship

I first heard about Renovate last year.  My friends were part of the leadership team and asked if I could come and take some  photos for them.   Renovate happens every other month, and their goal is to “help equip youth and young adults to live a righteous lifestyle that’s  full of boldness, yielded to the Holy Spirit &  fully consecrated to His direction.”

I look forward to Renovate because I love the worship.  The worship team may not have the greatest musicians but they are Spirit led!  I will take that over slick over-produced worship sets any day!

I didn’t take a lot of photos, I felt compelled to just sit and worship.  I have said often that as followers of Christ, seeking to use the gift of photography to help glorify Him, there comes a time when we have to put the camera down and just be in His presence.  So that’s what I did.  

It was fun watching God work in her heart as she was worshiping.

I believe we all have gifts that we can use to worship God with.  Some with their gift of music and a beautiful voice, others with their hands, and still others with their mind.  If God has blessed you with skills, like taking great photographs, use them for His Glory!

No greater blessing than being in the Spirit, using your gifts to worship the One who gave the Gift!!


Summer, Oaxaca y la Guelaguetza

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…


Catalyst 2012 :: Photo Fun!

I love sitting in the front row, or 2nd row as was the case this year, of Catalyst, to get close to the action…

Catalyst is about bringing together next generation leaders to encourage, challenge and inspire them to be the leaders God has called them to be.   Catalyst is also good about bringing in great worship leaders and artists.  This years was no different, with artists like Gungor, All Sons and Daughters, Carlos Whitaker and Propaganda.

It was fun to see what kind of photos I could get from my seat.  Especially since there was no pressure to produce.  I could choose when and if I wanted to take photos.  Take a look at a few of the photos that got…

All were taken with the original Canon 5d, no flash with minimal adjustments made in Lightroom.  Taken with either a fixed 200 f 2.8 or a 50 f 1.8

Spoken word artist Propaganda, at Catalyst 2012

Michael Gungor, namesake, producer and leader of the band Gungor

After a great finish to the conference, outside, this gal was looking at the Catalyst sign and wanted to “plank it.”  So a few of us helped her up onto the sign…of course I had to get a photo!  Fun!!



God’s Time is On Time

A few years back I was visiting family in the Philippines., and on the TV they were running public service announcements with the then President Corazon Aquino, she was reminding everyone that “‘Filipino time’ is on time.”  

1987 Time Magazine Woman of the Year: President Corazon Aquino

I thought it was rather funny that it took the President of the Philippines to remind people to be on time.   In case your skin is lacking melanin(color), this may not make sense to you.  But i’ve been told by friends that they’re are other ethnic groups out there that have similar issues with timeliness.  That’s a good thing, since I have been known to have issues with being “on time.”

That’s why I subscribe to the philosophy that “when I get there, is when I get there.”  So I’m always on time!

Paul serving in Mexico with 2 Hermanas (Sisters in Christ)

This is Grady

The details are fuzzy and I may be off in my timeline., but that’s not what’s important here…

I met Grady back around in late 80’s when I was a wee lad.  He played a big role in how God called me to Himself.  Grady introduced me to Paul around the same time, when Paul came down to San Diego before heading off to the mission field in South America.  Paul spent was as a missionary in Colombia and Mexico for quite a few years.  

Paul and I kept in touch and when he was in San Diego and not in the field, we would spend many hours talking over coffee…

This is Dave

In 1992 Grady and Dave started Adventures in Life.  Dave was still a gringo back then so Paul became a key asset to AIL because of his Spanish speaking skills    I think I met Dave while visiting Grady in LA, don’t recall when exactly.

I took this photo of Ernie, his wife Joy and their daughter Adrienne this past weekend in Balboa Park.

I met Ernie back around 95/96.  Ernie, Paul, our friend Brett and I were in a men’s accountability group during this time. Fast forward a bit, next thing I know Ernie, Paul and Brett are now in LA and hanging out with Dave and helping with Adventures in Life.  I would see all these guys at least once a year when AIL would have their annual fundraiser banquet in Monrovia.

It was always my intention to get down to Mexico with Adventures in Life…and I almost made it on several occasions.  Almost…

Again, my details might not be 100% accurate but the important thing here is that God is in control and His timing is perfect!

