A HA Moments
So the last few days at the IOC for Mercy Ships has been super informative. I’ve been in the IMS (Introduction to Mercy Ships) program for the week. In fact, we’ve just finished. We’ve gone from a group of total strangers, to relative acquaintances, to forming good friendships amongst us. It’s amazing what a few hours a day of small group learning and conversations can do for a group of people.
In the last few days I have been able to place faces to so many email correspondences I received while in Togo. I always forget names, but can never forget a face. I’ve had the opportunity of remembering some really great faces now. I’ve met Wade, Patrick, Diana, Elizabeth, Mark, Dr. Andrew, Angie, Jon, and so so so many more. The recruiters are so cool, and I find their personalities contagious, especially Vangie. I sat in my first fully staffed PR meeting and had the chance to hear the team share their updates.
My PR team is really cool too. A good group has been formed that “get” the norm ways of thinking to really hit the world with the cool things the ship has been doing in West Africa. It’s great to sit at a Hibachi table with all of them tonight and laugh. To only laugh all over again.
I got to sit with Claire and share yet another good meal and great memories. It wasn’t Le G, but we were having a good time anyhow. Mila, is so charismatic. A great smile, bright eyes (like E. Taylor). She comes from a pure place with deep roots. Reka, the most straightforward brilliant brain/person I’ve met in some time. And I could go on and on, but I’ll refrain because I’m beginning to sound like a kiss *ss.
While In IMS we had a daily routine. At the end of each session we would stand up and share our A HA moment of the day. Well today, I had a different A HA moment that I truly believe was God orchestrated. If I hadn’t come to IMS perhaps I would have never had a tour of the Teen Mania (Acquire the Fire) campus. It’s right next door to Mercy Ships and it’s huge. They receive approx 400 interns a year. But visiting the campus in some odd way totally brought me full circle.
It was at one of the Acquire conferences that I attended while still in high school that I decided to become a missionary in one form or another. It was through these conferences and the global missions photography that pulled at my heart strings to see the world and serve Christ for the rest of my life. I wasn’t sure how I was going to do it, but I knew that this is what truly would fulfill me and what my true purpose on this planet was. To be equipped by Christ to serve the poorest of the poor and to love God’s people. The acquire the fire folks were super big on world missions and would display countless images on the jumbo screens. The photos moved me, and made me realize that I too can take photos of the amazing move of God on this planet.
I didn’t want to be a journalist that photographed war and sorrow, but I wanted to convince the world through photography that Christ loves them. That Christ has remembered them in their torment, grief, sorrow, pain, illness that He too will provide for them, and bring restoration to their entire being. I wanted to photograph their A HA moment when they realized that they too matter to this world and there mere breath and presence is a pleasant fragrance unto our Creator.
Here I am 15+ years later and have taken one of the largest leaps of life ever. I’m fully committing myself to Christ as a missionary. You can change the phrase and text to make it however appropriate and comfortable you need it to be. But bottom line, that’s what I am now. A full time vocational missionary in the creative arts to the poorest of the poor in West Africa. Darn, that sounds so good. I’m honored and touched. I’m blessed beyond belief. And so very fortunate to be right where God wants me to be. His grace has followed me through all the way to this point and will take me through for the rest of my life.
As I walked the halls of Teen Mania I found myself praying for the next generation of the “church” that is to come. For the gals and guys who will be sitting at this mass conference to hear that they too are called by God. That they truly may be convinced that nothing can separate the love that Christ has for His children. And to take it a step further and be open to hear the vocational call of God in their life at the age of 11, 15, 18, 20.
During the IMS training we studied some of the parables found in the gospel. We studied the story of the good seed that fell on good soil. I personally think that I’ve been the seed eaten by the ravens, and swallowed by the prickly vines, and also the seed that has fallen on good soil. All of these at different times of my life. My gig with Mercy Ships, I can honestly convincingly state is falling on good soil. Strike that, has fallen on good soil.
He’s made the provision and has placed the time to now go through with my hearts cry from so many moons ago. At the age of 14,15 (can’t recall) when I said I wanted to be a photographic missionary for Him.
And I got to see the inspiring campus that enabled my dream to come true?
Isn’t that amazing?
Yeah an A HA moment for sure.