Embrace Your Passion

Last year I graduated from a Bachelor of Photography on the Gold Coast, Australia and got a word from God saying, 'You're good to go'. I knew in my heart that I wanted to volunteer for a few months with an organization, combining my love for missions with my passion for communicating through creative means. I spent 5 months emailing and searching for where I could go, and after a long journey of trust and patience, finally got accepted into YWAM only 6 weeks before I had hoped to leave. Bringing me to this moment.

I have been working with the Justice 180 team as a Mission Builder. Being a full time volunteer, I'm in charge of their social media and marketing, using photography, videography and design to promote their ministry.

They have welcomed me in every aspect of their work, the Outreach each week, staff retreat, team meetings and DTS preparation. Joining their team was both challenging for my comfort zone and humbling as I was exposed to a ministry I knew very little about. As we ventured out to the streets on my first Friday night outreach, they graciously answered all the naive questions I had about pimps, runners and trafficking in general. My heart was exposed to the reality of this situation. The reality of statistics that can so easily be spoken of, yet so easily forgotten. [Every 30 seconds, someone becomes a victim of modern day slavery. A21 Campaign.] I found it heart wrenching to witness the desperation of each individual woman who seems trapped in a mindset so far from the truth. They live in a world that fails to celebrate their worth and value, it screams for escape, yet is silenced from taking action. Driving through commonly trafficked areas, I felt unbelievably overwhelmed. I began to consider that this was simply one street, in one area of LA. But this literally happens everywhere, even 20 minutes from my home in Australia. Back at base, I struggled to get back to sleep, wondering how I deserve this life. Why my bed is a place of peace and rest, while it is a visual reminder of such tragic experiences for others. 

Photography is an incredibly powerful tool of communication, especially in today’s society, yet I often get caught in the mindset of, ‘How is this photo doing anything for this individual?’ Being here, involved with this incredible ministry, I have been reminded that photos are so valuable. They signify a story, they represent a need for action, they allow others to briefly experience tragic realities they may have not known about otherwise. The number of times I have heard people say, ‘Oh I watched that documentary’ or, ‘I read the story behind that image’ – which then spurred them on to doing something, rather than just feeling sadness, is incredible. 

Working with the Justice 180 ministry, I have come to realize how fulfilling it is to see your passion used for something greater than earning an income. It is my prayer and hope that my work doesn’t just tug on people’s emotions, but causes passion to rise within them and a proactive response rather than a temporary internal feeling that goes nowhere. There is hope, we just need to work together. Whether you are passionate about knitting [you could make sweaters to sell, raise funds and help us reach these precious women], hockey [spread the word to increase awareness, you have the constant opportunity to speak with other people] or writing cards [imagine receiving an anonymous letter from someone who spoke of your worth and value, when all you have been told is the opposite] - there is a way you can help. Combine your tears with action. It’s a choice.