Having spent the day with Ernie and his family, we laughed about the fact that I finally made it down to Mexico with Adventures in Life now that he, Paul and Brett (and Grady) are no longer actively involved.  Dave and I have had similar conversations recently…

I don’t confess to understand why either.  It would have made perfect sense for me to go down with Adventures in Life when all my friends were going as well.

What I do know is that it has been a blessing for me to have finally made it to Mexico!

I know that as a photographer, I was not ready back then…and that I have a better understanding now of how you can use photography to further the work of those in the mission field.

Are you using the gifts that God has given you for His glory?  Don’t wait to use your gifts for Him either.  Too many photographers think that they have to “make it” before they can do things for God.

God can use you if your heart is right with Him.

In the end it really is all about Jesus.

Be a blessing!


Spinning for Jesus…Cross Fader DJ Ministry

Yes!   a DJ Ministry

Cross Fader DJ ministry wants to share the Love of Christ with those who appreciate the sounds that come from 2 turntables, drum machines, mixers and lots of bass coming from very large speakers.   At the core of Cross Fader is a group of dedicated DJ’s who love Jesus and can be seen battling and mixing in and around San Diego.

You can learn more about Cross Fader HERE.

They had their first official event as a ministry of the Rock Church not to long ago, I had some fun photographing up close and personal…unfortunately I forgot my ear plugs!  huh!?

DJ’s need Jesus too!

You can see more photos from Cross Fader DJ ministry HERE.


City Kids in a Western Setting

Easter on the Ranch is a time for boys and girls who have incarcerated parents, along with their families, to enjoy a day away from their city life. The volunteers at the ranch provide for them a western experience that includes hayrides, horse rides and farm animals.

There are over 70,000 children ages 7-15 in the Southern California area that have incarcerated parents. The statistics show that these children are five times more likely to end up in prison themselves.  They are seven times more likely to become involved in the juvenile justice system than their peers. And they are more likely to suffer from depression, substance abuse, disruptive behavior, eating and sleeping disorders, diminished academic performance, and feelings of abandonment, loneliness, shame, guilt, and resentment.

When these kids come out to the Ranch for Easter they receive an abundance of love and acceptance from the volunteers. They get free snow cones, popcorn, and lunch.

The kids get to color eggs and make Easter crafts. It is a time to have fun and hang out with their friends.

Calicinto Ranch does much more than just this once a year Easter celebration for these boys and girls, they also put on spring break and summer camps for them. Here the kids get to hear Bible stories and sing worship songs. They learn the six pillars of Character:  Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship.  Calicinto Ranch gives children a life changing experience in order to break the cycles of at-risk youth of incarcerated parents.

To lean more about the Ranch go HERE

To see more photos from the day go HERE


Chickidies and Churches

I love these baby Chickens and with I could have brought them home from Oaxaca.  I could not find out how they made them so colorful, but I am sure it would be illegal in the US.  They would have made fun Easter gifts.

 
The Catholic’s in Oaxaca seem to celebrate Christ’s Crucifixion more than His resurrection.  They make and sell these figures of Jesus on the cross.
 
 It is sad for me to see the people worshiping Christ on the cross because they don’t seem to have the joy and hope that the Bible promises those who believe in the resurrection.
 Oaxaca is the second poorest state in Mexico with 57% of the children in rural areas experiencing stunted growth due to malnutrition.  There are people living in houses with dirt floors, no running water and no indoor restrooms.  Yet each village has a very big and elaborately decorated Church.  This Easter as you attend your church, gather with family for a scrumptious meal and fill your Easter baskets, don’t forget the reason for the holiday and say a prayer for those less fortunate.
 
“HE HAS RISEN, HE IS NOT HERE” Luke 24:6
 
See how Adventures in Life is helping the people of Oaxaca
 

What’s so Good about Friday?

For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.
Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

(Romans 5:17-21 ESV)

Christ died (on Friday) and rose on the third day (Sunday) that we might have life!  That’s the Good News!

If your looking for somewhere to go to church this Easter and your in San Diego, you can go HERE to see what the Rock Church is doing or in North County San Diego, you can go to Horizon North County’s site HERE.