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Posts Tagged ‘photography’

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Late last year, God led me to this little coffee shop in Phoenix. It has been amazing to see how he has used this little community in downtown Phoenix to change my life. Anywhere from taking pictures to being an advocate for Food for the Hungry and Land of a Thousand Hills or just drinking great coffee with an amazing community of people deep in the heart of the art district all came from hanging out at 8th Day Coffee & Culture. God is working here! He is bridging a community of faith through the local art scene and the story of community-trade coffee in Rwanda. It’s just amazing to see and be a part of! And how awesome that they are located right dead center in the heart of downtown Phoenix – a place city busting with a growing urban and arts community.

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“Eternal Sunshine of Bird City”

Just recently, Joseph Sentrock Perez painted this on the outside wall of 8th Day. It’s an amazing mural called Eternal Sunshine of Bird City. Sentrock moved here from Chicago and has become quite a well-known artist here in the local Phoenix art scene. Here is Sentrock describing his inspiration behind painting this:

I painted this on 8th day cafe, a coffee spot in downtown Phx. The phrase 8th day represented eternity. That’s why I wrote Eternal Sunshine of Bird City, a play off of the movie. I wanted it to signify an eternal blessing on the city Phoenix. Sharing our art and expression will forever bless the city of Phoenix aka Bird City. 

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Art work displayed on the walls of 8th Day

A lot of the amazing art work displayed on the walls of 8th Day is organized by Steve Malakowsky (Hope thru Art). He is an amazing artist and has a huge connection with the local art scene. One of things I love is his project to display art from the homeless population here in Phoenix. The funds made go back into helping them out. He’s a great guy and I love his heart for art and people. Tonight, the Food for the Hungry artists displayed their art for the First Friday art walk and were able to showcase God’s heart for the less fortunate through their pictures and paintings.

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I had to voice my excitement!

So one of the most amazing God stories to come out of this place is the story of Juliana and Daniel. I met Juliana while teaching refugees last summer. God has used her in so many ways in my life that I can’t even write it all. She’s an amazing talented woman and I am so thankful for her friendship. In fact, I found out about 8th Day through her. Daniel is the manager of 8th Day and has become a dear friend and brother. They met at 8th Day and have recently got engaged here. I love this story and was in tears when I heard about this. I am so happy for them! Pastor Shane of St. George’s Anglican Community was on hand to bless them and I pray for a long and happy marriage for them! God is good and He is working everywhere!

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Juliana and Daniel with Pastor Shane

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There are times that when you donate your time to the Kingdom, you don’t always get the “thank you’s” or see the results of what you did. That’s because the Glory belongs to God, not us. He uses us for His purposes. But there are times that we do get tangible blessings for the work we do in the Kingdom from time to time. I try to look at them as encouragement to further the Kingdom. I was able to donate my time to a Music Therapy school recently and they are using my photographs to make brochures and thank you cards. This saved them hundreds of dollars in having to hire a professional photographer. I also donated to the Forgiveness Wins campaign that Land of a Thousands Hills is promoting. Today I got a couple nice cards in the mail from both thanking me for my time and giving. It was nice to see my pictures on the thank you card.

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8th Day Coffee & Culture is the newest coffee-house in downtown Phoenix. They have partnered with Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee Company and serve 100% Arabica, community-traded coffee from Rwanda, Haiti, and Thailand. They are also the first coffee shop to bring community-traded coffee to the Phoenix area. On the weekends they showcase live music and local art and on Sundays, St.Georges Anglican Community meets here for worship. It’s been an answer to prayer for me to discover this place as I have partnered with Thousand Hills coffee for some time. I’m excited to see community-trade coffee being served here in the Valley and strategically it’s located in a great place being in the arts district. Drink coffee, Do good.

Pour Over Rwandan Coffee

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My friend Karla is a photographer and she took some amazing pictures of different people on our Mexico team. Even though I didn’t take my Canon with me, I enjoyed talking photography with her. I am posting some of my favorites from her album.

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I’m not too into accomplishments, but it is nice to get things in the mail. I passed all three of my classes this semester and received my Level 1 certification in Biblical counseling, an A and a certification of completion in my Muslim class and I got an A in photography at CGCC. I am thankful to have learned some incredible material and skills this year that I can apply to life and thankful to God for providing these opportunities.

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art

Musement is an art-thrashing experience driven by inspiration and community. It’s a playground for the imagination.

“You are both; a work of art and an artist at work” – ERM

BUILD

CAPTURE

MOVE

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I was so inspired by Keira’s Free Photos, Free People ministry that I decide to get some pictures done of the boys and I. It has been some time since we have had photos done and I wanted to contribute to her cause. Keira did a great job and we had a lot of fun doing it!

