I’ve been wanting to share a story from my time in Haiti in 2010, but I still need a little more time. I came across this writing I sent out years ago, explaining the time leading up to packing it all up and traveling the world, so I thought it would give more context to my overall journey if I shared it with you.
I’m confident I will get into a groove very soon, but I keep picturing those funnels that college students chug beer with on spring break. I hope I can slow down and tell each story in a beautiful way, allowing you to savor every word.
In March of 2007, I embarked on a journey in which I didn’t have many details, but I knew that God wanted me to go on an adventure with Him.
After a radical lifestyle change and recommitting my life to God in 2004, I began to seek Him in how He wanted to use me. I was a freelance photographer living in Atlanta, Georgia. Had the house, business, great travel perks with work, some church life; really seemed to have it all according to the world’s standards. But it definitely didn’t feel like it. I knew there had to be more than this and more than obtaining a comfortable and seemingly successful life for myself.
After a couple of years of waiting and a couple of dead end trails, I found myself enrolling in a Discipleship Training School (DTS) at the suggestion of a friend.
The DTS is a five month program within Youth With a Mission (YWAM). A 12-week lecture phase followed by an 8-week field assignment. The course is designed to encourage students in knowing God personally, in character development, in building healthy relationships and in seeing their role in Christ’s call to “Go into all the world and disciple all nations.”
Once looking further into the program I noticed a DTS specializing in using photography as a tool for outreach! Not only was there the opportunity to go to Hawaii for 3 months, then to India for outreach, but this particular ministry was introducing a new 2 year ‘around the world track’. PhotogenX is the ministry and our vision is to use photography as a tool for cultural transformation so that issues such as gender based injustice will be issues of history instead of the future. PhotogenX advocates for those who cannot speak for themselves (A Voice for the Voiceless) and challenges the current global status quo. In addition, photogenX seeks to capture the people and places of every nation in the world showing off their beauty but not masking their pain.
In addition to the DTS, we traveled to every inhabitable continent studying the Bible in the places it was written, rode camels through Sinai, studied world culture not out of books but in the nations themselves. Upon our return to the United States, we produced a book, Sex and Money: A Global Search for Human Worth. The book gives glimpses of our experiences with injustice that have broken our hearts: orphans, sex slaves, extreme poverty, and many others. ( we encountered a broad range of human suffering. Looking deeper, we found that many of these issues were closely related to the abuses of sex and money. )
We discovered that these individual issues contribute to a much larger injustice: human trafficking.
Through this publication we are using our cameras as a weapon to defeat injustice and oppression.
This has been an amazing journey for me, and God is still revealing His plan. I realized I could not fulfill God’s purposes for my life while focussed on my own plans. I didn’t have to give up my dreams though, God just had new ones and better ones for me!
We were not called to change the world, but to seek Him, and through Him we will see this world changed, transformed, and renewed!