Mar 13, 2015

The return of an old foe

I'm all for bringing home a few artifacts from my last two weeks in Kenya, and I did manage to bring some coffee for Joy and I and a few small trinkets for the kids. But malaria is one I'd rather have left behind. I had been malaria free for over 12 years. Back then they did not have these really cool home test kits which make it so much quicker to get the results. 

Mar 10, 2015

A Good Day

Fetching water from our backup water barrel 

I told someone here recently, "Hey, we have water and electricity today, it's a good day!" But then I had to think, 'is that really what makes a good day?'

It really shouldn't for a believer. It's easy for me to get my eyes fixed on my comfort, on what makes life convenient for me. And for sure, that would be flowing water, the ability to wash my family's clothes, to have a fan on when it's hot and internet to stay connected to people far away. 

But this life generally isn't going to be like that. "In this world, you will have tribulation!" It doesn't get much clearer than that. "But take heart, I have overcome the world!" I can have victory, peace and even joy because God has already won the ultimate battle. I know the end of the story, and it's good!

~ Joy

Slone opening a birthday present by emergency lantern

Oct 16, 2014

Off again...

I (Rodney) am off again, this time for three weeks. I'll be doing some intensive training at a photojournalism workshop at the University of KY. Then I'll be in California to see my family and some supporters. 

In case you are not able to follow this blog, you can see what I've been up to lately (work wise) here: 

and here: 

Sep 30, 2014

Rainy season is upon us

Sep 22, 2014

Reflections on Kenya

Those of you who follow our blog, or me (Rodney) on Twitter, know that I have been in Kenya for the last two weeks documenting a five sign language Scripture celebration. I don't recall when I picked up the idea that deaf people don't want to associate with the hearing, but my time at DOOR International completely laid that, false, notion to rest. The people I met at DOOR were very friendly towards me and eager to teach me some of their language. As it turns out, I picked up on sign language easier than I do French.

The DOOR center here in Nairobi is kind of magical place; you can't leave there the same person who walked in. There is something about the people that causes you to willingly leave a piece of your heart there, and I hope that I have opportunity to some day return. Below are some random photos from my two weeks in Kenya.

Mercy Mideva is a leader in the church and the intimacy she expresses during worship nearly brought me to tears. 

Many songs were part of the celebration. Deaf can feel vibrations from a drum and easily keep in time. Actually, these guys can dance like nobody's business, I was rather envious of their talent.

Translators working on Bible passages.

Can people pray with their eyes open? I always harp on my kids to close their eyes so they can concentrate while praying. But when leading prayer in church, deaf people watch what is being said so they can pray too. 

There were smiles all around on this weekend of celebration.


Five language teams lift colored cloths, at the same time, revealing a stack of video Bibles in their languages. Videos??? Yes, Bible stories are spoken in sign, in video format. It is often done in front of a 'green screen' so they can add different backgrounds in post production. They often dress up in period clothing too.


I was shooting this interesting tree with these thorny seed pods. Then I just happened to see this little fella doing his best to avoid being seen. The pod he's in is the size of a golf ball. 

And then there is the completely unexpected. I was pointing my lens towards the desert when I heard the unmistakable sound of a...Harley??? Here??? Coming from out there??? Well, TIA (This Is Africa)!

Sep 15, 2014

Through Christ, jewelry changes lives

I am in Kenya to document a Scripture portions celebration taking place this weekend at DOOR International just outside of Nairobi. 

Part of DOOR's ministry is to women who, because they are deaf, have had great difficulties in life and most of whom are single mothers. At SASA Designs, making jewelry (sold locally and exported to high end shops in the US) provides them a means to feed their children, but also restores their dignity within a community where compassion for those who are deaf runs deep.

Like this bracelet, a work in progress, I am reminded that we are the unfinished workmanship of Christ. That "He who began a good work in you [us] will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus" (Phil. 1.6). I encourage you to impact someones life in your next jewelry purchase. Visit the SASA link above to to place your order.

Sep 9, 2014

Solo Tripping

I am off to Kenya this morning, primarily to document a 5 sign language Scripture portions dedication at DOOR International. It is my understanding that no sign language has an entire Bible. Along with the dedication I'll be teaching basic photography to some African colleagues. 

These are just some of the things I need to take with me for my work: two camera bodies, four lenses, tripod, graphics tablet, battery chargers, flashes, hard drives, light stand, shoot through umbrella etc. Needless to say, my bag is heavy. And I don't even have my clothes in the photo. 

Aug 23, 2014

Life in Africa part II: Mr. Slugworth

Well I realize that slugs are not centralized to Africa, but it's only been in Africa where we sort of have a slug as a pet; or he has us, not sure. But almost every night, Mr. Slugworth slips (slides? slithers? scoots?) his way under our back door and on to our tile floor. I guess he just wants to see what the humans are doing, because he comes in, hangs out at the door for a while and then leaves. At first it was "oh yuk!", but now it rather amusing and we even look to see if he's there. 

Jun 17, 2014

Panoramas from my latest trip

Here are two 360x360 interactive panoramas from my trip to Ndu. Once on the website, click & drag to see fully up/down and left/right.

Click to view the pano shot from a hill above the Cameroon Baptist Theological Seminary.

Click to view the pano shot inside the seminary in Ndu. 

Jun 10, 2014

Bible translations gen neXt

I recently returned from a story-gathering trip about the next generation of Bible translators enrolled in the Bible Translation Degree Program of the Cameroon Baptist Theological Seminary in Ndu.

With only 26 hours of electricity that week (24 one day, 2 three days later), it was especially challenging since the tools of my trade rely on batteries (cameras, flashes, phone, voice recorder, computer etc).

I got little sleep and worked hard gathering photos (lugging 30 pounds of camera gear around) and interviewing people from the President, adjunct faculty and students. In the photo above I was interviewing Vice President Johnson of the seminary.

One student, Joseph Nkwelle who is six months from graduation, stands out in my mind because of his sleeve-worn passion to see lives changed by Christ. Joseph says "It's important to have scripture in the mother tongue to give people an opportunity to hear God speaking in a way that they will be challenged, and in this way the message will get to their hearts."

Joseph's mother tongue is Akoose, a language group which already has the New Testament but desires the Old Testament as well. But when he considers which language project God may be leading him to, Joseph's heart is elsewhere. He says "they [a People with no Bible] need a New Testament more than my own people need the Old."