How is taking photos being a missionary?
"How is taking photos and writing stories being a missionary?"
It's a common question I often encounter. I don't take offense. There was a time I myself wondered the exact same thing.
The stereotypical concept of a missionary is often someone living in a mud hut in the middle of nowhere, eating bugs and parts of animals they never thought were edible, and witnessing to scantly clad villagers who've never heard another language.
While this is still the reality for some missionaries, the mission field has expanded. Maybe I can even say that there is no longer a mission field but instead a world in need of missions.
Missionaries are needed across the globe, even in places such as North America and Western Europe, where freedom of religion has long since been established and the standard of living is high. These places increasingly need the Good News as people turn away from God. Missions isn't all mud huts and malaria tablets; sometimes, it's an office building or a coffee shop.
There are all kinds of missionaries. From pastors to businessmen, farmers to nurses, office workers to teachers, the list is endless. Whatever talents God has granted us are to be used for His purposes.
Personally, mine are photography and writing. I believe I could use those talents at a secular job and still glorify Him, but at the moment, that is not where God is calling me.
Instead, He whispered in my ear that I was to go to Africa and help the missionaries there tell their stories to the world.
To me, my job has three aims.
One: to praise God by telling others of the work He is doing in all corners of the earth.
Two: to mobilise people to pray, give support, or join missions.
Three: to encourage the people whose stories I am telling.
"How will they know if they have not been told?" Though this is referring to the Good News, it also applies to missions. How will people in Canada learn what God is doing in Zambia if they are not told? How will people in India hear about the miracles God is preforming in Greece if no one writes anything?
Moreover, if they don't know, how can they act? We are not called to a passive lifestyle. Christianity calls for action: “Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” (James 2:17).
Herein lies OM's slogan of “pray, give, go.” One is not more highly esteemed than the other; they are all acts of obedience.
I feel privileged that my job entails hearing firsthand accounts of the endless love of Christ. Through the stories of broken lives and tragic situations, I am reminded that God triumphs over every darkness. I have found that asking people for their story or photo can be a great encouragement to them as they realize their stories and the work that God has done in their lives can impact people they have never met and travel far beyond the borders of the country they serve in.
So what's your talent, and how will you use it to serve the Lord?
Check out some of Rebecca's photos below: