A pair of these Toms Shoes will set you back $98. Buy these and Toms will help one person in need. One for One is their motto. Right now our friends at Adventures in Life are offering you a chance to help a whole family in Oaxaca for life. For $99 you can buy a Sawyer Water Filter for a family in one of the areas Adventures works in. Areas where availability of clean drinking water is scarce and they can’t always afford to buy bottled water, so they drink water that is not clean or safe. They have no choice. A Sawyer Water Filter will filter 1 million gallons of water in its lifetime. Realistically, for the life of the family!
This #cyberMonday and #givebackTuesday consider giving the gift of Clean Water! You can learn more about Adventures in Life’s plan to give Sawyer Water Filters to the areas where they minister at the following link> http://conta.cc/1yE8RJp
We had the blessing of photographing Adventures in Life Ministry’s first Fall Medical Mission in Oaxaca last week. The photo above is the Team that traveled from the U.S. to serve with Dave and AIL. You can read a great re-cap of the week at AIL Ministry’s blog HERE.
We will be posting more stuff and photos from the week soon.
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!
#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
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!
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.
Sleepless San Diego is coming up, September 21-22 at Liberty Station. We are excited to be part of this great event to help raise awareness and money for the SD Rescue Mission as they work to help the homeless in San Diego.
If you are in San Diego and want to help support the Rescue Mission, or you want to sleep-out under the stars for the homeless, you can go to the following link the learn more> http://goo.gl/BdDS8s
Brotherjoe is in Oaxaca once again, photographing Summer Camp at Pastor Chable’s. He will be there till August 4th, then he will spend the next week in Guadalajara photographing camp there.
There is no internet at the camp, but when possible, photos will be posted on our Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/MISSIONfocusedPhotography and on the Adventures in Life FB page, https://www.facebook.com/AdventuresInLife
This was the great team of folks who were serving the kids at the camp this past week. Please keep brotherjoe in prayer…Thanks
I’m ( brotherjoe) in Mexico for the next week doing some photographing and planning for this Summer with Dave Miller, executive director of Adventures in Life Ministry.
Please keep us in prayer…for safety, good weather to photograph in and patience.
What was to be a relatively simple flight from Tijuana to Oaxaca, via Mexico City, turned into a long day of travel on a bus to Oaxaca from Mexico City. This time of year the local farmers are burning off the corn fields to prepare the land for planting of the next crop of corn. The airport in Oaxaca is downwind from many of these farms and was closed down yesterday due to the thick smoke coming from these farms.
We had to re-schedule or cancel some meetings since we weren’t able to get to Oaxaca til about 630pm. Our original flight had us arriving in Oaxaca at 930am. That’s ministry in Mexico. Things change, stuff happens, you have to be patient and flexible.
Thankfully, I’m used to it now so you just roll with it.
I’m excited to be in Oaxaca. Praise God!
You can keep track of what we are doing here and on Facebook www.facebook.com/MISSIONfocusedPhotography
Adventures in Life www.facebook.com/AdventuresInLife
L to R: Raquel, Claire, Jolene, Cyndy, Arlene, Judy, Linda with Ty in the middle
MISSION focused has been actively serving in Mexico with Adventures in Life Ministries since February of 2010. It has been a real blessing to see up close the work Dave Miller, executive director of Adventures in Life, and their ministry partners in Mexico are doing.
The above photo is of the 2013 Adventures in Life Spring Medical Team, posing for a photo in San Diego, before heading South for Oaxaca. They are in Oaxaca this week seeing folks that they saw last March, and attending to new people who come to their clinics this week in the different towns and villages. Please keep them in prayer.
MISSION focused photographer Cyndy Smith, is photographing this year’s Medical Mission.
The photo below is of this year’s Adventures in Life FMO Men’s Ministry Week Oaxaca, that just finished up in February. It was a busy week, unfortunately they didn’t have any internet connection, so we are working on photos now and hope to have some to show soon. The photo was taken by Jim Wanglund, friend of the Mission who was photographing this year’s Men’s Week in Oaxaca.
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 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.
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 was another great success! Thanks to everyone who slept out to help raise awareness
To see a few photos from the event, please check out our Facebook page HERE…don’t forget to”Like” us 🙂
More photos soon…
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.
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!!
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!
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
As I sat getting a manicure & pedicure contemplating all the things I needed to accomplish before I left on my trip to Oaxaca my mind wandered to a few days earlier when I was on the beach with my Niece and her son. He is so adorable and at this beautiful age of wonderment and discovery.
My mind jumps back to my trip, not the things I still have to do but to the people I am going to see. The contrast between the opportunities of the children living in the US and those living in villages in Mexico are staggering. This is the fifth time I have travel to Oaxaca and the surrounding areas. This time I will be taking photos of Adventures In Life’s Kids Camp.
Just think about the lists you have made with your kids this summer of the things they want to do: Swimming at the beach, Riding Bikes Together, Going To Sea World, Disneyland and Legoland, Camping, A Road Trip, or Maybe A Vacation Flying Somewhere. Most kids in Mexico could never even dream of these thing, they don’t own a bike, their families don’t even own a car, they don’t take vacations, many don’t even have running water or electricity in their homes.
And here I was getting a manicure & pedicure, something I struggle with every time I am going on a mission trip. Why am I so blessed when other have so little? I still can’t answer that question; but I do know “that to whom much is give much is required” Luke 12:48
My prayer is that just by being in Oaxaca I can help make a child’s time at camp more fun and be an encouragement to those who give of their lives in service to the Mexican people.
If you would like to help buy ink and paper so we can give each child at camp a photo of themselves to take home with them please mail a check to MISSION focused 8030 La Mesa Blvd. #326 La Mesa, CA 91942 We are a 501c and will send you a tax deducible receipt.
If you would like to help support AIL Ministry in Oaxaca Click HERE
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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.
Victory Loves Preparation!
Bags are packed…ready as I will ever be. I’m heading off to Oaxaca tonight for 2 weeks of shooting with Adventures in Life Ministry. This will be my 6th trip down in 3 years, and I have learned a few things over the years.
I have learned a few things over the years…no matter how well your prepared, something will happen that will throw you off and cause you to change directions in order to “keep up!” So I basically gear up for the unexpected.
The biggest lesson of all, is that ministry in Mexico is fluid. God is in control and He knows the beginning from the end and everything in between. So if I rest in that assurance, I can go with the flow and ministry will be a lot more fun and successful.
In the end it’s not about whether I’m shooting with a Canon or Nikon camera, or if I’m using a PC or a Mac.
It’s about using the gifts that He has given me to the best of my ability.
So I prepare as best as I can, and I bring what gear I think I will need and use, and then I do my best to shoot what God shows me in a manner that brings Him the most Glory!
All Glory to God!
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!
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.
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.
Mark, Trevor, Terry and brotherjoe at A Night to Remember…I think
MISSION focused joined the photographers at Eastlake Church on Friday evening for A Night to Remember. Eastlake Church brings together special needs teen-agers for “Prom Night.” A chance for them to experience what other kids their age are doing this time of year…going to the Prom.
The evenings honored guests are pampered…with make up artists and hair stylists making them look extra nice, they get their photo taken in a studio that is set up and then it’s off to the Prom in a stretch limo!
This is the 2nd year we have helped with this great event! What a blessing and honor to help with this great evening. Praise God for the folks at Eastlake Church for this wonderful event.
You can view more photos from A Night to Remember HERE
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.