One of the amazing things about being a photographer is that I get to be a storyteller at the same time. I love this part of the job, but it’s also a big challenge. Whenever I have an engagement shoot or a wedding, I want to be able to give an honest account of the couple through the pictures that I take. I just got home from a trip to Ghana, and I feel an even bigger responsibility to tell the story of the Ghanaian people that I met. They blessed me by their incredible joy in spite of the difficulties they face on a daily basis that I will never experience.
I have thousands of photographs to dig through, but I am anxious to start telling the stories through pictures. So I decided that for the next few weeks, I will be putting up a couple photos at a time as I edit to tell the story little by little. When I finish editing (hopefully by the end of March!) I will be setting up an online gallery where the photos can be purchased in order to finance the trip and donate to International Needs, who is doing incredible rescue work in Ghana. You will hear more about that in each post! It is my prayer that the photographs of the Ghanaian people will move you, and that they will be an honest documentation of this abundantly joyful people who have a piece of my heart.
I chose these photos for the first post because I think they are a good introduction to what International Needs Ghana does. This is one of the women in their vocational training center in Adidome, a small village about 2 hours outside of the capital city of Accra. The women were rescued from their villages because they were “at risk” for various reasons. Some are widows, some have been abused sexually or physically by different men in their lives. International Needs brings these women to the training center and counsels them because of the pain they have experienced. Then, they train them in one of five different vocations. They can learn bead-making, like the woman above, soap-making, fabric-making, cooking, or sewing. With their newly learned skills, they can then leave the training center after a few months and be placed in a job. This way, they are not dependent on a man to earn a living.
One of the things that I was struck by as I walked through the different classrooms is the amazing joy these women have. As they worked, they sang praises. They know what it means to be rescued. They wake up each morning with a desperate need for God. This is such a biblical truth, to be dependent on God. In Westernized countries, we have so much and are so independent that it’s easy not to fix our eyes on Jesus, and we forget that we are so utterly and completely dependent on Jesus’ sacrifice. Matthew 5:3 says “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” The poor in spirit are those who are not spiritually proud and self-sufficient. The poor in spirit know that the kingdom of heaven is a gift, not something that is earned. The poor in spirit realize their need for God’s salvation, for His rescue.
As I look at this photograph, I love the beads of sweat on this woman’s face, and the paint on her hands. She treasures her work, and she works because of the freedom she now has. She is beautiful, she is dependent on her Savior, and she is deeply, DEEPLY loved by God.
Wedding, Engagement and Lifestyle Photography based in Charleston, South Carolina
Available for Worldwide Travel