Monday, October 31, 2011

Psalm 67: Ukranian Harvest

STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 10/31/11

Each Fall in Ukraine, a harvest celebration takes place. It is called zhatva. A mountain of fruits and vegetables are the main attraction. Scripture is at the center of the display. This year, I was asked to help decorate. The morning of the decorating I read Psalm 67 and found it very appropriate for the day's activities. We rejoiced in God's bounty to us and providing us with food yet another year.

photographer: Jayne Russell, Ukraine. "I, too, rejoice at being in Ukraine. In November, I will celebrate 12 years on the field. I am glad to see the ultimate harvest as well."

Friday, October 21, 2011

Your Graying Years

STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 10/24/11

It was the second weekend in to my ten-month stay in Russia, where I would be teaching English in a small city in western Russia. A very close Russian friend and I traveled to the "nearby" town of Voronezh - a four hour drive - to visit another friend of ours. It happened to be the 425th anniversary of the city, and we took the opportunity to see some of the sites, which most always includes the major cathedrals and churches, known throughout the world for unique architecture and symbolism.

Of course I viewed the inside, draped a scarf over my head, and stared up high into the golden filigree of the icons staring down at me, yet I caught myself wondering how many here actually know
Him. Does anyone know He truly loves, knows, seeks to uphold them?

And outside the gates I saw these two women, seemingly content in their Sunday afternoon routine, possibly selling seeds or trinkets for passersby near the grounds. It was the simplicity, after moments before experiencing the grandeur of the cathedral, that made me notice. They chose their position carefully - scarves covering their heads in a reverence that was surely routine, but also meaningful - deeply necessary. What did these women know about the God of those cupolas, the God of my life? Perhaps I would do well to learn from their faith, made stronger by lives of hardship and devastating change. And the Lord in this moment reminded me of His specific love for each one of his children - from the recent college graduate with eyes open wide to the weathered old women with eyes narrowly focused... oh, that we would be looking in the same direction.

photographer: Juliana Jordon, Russia. "I'm teaching English for the year in a small city in Western Russia."

Monday, October 17, 2011

Come to the Waters

STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 10/17/11

I was visiting this village in Burkina Faso, Africa. I was amazed that most of the villages have wells built by many different organizations who sponsor those who need water for their health. I watched the villagers come from the field where they were working and being able to drink good water. Their health has improved so much because they are taking care of themselves.
photographer: Linda Ellis, Burkina Faso. "I am currently living in Burkina Faso to help the teachers who work with the students with hearing loss for one year or so."

Monday, October 10, 2011

Bears our Burdens

STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 10/10/11

While serving as a nurse in a Yanomami jungle village in Northern Brazil I would sometimes go walking to visit a sick baby, a discouraged mother or anyone who happened to be at home. I often had my camera in hand. I took this picture of Maikox because I liked the jungle frame around him. He was returning after gathering leaves and twine to be used in the thatch roof on a new house.

The more I looked at the picture later it reminded me of the less visible burdens we often carry. This particular man has heard many times about the God who offers to take his burden of sin, but sadly he chooses to continue being weighed down and destroyed by its weight. As believers we are so blessed to be able to walk freely, having handed our burdens to a strong God! Let's not grow weary in sharing and living that message! The Lord will work in people's hearts in His time.

photographer: Debbie Murphy, Brazil. “I am a nurse and I worked for 8 years in this Yanomami village in northern Brazil. I did medical work in the village as well as Bible teaching with the women.”

Monday, October 3, 2011

Knowledge of the Glory

STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 10/3/11

While in Australia, we took a tour of The Great Ocean Road. This route, along the southern edge of the continent, is beautiful and inspiring while being wild and somewhat brutal. To the north, an enormous continent of extremes; to the south, fierce icy water; next stop, Antarctica. As we are from the northern part of the US, everything in Australia was foreign and mysterious - whole species of trees and animals found nowhere else on earth.

We were about as far from home as it's possible to be, yet we were not separated from the love of Christ. That ocean was created by our Father; His voice roared in the water, even the koalas call Him Lord. We were in awe of His power and proud to belong to the Creator of this wild beauty. We are aware of His presence with us wherever we go. When we worship with Christians there, or in Africa or South America, we are home.

photographer: Susan DeGraaf, US


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