Guatemala to Haiti to Nicaragua

March in Guatemala

Back in March, we had the opportunity to work with two organizations in Guatemala. The first organization is RestoringVision, a nonprofit that provides nominally priced new readers and sunglasses to those throughout the world who otherwise would not have access. Vision is one of our most important senses — it impacts one’s ability to interact with the environment and other people. Unfortunately, 2.5 billion people worldwide suffer from uncorrected vision impairment, and of that number, 544 million people only need reading glasses to correct this issue but live in developing countries with limited or no access to glasses. That’s why RestoringVision is hoping to distribute 20 million pairs of reading glasses to 20 million people by 2020.

We produced three different videos for RestoringVision and its corporate sponsors. Below is one that we’d like to share with you.

Are you or your church going on a mission trip any time soon? Consider adding reading glasses to the impact you’ll have!

After working with RestoringVision in Guatemala City, we headed to the beautiful volcanic lake town of Atitlán, Guatemala to work with Noonday Collection, a socially responsible business that uses fashion to create meaningful opportunities around the world. Noonday designs and sells an inspired collection of jewelry and accessories made by artisans across the globe, and we had the opportunity to meet some of their indigenous artisans in Guatemala. Most of these artisans did not speak Spanish, as they instead spoke their indigenous tribal language, but their kindness and gratitude was extended through their smiles. Their tradition of using natural dyes to color their threads and yarn, weaving with looms that connected to their waists with a belt, and threading needles to do intricate beadwork was truly mesmerizing.

While we were in this beautiful tourist destination, we had the chance to hike to the top of one of the volcanoes on a clear Saturday morning. San Pedro volcano is 9,908 feet in elevation, and the hike took a few hours, but the view (and breeze) at the top was well worth it! Along the way, there were even some rope swings and lookouts to enjoy, breaking up the hike a bit.

April in Haiti

In April, Cassie went on assignment without Jordan to document her sister’s church mission trip in Haiti. It had been three years since Cassie last visited Haiti, and when she arrived, she was overwhelmed by all the fond memories that came to mind from her four months serving in 2010 after the devastating earthquake and then again in 2012. She had forgotten how much she does love this desperate but beautiful country. Only a few steps out of the Port-au-Prince airport, she felt the heat of the sun instantly on her back, heard the familiar  phrases and rhythmic drawl of Creole and she couldn’t help but close her eyes, take a deep breath and grin. It was a relief to remember that her deep love for Haiti had not burned out. Even though the team immediately had a 10 hour bus ride to Jeremie after 13 hours of travel, Cassie was already looking forward to a swim in the turquoise Caribbean Sea.

Cross Park Church‘s mission trip had a medical focus in the remote beach town of Bon Bon, in Jeremie, Haiti. Cassie’s sister, a nurse practitioner, diagnosed, treated and prescribed patients with two other medical professionals while the rest of the team helped out by triaging patients with translators, taking blood pressure and filling prescriptions with the medicines the team brought for the patients. For four consecutive days, the team saw more than 120 patients daily. Among the 500 people who came to the clinic was a woman carried by her family members on a stretcher. She was on her deathbed, and Cassie’s sister whose specialty is oncology, recognized that the woman was dying of cancer. With nothing else we could do for the woman, the team prayed for her along with a Haitian pastor and the woman accepted Jesus Christ into her heart. Beni swa Letènèl! (That’s “Praise the Lord!” in Creole)

Below is the first of two videos we’re producing from the trip. The second video will be focused on the Haitian partner organization, El Shaddai Ministries International, that we worked alongside.

Also, here’s some pictures from the trip to enjoy!

May in Nicaragua

When Cassie got back from her week away from Jordan (the longest we’d been apart since we first got married), we spent Easter weekend in Charlotte celebrating Christ’s resurrection with Cassie’s sister’s family. After a total of three days after the Haiti trip, we re-packed our bags and headed to Nicaragua — our current whereabouts. We’re here a total of five weeks, four weeks of which we’re serving with one of our favorite nonprofit organizations — AMOS Health and Hope.

This is our fourth time serving with AMOS in the past six years, and each time we come back, we get to see how much this organization has grown and how they’ve made an impact in Nicaragua. Their success is obvious to us by now. One of our friends who once was a rural community’s health promoters has been inspired to get his degree in nursing and is now working with the Nicaraguan government’s Ministry of Health. Another friend who was a part of AMOS’ youth club now works in the urban clinic here just outside of Managua. Children we recognize from having taken pictures of them before are now healthy young adults — some even have their own kids by now! It is always a joy to come back to Nicaragua and see firsthand the impact this organization has made by improving the health of impoverished communities by working alongside them in health, education and development.

We’re excited about the NINE videos we’re filming and producing for AMOS from this trip. We’ve been extremely busy between our week in a very remote community called El Bambú (an 11-hour drive from Managua), one week filming AMOS’ urban work just outside Managua in Nejapa and one week editing on site at AMOS’ headquarters. We’ve had some moments of rest where we’ve been able to visit a volcanic crater lake called Laguna de Apoyo, see actual bubbling lava at Volcán Masaya and hang out with our best (and craziest) friend at AMOS — Felicia! Even though we’ve been able to have some fun on the side, it has been mainly work, so we’re really looking forward to taking off next week to celebrate our fourth anniversary in Costa Rica!

To close, we just want to extend a huge thank you to you — for your prayers, encouragement, and financial support! We truly wouldn’t be able to continue serving awesome organizations with our passion and talents in photography and video storytelling without your support. Thank you for supporting us so that we can share the work of others with the world! We’re excited to help the organizations we serve to communicate their mission and impact in a compelling way so that they can raise even more funds, spread the word and make an even bigger impact where they work. Together with your help, we are accomplishing great things!

If you would like to financially support us, please visit our donate page to see how you can make a tax-deductible donation to support us in our mission of serving people and organizations with our cameras and passion for storytelling. Thanks again!

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