YWAM Mota | Sarasota, FL

In 2007, I was approached with the opportunity to attend YWAM Herrnhut (Germany), a discipleship training school with a specific track focused on how to “tell stories that challenge people to act” through photography. I immediately committed. This is my dream. After my discipleship training in East Germany, I hopped on a plane with a team of 9, my favorite photography teacher included, to the tribes of Ethiopia. The experience is one I have tried, for years, to put into words, and I’ve come to terms that it’s just not possible. It was unlike any experience I’ve ever had.

The YWAM base in Germany has grown SO much since I left in April of 2008; they began ministries like Pick a Pocket, started MOTA (Marriage of the Arts, adding fine art, graphic design, music, journalism, writing, handmade art, video, and dance). They even expanded to the states. Katie (my YWAM roommate and kindred spirit) and I have always dreamt about going back someday to teach photography/life after YWAM/outreach prep with cameras in hand/etc. This year, we received an email from the stateside base (Miss Allie Reyna) in Sarasota, Florida, asking if we could come teach for a week. My and Katie’s ears perked up immediately. We looked at our tiny budgets, had a few serious phone convos, took our separate time to pray about the opportunity, and before we knew it, our flights were booked.

I loved EVERY. SINGLE. STUDENT in the classroom. They were from all over the world! Each was so different: Some weren’t totally sure how they ended up in the photo track. Some had photo businesses already. Some were passionate about other arts: journalism, graphic design, illustration, etc. Some were insecure when it came to the technical aspects of photography. Some were confident in their approach, but still willing to listen.

We taught basics on day 1, journalism/visual stories on day 2, and shot and shot and shot and shot on day 3. I didn’t want to leave. Every time a “light bulb” came on for anyone, I wanted to dance. In fact, I think I did a few times. It’s one of the most incredible things to witness someone “FINALLY UNDERSTANDING” or hear someone say “I GET IT NOW!!!” while looking you right in the face.

I can’t wait to see how these precious people use their cameras to serve the Lord and tell amazing stories on outreach (Asia, Africa, Greece). They leave next month, so keep them on your mind and in your prayers. Here are some photos from last week’s adventures. Loved every second.

These guys are currently full-time missionaries on support, pouring their time and energy into learning and serving. If anyone is in interested in supporting these students as a whole or individually- financially, prayerfully, or by any other means- PLEASE let me know! betsy@photobybetsy.com I’d love to connect you.