harnessing the power of photography for good

Posts tagged “men’s ministry

Blessed!

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!

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Oaxaca 2013 :: Serving Alongside Adventures in Life Ministries

medteam 101_5294

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.

2013 FMO Men


Adventures in Life :: 2013 Men’s Ministry Week

Jim Wanglund is on his way to Oaxaca for this year’s Adventures in Life Men’s Week of Ministry. This will be Jim’s second trip to Oaxaca to photograph the work of Adventures in Life.  Please pray for safety and good health for the men on this year’s Mission.

Internet access is limited at the site where the men will be working, so what updates we get, will be posted on our Facebook page HERE(facebook.com/MISSIONfocusedPhotography)

The above photo of Jim was taken at Hierve el Agua in 2011.


Adventure Friends…

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!!


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!


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!!


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

Terry Schwartz being prayed for by the kids at camp! 

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

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

Dios Es Amor ~ Adventures in Life Kids Camp 2012

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

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

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