It feels strange to say this but it's true: this blog post, and the heart behind it, has been a lifetime in the making. As a child I grew up overseas with parents who had a mission and purpose beyond just living a comfortable life and achieving the 'white picket fence' dream - it's something for which I'm forever grateful. Living in a third world environment for 9 years of my life has changed my perspective permanently.
It had been years since I had left the country when Nathan and I visited Africa in January. We have traveled a lot - Portland, Seattle, the Outer Banks, Charleston, and Arizona, to name a few - but it has all been for fun vacations or getaways. This year's trip was for a greater purpose and sparked something inside of me that I had long ago forgotten.
I have wrestled with finding a greater purpose in my photography business. I love weddings and families and pretty pictures, but there has to be something more. Just taking pictures is not enough. That's why I focus on marriage. That's why I blog about my life and how God is working. That's why I show up to each and every session or event with a goal in mind that goes beyond walking away with images that will last a lifetime.
There are a lot of people who donate a certain percentage of their business earnings to a charity - and in full honesty, I think that's awesome! I admire and respect everyone who does this, because it gives more purpose to their businesses and shows a high level of selflessness. I have looked for such a charity for a long time but for one reason or another, I've never found one. And then...it clicked.
I've been there. I've traveled to England and all over Asia. I've worked for a whole summer in South Africa, and now I've been to a country in West Africa. I've seen people living in conditions that aren't fit for humans - or sometimes even animals. And because of that, I have to go. I have to be there. I have to learn their language and talk to them. I have to feel what they feel and experience it, and hopefully leave with a better understanding of their needs.
So while I think giving money is great, and I plan to continue to do that, it isn't enough for me. I can't just give money - I have to be physically there to help the people who are on my heart. And that is my prayer - that through photography or any business venture I join, I can use the extra time, money, and resources I have to GO and DO and HELP those in need. That is my heart, and that is why I do what I do.
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