I woke up the morning after our trip to the Gateway House of Hope orphanage impacted by what I had seen. It was my day to present a daily devotional at breakfast, and I felt what I had prepared previously just wouldn't do. I wanted a relevant scripture, the most inspiring words to capture and convey what had transformed the evening before. I ached to connect the things I was feeling to what I had read in the bible, and declare it all over sliced watermelon and sauteed cabbage at the breakfast table. I went crazy searching the bible and googling for scripture that lingered in my head. The perfect words, I craved, to give the persona of a knowledgable Christian. I even tightly closed my eyes and asked God to send me in the direction of verses I needed. And wouldn't you know the holy spirit works how it always does, and I felt the need to open Jesus Calling (this happened EVERY DAY). Monday, July 22nd the Lord called me out on one of my biggest sins: the desire for perfection...or at least the appearance of it: "Find desire through seeking to please me above all else. You only have one Master. When you let other' expectations drive you, you scatter your energy to the winds. You own desire to look good can drain your energy. I am your Master, and I do not drive you to do what you are not. Your pretense displeases Me, especially when it is in my 'service'. Concentrate on staying close to me at all times, it is impossible to be inauthentic while you are focusing on my presence".
"Oh, well that answers that", I thought. I looped my long hair into a ponytail since I had, in fact, traded precious hair-styling minutes to flip for scripture, and carried my notebook to the buffet where I presented my story and testimony from the day before, along with quotes I recalled from Pastor Mike Kai's service "Above the Mundane" "The dreams we have in our hearts were not put there by us, they were seeded by God" and passionately spoke to the group about what we can are are doing to multiply the gifts we were given. I won't ever be the perfect Christian, or be able to recite pages of versus from the back of my hand, or even answer half the questions of the skeptics, but what I know in my heart, what I have seen and felt and know to be true about God is my testimony, and it's powerful, and thankfully all I'll ever need to strengthen my faith--which is far better than being perfect in any else's eyes.
After breakfast we packed up our bags and headed North for a day trip for our first Hill Tribe Village. During the 2 hour drive I was disheartened to find out that my digital camera battery had not properly charged (the electrical outlets in our rooms wouldnt always hold heavy devices) and I was low on battery life. Gazing out the truck window, I feared I would miss integral photos or interview moments, a slew of the good shots. After all, I WAS the trip Photographer, I should be prepared, things like this shouldn't happen. Then I heard it, the voice that creeps from my soul, the one that rumbles every so often, too loud or far from my own thoughts or desires to actually be me that said "it's not about the photos, it's about the people". And being there, without the distraction of a constantly clicking digital camera, was perfect.
A few Contax 645 film drive by shots I clicked from the passenger seat of the truck (that's on the left side!) while enroute to the Hill Tribe. Shot on Fuji 400h film and developed at Richard Photo Lab. The driver was so kind and every time he saw me hold my camera up to my face would slow down for me--which happened often. Now I know how Marshall feels! Ha!