May 4, 2009

Part 2 {Vision - "The Hope That We Profess"}

Proverbs 31: 8-9
Speak out for those who cannot speak, for the rights of all the destitute. Speak out, judge righteously, and defend the rights of the poor and needy.”

-A Quick History-

In 2005, our now dear friends and leaders, Paul & Susi Childers birthed a vision for a missions organization that would bring
light to the darkness, hope to the hopeless, and a VOICE for the VOICELESS using art & photography as a catalyst for making actual-measurable change. It was, and has become, a global vision for finding creative ways to address, expose, and redeem the world’s biggest injustice issues. This is PhotogenX.

PhotogenX has since its genesis functioned under the parenting of YWAM (Youth With A Mission), which is one of the largest and most widespread missions movements across the planet. While we are our own entity (with our own tax exempt 501c3 non-profit status) our partnership with YWAM is a vital part of our identity. YWAM has over 170 locations worldwide and is present in nearly every country on the face of the planet, which gives PhotogenX the networking capability and connections to enter and work in nearly every corner of the globe.

Over the past four years PhotogenX has been in a
pioneering stage. Cultivating a long-term vision and learning day by day how to better our impact for those in need, we have only just begun. This is actually one of the major reasons Diane & I feel so privileged to be serving here. Being still very much in its infancy, we {and you} have much to offer and much to contribute to what PhotogenX will become in its adulthood. Paul & Susi are incredible at building community and working out of relationship. They see the end of injustice and the Kingdom of God as the ultimate goal, which leaves any ownership of the mission as secondary. We feel right at home and can’t recommend Paul & Susi to you enough as amazing believers, leaders and followers of Jesus Christ.

-Speaking Up {who we’ve been & who we are}-

There are two primary focuses in the actual ministry of PhotogenX as a mission; they are the mobilization of intercessory Prayer and Christ-like Action on behalf of the Voiceless around the world. Both of these focuses relate deeply to how PhotogenX has begun to function as a community of God-fearing artists. In 2006 Paul & Susi published what would become the first PhotogenX publication, which is the “Voice for the Voiceless: 30 Days of Prayer” booklet. This prayer book has since helped rally nearly 100,000 individuals and communities to pray for “voiceless issues” across the globe. Since its first print it has been translated into six additional languages and as we speak Susi is in Germany launching the German edition in Berlin. For those of you who have read/prayed through it I just want to emphasize that this booklet serves as much as a mission statement as it does a practical tool for awareness and prayer. Prayer is only the start, but action must follow. And it’s to this end that Diane & I have come to our placement within PhotogenX.

The 30 issues in “Voice for the Voiceless” {Child Prostitution, HIV, Human Trafficking, Infanticide, Poverty, just to name a few} are issues we desire to engage and practically work towards eradicating. Over the past year we have seen God move in incredible ways through our community. Last year we launched a campaign & publication called
“Sex & Money: A Global Search for Human Worth” which is focused on the endless connections between money and the global sex trade. Currently there are 1.2 million children being trafficked globally EVERY YEAR, a fact which we believe breaks the heart of our Lord. So in response we have been campaigning across the western world to raise this issue to any and all who would hear and act. We have also begun to engage practically by building strong connections with other ministries from Delhi to Cape Town, Amsterdam to LA who care for those being rescued from this brutal industry. Prayer lays the foundation. Action brings redemption. Onward…

-Us & PhotogenX-

As I mentioned in the last post, we have officially joined PhotogenX as full-time staff. Our roles are very much related to the long-term goals of the ministry. Over the past four years this community has made tremendous strides in the area of prayer, which is and has been a needed foundation for engagement. Yet we believe that as a mission we are at a shifting point from continuing prayer into much more intentional action. This is specifically where Diane & I will be leading. Our roles within PhotogenX leadership are to practically move us as a community and ministry into more intentional engagement. We both hold a strong passion for the practical {hands & feet of Jesus} service of the marginalized and we both feel this is such a perfect place for us to use our strengths and creativity.


Our first real push in this direction will be
a one-year journey across the globe starting this June in Central America. This journey will be one of purposeful-intentional service and connection. It will be a year of living in the margins of society and on the frontlines of injustice. Our hope is to build connections and birth new opportunities to move our ministry into action. Diane & I will be leading a team of twenty-some photographers around the world making stops in Panama, Cuba, Southern Africa, Egypt, Israel, Palestine, Turkey, East & Western Europe, India, Nepal, and a good deal of Asia. We’ll be documenting photographically as well as practically serving the “least of these” wherever we go in a hope of building bridges that can turn into long-term projects. Diane & I will also be using this journey to connect with a number of organizations and ministries that are already working to end these voiceless issues at a grass-roots level, seeing how PhotogenX can partner and aid their continued efforts in the future…

So we have a long road ahead of us, but I can’t even begin to explain how excited we are. We truly feel this is exactly where God has been leading us and where our gifting and experience is best suited for the purposes of love. We
LOVE you all as we LOVE the world, by the LOVE of our Father. We will need your continued embrace as we walk into and through this transition of the “full time missionary world.” And we also want to extend our arms as Paul & Susi have done for us. Please come and be a part of this. Come and be a part of us.

We’ll be in touch soon to explain how we can best partner together for the furthering of Christ’s Kingdom through our work with PhotogenX. I also invite and welcome your correspondence. Please call, e-mail and message us. We would LOVE hear some friendly familiar voices.

Hope & Peace,

Steve & Diane Schallert
s -
d – {for info on the Sex & Money Project} {for our work in South Africa} {for info on our campaign against infanticide in Brazil}