– I feel the need to add this in here. As I look at these pictures, it captures a moment of our life that God came in to restore all three of us. We really have bonded together and God has redeemed and grown us so much these past few months. Even though we are saddened because a family member is missing from these pictures, we have agreed to always consider her family and to welcome her back with open arms at any time. I really am thankful for this moment that Keira captured and will always look at his time that God was present and he rescued us from a difficult time. The joy on our faces shows how amazing God really is and his power of restoration.

More pictures at  The Dirty One, The Direct One, & The Dad!.

You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them

– Desmond Tutu

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“Cities are the center of culture. Often, they are the intersection of art, politics, and business. New City exists to engage culture where it’s created, weaving the story of God into the story of Phoenix.” 

I love Brain Kruckenburg. He has really helped bring a vision to the local art scene in the heart of downtown Phoenix. Whether that be with New City Studio on First Friday’s or with the aaa program (action, advocacy, arts) at ASU’s College of Public Program, he has used God’s gift of creativity as a witness tool to the community. I was invited to attend New City Church this morning by some friends and I have always been encouraged by Brian’s support of what I got going on in my life. I love this church! Right now, Missio Dei is where God wants me and it’s my home and where I need to be to grow in my walk. But NCC taps right into my heart for the arts and photography. I try to stop in when I get a chance to say hi to good friends and to stay in touch with some of the local community events that they do. I’m looking forward to their next First Friday as they are displaying work from behind the scenes of local films.

Brian talked about us being humble leaders and how we need to keep advancing forward. This is done through both mission and vision. We need to always know our mission and stick to it. Vision is inside the mission and sometimes it can change and that is ok. Vision is both biblical and timely and the strategy is us. I sometimes find myself getting caught up my visions and forget the overall mission. I love to dream and God has blessed me with lots of passion and talents in different areas. Even now, God has opened up the door with the arts, photography, cooking and missions in several different areas of my life. But I want to make sure I follow the Spirit’s guidance and only follow the visions that lie within my own personal mission – which is to live a life that reflects the Kingdom.

I finished reading Erasing Hell by Francis Chan on the light rail today. There was an excerpt in the back of the book from a chapter of Forgotten God on the Holy Spirit that hit me:

I think we can all agree that living “according to our sinful flesh” is not what is intended for us as children of God. Yet even so, we often choose to face life’s issues and circumstances in exactly the same way as someone without the Spirit of God. We worry, strive, and grieve no differently than unbelievers. While it is true that we are humans like anyone else, it is also true that we are humans with the Spirit of God dwelling in us. Yet, whether consciously or not, we essentially say to God, “I know You raised Christ from the dead; but the fact is my problems are just too much for You and I need to deal with them myself.”

This has been the story of my life many times over. I can tell you countless of stories of when I was filled by the Spirit and God used me in amazing ways. But then, there are many times life was ‘too hard’ for me to handle and I ended up dealing with it on my own and the result was failure. You see this in the life of Peter. He denied Christ and made all sorts of irrational decisions during Christ’s crucifixion, yet he was filled by the Spirit and spoke a message that saved the lives of thousands of people not too long after that. This is why we have an amazing God who gives us grace. Our mission can only succeed with the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit. My life has changed so much because of grace and I have so much peace and direction because the Spirit is alive in me.

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He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.   Micah 6:8

My Pastor preached on this passage at church a couple of weeks back and what God requires of us as believers. We have been talking together in our missional community on justice and what this looks like for us and our surrounding community. I personally have been looking at this for myself as well and what God wants me to be doing in my own walk for this coming new year. A couple weeks ago I was able to put together a missions wall that has served as a reminder of how God has used me during those five years on the mission field. Making that wall really has stirred up my heart. As I have been going through some of my old stuff, I have been reading old journals of my journey. I have discovered that I have really held back in using my gifts and talents that God have given me this past year. Some of it is because he has been refining me and some of it is because I haven’t been focused on God’s will. God gave me a heart for the world. I have such a deep passion to engage and evangelize with other cultures. I have been spending a lot of time with several of my friends that have been on the mission field lately. Just hearing their stories has gotten me to get on my knees and pray to God about where he wants me to be. Through some connections with some missions organizations I have known, I am excited to say God has opened up opportunities for me to be back on the mission field this summer and in the Fall. I am locked in and excited to finally be back to doing things I’m passionate about.

I also have decided to return to school as a full-time student. Part of my schooling will be getting back into photography (primarily for missions and justice purposes). I have been blessed to be at a church loaded with photographers and they have been receptive in helping teach me some skills. In fact, my friend Keira is using her own business to help raise awareness for the sex trafficking. Another course I am excited to be taking is called Encountering the World of Islam. It’s a class designed to learn about the Muslim culture and how to engage with them. I have always had a heart for Muslims. Ironically I have a couple in my MC that works for Frontiers – an organization that sends missionaries into Muslim countries. I am really excited to be taking this course and to be engaging with Muslims here in the valley. My hope is to work in a Muslim country in the very near future. I feel very blessed for these opportunities and thankful to God for his calling.

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