Les Miserables

This summer, I had the chance to fight on the barricades of the June Rebellion - Paris, 1832.

Howard County Summer Theatre put on an incredible production of Les Miserables in the beginning of July.  I am honored to have been a part of such an incredible cast of characters, with such amazing talent.

I had the chance to take portraits for the principal cast and even set up a small studio backstage for other folks to get their portraits in their costumes.  Check out some images on my Flickr page!

The story of Les Miserables is deep and powerful.  While preparing for the show, I read bits and pieces of the book, dealing mostly with the students that Marius spends time with.  What amazing descriptions Victor Hugo gives, truly bringing his characters to life!  I hope soon to begin to read the whole thing through.

From the introduction to the book:

"So long as there shall exist, by reason of law and custom, a social condemnation which, in the midst of civilization, artificially creates a hell on earth, and complicates with human fatality a destiny that is divine; so long as the three problems of the century - the degradation of man by the exploitation of his labor, the ruin of woman by starvation, and the atrophy of childhood by physical and spiritual night - are not solved; so long as, in certain regions, social asphyxia shall be possible; in other words, and from a still broader point of view, so long as ignorance and misery remain on earth, there should be a need for books such as this."

Read this book, watch this movie, be overwhelmed by a story of grace and love and light triumphing in the midst of judgment, hate, and darkness.

Going to the Philippines

Several weeks ago, a man was arrested for running a prostitution ring at the Terrace Motel in Elkridge, MD.  The report states that "the 37-year-old was forcing women to perform sex acts in several states," and this man faces "three counts of human trafficking."

This motel is perhaps 5 minutes away from my house.  Right down the street, children of God are being turned into currency to satisfy another's lust.  Often, when I drive past this motel and the others dotting Route 1, I pray that God would break these chains of slavery.  At the present time, I know of no local way to get involved in rescuing these people from this injustice, but I know that prayer is the foundation of whatever action is taken.

When a friend of mine invited me on a mission trip to serve at the YWAM Nehemiah House this upcoming April, I gave some thought before agreeing to go.  This home serves women who were trapped in similar situations, helps them get on their feet, reminds them of their infinite worth, and speaks the love of Christ into their hearts. 

The Nehemiah house is in the Philippines, in a city called Cagayan de Oro.

Why travel all the way across the world when the same exact need is in my zip code?

A change in place + a change in pace = a change in perspective.  We get stuck in our patterns and forget to see what is in front of our faces.  Sometimes we need a jolt, a new context, to tear down walls in our hearts and give us a better view on things.

This trip will be a mix of service and retreat.  We go as servants, ready to do whatever they need at the Nehemiah house - help in the garden, maintenance, spending time with the staff and women, whatever.  We go also to rest, pray, read scripture, and listen to God.  We go to recharge so we can come back to our communities and workplaces with a renewed spirit.

Jesus is building a Kingdom of every tribe, tongue, and nation, where every culture is valued and all people know their worth.  He is at work in the Philippines, transforming lives and changing hearts.  Howard County, Maryland, America is not the center.  Jesus is the center; Christ is the cornerstone.  This trip is a chance to broaden my perspective - and yours as well!  We are all more nearsighted than we can fathom.

After this thought and prayer, I committed to go to the Philippines for one week of service.  We will have a team of 5 going to serve, open to whatever God has in store.  Learn more about our trip here.  Contact me if you want to partner with me financially and/or in prayer.  I hope to add updates to this space over the next months before and after the trip!