I grew up in ministry. My dad was a pastor (insert all the PK jokes here) and I was super involved in missions with him from a very young age. My first mission trip was to Reynosa, Mexico when I was 12 years old. It changed my life.
Reynosa is absolutely beautiful, but it is also very, very broken.
As I walked through the dirt roads, loved on children who were barely younger than me, and passed out what might have been the only good meal those families would have that year I saw more beauty and more brokenness than I’d ever seen in my life. What hurt me the most was coming back to my cozy bed, my wonderful family and all the blessings I had. It’s hard when you realize how differently the rest of the world lives. The 2 year old orphan that I played with had experienced more pain in her little life than I had in 12 years.
The world is full of poverty, death, disease and heartbreak. But it is also full of more life and love than I can begin to explain. After that experience, I would never be able to sit round and ignore what I’d seen. God had already stirred up the passion and purpose that would be a part of the rest of my life.
Over the next few years, I was lucky enough to return to Reynosa 4 more times and to help with ministries in Haiti and Columbia.
Then came college and I had no idea what I was going to do as an adult. I knew I loved art and I knew I loved missions, but I also knew that those two things weren’t the best career options for someone who actually wanted to make a living.
But, God is bigger.
4 years and 1 degree later - life fell apart. I was exactly where I’d started, except now I had a new (and expensive) hobby and a camera attached to me at all times. God allowed all of my plans to fall apart so that He could show me His plan for my life. He’s beautiful plan.
That’s when I went to Kenya for the first time.
Slowly God showed me what He had in mind for me. I would be a bridge. A bridge that connected people who wanted to help heal the world’s brokenness with the amazing people who are doing just that in places where it’s needed the most.
When I go to Kenya I serve alongside an amazing ministry called Flow of Hope. My friend John Njane started it years ago simply because he saw a need. A need for change. And ever since then, that’s how he gets things done. When he sees a need, he expands his ministry and trusts God to provide. Today, he has a ministry to widows, one for orphans, a feeding program, a school for underprivileged and handicapped children and a women’s ministry to help women get off the streets by providing them with educational opportunities so they can own their own businesses. John has dreams to do SO much more but, funding is limited and no one knows who he is or the amazing things he’s doing. So, my heart wanted to become a bridge. My desire was to, somehow, continue supporting the ministry and to go back every year. But, I had no idea how it would be possible with a “real” job.
I remember sitting at Starbucks after a long day at work last year, working on a photography class. It asked me to write down my passions and dreams.
1. I wanted to do ministry in Kenya and support my ministry partners.
2. I wanted to be a photographer who travelled the world and captured people’s stories.
These two didn’t seem to go together in my head but when God has a plan, nothing is off the table. I remember Him saying, “Why not both?” I’d never thought about that before. Why couldn’t I do both?
That’s when I decided to RUN after making my dream of a photography business a reality so that 10% of what I made could support the ministry in Kenya. Every single photo shoot, every memory I capture and every wedding I document supports this ministry. It’s my favorite part of my business because I not only get to do what I love, but I get to support a ministry that is making a huge difference in the lives of people on the other side of the world.
God is funny like that. He knows how to make all your dreams come true before you even know they are your dreams. I look back to 5 years ago and wonder how in the world He got me here. How he orchestrated every single step. Every unknown. Every fear. Every failure. All just so He could get me to this place. This place where He has so lovingly molded every passion in my heart into one purpose that, I hope, will bring Him glory.
If you ever want to come on a trip to Kenya with me, just send me a message and you can meet some amazing people! If you want to capture some amazing moments in your life while partnering with my vision, then shoot me a message and lets DO IT. It would be my honor and joy!