Cut that out! Trevor’s surgery is scheduled for tomorrow…
Tomorrow our friend Trevor Stolebarger will have the last remnants of cancer cut out of him. Please keep him and his family in prayer.
If you want to help Trevor’s family offset some of the costs of battling cancer, you can go HERE to donate and you can read his thoughts as he has been fighting cancer. We will keep yall updated here and on our Facebook page. Thanks for keeping our brother in prayer!
Praying for Trevor is Great! Wanna do more?
#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!
Choose Wisely :: Using Photography to Bless and Encourage
Our 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.
We want to Bless Military Families in San Diego!
We want to Bless those who serve or have served in our US Armed Services! We will be offering Free Family Portraits for Military Families several times this year.
Our first Portrait sessions will be Jan 25th. If you are in the San Diego area and have served or are serving, email us. We want to bless you! Photo sessions for Jan 25th are limited to 20 Families. firstname.lastname@example.org
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!
Cyndy Placed on Injured Reserves
Please keep our friend and fellow Mission Focused photographer Cyndy in your prayers. She recently broke her wrist fighting off lions, tigers and polar bears in the arctic tundra…well, it wasn’t that dramatic but she did need surgery this week. Pray for healing and a speedy recovery so she can get back to serving Him with her gifts.
Serving Those Who Serve Our Country
Today MISSION focused has the honor and blessing of photographing Military Families in San Diego. It’s a small way we can say “Thank You” to the brave men and women who serve our country in the U.S. Armed Forces by offering free family portraits. It’s gonna be a great day!
Free Military Family Photo’s :: December 8th
The Cruz family were the first family we photographed back in 2009 when we started photographing Military Families, as a way of thanking them for their service to our country.
On December 8th, 2012 at Liberty Station in San Diego we are offering active and retired Military Families from all U.S. Armed Services, Free Family Photos. It can be just the kids, the whole family, gramma & grandpa with the grand-kids or just the 2 of you…We are here to serve and bless those who protect us through their service in the Armed Forces.
If you would like to take us up on this offer, please email us at MISSION.email@example.com to reserve a time slot.
December 8th, 8am to 11am at Liberty Station in San Diego. All Military folks welcome. Please help us spread the word:)
Toys for Joy
Toys for Joy began over 15 years ago by Miles McPherson and Miles Ahead Ministries. I first started photographing at Toys for Joy, I think in 2002. This year’s Toys for Joy is just around the corner.
The photos here were taken back in 2003 by my friend and fellow photographer Rafael Delgado.
The event is now run under the umbrella of the Rock Church. Miles McPherson is the pastor at the Rock.
Since 2002 I have photographed almost every Toys for Joy Christmas outreach. Every year is different and to be honest, sometimes you wonder if the folks in line are really in need…that’s when I pray and seek to tell the story of what God is doing at this great event. In the spirit of giving and blessing others, you have to look the other way when you see a teen in line, listening to music with his $200 beats headphones connected to his iPhone while wearing $150 Air Jordans…One of the great things about Toys for Joy back when I first got involved, was that every man, woman and child that was in line heard the Good News of Christ coming at Christmas and His death and resurrection at Easter. That everyone might have life in Christ. Every person heard this message and was given a chance to pray to receive Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, before heading into the toy area.
Photographers by nature are observers…we are always looking for the “shot” that will tell the story in 1 photo…
I think Rafael got pretty close on this photo. One of the traditions of Toys for Joy was to award a bicycle to a young boy and girl near the end of the event…This young girl was just told she was going to be getting a new bicycle for Christmas! The rest of the photos add to the story…
Praise God for Toys for Joy. That kids who might not receive anything at Christmas might be blessed and know who this season is truly about….Jesus!
You can learn more about Toys for Joy by going HERE.
Free Photos for Military Families in San Diego
We want to bless Military Families in San Diego.
If you know any Military Families who have been wanting photos but just haven’t found the time…send them our way.
We will be at Liberty Station on December 8th, 8am-11am
You can contact us at MISSION.firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a spot.
Horizon Fall Festival
Our friend and fellow photographer Dr. Jim has been taking photos at Horizon North County for quite some time now. I had the pleasure of meeting him a few years back and since then, I’ve helped him photograph several different events at Horizon. He has helped MISSION focused photograph several events over the years as well.
Photography can be a very solitary art at times. It’s not uncommon to hear about photographers waiting days, weeks and even years… for the perfect photo. Much of that time in the middle of nowhere all by themselves.
