Back to Oaxaca!
Mark Shreves and Cyndy Smith are flying off to Oaxaca tonight to serve with our ministry partner Adventures in Life. They will be photographing AIL’s Fall Medical Mission in Eloxochitlan. They will be taking portraits and printing photos too. They will be back October 22nd. Please keep them in prayer.
Don’t forget to check our FB page for updates during the week. Thanks mucho!
We Are MISSION focused
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.email@example.com
We look forward to hearing from you!
Serving in Oaxaca, Mexico with Adventures in Life Ministry
Helping the San Diego Rescue Mission celebrate 60 years of ministry
Update and a few Photos from Our Summer in Oaxaca!
We have been so busy serving and photographing all over San Diego and Mexico, we have neglected updating our site. We apologize for lack of new content and we will be updating what we have been doing in last 6 months and share more about our fun crazy summer! For now, here are a few photos from our recent trip to Oaxaca with Adventures in Life Ministry. We will explain more about what God did soon…
Give the Gift of Life
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
Fall in Oaxaca
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.
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.
San Diego Rescue Mission’s Sleepless San Diego
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
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.
Cooking & the Gospel
Adventures in Life Ministry is dedicated to spreading the hope that can only be found in Jesus. Dave Miller, Executive Director of Adventures in Life, will also tell you that it’s not enough to preach Jesus. In Mexico, the mortality rate for children under 5 is twice that of the United States, mostly due to malnutrition and hunger. Children can’t hear the Good News of Jesus when the “grumbling” and hunger pains are all they can think about. And when they do have an opportunity to hear about Jesus, and come to saving knowledge of Him…the question still remains, where will their next meal be coming from?Photographing on mission with Adventures in Life in Oaxaca I have seen their work as they try and deal with these issues. At Summer Camp, the kids get 3 full meals a day, packed with tons of protein. Many of the kids who come to camp might have some sort of meat protein once a week, if that. They can have as much as they want!
This Summer they began an exciting new “culinary arts” program. Partnering with recent Le Cordon Bleu graduate Yesenia Martinez who lead the classes in our camp kitchen, she taught the first group of students in a sort of cooking boot-camp, giving them information to help them understand what a career in cooking might look like. On their final full day of camp the young students were brought to Oaxaca City to meet Chef Rodolfo Castellanos, Owner/Chef of Origen Restaurant. With the help of Bricia Lopez of Guelaguetza Restaurant in L.A. the kids got to visit, get to know and cook with Chef Rodolfo in his kitchen. It was a great morning and the Chef was more than gracious about sharing his story and how he worked hard in kitchens all over the world before making it back to Oaxaca to open his own restaurant. He encouraged them to dream and work hard, regardless of if they wanted to be a Chef or not.
It was a exciting to see the kids look around at his restaurant and listen to someone who is from Ocotlan, Oaxaca and think that with a lot of hard work and perseverance they might be able to be a Chef as well.
These are issues most short term missions never address. I think many of these missions trips are so focused on spreading the Good News to as many folks as possible, they never think about the physical needs of those they are trying to minister to. It’s safe to say Adventures in Life is trying to meet the physical and spiritual needs of those they are ministering to.
Thanks again to Chef Rodolfo for being such a gracious host. Thanks to Bricia Lopez of Guelaguetza Restaurant and thank you to Chef Yesenia Martinez for your willingness to come to Oaxaca and share your passion for food with the students.
Guelaguetza Parade…a few photos
One of the great things Adventures in Life is does, is they encourage those coming on mission with them to engage and experience the culture of Oaxaca. The Guelaguetza is the biggest cultural celebration in Oaxaca, some would say all of Mexico. It’s a chance for the different communities in the State of Oaxaca to come into the city and celebrate “being” Oaxacan! The last 2 weeks of July every year, the city is alive with music, color, art, food and dance…a cultural kaleidoscope!
These are just a few photos of the Guelaguetza parade. If you ever get a chance, and I highly encourage you to…come visit Oaxaca during the last 2 weeks of July! You won’t be disappointed.
Team Oregon is in Oaxaca
This is the Team from Grace City Church, in Corvallis, Oregon
They took this photo at the Mexico City Airport, yesterday, before boarding the plane for Oaxaca.
Please be praying for them as they prepare for a week of ministry with Adventures in Life…Summer Camp with 40-50 kids under the age of 12!
brotherjoe will be posting more photos today and tomorrow on Facebook, you can go HERE to see or to Adventures in Life FB page HERE.
In Oaxaca, Serving with Adventures in Life Ministry
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
Travelling Light to Oaxaca :: Gotta Love Think Tank Photo!
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….
Back in Mexico!
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
Serving Alongside Adventures in Life in Mexico
We have been blessed to photograph the work of Adventures in Life in Mexico over the past 4 years. This photo was taken in the main marketplace in Oaxaca, with the owner of the world famous NIEVES OAXAQUEÑAS CHAGÜITA. Our friend Crystal (Multi Cultural Cooking Network) posted a nice little article about the work Dave Miller and Adventures in Life Ministry has been doing in Mexico, you can read the article HERE.
Oaxaca 2013 :: Serving Alongside Adventures in Life Ministries
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.
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.
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.
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 :: History
Adventures in Life is celebrating 20 Years of Ministry in Mexico. Last night there was a great gathering of friends, family and ministry partners in Los Angeles at Restaurante Guelaguetz. If you find yourself in the downtown LA area and want to try some great traditional Oaxacan food, you have to go to Restaurante Guelaguetza!
My friend Crystal Johnson put together this great video that was shown last night. It gives you a short glimpse into how Adventures in Life started from conversations between the 2 founders Dave Miller and Grady Martine.
For more info about Adventures in Life and their ministry in Mexico please go HERE.
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!
Pray for Terry
Terry, being prayed for by the kids of Dios es Amor Summer Camp in Ensenada, at the end of a great week of photographing there.
Our friend and fellow photographer, Terry Schwartz, is a faithful man of God who loves to use the gift of photography to bless others.
The doctors have found a small cancerous growth on his vocal chords. Please pray for Terry that God would be glorified in his life. That if God chooses to heal Terry before the doctors do anything or if the treatment the doctors prescribe gets rid of the cancer…whatever happens, Terry would be a light to the doctors and a sweet aroma that causes them to want we Terry has. Jesus!
If you know Terry feel free to reach out to him with words of encouragement and prayers. He’s a tough Marine, and we are sure God is gonna be glorified through him!
2 Corinthians 2:14
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.
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…