Feb 8, 2014

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Excited, nervous, frantic, happy

There’s a story in scripture that used to confused me. If you’re not a christian you may still have heard it – it’s the time Peter steps out of the fishing boat he’s in and walks across the rough waters towards Jesus, only to sink and be pulled out of the water. I used to think Peter was foolish twice over – one for asking a ‘ghost’ to give him this miraculous ability and secondly for losing faith even while he was walking on water!

Peter is the only man in scripture who has walked on water. He was the only one brave enough to step out of the boat and even in that short distance, he proved that he was still human, but Jesus kept him safe and they got back into the boat.

photogenX DTS 2010 group photo

In 2010 I followed God’s calling to go overseas and do a Discipleship Training School with photogenX, a ministry of Youth With a Mission. The course was in two parts. The first 3 months was in Hawaii, learning about God, myself, the world, justice issues like sex trafficking and how to use my camera better. The remaining 3 months was an overseas outreach, mine was to Philippines. We worked with local organisations helping them where we could. We made exposed: revealing worth, a book about prostitution in the Philippines and gifted 1000 copies, some to be given to politicians in the country.

A page from the book

This year I have been praying about what to do and what needs to change. I’ve felt God calling me back to missions work with photogenX, specifically this DTS. In January I volunteered and I’ve now been accepted as a staff member for the 2014 course! It’s the same course I did, but my role has changed. I should tell you a bit about photogenX; they are a not-for-profit that uses photography and video to raise awareness of issues of injustice in the world. They work to shed light on these issues and make them a thing of the past. photogenX work to be a voice for the voiceless and to advocate for those who do not have a voice themselves.

On March 1st I will step out of the boat and start a 7 month volunteer commitment, first flying to Kona, Hawaii. I don’t know everything I have volunteered for, but I know the first month is staff training and after that I’ll be helping where I can. I know that I will have the chance to serve the students, serve communities and develop my leadership skills. I expect there will be about 50 students on the DTS. My work has graciously given me time off so I can do this and have a job when I get back.

This moment is bittersweet – I’m very excited for what is ahead, but I know I’ll be sacrificing time with family and friends in New Zealand. I’m nervous and frantically trying to plan things. So I want to stay in touch as well as possible and this time I’m trying something new – a newsletter. I will of be updating twitter and Facebook too, but the newsletter will have more detail. I’ll be putting photos on my Flickr page and I’ve installed WhatsApp so I can still txt smartphones in NZ.

Before I leave I’ll be having a farewell BBQ at the flat and drinks in Wellington, both to be organised but likely on the last weekend this month. After that, I’m stepping out of my boat, doing what I feel God has called me to do with the skills he has given me and I’m trusting he will look after me. As always, your prayers are greatly appreciated.