Opening Blind Eyes

The human eyes. They tell stories. They tell of heartbreak. They tell of joy. They tell of love. They tell of pain. They tell our secrets before we even open our mouths to speak. Light is in the eyes, and Darkness is in the eyes. Our eyes capture moments in life that shape us; for the good, and for the bad. I learned this during my DTS (Discipleship Training School) in 2009, when God took me as messed up and as broken as I was, and turned my life upside down.

While sipping on an iced latte at the Banyan Tree Cafe in Kona, Hawaii, God challenged me. He said to me very clearly, “Focus on the eyes.” At first, I was very confused by this. I thought maybe this was just a matter of capturing a “good” portrait? Or maybe God wanted me to focus on him with my eyes? Both of which are true, but as years have passed, I have realized that it is so much more than simple technique, and so much more than an instruction to pursue God.

As my teammates and I packed ourselves into the backs of a few trucks, with our gear strapped to the roof, and our hearts racing at the adventure that laid ahead, I remember trying to imagine our Panamanian adventure into the Gnobe tribes, and what was to be expected. Little did I know, my expectations were about to be surpassed. After our long journey through the bumpy dirt roads, and rivers that reached almost too close to the bottom of my feet, we reached a blue concrete school. I remember feeling excited as people emerged from their wood paneled houses and gathered around our vehicles and stared at us with wondering eyes. There was such an innocence about this village, about this people, that intrigued me from the very beginning.

I awoke from my somewhat restless sleep only to see eyes peering through the chain link that was our window. Untangling the mosquito net, and picking myself up off the concrete floor, I grabbed my camera and stepped outside. After taking a few photos, I turned around to see two smiling faces; a young boy with a daringly curious smile, and a petite girl with strength in her eyes. “Foto?” the boy asked, pointing at my name tag, and then pointing at my camera. Before even starting to shoot, the words ran through my head once again, “Focus on the eyes,” and as I took a few photos, I saw these words in a new light.

At one point during this divinely appointed photo shoot, I turned the camera around so the boy and girl could see the photos, and both their faces lit up with a smile that reached from ear to ear. It was in that moment that I knew there was more to photography than simple technique. Photography is more than getting a “good” photo. It is more than finding myself through the images I take. It is about relationship. It is about dying to myself; to fame, to fear, and to money. It is about reaching out and “seeing” someone. Finding out their story, and showing that through images. Where they have come from, where they are now, and where they are going.

The eyes reveal the soul, and when we open our eyes, and focus on the eyes of another person, something amazing happens. There is this moment of acknowledgement, of vulnerability, and of redemption. It says to one another, “I see you,” and God begins repairing another heart.

Through photography, my dream is to see hearts repaired, lives transformed, and hope instilled all over the world. Equipping photographers to go into missions and to use their photography, their eyes, to tell the stories of people; Individuals. To show the rest of the world the realities of brokenness, and the realities of the hope that Jesus Christ brings into every situation. All for the glory of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Ready to make the jump.

At YWAM Montana-Lakeside, we are all about doing whatever it takes to know God and to make Him known, together! We’d love to help you make that next step in your global missions education. Apply now!