A Photographic Look at the Faces of Uganda :: Part 2

This is part two of a post I did last week (part 1) on the faces of Uganda. This set of images was a quick project related to the kids at African Renewal Ministries (ARM), which is the ministry group in charge of the sponsor child program we work with at Cornerstone Church. This is a pretty amazing program for the kids in Uganda and ARM coordinates the sponsorship of over 7,000 children in Uganda right now, along with being a bridge for churches and other non-profit organizations among other things. They are an amazing group, but you can really see the difference they make when you actually go over to Uganda and meet the children in the program in person and see that it really does make a difference to them.

To me, they are in the business of producing fruit… something we all should have on our to-do list as Christians, if I can say that and not make it sound like a checklist. They, and the people who work with them are producing the fruit, described in John 15, for future generations in Uganda. Something not just talked about in John but all over scripture, and to me that’s exciting. Our October mission team leaves in about a week and I can’t wait to get back to see those kids again. Just saying that feels a little weird since I’m not really one for searching out kid-friendly whatever but there is just something about the joy those kids have about life that is contagious, except perhaps when they get caught in the rain, but who likes that.

A Photographic Look at the Faces of Uganda :: Part 1

Today I finally had a chance to process some more photos from the shoot in Uganda. These were specifically pulled out for the kids, and there were way too many to put into one single post so I broke this up into two pieces. I’m not sure what preconceived stereotypes you have in your head when you think about the phrase “Uganda kid photos”, but what I had in mind was the late night 2am TV commercials guilting you into sending money. That just wasn’t what I saw when I was there, and below is a very small sampling of what I encountered while I was there in August. There is no sugar coating their hardships, and they do exist, but as you are surrounded by people who have basically nothing, according to our western standards, you find they are happy, smiling, laughing, and overall excited to see you.

It was quite inspiring to be around people who seemed to genuinely happy in spite of the adversity they face. There are so many things we (I include me in this) complain about every day that I think some days we just flat out lose our joy for life. Perspective helps, but that too fades with time. Ultimately I pray God will at least change my heart for the things He cares about, like the people in these photos. Only about 10 more days before I head back to Uganda with a completely different group of people, a completely different mission and schedule, but I’m pretty sure all of us have a soft spot in our heart for these smiling faces. In some respects this upcoming trip will be emotionally harder as we are scheduled to be in two different children’s prisons in the middle of the week. I know God will be moving with us and the kids while we are there, but I know the entire team would appreciate your prayers as we get closer to leaving.

Keep an eye out for part two of this post with the remaining five or so photos from this particular batch. Have a great weekend.

Soles4Souls Blogging Challenge, 50,000 Pairs of Shoes in 50 Days

The only time I really like to jump on the bandwagon is when it is for a good cause.  The blogging groups that I run with are all doing a blogging challenge in conjunction with Soles4Souls in order to raise 50,000 pairs of shoes in 50 days.  All it takes is a $5 donation to 50000shoes.com for 2 pairs of shoes.  This really is a great cause so if you are not able to donate the $5.00 then if you have a chance, just do a blog post about the drive to get the word out.

Check out this list of great bloggers who have picked up the cause.  It is pretty simple, they are trying to get 50,000 pairs of shoes to give to people in need in the next 50 days.  I spent $7 on lunch today, pretty incredible $5 can buy two pairs of shoes.

If nothing else, check out that great list of bloggers.  I am sure there are more, if you are already involved just post your blog in the comments below so we can check it out.

The Details on 50,000shoes.com

IT€™S THE LAUNCH OF 50000SHOES.COM!

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Encounter at Auburn University on Thursday's

Last night I went to see Encounter perform at Auburn University, which is part of Grace Campus Ministries. I usually don’t post two similar blog post on my two blogs, but I know I have some readers that only read this blog, and some that only read my photo blog. For photos, see Grace Campus Ministries with Encounter on my photo blog, or see the full gallery here.

Encounter starts each fall semester and meets Thursday nights at 8:30 in the Student Activities Building on the campus of Auburn University. I went in to the photo shoot with a little hesitation not really knowing what to expect, and left thinking, wow, where was something like this when I was in college.

One of the things I love about college students is the electricity, energy, and excitement they bring with them. Their excitement for worship is not something I experienced in college, but it is contagious, and breeds its own energy.

The story of course is not about the band (which really rocks the house), or the leadership staff at Grace, or the lights, but the students. Being able to share the Gospel with them, minister to them in their specific environment and circumstances, and offer them a place of comfort with the Lord is something special.

Helping Alabama Rural Ministries Building a New Deck

Daughter and her kitten

Getting ready to use the hammer

Power saw for cutting wood

Today I went to shoot some of the youth working with the Alabama Rural Ministries (ARM), where they were working to build a deck and wheelchair ramp for a house a little ways outside Auburn. I realized when I got there that I had the easy job, to shoot the action.

The rest of the group was digging holes in the ground for a foundation beams and putting up deck supports. The project will be completed by the Alabama Rural Ministries people, the Cornerstone youth were there today to help, and help they did in a big way.

The first image is the daughter of the house who’s cat just had kittens and she was holding one of them in the shade while she watched the workers go about their business. I love the expression on her face. Both the mother and the daughter were the kindest people, they both even put up with me taking their photograph.

You can see the final edit of the shoot here. Photographically, this was one of the best groups of kids I have had a chance to shoot in a while. Everyone was so happy to be there and working and it showed in their faces.