Photographic Mission Team Proclaims the Risen Christ
- 2005 16 Feb
Ministry is a word filled with so much meaning, and it can be expressed in many different ways. For a team of Christian photographers from PhotoMission, ministry unfolded as we first yielded to God's plan and purpose for our lives - and then obeyed and went to northeast India late in 2004.
Ghani Zaman, Ian Homer and I began planning the trip in 2003, initially believing it would be a good cross-cultural experience for PhotoMission's members. God, meanwhile, began to show us His plan was to create a missions team. He added three members to our group who were each relatively new in their walk with the Lord and eager to serve Him. Even though we live in five countries and half the group had not met the other photographers in person until we traveled together, God continually affirmed He was with us. And by the time the six of us returned home on December 8, 2004, we recognized God had changed, refined and used us over seventeen memorable days.
With God as Our Compass
Once we arrived in India, God took us to where our brothers and sisters in Christ needed spiritual encouragement. We traveled where scenic beauty covered the jagged rock just below the surface, and 5,000 stone steps brought us to remote villages. Part of our mission included taking photographs for the purpose of tourism, leading to a strengthening of the local economy. As we trekked, God frequently cleared the path for us to share the claims of Christ. Sometimes, this happened as we arrived at a villager's home to enjoy a meal - unsuspecting of all God had in store for us in terms of sharing His love. Having been brought together by God from the far corners of the earth (South Africa, Ukraine, United Kingdom, India and the United States), the PhotoMission missions team traveled in His strength.
The Highlight of Our Time Together
One day, we saw men preserve an ancestral tradition - a fishing event that had not been held in their village for fifteen years. It was something we imagined few other outsiders had had the privilege to witness as it continued through the night and into the dawn of a new day.
After the fishing event, we learned these same men were members of the village council; and they asked us to lead a worship service for the two congregations in their village. Using passages found in God's Word, we spoke on the theme of unity - which was especially relevant as it had been fifteen years since both churches had worshipped together. On that November Sunday, we praised God and gave thanks to him on an open parcel of land surrounded by our brothers and sisters in Christ who sat in plastic chairs or stood on balconies supported by bamboo poles. We recognized that if God had brought us to only this one village on this one day, all the prayer and planning that had gone into the trip would have been worth it. Our collective worship was like a microcosm of what will take place in heaven when every knee bows to the King of kings and the Lord of lords.
The Trip Concludes, For Now
As November gave way to December, we arrived at a Christian school. Here, we reached out to young, quiet students, spoke to them about obeying the Lord and presented a skit. We further enjoyed the hospitality of area Christians who invited us to their homes for fellowship and dinner.
There are many things God did on this missions trip that will remain unknown to us, the lives that have been changed - people and events that are now miraculously connected to one another. The members of the team are connected. Contacts have been established, and many questions we have for God may or may not receive answers in the days ahead. However, we pray that at least for some of our questions His answers will be forthcoming. For example, what will God next ask of us?
Our final time of worship together took place at another tribal church where the service was held indoors, unlike the one held in the village the Sunday before. Yet at each service God was glorified; and at each one, He revealed the truth of Galatians 3:26-29:
"You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then are you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."
We remain committed to His Call.