With a little extra effort, it can be a time of community and sharing, where photographers come together and learn from each other. This sharing of the creative process is in my opinion healthy, and beneficial. There’s nothing like getting up in front of your fellow photographers and explaining why and how you took a certain photo.Last week I went to Horizon’s Annual Fall Festival with Cyndy and Danie, to help Dr. Jim take photos of this years festivities. I think I have been to the last 3 or 4 of these, it’s always a great time and a wonderful alternative for young families who don’t want their kids roaming the neighborhood at night. There’s tons of fun activities for big and little kids along with chairs, coffee and entertainment for the folks.
These are just a few of the photos that we took. You can learn more about Horizon North County HERE. Enjoy.
Jesus Geeks in Action!
Jack praying for Faris Hassan after delivering a laptop for him and his family. They are refugees from Iraq and have been in the US less than 5 months.Faris with his wife and kids.
Jesus Geeks is a non-profit ministry that provides quality computer services for those who can’t afford it. They also take old computers and repair & refurbish them…then they donate them to families who don’t have computers. Sunday I had the chance to follow Jack, leader of Jesus Geeks ministry, as he delivered 2 laptop computers to families in need. In the case of Faris, they are Muslims, but Jesus Geeks don’t discriminate…the family needed a computer and they delivered.
The ministry is about serving Jesus with their gifts. They have learned to be culturally sensitive with families who don’t know Jesus…but when Jack asked if he could pray for them they gladly accepted. After praying, Jack closed the prayer by praying ” in the name of Isa Jesus. Amen.” Jack said Isa is the name Muslims use for Jesus. Very cool.
Jack helping set up the laptop for another family from Ethiopia.
Kids are kids, no matter where your from. The computer isn’t quite ready for play, but the kids don’t care…
Gabrawhout with his wife and 6 kids. They have been in the US for less than 8 months. While Jack was setting up the computer, I spent much of my time photographing their middle boy, on the left between his big brother and sister. He was so much fun, wanting to pose for me whenever I wasn’t taking photos of Jack in action…Praise God for the work God is doing through Jack and the Jesus Geeks ministry. If you want more info about the Jesus Geeks ministry, you can go HERE.
San Diego Rescue Mission :: Graduation at First Presbyterian Church San Diego
Was blessed to photograph the San Diego Rescue Mission’s latest Graduating class tonite. It was held at one of the oldest churches in San Diego, First Presbyterian. I love the pipes! There is something to be said for the old school charm and beauty of these old churches! More photos from Graduation soon….
The Adventures in Life 20th Celebration was a great evening to come together and thank God for the work that He has done through Adventures in Life in Mexico. I always look forward to these gatherings because I get to see good friends in the Los Angeles area that I don’t get to see as often…So Sunday was an added bonus for me!
Grady Martine and Paul Lathrop. I’ve known these guys for some time. Grady was the one who God used to get a hold of me back in high school. He and another friend Danny Mandagie, wouldn’t let me not go to Younglife…as hard as I tried, God had another plan. I am forever thankful to both of them for dragging me to Younglife.
Paul and Grady grew up together in Pacific Grove, and Paul came to live in San Diego with Grady in between missionary stops in Columbia and Mexico. That’s when I met Paul.
Paul and his wife Deanne, at the Adventures in Life 20th Celebration.
My good friend Ernie, with his lovely daughter Adrienne. Wife and Mom, Joy, couldn’t make it to the Celebration.
I think Ernie and I met back in 1995 or 96, when we were both leaders with Younglife in San Diego. We used to meet together for a men’s Bible study group every Monday. Paul was part of that men’s group, along with another friend Brett Bristol, who didn’t make the celebration on Sunday.
I don’t recall who moved up to L.A. first, but in a few years…Paul, Brett and Ernie all had moved to L.A. and started meeting with Dave Miller. I had met Dave sometime after he and Grady started Adventures in Life. Grady and his wife Barb had moved up to the Pasadena area when Grady began working on his Masters at Fuller Seminary.
Dave with Ernie and Adrienne at Restaurante Guelaguetza, where the 20th Celebration was held.
Ernie, Paul and Brett all became involved in some way or another with Adventures in Life over the years and I think we have all been blessed by this ministry. I never had a chance to go to Mexico with Grady, Paul, Brett or Ernie. Perhaps in the future. I do know that these are friends that I will have for a lifetime! This is another reason why I am thankful for Adventures in Life!
Here’s to another 20 years of ministry!!
Adventures in Life :: Celebrating 20 Years of Ministry in Mexico
Today friends, family, ministry partners and supporters of Adventures in Life will be coming together to help celebrate 20 years of ministry in Mexico.
