Each year, I try to publish some of my favorite photos of the year. This year, as I went through my files for the various things I took pictures of this year, it became apparent to my the vast diversity of things I shot this year. Up until this point, I hadn’t realized this year was different from any other. Sure, I take pictures in Africa every year, but this year there was so much more than that. From Eastern Ethiopia to shooting a wedding in the Bahamas to documenting life on a fishing boat, I truly have a lot that I’m happy to have captured this year. I’m posting quite a few photos in this blog, and there are many more I could have posted. Some made it in for the technical quality of the photo, some for the backstory or the story the picture tells. Hopefully the latter two will represent well. Please enjoy. I look forward to the adventures that 2016 brings. All photos can be clicked on for a larger view.
2014 was a year of incredible change, and of events I could not have predicted in a million years. I started the year thinking there was a possibility that my role in missions might be at an end. What instead happened was that God spent the first half of the year teaching me a lot of truths that I will always carry with me, and that will lead me to other truths. Then the second half of the year consisted of not “shall I serve?”, but “where shall I serve?”. That last question is the one that I carry into this year. I have opportunity to serve in South Sudan, Kenya, and Ethiopia this year, in various capacities. When I was in Ethiopia this year, a pastor told me through a translator that I would be given new skills and would be useful in many places. I am convinced that my roles will soon expand beyond photography and into a variety of other roles, but for now I have to wait to find out what those other roles may be.
What is both a blessing and a curse for me at the same time is that very rarely does my mind shut off. I frequently have what seem to be disparate lines of thought running through my head, often for weeks at a time. Frequently these disparate lines congeal into one predominant thought or concept, and I find that they weren’t disparate at all; hence a lot of the content of this blog. God blessed me this past month with a time where I was able to step away from international ministry for a bit, and just shut my mind off for a bit. After two trips to Africa in just six weeks, I took one last international trip, this time to shoot a wedding, and this time in the Bahamas. While my senses were still filled with the wonder of amazing places, it was different than Africa. There was no feeling overwhelmed with the enormity of need. It was easy. Sometimes your need to let the fire in your belly die down for a few weeks so it doesn’t burn a hole. January’s trip to the Bahamas was just that opportunity. I was able to take my wife with me to assist, and just spend my time taking pictures of beautiful things. I think back ten years to when I was in an entirely different career, and God called me to do something different, and realize just how blessed I am to have stepped out of my comfort-zone, take a leap of faith, and do what I’m doing now.
As I finish resting from thinking, and temporarily put an end to pontificating, I take the opportunity to write this fluff piece. Soon I’m sure, the thoughts will begin flooding in again, and I’ll be confronted with not whether to serve, but where, and in what capacity. But as I said in my last blog, God is not looking for the über-capable, but the über-faithful. I’m sure that as I’m willing, the questions will not be if, but where and when. So to finish up, here are a few pictures from my third and easiest international trip in just over four months. Soon though, I will give you more from Africa.