Travelling, photography, people, missions, a good cup of coffee are just a few of our favorite things…We love Jesus!
We believe in using our photography gifts, talents, and creativity to bless and serve others.
We are ready and willing to go anywhere, domestic or international, to photograph and serve.
We are in the process of retooling and relaunching our site so we apologize if it’s a bit dated. If you are interested in learning more about us, we invite you to check out our Facebook page HERE for the most up to date info about what we are up to. You can also email us at MISSION.firstname.lastname@example.org
We look forward to hearing from you!
Serving in Oaxaca, Mexico with Adventures in Life Ministry
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
It was a long day of travel…it all started on May 16th at 830pm San Diego time and ended in Oaxaca, Mexico at 630pm local time, May 17th. I’ve been to Oaxaca 8 or 9 times in the last 4 years, photographing for Adventures in Life Ministry.
The first time I came I had my Shapeshifter and Airport International, along with a smaller roller with clothes that I would checkin. I’ve learned over the past few years what works for me, and in the end that’s what matters. I have also learned that the airlines in Mexico don’t care what’s in your roller. If they want to be sticklers for the rules, they won’t let you bring your rolling case on board. Especially if it weighs 24kg and the limit is 15kg! Oops!!
I love my Shapeshifter pack, it holds what I want and with some coaxing, I can fit it with the gear in the photo in the overhead bin of an AeroMexico Embrear Jet.
So this is my Think Tank Photo Shapeshifter…I love it! I love Oaxaca and can’t wait to see more of the beautiful city. I will be posting as much as possible, but come Tuesday, I will be up in the mountains above Oaxaca for a few days shooting in Tlaxiaco…not sure if I will have wifi. We will see….
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.
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.
These two kids were one of the first ones into the toy room, they had waited outside in the cold all night long to be sure they would get their toys. They were there with their Mother, her two sisters and their three siblings.
Over 10,000 toys were given away!
Macys provided the 2,600 books that were given away.
Pastor Miles of The Rock Church greets one of the thousands of volunteers who worked to make the day possible.
14,000 bags of groceries were assembled and given away.
196,000 donated articles of clothing was distributed to the families that day.
80 bikes were given out to children who won the raffle drawings.
There was TV coverage of the event from ABC, FOX, NBC, SD6 and KUSI, to watch click HERE
The day was tremendously fun with entertainment on the stage included signing, dancing, puppets, acrobatics, and theater productions. There was an area with face-painting, balloon making, haircuting and a place to make gospel bracelets. The kids had a incredible time playing on the inflatable jumpers and slides. When they were hungry there was free food and drinks provided for them.
More than ten thousand people heard a clear gospel message of God’s love and forgiveness, with a large number of them wanting to become a follower of Jesus.
To see more photos from the day Click HERE
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!
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!!