We want to Bless those who serve or have served in our US Armed Services! We will be offering Free Family Portraits for Military Families several times this year.
Our first Portrait sessions will be Jan 25th. If you are in the San Diego area and have served or are serving, email us. We want to bless you! Photo sessions for Jan 25th are limited to 20 Families. firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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….
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.
We had a great time on Saturday, December 8th, blessing Military Families in San Diego. MISSION focused gathered up a bunch of talented photographers to offer Military Families in San Diego an opportunity to have their Family Portraits taken at Liberty Station. We had 36 families, representing the Navy, Marines and the Army, come join us Saturday morning. It was a beautiful morning to bless those who serve our country and their families. You can see more photos 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.
Calicinto Ranch’s annual Barcelo Classic Golf Tournament was held this year at the beautiful Legends course in Temecula. The Barcelo family has been a faithful sponsor for each of the last seven tournaments. Participating in the Tournament is a way to support The Ranch in their effort to break the cycle that youth walk in when their parents are in prison. Barna Research reports that 7 out of 10 children of prisoners follow their parents into incarceration. There are over 70,000 children of prisoners in Southern California, over 2 million in our nation! Calicinto Ranch is lovingly showing the children of prisoners that they don’t have to be like their parents.
Red Robin donated the yummy lunches for all the golfers as a result of Any Jones and her team. The Red Robin team also contributed to the tournament by entering a foursome of golfers which included Andrew Mulz, Don Clark, Paul Bankston, Kenny Hom. The Red Robin team additionally sponsored a hole and participated in the Ball Release, even to the extent of donating the winning money to Calicinto Ranch instead of keeping it. When making a choice on where to dine out consider Red Robin to thanks them for their generous donation to Calicinto Ranch.
The support from the Law Enforcement group was particularly inspiring. Their foursome included Capt. Gregory Peck, Retired Chief Gary Dominguez, Capt. Glen Dominguez and Officer Kevin Poulter. These are men who truly understand the significance of what the Ranch can do to help stop children from following in their parents footsteps.
The day included a putting contest, the longest drive, and a closest to the pin contest.
The Helicopter ball release was a creative way for people to donate money to The Ranch. 1000 balls were dropped from the Helicopter and if the ball you paid for was the closes to the pin you would receive half the money from the pool and The Ranch would receive the other half.
The day concluded with a delicious dinner gala, a silent auction, many door prize drawings, the announcement of the golf tournament winners and most importantly a glimpse into how consequential Calicinto Ranch is in the lives of at risk youth who have been able to attend a life changing camp.
For more information or to help support Calicinto Ranch click HERE
To follow them on Facebook click HERE
To see more photos from the day click HERE
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!!
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.
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!
Baptism at De Anza Cove, Mission Bay in San Diego.
Old Town San Diego State Historic Park is the “Birthplace of California.” SD is the birthplace of California! Sweet!!I’ve been to Old Town San Diego many times over the years, my first time was when I was a wee lad in elementary school…but sadly, I have only been to Old Town 3 times over the years for the purpose of photographing this historic area.
Rock Photopeeps decided it’s time to venture out and take photos of San Diego. Might as well start at the birthplace of California! These are a few photos that I took Wednesday night. I definitely want to come down and shoot a few more photos…
At the beginning of the year I decided that as fun as it may be to visit other parts California for photo excursions, it was time to spend more time photographing in San Diego.
Love water! Great for taking fun reflection photos…
Learn something every day…I did not know that the first US flag raised in Southern California was in Old Town. Cool!
It looked like it was gonna be a cold and rainy night but it turned out to be quite lovely. The clouds gave a little more character to the sky. Overall…a fun night of photography!
This Wednesday we will be taking Photopeeps “Old School” as we venture out to Old Town San Diego for some photo fun. We will be meeting in front of the Immaculate Conception Church in Old Town, at 645pm (link to church HERE). We will start wandering around Old Town at 715pm.
Immaculate Conception Church
Rain or shine, we will be ready to shoot and have fun! So come join us and don’t be just a fair weather photographer, that’s if it rains, and come have fun…photography is fun!
If you haven’t been to Old Town San Diego State Park, now’s your chance. It’s one of the more popular State Parks in California and it’s right in our backyard!
If you think your gonna come join us, please go to our Facebook page and let us know >>>go to the right of this post and you can get to our Facebook page>>>that way we can keep an eye out for you.
FREE Fun!!! Tomorrow, Wednesday April 11th.
Meeting in Old Town, at the church at 645pm, we hit the bricks at 715pm!
Rain or shine, we will be photographing. Bring a jacket and umbrella if it looks like rain.
Photography is fun! All are Welcome!!
Tonight we got together one last time, all the men who were serving this week, along with Pastors Americo and Norma, and some of the families that served alongside us this past week in Oaxaca. It was great to break bread with our brothers and sisters in Christ after a great week of serving Jesus.We took one final group shot in front of the new storage rooms the men built this week in Tlacolula.
As we prepare to leave tomorrow, it becomes an obvious time to reflect and thank God for his faithfulness. Nobody was seriously hurt, the work was completed, and relationships have strengthened renewed for those who have been to Oaxaca before, and new friendships for those coming for the first time.
Sometimes after these short term missions, we can forget once we get back home, that ministry continues after we leave. It’s that whole perception that if were not there, ministry must stop and wait til we come back 12 months from now. Nope!
The work is hard. Hermana Norma said it well tonight, that though her joy is in Christ, she will miss us. Sometimes just having fellow believers join you and fellowship with you, even for a short period of time, is therapeutic in and of itself. Showing up is enough. We don’t always have to do something. More on this when I get back to SD.
Happy Thanksgiving from MISSION focused to all yall! We are thankful for the gift of photography and the freedom we have to express ourselves through this gift. Most importantly, we are thankful for Jesus!