If you’ve followed my blogs for a while, you may have heard me talk intermittently about my beginnings as a photographer. It’s been over 5 years since I began my photography business, but the journey started earlier than that. Back in 2007, I took a hiatus from my studies as a biology major to participate in a photography discipleship training school (DTS) with a Christian non-profit by the name of “Youth With A Mission “(YWAM). It was a move completely out of character for my not-so-spontaneous self…. a “Walter Mitty” move, if you will. I found myself living in a castle in the middle of an East German forest, participating in a photography/missionary school, learning amongst other students from all over the world. For the outreach portion of the school, I went with a team of 10 to Thailand for 10 weeks working with prostitutes in Bangkok and Pattaya as well as putting on programs for hill tribes in the north. Needless to say, I am not the same. Something happened in my heart during that year of missions… and it felt as though I left with the ability to see “the Matrix.” A life of normalcy left the building and an awareness that God’s presence and activity is far greater and glaringly more tangible than I had previously known. What used to be called “impossible” suddenly became just another way God could reach through the curtains of my human capacity and work a miracle. And He did. He continues to blow me away even today.
That was my start as a photographer. Surrounded by artists and dreamers and doers…. all collaborating and conspiring to do amazing things with God. I think without all of that, the dream of starting my own business might not have come to fruition. So here I am today, established (even though most days I still feel like a newbie) in business as a wedding and portrait photographer with a passion for documenting love and a fire blazing in my bones to find God in it all.
The YWAM school has continued to send out young artists and photographers out into the mission field since my time and it’s been so amazing to see the stories, pictures, and lives changed through this ministry. If you ever want to get a taste of what everyday life looks like for a YWAMer, check out their blog. The leaders of the school of photography have recently asked me and Betsy to travel to their new school in Sarasota, Florida to be a guest instructor for this year’s class of missionary photographers. I can’t even begin to describe to you how much of an honor this is, and I could not be more excited! For a week in March, I will travel to Florida and essentially teach a photography workshop with the students before they head out on their outreaches. What a completely humbling opportunity to give back to missions where I myself found so much of the joy and passion for photography I have now.
Because YWAM is a support driven organization and I am pouring my time and expertise into these mission students, I will need to raise $650 for this trip. My travel dates are March 17-21 and it would be so great to raise this money before I leave on the 17th. And just so you know, it’s not an easy thing for me to ask for financial support…. I’m totally that person who prefers to work hard, not ask anyone for anything, and pay my own way. But I’ve seen God work miracles with finances before… the exact amount I need for something showing up in my mailbox anonymously, hard drives sent the day my computer crashes, complete strangers entering into the journey I’m on by simply hearing God’s voice and acting. I know that all sounds crazy stories, but they’re all true and that’s what gives me the courage to ask you to consider entering into this journey with me in March.
Please don’t feel like you HAVE to give financially… encouraging thoughts, prayers, and comments are just as valuable. Your support, in whatever form you wish to give it, is very much appreciated and I hope you’ll join with me on this adventure back to the mission field. I’m so excited to see how God uses little ol’ me, and all of you, to give what we can to these students in faith that they will be able to document and tell the stories of what God is doing around the world BETTER. If you would like to help me raise the $650 for this trip, here’s how you can…..
And in case you were curious about what my photos (and photos of me) looked like back in 2007…. here’s a few!
From the Mission Live Conference in Nuremberg.
In Paris for the Paris Photo Exhibition in 2007.
Some photos of me from outreach. (Photo Credit: Jasmin Alber, Kristina Kriegbaum, Tim Scholten)
And a few film photos from the jungle…