Kenya: Vanity

Aid worker examining baby hurt in post election violence in Keny

With a sense of purpose and anticipation, I showed some of the Kenya photos at my church yesterday. I felt an overwhelming need to make people aware of what is going on in the world, to open their eyes. But is it vanity to think that people will be moved to action after viewing images of the suffering? Would I accomplish more by putting the camera down and working directly as an aid worker/missionary?

At times I feel a sense of guilt because I am more of an observer than one who is “in the trenches” doing the work. I think God allows this tension in us simply so that we will, at all times, continually, look to Him for guidance. My wife sent me this verse in an email this morning:  Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:11-12 Go ahead and read the entire 12th chapter. The wisdom in these words will help us all focus on what is important. Don’t be afraid to question yourself or even God, just keep an attitude of prayer and of hope.

An aid worker holds the tiny hand of an infant before beginning the painful process of cleaning a burn wound.

©Copyright 2008 Gary S. Chapman (Canon 5D 24-105 @40mm, 1/250 sec, f4.5, ISO 200)

3 thoughts

  1. Gary,
    I know where you’re coming from, in a sense. Yesterday, I shared some photos and stories from my trip to Northern Uganda with my church, and felt the same sense of vanity/arrogance. But, instead of just showing photos and making it about me, I tried to communicate this idea I’ve been working on for a while, “Oculus Dei.”

    In the body of Christ, there are those who are called to be hands and feet (perhaps those in the trenches), and there are those who are the eyes and the ears. I think if we have the ability and the opportunity, we should use our work to help show the church what the world outside our own borders is like.

    Keep up the very good work, and may God continue to bless you with vision.

  2. I’ve known for a while that id be going back to Romania to do a story o n the street kids in Constanta. Someones gotta tell the story. I think by telling the story you become the voice of the little “burn victims”… your helping in a lot of ways that many people cant help in. We all use our gifts to help. And I’m learning there is a time to put down the camera and a time to pick it up.

    I appreciate you a lot Gary. You have become a great teacher.

  3. Pingback: Telling The Story | Humanitarian, Travel and Portrait Photography

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