photographic journeys

Girls at Street Children Home

This month I wanted to share a story from one of the street children’s homes we support. I got to visit this home for girls about a month after it opened in 2013. What an answer to prayer it was to see how God went before us to open this home!

At the time I was there, 6 girls had been rescued and were living there. Hearing their stories was heartbreaking. But seeing the hope and joy they had, now having a safe home to grow, heal and just be kids—how incredibly beautiful.

In a little while you’ll read the story of “Ashmita”, a young girl who was rescued from an abusive situation where she was forced to labor as a child.

Video by Elicia Christofferson

But first I want to share a special memory from my visit to this home. The girls loved having their photos taken (it seemed like every kid we met did!) The three youngest ones, including Ashmita, would crowd in front of my camera and say “Chapati!” each time I snapped a photo—just like American kids would say “Cheese!” for the camera. (Chapati is Indian flatbread similar to a tortilla.) I secretly got a video of those precious girls too. :)


Young Child Laborer Finds New Life

Reposted from Gospel for Asia

Photo from Gospel for Asia

It burned. Ashmita hurled her exhausted young body into the kitchen. Her eyes stung as she cried out in agony. Chili powder washed off her small cheeks in a red stream as she anxiously tried to recover from the new form of abuse. But the pain in her eyes couldn’t compare to the pain and confusion found in her young, tender heart.

A Living Nightmare

Ashmita doesn’t remember very much about her life before her father died. In fact, she hardly remembers her father at all. The only thing she remembers is he was ill and couldn’t eat spicy foods, and one day he was gone forever.

After his death, Ashmita and her mother moved into someone else’s house to do domestic housework. After a time, Ashmita’s mom sent her to live with another family as a servant. This became a living nightmare for Ashmita.

From morning to night she washed dishes, mopped floors and sometimes washed clothes. When she couldn’t do her work, they beat her legs with canes and slapped her.

“The house where I was staying . . . I was very much ill-treated,” Ashmita shared. “When everybody [went] to bed after food at night, the house owner used to watch television. While watching the television, she used to ask me to massage her legs. If I am tired, if my hands are hurting, she used to beat me and ask me to massage her properly. One night, when I was massaging her leg, I was very tired and sleepy, and while massaging, I slept off. She went to the kitchen and brought some pepper powder [chili] and put that pepper powder in my eyes.

“Once my mother called me,” Ashmita remembers. “She asked that [woman] whether [I was] around. Then she told lie to my mother, and she replied that ‘Ashmita is sleeping,’ while I was sitting with them. While she was talking to my mother, she motioned me not to speak and be quiet and continue the work I was doing.”

Photo by Elicia Christofferson

Ashmita’s mother was of no comfort to her daughter. When Ashmita was allowed to talk with her mom over the phone, the young girl cried and pleaded with her, asking her to take her out of the home she lived in. But her mom told her to do whatever they said. Even though her mom was not involved in her life very much, Ashmita missed her terribly and longed to escape the life she was living.

House of Refuge, House of Hope

When the local authorities found out about Ashmita’s situation, they rescued her from child labor and brought her to a GFA-supported home for abandoned and at-risk children. Now precious Ashmita is safe from abuse, pain and hopelessness. No longer forced to labor, she lives like a child should.

Photo by Elicia Christofferson

Ashmita plays with other children her age, bathes, receives daily meals, learns songs and dances with the other girls at the home. She attends school and likes it! She especially loves the staff who care for her, and the other girls who help her with her studies.

“I like this place so much; I like all these didis (older sisters). They work hard for me and for all of us,” Ashmita shared. “I like this place and I don’t [want] to leave this place and go to any other place or orphanage because of the love and care that we get here.”

Ashmita is thriving under the love she is receiving—love every child longs for.

Best of all, Ashmita has learned she is safe in the arms of Jesus. He saw her tears and knew the pain she felt in her heart. By His kindness and love, He brought her to this home. His love is found in the staff who daily look after and nurture the children who have been abused, abandoned, misplaced and forgotten, girls just like Ashmita.

“The Lord watches over the strangers; He relieves the fatherless and widow.”—Psalm 146:9

Photo by Elicia Christofferson

Big City Adventure

I call it a”Big City Adventure” in jest, because it wasn’t that long ago that I lived in the suburbs of the city of Dallas. However, now that I live in the country (thinking of country mouse, city mouse, anyone?), driving into town has definitely become an event. 

My sisters, some friends and I drove into Dallas for some good coffee and adventure a week ago, in honor of Clara who was about to start School of Discipleship. Here are some photos of our time at Houndstooth Coffee and Lakeside Park. Dinner at Chipotle was not captured in photos, but nonetheless delicious!

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*all photos by Elicia Christofferson unless stated otherwise. all rights reserved. 

Cheers to the next adventure!

summer hike

Tonight I’ve been going through a few photos from last year, remembering some of the good times I had in Canada. I found a few treasures from one summer night in July, when Crissy and I went on a hike, on the Bruce Trail on the Niagara Escarpment.

