harnessing the power of photography for good

Posts tagged “religion

Oaxaca 2012 :: Outreach Club in San Baltazar

Monday was the first day of Adventures in Life Outreach Club in San Baltazar, Oaxaca.  There were over 75 kids from the church and community that came to learn more about Jesus.  There were also 10 women who came to their Women’s Ministry sewing clinic.  You can see a few more photos on our Facebook page HERE.


Portrait Time at Dios Es Amor Summer Camp 2012

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.


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


Ensenada 2012 :: Summer Camp

Dave Miller, Executive Director of Adventures in Life Ministry shared this photo (that Terry Schwartz took) on the Adventures in Life FB page, along with the following text….

7 years ago we (AIL & Dios Es Amor Church) started this camp with a few volunteers and 15 kids from Dios Es Amor Church in Ensenada… Now we have a leadership team of over 20 people from Dios Es Amor and almost 90 kids, most of whom do not attend any church… God has been faithful in helping us see a dream move from an idea to reality…

Praise God for the work that’s happening in Ensenada this week.  If you want to help more kids go to summer camp, feel free to email Dave at info@ailministry.org


Adventures in Life~Ensenada

This is Dave and Chelle Miller.  Dave is a blessed man to be able to minister alongside his lovely wife this summer in Mexico.  

The volunteers and campers, arriving for a week of fun, fellowship & Jesus.

Terry is in Ensenada now, photographing what God is doing there with Adventures in Life.  He will be taking photos for Pastor Jesus Vera’s church, Dios es Amor, and taking photos of the kids who will be coming to camp this week.  The following is the first report from Terry, chronicling his journey to Ensenada on Saturday, July 7th.

The trip down and the first day in Ensenada were both challenging and uneventful all in one go of it, if that makes sense.

At noon I had got everything in order and was ready to hit the road, and so I hit it hard. As I approached the border I jumped off the freeway to secure insurance and a few pesos. But alas as I walked into the first insurance office and dropped my registration on the counter, I was soon told that they could not fully insure my lovely little car. Not full insurance just cover any other cars or persons. At the next insurance office the same story; I was about to give up and head home, I was not going to take El Bandito de Amor across the border without coverage. I stopped in BajaMex and they agreed to cover me. This kept me from slinking home in abject failure and disgrace.

I arrived safe and sound about three hours late, but in time for dinner, call me anything but late for dinner. After meeting the rest of the team, we had a lovely dinner prepared by the Pastors family.

I met Pastor Jesus Vera and his lovely wife Mirtha, of the Dios es Amor Church, who will be sponsoring the camp. Tomorrow, Sunday, I will take portraits of Church members before heading off to camp to immortalize the children on film or in the modern vernacular, on Flash cards.

Keep us in your prayers, GOD bless you.

     Terry Schwartz

Dave and Chelle, along with the  folks from First Baptist Church, Salinas.

This week those serving with Adventures in Life will be remodeling the kitchen at Dios es Amor (God is Love Church), and they will be hosting a camp for 100 kids, 80 who do not go to the church.  This is the beginning of a great summer season of ministry for Adventures in Life.  MISSION focused is blessed to be serving alongside Dave and AIL.


Ensenada Bound with Adventures in Life

Terry Schwartz  will be representing MISSION focused in Ensenada next week with Adventures in Life, working with Pastor Jesus Vera and his church, Dios es Amor.  Please keep Terry, Dave Miller and Pastor Jesus in prayer, along with the different groups coming to Ensenada to minister alongside AIL this coming week.

I found this old photo of Terry, in camo, and Mike Saucedo, far right.  It’s hard to find photos of photographers since they are usually behind the camera and not in front.  So the fact that I have 2 photographers in 1 photo is a bonus!

Terry has been faithfully serving God with his skills in photography for as long as I’ve known him, over 10 years.   Please keep him in prayer as uses his gifts for God’s glory this week in Ensenada.

Hopefully he will have time to post photos on our MISSION focused FB site, so keep an eye out.


Missionary Follies…by Dave Miller

Missionary Follies… when separation replaces real mission engagement…

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.

You can learn more about Dave HERE and Adventures in Life HERE.

Enjoy

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.