Thursday, March 31, 2011

Continuing the story

So last I told you about the Mexico trip and talking to Trevor Johnson.  He basically said "Yes" there is definitely a use for photography on the mission field in Asia. Its just a matter making sure I have the skill necessary for the work and finding a way to pay the expenses.
That was the short of it. A little closer look showed there where many things to pray over and search out. Trevor was very good about bringing these to my attention. Things like
  • Asking for formal prayer and mentoring of the elders and church
  • Researching missions organizations to work with
  • Decide if I'm going to be full time missions or someone who goes on mission trips
  • Serving and taking on responsibility at my local church to prepare me for mission work
  • Pray and research about higher education and getting a degree 
Besides this he also mentioned that I would be of a lot more service and  worth if I could supply other media support as well as still photos. Video and web design where what he mentioned specifically, and in both areas I have very minimal knowledge at present. (pray for me as I possibly pursue those skills or others) 
Trevor also put me in contact with World Team  mobilization people who also helped me with thinking through next steps and answering questions. World Team is very ready to help people start the process of becoming a missionary. After talking with them they where ready to send me a internship application or a mid term application, neither of which am I ready to do at this point. They also asked if I would come and be the conference photographer for World Team Asia in June. This would be as the start of a two month internship. Unfortunately I have prior commitments for the month of June. 

Side note- For a while my excitement was rising so fast. It seemed like God was moving so fast! Where was I going to be in even two months? The excitement level is starting to come back down a little, but I still believe God is moving me somewhere. Pray that he brings these ideas and desires to fruition and that he will continue to press me forward (and that I will follow hard after him).

So involvement with World Team is on hold. But while the conversation was going on (a period of a few weeks) I had been contacting other missions organizations and looking for missions photographers. I Googled "Missions Photographer" and started emailing the people who's blogs came up with pictures of missions on them. I asked questions like: How do you support your self? Who do you work with? How did you start your mission work? 
Erik Annis was the guy that responded with info And after a email or two and a phone conversation he pointed me to SWPJC ( which ended up being a very encouraging experience and helpful step towards my goals. 
South Western Baptist Theological seminary photojournalism conference in Fort Worth Texas. A gathering of photographers wanting to use there skills for Gods glory. It was awesome. If you go to the main page and clink the link for any of the speakers you find a photographer that is doing some crazy awesome stuff! Some were long established pros, and some young photographers willing to go anywhere in the world that the Lord led them to. 

photo from his web site

Side note- Check out Jeremy Cowart. I can't tell you about all of them. Jeremy started his career as a celebrity photographer by going to Africa on a mission trip. When he came back and posted his pictures he was contacted by a photographer agent who wanted to represent him. He has been back to Africa 5 or 6 time, went to Haiti after the earth quake, (you check out the picture on the web site the are awesome) him and a friend have started "Twitchange" a project to raise money for the needy. Twitchange is an auction where bidders bid for a celebrity to follow them on Twitter. (After a while they decide to put Jeremy's name up for auction, and his price topped all the other celebrities!)

Time is running out so the conference in Texas and the rest will have to wait till next time, but I want to tell you all the ways God provided to get me there. 
photo by Jim Morris
  • He provided Erik to give me the info just in time to register (day before the dead line)
  • Aaron Sutton helped me get cheep plain tickets so I didn't have to take the train (a blessing from the Lord in my book).
  • Pastor Scott hooked me up with his old ministry in Fort Worth (Beautiful Feet ministries and they in turn found me rides to and from the air port in Dallas to the seminary.    
  • Then on top of that when the  campus rooms were all filled up (plus the were $80 a night), and I thought I was going to walk to and from a hotel down the road, Donald from Beautiful Feet offered to have me stay at his apartment, AND take me back and forth each day. That was an awesome blessing and an experience in itself. 
  • Once to the conference God lead me to people that were a blessing to me in many ways which I will tell you about later.  

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Soccer Kids (quick break from the story)

With a quick break from the story.
Besides photography my other love is sports. I'm not good at any sport in specific but I love playing competitive games with physical activity. I have seven little brothers and sisters most of whom love sports as well. Now eight of us is a good start for any sport right there and when you add several kids from around the block in my subdivision you got just the kind of soccer game I excel at best (with every one smaller than me ha ha!). On nice sunny days we get kids from all over the subdivision and of all ages, all the way from four to twenty years old. Besides soccer we also play basketball and Ultimate Frisbee or whatever other sport takes our fancy.
So here are two pics I took the other day of the game (I rarely take time to pick the camera up when I have the chance to play but I will try to again one another nice day), and now you know a little more about me.  :-)

Where it started

This idea and desire to use my photography in missions started back in the summer of 2010. It was the first time my camera (my big black camera) came with me on a mission trip to Mexico. I had been times before but had been scared to take my camera because of the fear that it would be ruined/broken. This time I decided to anyway even if that meant buying a new camera when I got home.
I loved it! That's basically what I did the whole trip was take pictures. Once we got back to the USA the pictures got shown to my church and friends (the slide show on the side bar are a few of the pictures), a print set was made and displayed on the missions table at my church, but really they did not get used for anything.
So at this point it was "This is great! I'm going to take my camera every mission trip I go on!"

What started the ideas in my head that my photography skills could be further used in missions was a missionary speaker at a Christian family homeschool camp in Wisconsin. This missionary, Don Shire, (also an awesome trumpet player) has started orphanages in India that he visits regularly among other things. It was listening to him share and watching the photos his showed us that first started my thinking that photography might be of use to missionaries on the mission field.
So now I'm thinking "Hmm... Who might be wanting me to take pictures for them?"

Well I kinda kept that thought in my head for a month or two till answers just had to be found. I started with Trevor Johnson, World Team missionary to the jungles of Indonesia.   He had spoke at my church before and seemed to me to be a super-duper hard core recruiter. I figured he would know if there was a need for photography on the mission field. And I will tell you what he said and where it led next time. It is time for me to go play some soccer with the kids (brothers, sisters, neighbors.)

Monday, March 28, 2011

First Post

Hello! My name is Billy Jackson.
I am a professional photographer who is searching for ways to use his photography in global and local mission work. I do not have a missions statement yet stating what my goal is, because I do not yet see clearly how God is leading me. I'm not sure how to best explain what God is doing except to tell you the story, which is what this blog is for.
I will start with events and ideas leading up to where I am now, and then try to keep you updated as God leads me on in the path he has laid for me.