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Uganda.

Monday morning I will boarding a jet that is going to take me over the ocean to Amsterdam and then on to Kampala Uganda.

7 months ago, while having a conversation with a few friends of mine late one night at a Vancouver Starbucks we got into a discussion about dreams and aspirations for our future.   I was asked what my dream photography job would be, and I had said, being able to travel and do photography as a missionary and not just as a portrait artist.   It was a casual comment.  I really had no idea when or how on earth that would happen (I wasn’t even sure then what I meant by it….it just came out!).  I have two small kiddos, a busy portrait business, and a crazy life.  Traveling to some foreign country to take pictures was not going to be happening to me anytime in my near future.  At least that’s what I thought!   Obviously God thought different.  Through that small comment, and a quick picture he gave my friend Sharnessa while she was on vacation the following month something came to be.   There is so much that has happened since July of last year – I can’t even begin to blog about it.  The long and short of it is that God has  literally put person after person in our lives that was somehow connected to Uganda Africa, that I have had no doubt whatsoever that this was all orchestrated by Him.     So we booked a flight and here we go!  Sharnessa, me and few others will be in Uganda Africa – specifically Kampala Uganada, staying in a hostel for a week and then in a missionaries home for another week.   We are taking a large amount of water filters to distribute to families in need of clean water and also working with an orphanage in Kampala  – the IAM children’s family.   We hope to visit a mission in Lake Victoria, a few baby orphanages and the homes of Ugandan families.   The goal of the mission – besides the clean water, a VBS (vacation bible school for the orphanage) and hopefully bringing some sort of help (however small it may be) to this totally war ravaged country is to “go and bring it back” which was a part of Sharnessa’s dream.  The “go and bring it back” part is where the photography comes in.  I’ll be photographing the distribution of the water filters to families in need for sawyer.com, documenting the needs and lifestyle of the people, and parts of the VBS as well.  Our hope is to bring back the huge need that is in Uganda (as well as many other countries in Africa) and get Americans (specifically people around us….as in Longview WA) inspired to help others.

I recently finished reading this book called “The Hole in our Gospel“.  The book has literally changed my life and my worldview.   I am completely blown away by my own selfishness and shallowness as an American.    I get bent out of shape when I don’t get my latte in the morning.  It’s really sad but true.   I don’t recommend reading this book if you are not wanting to change anything about your life.   It will blow you away and WILL absolutely change you.    My hope is that somehow I can convey through photographs the great need over there.   One of the things that I discovered in that book that literally shook me to my core was the number of children that die of starvation every day.   How often do we hear about a jetliner crashing?  Every so often one goes down and few hundred people die.  It’s horrible,  it’s sad, it’s tragic and it’s always all over the news.   Yet every SINGLE day the equivalent of 26 jetliners full of children DIE of starvation.  And no one hears about it.   Or maybe we do but it’s so watered down that we are completely unaware.  I know people are starving but until I really SEE it I don’t GET it.  I,as an American, am so used to the concept of having a 3 bedroom 2 bath home with 2.5 kids, 2 cars and a cushy job that I fail to see past myself and see what the world REALLY looks like out there.   It breaks my heart.  I know it’s going to get even more broken as I travel.  But I want it to be.  I never want to go back to the way I was.

Needless to say, while I’m traveling I will not doing any sort of portrait business-type stuff.  My husband Bryce will be doing his absolute best to keep up on my phone calls, e-mails and bookings, but as my e-mail box tends to get hundreds of e-mails a day with all the business stuff I’m involved in,  and my phone rings constantly between clients and telemarketers, so he may have a hard time sorting through it all and figuring out what to respond to and what to ignore.    If you are wanting to schedule a session for February or later, please contact him direct at 360-957-0115.   I will be back in the office as of January 28th, and plan to resume shooting as normal February 1st.

Before I go I also want to give a big thank you to you, my clients.  2009 was an AMAZING year, and I was so blessed by each and every one of you.  I often hear from other photog’s in the biz about problem clients and impossible to please people – I can honestly say, I do not have a single one of “those” people in my life.  I am seriously blessed to have each and every one of you.  Not one of you has been hard to please or difficult to work with….even the crazy 3 year olds, and busy 2 year olds have been so much fun!   Thank you to you guys I’ve worked with in the last month especially – I know me leaving has caused a bit of a glitch in my schedule, but you have all been so understanding, graceful, and even encouraging in your e-mails and facebook posts!  Thank you!

For those of you that follow me on twitter or facebook – while I’m in Kampala I will at times have access to some scattered internet service so my hope is to be able to log in here and there and update with some iphone photos and trip updates.  Of course no “real” photos till I get back as I’m not taking my computer with me….I highly doubt the computer at the hostel I’m staying in will have the ability to process RAW images.  😉   If your interested in seeing some updates follow me or friend me via the links at the top of this blog.

Thanks and God Bless!

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  • Sue Ann - January 13, 2010 - 12:19 pm

    This is awesome! Best of luck to you!!! I put up a thread on the board asking that people pray for you and you know they will! Come by there and share pics and stories when you get back! Be safe!

  • Darlene - January 13, 2010 - 1:38 pm

    Praying for you Jessica. May you find your safe way home.

  • Kelly S - January 13, 2010 - 3:29 pm

    Praying for safe travels for you Jessica and I know you’ll have an amazingly eye opening experience to bring back to share. Looking forward to your stories & images when you return. You’re doing a wonderful thing!!!

  • Jackie Holloway - January 13, 2010 - 4:09 pm

    Oh how exciting Jessica!!! I am extremely jealous. I feel like I should be doing something in the mission field and what you are doing sounds fabulous!!!

  • Missy - January 14, 2010 - 7:08 am

    Wow, girl…..so much respect for you….that is awesome that you are doing this. We’ll be thinking of you and praying for safe travels and really looking forward to hearing about your adventure when you return. God speed…

  • Leia - January 14, 2010 - 10:33 am

    Girlie, it is so awesome that you are going there!! Take care of yourself, I cannot wait for you to get back and I cannot wait to hear all about your trip and to see all the photos!! God Bless Hun and stay safe!

  • Amber Debyah - January 14, 2010 - 7:52 pm

    How amazing!!! My prayers are with you!

  • Kim - January 15, 2010 - 7:27 pm

    Take care! I will be praying for God’s will in your work. Be careful…can’t wait to see pics!!

  • Portrait Artist - January 23, 2010 - 10:15 am

    very interesting place you’ll get to visit, excited of the photos you’re going to post… I have a site to share with you, you might get interested to do some of this wedding portraits

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