When I read about the giveaway I Heart Faces and Amy Wenzel were doing for a seat at her workshop, I was a little (ok a lot) excited. I have been dying to go to a workshop (but the ministry-budget? doesn't quite include my workshop) Not to mention that Amy's is in Grand Rapids, where my extended family lives - giving me the perfect excuse to go visit them. . .
"Tell us how you love, serve or inspire other people in your life, and what attending the workshop might mean for your photography journey. You don’t need to have a business to enter. Whether you are a pro, semi-pro or hobbyist with an SLR, I am so, so excited to hear your story!"
Over the past few months, the Lord has been cultivating my heart, refining my ideas about ministry, and giving me a fresh vision for our work with inner-city kids. We already have a summer camp, we've started a mentoring program, and we know we feel called to live in the inner-city.
But why? Why all of these things? Why inner-city ministry? And what, in heaven's name, does it have to do with photography at all? (Patience people, eventually I'll have a point. Hopefully.) For me, it all comes back to vision. Our vision is to help these kids, these moms, these families, to see themselves in a whole new way. So MY vision is to give THEM a new vision.
Haven’t we all believed lies about who we are? Failure. Unlovable. Hopeless. Unfortunately, the voices can be even more persistent and deafening for those kids surrounded by poverty: Worthless. Alone. Won't amount to anything. Honestly, if someone doesn't shine light on the TRUTH for these kids, they will likely be caught in a self-perpetuating cycle of jail, welfare, teen pregnancy . . .
Over the past year, I have enjoyed growing and learning more about photography and my camera. But recently I’ve felt the Lord expanding my vision for it all. This begins with playing the role of photographer for our summer camp. The pictures of kids playing, dancing, swimming, and simply being kids, will be used for promotional materials (we raise money to pay for every kid to go to camp. Only those kids who can’t afford it on their own can come to our camp).
Beyond that, I love sending the kids notes with pictures from their time at camp. Most of them don’t have cameras at home; they don’t have pictures with their friends. And they treasure the opportunity to carry their memories with them. Several different kids have told me they look at their pictures every single day. One even said he sleeps with them under his pillow.
I’ve also been feeling led to use photography to offer the families we work with a new vision for their lives. To show the 15 year old girl, still a child herself, how her newborn is a gift to be treasured. Or the mom who lives in a one bedroom apartment with 9 kids how beautiful and full of potential all of her children are. Or the single mom who thinks more about drugs than about her son? Maybe giving them the gift of seeing themselves and families through new eyes will allow Christ’s revisioning and redemption to begin in their lives.
I am a beginner, both in this whole ministry idea and in the photography field. I know how to use my camera, but that’s the extent of it. I would love the opportunity to learn more so I can provide the best possible pictures for the families we work with. Because they usually get the leftovers: Other’s cast-offs, Hand-me-down clothes. And God says we all deserve the chance for beauty and promise.
Eccl: 3:11, “He has made everything beautiful in His time.”