A little over a year ago, I had my first encounter at a local abused women shelter through 1:27 Missions. I was not certain what I would find as I entered, but I was ready to love in whatever capacity the Lord provided. I was met with the faces of young women, broken by what the world had to offer and seeking some sort of hope. And oh, the looks on those little kid's faces...priceless! Wide-eyed with wonder, excited to have visitors and curious about what we had planned for them. It was a beautiful evening as we had a carnival, hot dogs, snacks, and a movie outside. There was so much laughter and so many smiles from a group of people that, for the time being, must remain in hiding. My heart was light as I left, excited for the next encounter with these precious people.
Throughout the Fall, I had been in prayer that the Lord would use my passion for photography to impact and love others in some way. It was a very short time after when an idea was dropped into my heart: why not go take family Christmas pictures at the shelter, and bring back the prints for them to have? I was elated! They cannot leave where they are and go into public nor do they have money to do such things, and I knew in an instant God had given me a wonderful answer to prayer.
I approached Tiffany with the idea and she was as excited as me. We set up logistics and had a beautiful day to shoot! They took so much care in getting ready; many even saying they had never had their pictures done and how it was so special. I had a blast operating in my passions and talents to love others! A few weeks later, Tiffany took the pictures back to the director and later they were passed out. I had not heard anything else so I figured that they probably liked them and knew that God would bless the idea that He had placed in my heart, but at the time, did not understand the depth of it.
I had a friend working there at the time and I ran into her at church a couple months after. She stopped me right away and said, “I passed out the pictures you took. You have no idea how much that meant to them. One had them all framed and gave them out to the family at Christmas, who cried upon receiving them. Others had them framed and up in their rooms saying they had never had family pictures. Some cried when they got them, and the smiles were huge and seemingly endless. You just don't even know the impact of blessing...” By this time I was glowing, inside-out, thinking that my God is so amazing to put me in the middle of what He's doing and allow me to reap the blessing of a joyful heart! I had no idea all that would be in store through partnering with 1:27 Missions, but it was a decision that has truly changed my life forever.