When I first tip-toed into the world of professional photography I tried the obvious route of portraits and weddings. Eventually I decided photojournalism was more my speed, except for one thing: photo editors. These people are equal parts reviled and admired. They strike fear in the hearts of the poor shooters under their command because they are unrelenting perfectionists. Honestly, out in the world of news magazines and such I would probably crack under the pressure and quietly back away. At EMI I got lucky.
I work under Matthew, who is a structural engineer by training (so yeah, perfectionist), but now directs our communication team at EMI. That means he gives me all my assignments and lays out very clearly what he wants me to bring back from the field (no wildlife, no lunch photos). But he doesn’t freak out and throw lens filters and loupes at me when I don’t get exactly what he had in mind, even as I want to throw those things at myself.
I suppose Matthew has laid hold of the Psalm “many are the plans in man’s heart, but the LORD directs his steps.” He know it doesn’t matter what we think we are after, which photos we want, which video story will best do for EMI. We walk into every single project with as much information as we can gather ahead of time and we plan accordingly, but something, lots of things, are always, always, very different and stories and plans often change almost as soon as we hit foreign soil. Having been around EMI for a long time, Matthew knows this and is not stuck hard to any of his plans. I, on the other hand, am still working to grasp this lesson.
Normally I feel like the part I know is what my job will entail and how that will roll out. What I don’t ever know is what sort of accommodations we’ll have, thus I pack a ginormous Justin Case. You know, all the things I might need, just in case.
But this time it’s the other way around. I don’t have to haul a ton of snacks (in case the food is too light), or random OTC meds (in case someone on the team gets sick), or a full array of clothing (in case I get really dirty and can’t wash any of it), or name any other thing you might take to Africa (in case you need it and are not near a store that has it).
This might be the first project trip I’ve headed out on with such a solid plan and yet so much up in the air. I know all sorts of logistics have been covered for me and many in Uganda have been working to make sure I get time in all the right places and with all the right people. Still, we have no idea how the stories might come together, if at all. So I go trusting that God knows the bigger picture behind my being there. He knows who will hear what, what folks will want to share, and what is going to touch a the heart of the reader. That’s the only real information we need.
We are missionaries with Engineering Ministries International, based in Colorado Springs, and traveling around the globe to serve.
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