At the dawn

On my flight from Paris to Nairobi, I was reading through Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth by Walter Brueggemann. One of his prayers resonated with me. Because of jet lag I've been every awake morning in Kenya listening to the day start with the whispers of birds turning into a full chorus. As I watched the light begin to filter through the shear curtains, I was reminded of the words of Brueggemann's prayer. 

 Shot with Vscocam, no filter. 

Shot with Vscocam, no filter. 

At the dawn by Walter Brueggemann 

Our first glimpse of reality this day - every day - is your fidelity. We are dazzled by the ways you remain constant among us,

in season, out of season, for better, for worse, in sickness and in health.

You are there in watchfulness as we fall asleep; You are there in alertness when we awaken... and we are glad.

Before the day ends, we will have occasion to flag your absence as indifference... but not now, not at the dawn.

Before the day ends, we will think more than once that we need a better deal from you... but not now, not at the dawn.

Before the day ends, we will look away from you and relish our own fidelity and our virtue in mercy... but not now, not at the dawn.

Now, at the dawn, our eyes are fixed on you in gladness,

We ask only that your faithfulness permeate every troubled place we are able to name, that your mercy move against the hurts to make new, that your steadfastness hold firmly what is too fragile on its own.

And we begin the day in joy, in hope, and in deep gladness. Amen.
 Shot with Vscocam, no filter

Shot with Vscocam, no filter

 Shot with Vscocam, no filter 

Shot with Vscocam, no filter 

 Shot with Vscocam, no filter

Shot with Vscocam, no filter

 Shot with Vscocam, no filter

Shot with Vscocam, no filter

 Shot with Vscocam, no filter 

Shot with Vscocam, no filter 

In the wilderness there's beauty


even in the wilderness there’s beauty
even in the pain there’s treasure
even when
you
can’t
see
it


sometimes its too hard to see anything but your fears
but if you just
take
a
minute
to breath
you find that you have the strength to gather your pieces together                                                                 and carry your bones forward even if its awkward                                                                                                                          


and it will be awkward
and assorted
and jagged. 
but at some point it will become normal


and you have to believe
that you’re better with your jagged bones
mended back into place
because the person you are with them
is more than the person you were before
somehow
 

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At the Cathedral

Timothy and I took the afternoon off and went to one of our favorite places - the Cathedral on Michigan Ave. I love this place because the minute you step indoors peace washes over you. This space is filled with sacredness. On this particular afternoon a stringed quartet was practicing for a performance later in the evening. As music swelled and resounded through the arches and columns, I pondered the greatness of our God, and how even our attempts to worship Him have come from Him to begin with. 

My solace is found in You

In strings and lifted bow

We'll remind you of your worth

Grateful for the strength in our limbs

To converse with you this way.

Let's All Be Brave

Friday // 24 April, 15

“If I’m honest with myself – I think this trip sort of wrecked me. It was difficult. It was hard. When I came on this trip I said ‘no’ and ‘yes’ to a lot of things. Even thinking about this at all – makes me want to cry & cry & cry. Because God knew what I needed. I needed to be away from everyone – in the remote mountains. I needed to see what God is doing through people who sacrifice all the time.”

 

My dear friends Andrew and Marianne Nicodem invited me to go with them to Bolivia in April 2015. Going to Bolivia was a chance to work alongside Food for the Hungry and take photos and videos to for their media needs. However, the timing of this trip couldn’t have been worse for me. I was a Junior at Moody Bible Institute, it was three weeks before final exams, and it was quite expensive too. But how could I not go?

I try to live in a way where being obedient to God and being radical coincide. Usually my desire for adventure makes taking risks easy. But for Bolivia I needed to know the Lord was asking me to be brave and go for it. Two weeks before all the money was due and my plane ticket needed to be purchased, I committed to going.

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Looking back, I can see how specific moments in the week marked my life. I left Bolivia changed. I learned just how glamorous photojournalism is. Reality is seven flights, three days of traveling by bus to reach our destination, one and a half days of shooting, no electricity, cold showers in the dark, hiking on washed out roads, catching a sickness that lasted for three weeks.

Reality was meeting families who had lost their entire livelihood in a hail storm the night before and only having my camera and myself to offer. What do you do then? I questioned the value of my presence in Toro Toro. I questioned the legitimacy of photographers documenting stories in remote places. Do we ever do any good? I questioned the calling on my life as a photographer and a Christ-follower. Why did God allow me to go on this trip when there is so much devastation and all I can offer is myself and some photographs? 

I think it's easy to have doubts because travel photography often involves suffering and loss. But I saw the other photographers I was with listen to the Holy Spirit and offer hope to those who had lost everything. We had brought small battery powered photo printers on the field with us and we were able to take photographs of their families and hand them the first printed photo they had ever had of themselves. 

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I left Bolivia changed. Awakened to a corner of the world I hadn't known anything about. And awakened to the power of photographs and the Holy Spirit working together. It takes courage for photojournalists to go out to the field every day. You have to be brave if you're going to capture the reality of the world and the state of humanity with your lens. Whether you're a photographer, businessman, student, or a stay-at-home mom, there's something you can be brave for today. So let's all be brave.