Monday, August 29, 2011

Making Darkness Light

THE STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 8/29/11

My first night in the city as the call to prayer rang out, I was in awe. The etherial sunset behind the famous blue mosque, its Adhan echoing the others, and the smell of shwarma below enchanted me. I couldn't miss the chance to capture it on camera.

This roof became the place where I would sleep on hot summer nights, hang my laundry, grill Arab barbeque with my neighbors, make penny wishes with visiting college students, and worship with my roommate.

Over time as I began to feel the weight of Islam and the chains it held on my friends and neighbors, listening to the call to prayer on my roof became an act of faith... trusting that one day His Voice will be heard above any loud speaker and will call true worshippers to Himself. Not because of me, who neither began the work nor will finish it, but because of His faithfulness to a work that is ancient.

My roommate and I often stand on the roof overlooking the city, imagining our praises and prayers mingling with those ancients (Moses, Aaron, the 12 tribes, and many whom we have never heard) who worshipped and prayed on this very same sand just a few thousand years earlier. We picture God, who exists outside of time, receiving all of our praises as one as they rise up together from the desert of Jordan.

There are some days when I look out and all I can see of this current city is sprinkled with mosques. Yet when I remember those who have gone before us, my 'faith eyes' can almost see the completion of 'Ancient Work' when one day my Arab friends will join with us in the great multitude of worshippers.

Monday, August 22, 2011

little guy | Big Story

STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 8/22/11

Can you imagine asking a child if he wants more bread or just candy, and he answers, “Just bread, please”? We minister to Quechua children in the valleys of Bolivia and in remote mountain villages. Every Christmas we travel to villages high in the Andes Mountains, above the tree line; we take gifts, food and the Good News to children living without even the basic needs, and without Jesus.

Little Paco met us coming into his village. He was wearing little sandals made of truck tires and no sweater for the cold weather. We put clothes on his back and food in his stomach. His eyes lit up when he saw the gifts and candy but what he wanted most was the bread; a real treat where there’s no firewood to bake bread. When he heard the story of Jesus he accepted the gift of salvation joyfully and without hesitation.

Paco is just a little guy but with a big story that points the way to heaven; trust the Father, believe in Jesus and enter the kingdom with childlike faith. Paco may only have bread when we visit but he will always have the Bread of Life.

photographer: Peggy Cunningham, Bolivia

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Power of the Son

STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 8/15/11

Here in Lithuania, the winters are long. And the winters are dark. Very dark. We spend the fall enjoying every last minute of sunlight we can soak in as the days get shorter and shorter. In late December the sun won’t rise until after 9 am and it sets again by 4 pm. The winter weather is often gray and gloomy, making it a hard place to live in the winter. It can feel oppressive.

But sometime around late February, we start noticing a lengthening of days. A couple extra minutes of sunlight in the evening can feel like hours with the amount that we’ve missed it! And then the sun starts meeting me through my window during my early morning devotion time…and before I know it, I come downstairs for devotions with full sunlight streaming through my windows! Spring is a time of rejoicing: new growth, new life, new LIGHT!

This sunset photo was taken in late April around 8:30 pm. Every day gets longer and longer until July – when the sun won’t set until after midnight and starts to rise again by 3:00 am. Summer in the Baltics is a joyful time because of the sunlight! We try to soak up as much as we can and put it on reserve—llike a built-in solar panel—to save for the winter.

But sadly, it never lasts. Lithuania has one of the highest suicide rates in the world. It can be a sad, sad place to live—especially in the winter. But this is why my family and I are here— to share the hope we have in Christ with university students who grew up in post-Soviet countries like this one. And it’s because of this hope that we can praise His name—during the darkest winter or the sunniest summer!

photographer: Kim Stave, Lithuania.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Height of Worry

STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 8/8/11

This picture was taken while I was attending a conference for United Christian Broadcasters in South Africa. At the conference, various radio broadcasters representing radio stations around the world--especially those in the Sub-Saharan portion of Africa--were discussing how to reach dying and crying humanity, the lost, with the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. My heart broke regarding the lack of access to basic physical food and spiritual food for these people groups.

Afterwards during a scheduled break, I see the graceful, long-necked giraffe off to the side near the group of trees. The giraffe is contently munching on some tasty green leaves. Oh how effortless it looks and how natural it is; the Lord has given the giraffe the provision of a long neck to easily access nourishing food. Oh, that I would trust and concentrate on His provision and not let the cares of the world rob me of His perfect plan and purpose for my life and the lives of all that He has created.

photographer: Dawn Stallings, Golden Rule Broadcasting

Monday, August 1, 2011

Learn. Seek. Defend.

STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 08/01/11

One day I went with my friend to her village to a naming ceremony for the baby of a relative of hers. While there we went to visit my friend's mom. Her mom asked me to take this picture. It was dark in the house, but light was shining in from the door, making the perfect light for this picture.

photographer: Nancy DeValve, Niger. "My husband and I are cross-cultural workers in Niger."

What's NEW this Week @ WOTH:

*WOTH onlineMagazine: Have you read the July/August 2011 issue? Serving Him is wild and unpredictable : Read "Kidnapped" and "To Be Wanted: Sex and the Lure of a Text."


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