An Act of Service
Imagine dedicating 18 months of your life to selfless service in a new country or new state, surrounded by people you don't know, and having a companion at your side the entire time. Oh! And the companion will change out to a new person every 4-6 weeks.
And you are paying all the costs associated with this service.
What is the point?
What's the goal?
That is as simple as it is difficult- it's to bring people true and eternal happiness by inviting them to have a loving and faith-filled relationship with Jesus Christ.
In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, this is called a 'mission'. Young adults volunteer to go to a new place, a place that is chosen for them, leave their families, and talk to anyone who will listen about Jesus Christ.
It is hard work. A lot of people are not a fan of religion. A lot of people don't trust young women who are friendly and smile all the time. And a lot of people are hurting and have questions and they are angry.
These young people take all that on with a fiery faith that helps them get up the next day. And getting up the next day can't always be easy. Sometimes people are not kind to them. People will ignore them, yell at them, chase them away, laugh at them, try to start fights, and belittle their beliefs. But these missionaries just keep coming. They just keep showing up even though they know full well that this task of helping others is almost impossible.
And it's that little sliver of hope, that thought that maybe, just maybe with Jesus they can change someone's life for the better.
I have been photographing missionaries from my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for years. It's nothing too planned or tailored because their time is so limited. It's simple and focused on where they are in their life right now . . . and it's my act of service to them. I watch these young people share and give and live with endless amounts of compassion and hope. They love the people where they are at. Truly, they love them. They ask for nothing. They take nothing. They just show up with their arms open wide, a smile on their face, and a message in their heart.
And that's how I photograph them, with love, openness, and hope.
So, if you are out and about and you notice some young people with a small black badge on their collar, give them a smile and a nod. Or if you're really brave, stop and say hello and tell them they are doing good work. Even if you don't believe in a higher power there is never anything wrong with sharing some light.
Kaori and Chloe, thank you for your service here in our small Bradford County. Your light really does shine.
P.S. Are you interested in an incredible photoshoot experience all your own with Melinda and Shea? Whether it be an equestrian photoshoot, mother and daughter pictures, headshots and branding, or contemporary portraits and boudoir we will create something show-stopping that celebrates you!
Private Photography Studio in Athens PA.
If you have tips or concerns about human trafficking happening in your area call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) at 1-888-373-7888. NHTRC is a national, toll-free hotline, with specialists available to answer calls from anywhere in the country, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
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