To connect with strangers beyond the realm of the mundane is to see the soul behind the mask of the face. There is a satisfaction and peace found when giving of yourself--a gift not found anywhere else. Yet, when things get hard, it makes it more difficult to look beyond ourselves. What if everyday were hard?
I have Ehler's Danlos Syndrome: hypermobility type( EDS), Dysyautonomia (Dys.), and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS). In summary, I have connective tissue, organ function, and mast cell irregularities. I'm very thankful for having a much lesser severity, but still have daily struggles with fatigue, pain, hives, and nearly every body system. Some days are better, others it's hard to even function. And yet, I love to travel and love to serve. Without God, I'd not be able to do much of anything. God has, and continues, to give me the strength and endurance to go through each day. He opens my eyes to see others who are struggling or presents opportunities in which I can serve. It is that reason that I had the blessing of joining The Archibald Project (T.A.P.).T.A.P. allowed me to use my photographic gifts to help see behind the faces of those who were only fragmented ideas and nameless images. From the very first day of meeting so many beautiful faces of Elpis, the joy overwhelmingly radiated from each one of them. As I prayed my way through fatigue and pain each day of one short week, I was honored to learn the stories of so many of these young faces. I could relate to the physical, emotional, and even mental pain and hardships of these kids. Though we had very different situations, God had brought us through hardships, placed people in our lives to teach us to be close to God in them, and never left us in the darkest times. Sharing stories half way around the world with a young kid I'd never met, let him become more than just a face and let me become more than just a white american; it let us become friends who understood each other and the joy that can come from trials when we are rooted in the peace and love of Jesus Christ.
(Photos by Danielle from her time on our February Media Mission!)