Tag: Serving Others

Guatemala Stories: How I Became “Team Photographer”

I found out that I was pregnant on December 6th, 2013. This was welcomed news, but in the back of my mind I was wondering how this was going to impact my ability to serve in Guatemala just two months later. I knew that I would be in the beginning of the second trimester when we left, so in theory I would be feeling well enough and would have the energy to serve; but, I also knew that pregnancy places restrictions on a woman and makes her more “high maintenance” than a non-pregnant woman, so I wasn’t sure what I’d be able to do.

I spoke with one of our team leaders about it and she assured me that there would be plenty for me to do that would still allow me to take care of my baby. What I didn’t realize at the time was that God was planning to use me in a way I never would have expected.

I discovered last summer that my dream job was to do photography for missions organizations…to tell the stories that need to be told and to inspire people to act.

My dream...

I have had the privilege of doing missions photography in Tunisia, Brazil, Haiti and New Orleans in the past…


…but I didn’t go to Guatemala thinking I would be able to do much with it. We had a full and exciting schedule of service and I was ready to jump right in alongside the team. I hoped that I would be able to take pictures along the way, but it was in no way something I expected to be able to do.

When we got to Guatemala and were talking through the projects for the first few days, our leaders mentioned that they (and many of the team members) wanted shots of several of the group activities that would be going on simultaneously and asked if I would focus on capturing everything for the team during this trip.

I was amazed, humbled, excited, and ready to dive in. I couldn’t believe that I was being asked to use my passion, my gift, my dream to bless the team in such a unique way. 

Because I was taking pictures for everyone, they were able to focus solely on ministering to the beautiful children in our care. They were able to set their cameras aside when necessary in order to just be in the moment, while I did something that I love to do and could do even while pregnant.

I may have been unable to help paint the bedroom or the hallway at Mi Pequeno Refugio.
I may have been unable to lift things and carry boxes of food.
I may have been unable to be outside at The Ravine due to the burning trash and smoke.
But, I was able to use my gift to capture the team doing all of these things while still serving the Lord in Guatemala, just not in the way I had planned.

Thank you, Ronne and Courtney, for seeing this gift in me and allowing me to use it.
Thank you, team, for being so supportive and excited about what I was capturing.

I came home with over 5,800 images of our week. I’m currently down to 3,800 images with the promise of a snow day tomorrow during which I can edit. This experience gave me a glimpse of what it really would be like to do photography for missions organizations, and it confirmed in my heart that this is what I was made to do. I can’t wait for what God has in store for me next!

The Help Experiment

Our culture has become so individualistic and compartmentalized that we rarely take the time to help other people.

It’s rare that we even notice a need because we’re so wrapped up in our own lives and our own problems.

It breaks my heart that we are surprised and excited when we hear that someone helped someone else selflessly, expecting nothing in return. It happens so rarely that it is always unexpected and stunning. Shouldn’t the opposite be stunning – that we can ignore the needs of someone else without a thought?

And yet, what if the norm could be changed?

The Help Experiment is seeking to do just that: to make helping people the norm and not the exception.

Everyone has skills, talents, passions that can help someone else! From offering financial advice to preparing a meal for you, we’ve already seen some AMAZING and selfless offers from individuals.

Helping people doesn’t just impact the recipient – it impacts the giver as well (as evidenced in this video, for example).

Come, join us. There are no obligations to give. If you need something, you can also make requests to the group!

“Joining does not mean you must participate in any fashion, we would love for you to simply come on in and check us out! You never know, someone might be offering some help that you need, right now! We help because we can, we help because we should and we help because we feel like… you would too.”

We’re here to help each other, and by doing so, we just might change the world.

To read more about The Help Experiment, check out this blog by one of my fellow leadership team members.