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I took this panorama on my iPhone, and I really love the perspective of the sky all the way to my feet. Click on the image and zoom to view it larger :)
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Faces of South Asia : Mina

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Mina lives in a leprosy colony in South Asia. She begs from 4am to 11am every day at a local temple. She is outcast by almost everyone.

But look at her joy.

Meeting Mina, talking with her, hugging her, praying for her — these things I will never forget.

 


In September/October 2013, I had the privilege and opportunity to travel in South Asia for two weeks as part of my year-long discipleship program (School of Discipleship.) My eyes were opened, my heart was broken, my life was changed.

This is the first, I hope, of many stories that I share from South Asia and how the Lord impacted me there.

polaroids

 

Last month I found this camera at Don’s Photo Equipment – an awesome treasure trove of a photography shop. (If you’re in Dallas, definitely go and check them out!)

It’s one of the most classic cameras ever, and I am now the excited and proud owner of a Polaroid One-Step Rainbow SX-70.

I also own a Polaroid Alpha Land SX-70 camera, and just finished off the weekend by shooting a pack of The Impossible Project’s PX-70 film at a camping trip. I’ll scan those images tomorrow, and share them :)

I’m inspired to shoot instant film by two awesome people, Justin Goode and Daniel Rodrigue.

Page CXVI + Derek Webb in concert

Opening night in Dallas of Derek Webb’s CTRL tour for his new album: September 27th, 2012.

Page CXVI  had the first set (they do re-imaginings of hymns, making them accessible and known again), and then they played with Derek for the Ctrl album.

The Prophet Bar

The show was held at the Prophet Bar in the Deep Ellum area of downtown Dallas.

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Page CXVI started the night off with powerful hymns and worship. (The fact that their name, Page 116, comes from that page of The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis, where Aslan sings the world into existence is AWESOME. I mean, that this band of people who love Jesus and are singing their hearts out worshiping him and making these beautiful hymns and pieces of music, has such a cool backstory to their name? So cool. )

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Stage lighting.

latifah, in b+w

Latifah, vocalist for Page CXVI.

worship.

I love that their hymns lead to such genuine worship.

texting at a bar

silhouetted.

A couple shots I took of my friends before the show started.

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Derek Webb.

latifah texting before going onstage

A small moment of reality.

intensity.

Intensity.

Derek’s new album CTRL is insanely cool. It’s thought provoking, and epic, and beautiful, all in the right places. But for a much better review of it, click here.

I think I’m still processing how to understand it, and I don’t know that I’ll ever have just the right words to describe it.

My personal belief is that CTRL is intended to fit together with Nexus by Sola-Mi, a concept album by Derek Webb. (Find Sola-Mi on Noisetrade here.) They fit together really well, and their stories kind of complete each other. Read about this idea here. And more is to be found if you explore deeper, according to Ryan Getz’s interview of Derek Webb. I’m looking forward to a treasure hunt similar to what led up to the releases of both Webb’s Stockholm Syndrome and Nexus, if that’s what might happen. (Read about the pre-puzzle for Sola-Mi here.)

Page CXVI is made up of Latifah Phillips, lead vocalist and pianist, her husband Reid, guitarist, and Dann Stockton, drummer.  Another music project of theirs is The Autumn Film.

Basically, I love this music. I loved the experience of hearing them live; I love that I can take photos of things that I love. It was a good night.

Page CXVI // free music on their site

The Autumn Film // free music on Noisetrade

Derek Webb // free music on Noisetrade

Nexus//Sola-Mi //entire album on Noisetrade

Go take a listen.

PS: @WILLDAL on Twitter instagrammed this photo of the concert. And that’s my head front and center! Fun to discover.

we saw armadillos this weekend

While we were camping! My family and I spent our weekend at Cooper Lake State Park, and had a lovely lake view from our campsite. The weather was beautiful, and we enjoyed the fall colors, the stars, and time as a family.

Armadillos are so cute. When they’re not roadkill.

We forgot to bring a broom, so Clara made one.

Family photo

Photoshoot with Clara – waking up in the woods

The lake view from our campsite

Potatoes for breakfast burritos

Delicious hot chocolate and marshmallows

We can never see this many stars in the city. God is amazing.

lunch on the square

Summur and I went to the Historic Downtown square in McKinney this afternoon. And had a lovely time! On the drive, trying to figure out where we are (121 really does just turn into 399 which really does just turn into McDonald) and blasting the 80s music and rocking the vintage shades. Walking around the square, eating delicious food, spending long amounts of time wandering around antique stores, taking photos.

We had lunch at Spoons Cafe. It was fabulous. Pink lemonade, black pepper fries, and a bacon-lettuce-avocado sandwich. Summur had Pumpkin Soup and a Mandarin Orange Salad.

We enjoyed perusing the shops, even though some of them were closed…

Just off the square and down a little side street was this staircase.

I got this skirt at the Denton Square antique store last week. Wool + plaid + pleats + 70s!

I definitely enjoyed my afternoon! Thank you dear : )

And when I got home, Mom reminded me that it’s my half birthday. So, I can convince myself that the Fiestaware teapot I got at the Antique Mall was a birthday present. And that Mantovani record. And… that’s all.