Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Kenya 2015: The Photo Project

This year in Kenya we hosted the photo project a little differently. There is a lot of isolation in the slums of the Mathare Valley and we wanted to partner with what the churches do to reach people. So this year we hosted the photo project on our first Sunday in Kenya. The project took place at 9 different churches throughout the valley. We trained up 9 teams of photographers, printers, crowd control and more to make it possible. We split up throughout the slums and prayed for what God had in store for the day. As it was closer to time for church, crowds gathered and we began!

 We started photographing portraits and inviting people to join us for church while we printed and framed their portrait. At first there weren’t many people and I felt a little sad that maybe this year we wouldn’t have the same excitement. However, that definitely wasn’t the case. Pretty soon we overflowed church and had hundreds of people waiting outside. This happened at most of the 9 church sites as well. People walked from all over dressed very nicely and excited for the opportunity. Seeing the pride they had in their family and taking a picture is pretty humbling. We spent about 3 hours cranking away. So many smiles, hugs, handshakes, prayers and laughs were exchanged.

After church the whole team gathered. I was so excited to hear how the other sites went (and a little sad to not be able to experience them all this year). Of course there were moments of chaos, some technically difficulties, limited power and small spaces but every team did a great job of making it work and create a space for people to matter.

All together we had almost 3,000 portraits taken and printed that morning. That’s 10,000 or more people who came, heard about God’s love for them, connected with others and left with a valuable gift.

Sometimes I am good at seeing the logistics of something and measuring it’s success (ok, often). But I am so glad I had Charles with me and he reminds me of the value, worth, love and presence that was brought to so many people during this. He encourages me and brings dreams of what could happen next and in other parts of the world. Gosh, I am so thankful for him and those gifts he brings.

Thank YOU to everyone who encouraged, celebrated, prayed for and supported us financially to make this possible. Big teams, 18 printers, thousands of sheets of photo paper, frames and other supplies were huge assets so bringing God’s love to an often dark and hopeless place.

Here is a recap from 1 of our 9 locations:

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