June 23, 2009

And So We Begin...again...

It's really crazy, but I haven't really had a second to process what Diane & I are about to go do. We have been so incredibly busy preparing, organizing, advocating, networking, fundraising and more than anything PRAYING about what we are going to do, and hope God will do through us, and all that we believe can change, and what can give life to those who are marginalized, and yet it's always seemed such a long way off. But today it hit me!!! This Thursday {as in two days from now} the two of us and our team will get on airplanes...and we won't stop for over a year. The world will be out stage and hope will be our script. So pray for us! I have more hope for this world than ever before and feel more prepared than ever to capture the beauty and worth of people all around the world. Again I plead pray for us! Pray for our photography, as it is our tool for cultural and personal transformation. For art in it's very God-granted nature has the possibility to create something out of nothing, to build beauty out of the broken. We hope to give worth and listen...quick story:

"Last summer Diane & I really caught this truth in Afghanistan. There was a specific moment during our time in Mazar-e-Sharif that I truly realized the potential that photography has to literally restore a light that has gone out. It was a particularly hot afternoon, the sun was up and a dust storm had just blown through. On these ridiculously sizzling days it's not uncommon to see more stray dogs wandering the streets than people. But I was out laughing with street kinds and taking pictures when I met a young kid in his late teens named Ahmed. Ahmed was orphaned by war at age ten. His entire family had been killed in a bombing years ago and he has basically wandered the country alone ever since. As Ahmed told me his story I began to cry...I felt hopeless and knew of nothing else but to ask if I could pray and take his picture. He agreed, I prayed for him (and he for me) and then we parted ways. A few days later I had printed the photo and thought it might please him to have it, I thought perhaps Ahmed had never had a photo of himself, so I went to find him. When I found him a few blocks from our house I handed him the picture and then - like nothing else had ever before - it hit me. Ahmed gazed at the picture of himself...so deeply...as if to say for the first time "I ACTUALLY EXIST"!!! I am real, so I must have worth! I could literally see his entire self become empowered as he stared at himself. He was SOMEONE again! A light had turned on. It was one of the most eye opening moments in my life to see how photography can be a tool to actually breath life into someone..."

And this is what we are about to go do for the next year! Not just in Afghanistan, but all across the entire world starting in Panama, because there are Ahmed's in every single country & city on the planet. Diane & I profess a hope that you all know and hold within you as well. It is found in Christ alone and his message brings good-news to the poor, the broken and the voiceless. It's time we go proclaim it...It's time to yell it from the roof-tops...We have cameras...and I encourage you to ask yourselves...what do I have? Do you have a voice? A job? A field of study? You can bring good news to everyone around you, for in your vary lives exists a kingdom so utterly beautiful it WILL transform. Let it bubble up! The it over flow! Let us let our love shine together and one to another...ANOTHER WORLD IS POSSIBLE, ANOTHER WORLD AWAITS!!!

- Prayer Points -

- For all our last minute logistics here in Kona before we leave Thursday. {so much paperwork}
- For safe travel of our whole team to Panama City {We fly out @ 5:40pm Thursday}
- For a good transition into the practical {hands and feet} ministry in the field.
{we are moving from conceptual to practical now and will need grace}
- For a strong cultural sensitivity {as Paul says to become a Greek to a Greek}
- For safety as we head to the villages {in about 10 days from now!! We will have to trek far into the jungle to live and work in the indigenous community. They have been so marginalized by their fellow country men, so pray for times of empowerment and that the love of Christ would be birthed in their communities}
- For the conference on July 18th! {We will be launching the Spanish version of the "Voice for the Voiceless" prayer book, so pray it will spark a prayer movement in the Spanish speaking world on behalf of the marginalized in those lands. That this prayer may be the foundation to actually see issues like Human Trafficking end in Panama}
- For our projects and open doors. {We have been invited by the US Embassy in Panama to contribute all the media for their international Anti-Human Trafficking campaign! This is such a huge opportunity to make an impact on sexual slavery in the region!}
- For Unity!!!
- For our marriage, that we can grow in love and closeness. {That we can have some special moments together that empower our marriage and that we can continue to rely on God for our needs}

- Also please pray and consider our financial burden. WE ARE IN NEED. We need to mobilize $2,000 of continuing monthly support starting next month in order to lead this mission across the world. As of now we have about $250 of monthly support, so we are really looking for individuals as well as communities who want to partner with out work. We have so much faith in God's provision so we are stepping out in belief that God will provide. Please consider partnering with us. Every single dollar counts ever month. If you received our most recent missions package you have the information for our YWAM Missions Account, if you did not, we would be happy to fill you in on how to give. Our arms are wide open to you...

We love and appreciate you all so much. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers and feel free to send the occasional message. It's always so encouraging to hear from YOU when we are in the jungle or the desert or the slum or the township. You are with us and we LOVE you!

Because He Lives,
Steve & Diane Schallert

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