Cheers! Today is a new day, the sun is up (well at least it is in Texas!), cars are a bustling and its time to introduce another wonderful team member of our Media Mission! One of the first things I noticed about miss Valerie upon our Skype interview was her infectious smile and adorable deer head sweater (sidenote, she told me she got it in the men's department of target so I went and got a similar one and happen to be wearing it as I post this!). Okay, enough from me, let's hear from Valerie!
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In March of 2010, I sat on an airplane by myself, headed for New York. I was going to spend a week, my spring break my sophomore year of college, serving the needy in the Bronx. A friend of mine loaned me a book to read on the flight when he heard I was headed to New York to serve. “The Cross and the Switchblade” tells the story of Rev. David Wilkerson, who left his rural church in Pennsylvania to minister to troubled teens in New York City. The book changed my life. I vividly remember sitting in the window seat of that tiny commuter jet and praying with all my might. “Break my heart for what breaks yours, Lord. Break my heart with yours.”
Little did I know, God would make good on His promise to answer prayer, and He started me on a beautiful journey that has indeed broken my heart many times.
Since that first trip to the Bronx, I’ve gone on missions in Louisiana, Haiti and Peru. I’ve served orphans and children from severely broken homes. And my heart has broken, time and time again, to witness these children without parents, without mothers to kiss their bumps and bruises, without families to throw them birthday parties and tell them how loved they are. I know the Father’s heart breaks to see his children orphaned. Mine breaks as well.
When I traveled to Haiti, I packed my camera and spent a lot of time capturing photographs of the kids we served. I loved taking their portraits. They were just like any kids in the United States, willing to do anything to make you laugh, hamming it up for the camera. Upon coming home and sharing these photos, my friends and family were moved to do something to help these kids. My dad kept commenting that I had “captured their spirit.” It was the first inkling I had that I could use my God-given gift for photography to build His kingdom. That through my art, people would be compelled to join hands in ending the worldwide orphan crisis. Maybe I could change the world, little by little, photograph by photograph.
Ever since that trip three years ago, I’ve been praying for an opportunity to use photography for His glory. Completely out of nowhere, I stumbled across The Archibald Project’s Media Mission. I almost laughed reading the description. It was like I could hear God whispering, “I’ve heard you, Daughter. I know your heart.” It was the PERFECT opportunity I’d been praying and yearning for.
I can’t even tell you how excited I am to be part of this team and to meet the sweet souls in Uganda! The Lord knows no bounds in His care for us, and I’m beyond humbled that He paved the way for me to make this trip. I’m thrilled to have a chance to capture the spirit of the children there and to be God’s hands and feet, his servant in ending the orphan crisis and bringing these kids home to the parents and families the Lord has ordained for them.