We would like to wish our friends Dave & Chelle Miller and Adventures in Life many blessings and God’s speed for 20 more years of fruitful ministry in Mexico!
Sleepless San Diego :: Face of Homelessness
I first started photographing for the San Diego Rescue Mission in 2003, at their Annual Thanksgiving Community Dinner. It has been a true honor to see up close, through the lens, the work that the Mission is doing for the homeless population in San Diego.
At this years Sleepless San Diego, the had a photo exhibit called “Face of Homelessness.”
Inside this tent were photos of the homeless in San Diego. Linda, who put the exhibit together asked if I would contribute some photos, since she heard I had been helping photograph at the Mission. I said it would be an honor and I gladly gave her a few photos to pick from. These are a few of the photos that they used…
This was taken in the morning before the Annual Thanksgiving Dinner. Groups go into downtown inviting the homeless to dinner…I was following a group that wandered down to Seaport Village Embarcadero Park.
I think this photo was taken at Easter Dinner. One of the great things the Mission does is after the dinner, they give everyone a “goodie” bag of essentials. They have 3 Community Dinners a year: Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. If you want to be blessed, volunteer for one of these events.
This was taken at a homeless outreach in Balboa Park. They meet on Saturday mornings for Church Without Walls. They invite the homeless to come, rest and attend church. Afterwards they feed them lunch, hand out Bibles and just talk with them.
The next 2 were also taken at Church Without Walls at Christmas time.
After the service, they gave out Christmas presents to everyone along with backpacks full of toiletries, socks and other assorted essential items. This young boy came with his dad, and I think he was blessed as much as the man receiving the present. It was certainly a humbling moment.
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you,and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
(Matthew 11:28-30 ESV)
I am truly thankful for the opportunity to share some of these photos. Hopefully, through these images folks can see that homelessness isn’t constrained by age or gender.
These volunteers were walking around Sleepless with these signs…1 in 4 homeless are young adults ages 18-30! The signs speak for themselves, even the ones upside down!
The SD Rescue Mission created this great video about 5 ways we can help the homeless. Please take a look
Sleepless San Diego 2012
Sleepless San Diego 2012 was another great success! Thanks to everyone who slept out to help raise awareness
of the homeless population in San Diego. To learn more about Sleepless and the San Diego Rescue Mission please go HERE.
To see a few photos from the event, please check out our Facebook page HERE…don’t forget to”Like” us 🙂
More photos soon…
San Diego Rescue Mission :: Sleepless San Diego
Tonite, a whole bunch of folks will be sleeping out under the stars at Liberty Station to raise awareness and money for the homeless in San Diego. This will be the 6th Annual Sleepless event that the SD Rescue Mission has done.
MISSION focused has been part of this great event since it began. If you would like more information about the SD Rescue Mission you can go HERE. If you live in San Diego and want to do something fun to help the homeless in San Diego…come down to Liberty Station.
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, 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!
Guelaguetza 2012: The Parade Of The Delegations
The word Guelaguetza comes from the Zapotec language and is usually interpreted as the “reciprocal exchanges of gifts and services”. Traditionally when there was an occasion for celebration such as a wedding, or a feast day, the people attending the party will bring items necessary for the celebration like food or alcoholic beverages. Each person’s offering, or “guelaguetza” allows the party to take place and becomes part of a reciprocal exchange and is one of the ways social ties are reinforced and preserved through time.
The state of Oaxaca is home to 16 different ethno linguistic groups and is incredibly diverse. For the Guelaguetza festival, members of these groups gather wearing their traditional clothing and perform folk dances that are particular to their village.
The Guelaguetza celebration dates back to way before the Spanish and continues as a defining characteristic of Oaxacan culture. Its origins and traditions come from a earth-based religious celebrations that worship the corn god. In contemporary Oaxaca, indigenous communities from within the state gather at the Guelaguetza to present their native culture, mainly in the form of music, costumes, dances, and food. It is the most famous indigenous gathering of its kind in Mexico.
For the 80th year in a row, delegations from communities all over Oaxaca unite in the capital to showcase their traditional clothing and music with parades, and dance performances. The Parades are held on the last two Saturdays and the performances in the amphitheater take on place the last two Mondays in July. Although the celebration is now an important tourist attraction, it also retains deep cultural importance for the peoples of Oaxaca and is important for the continuing survival of these cultures.
I feel privileged to witness and photograph this parade which took place on the 28th of July. I have come to personally know these fine Zapotec people and admire their spirit and pride.
To see more photos go to MISSION focused Facebook page
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