Sunday, December 20, 2009
Rachel: Marlin Dale You're Killing Me Here!!!! Then What???
Dale: So I lined up the well and took the photograph, when the mirror dropped back into place, right in front of me was this big red demonic witch doctor. I flinched and quickly ripped the next frame. I didn’t know whether or not he heard my shutter, if it was in focus or if the exposure was set properly.
When he saw me, his pace began to quicken, he began to wave the machetes violently, I just knew we were going to collide on this narrow trail. Then to my right and behind me I heard a voice say “Dale, lower your camera” I immediately lowered my camera to my side and stepped off the trail into the weeds. As he approached me, I could not see his eyes but I knew I was in the presence of pure evil. I could feel him glaring at me and at the last step he turned and walked around me.
Oh Man, I felt like Barney Fife blowing a big sigh of relief after a confrontation. I just had to look down to make sure my system did not involuntarily void itself before I moved out of the weeds. I turned to see who told me to lower my camera; it was our translator who followed me up the trail. The only problem was, he didn’t speak English. I had just once again experienced the true meaning of 1John 4:4 “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world”.
Martin Luther said, “Christ does not live in the trees or rocks, nor does He live in the bones of dead saints, He resides in the hearts of each and every one of the believers.”
Tomorrow we will celebrate the Birth of Christ, the Hope of our Salvation and in a few short months we will celebrate once again, but this time it will be the Proof of his Love for Us, How can we not serve him?
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Dale: The missionary having grown up in this village, turned white and fear filled his eyes. He told me to hide my cameras and just sit still. As I put my cameras in the case, the young men off to my right jumped up and ran out of the village screaming. Then from my peripheral vision, coming towards me I saw this thing, wearing a bright red string like outfit, much like the dilly suits snipers wear. Covered from head to toe and banging two machetes together, it entered the village center. The crack of metal on metal emptied the village and sent a chill down my spine.
As this evil entity moved into the village, you could feel the temperature drop, almost freezing in place those who did not posses the ability run. As we sat there silently, I began to battle internally. I wanted desperately to grab my camera and run this thing down, but at the same time I could not do anything that would, in one selfish act, completely destroy the relationships that took over forty years to develop. I began to wonder why God would put this in front of me yet, not allow me to photograph this very important element of this primitive culture, was this a test of obedience?
Eventually this thing moved on and the villagers began to return, but by then their adrenaline was so high anything natural was completely lost. I looked over at the missionary, he was visually shaken, he hadn’t seen this thing since he witnessed it beating up one of the villagers some twenty years ago.
We had about thirty minutes of light left and the missionary wanted to take me down by the river to see if any there were any activity with the fishermen. We shot there for about fifteen minutes and then we were on our way. As we were leaving the trail by the river, we stopped by the home of a former house keeper of his family, which waved us down earlier. When we approached the front of the house we could see the fear in their eyes and they were locked in their home looking out this window type opening, this thing had returned and was in the area.
I went back to the vehicle and grabbed my camera; the missionary just looked at me, perplexed by the fact that I grabbed my camera. I asked him if he wanted an image of this entity. Shaking his head with a smirk on his face, he said if I could take the shot without upsetting our translator or the other villagers, go ahead, but, he said, just be aware this thing is completely unpredictable and he might attack you, I just smiled back and said, I understand.
The missionary began to carry on a conversation and I was introduced to the family. After a few minutes I began to wander around taking photographs. I walked around to the side of the house and noticed there was a trail, walking up the trail I came across a well. As the light began to fade the well took on a unique look.
When you look through the lens of a camera, the image is upside down and backwards, through a series of mirrors and prisms the image is inverted back to it’s normal configuration, however, when you depress the shutter button, the view finder goes black and you cannot see anything until the mirror drops back into position. So I lined up the well and took the photograph, when the mirror dropped back into place…
Have to run, check back later for the…continuation.
Friday, December 18, 2009
Rachel: Then What, What???
Dale: Oh, the story. Where was I? Oh, now I remember...
The in country missionary that was to pick me up was delayed by all the construction for the Islamic Summit coming to Dakar in 08. As I’m trying to keep all my luggage secure, my wallet and passport in my pocket and in the midst of the onslaught, I prayed for guidance….yeah, who am I fooling, I was praying GET ME THE HECK OUT OF HERE!!! And then, in the middle of all this chaos, a circle began to open up. The circle grew to about 50 feet in diameter and when I saw the opening, I quickly moved into the center.
Once in the middle, the noise began to decrease and I began to feel an overwhelming sense of peace. Exhausted, disheveled and not knowing what was going to happen next, the lines from an old hymn began to creep into my conscience:
“Under His wings I am safely abiding;Though the night deepens and tempests are wild,Still I can trust Him; I know He will keep me;he has redeemed me, and I am His child.”
As soon as I started to hum this old tune, I realized what had just taken place. I knew God had sent me here for a reason and He wouldn’t abandon me now, so I just waited, I just waited in the center of His circle.
It may have been only a few minutes, I’m not quite sure, but soon I saw the other white guy walking around the airport parking lot, I thought…maybe he’s looking for me? So I hollered at him, he smiled and apologized for being late and we were on our way.
Over the next few days the missionaries were getting more and more frustrated in the fact that every village they had planned to take me into was one by one being closed. Having been through this just a few weeks prior, I explained to them to just relax, let God direct us to the villages he wants me in and do not give Satan the satisfaction of defeating our purpose. One of the friends of a missionary who had helped him a few years ago said that he would take us to his village and would allow me to photograph his family. We spent the better part of an afternoon with his family and came away with some pretty nice images, but I could tell that this was going to be a small part of the story.
The more I experience I get with these primitive cultures, one thing always remains the same, Satan’s playbook. From the Sateré-Maue Indians of the Amazon, to the Tarahumara tribes in Mexico, to the Villages of Africa, the spirit world dominates their belief system. Spirits are in the trees, grass, rocks, animals and everything thing else good, evil or unexplainable is related to the spirit world.
Close to the end of my first week there, we went to a village about twelve hours away. We arrived around noon and immediately went to work. I shot until dark and then we went back into town to download my cards and stay the night. At first light we were back in the village, late in the afternoon the missionary asked me if there was anything else I need to capture before we left. I told him I just wanted to sit in the village center and just photograph people doing what they normally do as if I was not even there.
When we came to the center of the village some old men were about to start drinking a round of tea, a group of younger men were playing a card game. The kids were doing what kids do and the women were getting ready for the evening meal. The older men asked us to join them; I positioned myself as to have a great advantage to capture the whole environment from one position. Just a few minutes into the conversation of how the day was going, from behind me a group of people came running and crying as if they had just seen a ghost. The missionary having grown up in this village, turned white and fear filled his eyes. He told me to hide my cameras and just sit still. As I put my cameras in the case, the young men off to my right jumped up and ran out of the village screaming. Then out of my peripheral vision coming towards me I saw….
To be continued…
Thursday, December 17, 2009
West Africa 2007
Leaving for a couple of weeks is always difficult, the day before departure I’m always trying to pack, some clients are needing last minute images, the church magazine is needing images shot and delivered the same day. As I was leaving the house for the airport, I hit the send button on the last zipped folder of images after working through the night.
Needless to say when I arrived in West Africa I was pretty exhausted. Having only slept three or four hours over three days may have lead to three critical security mistakes I made once retrieving luggage. I carry my camera case and my computer on the plane and check in my other bags. The first mistake was in letting the porter grab my camera case and my clothing duffel bag and run off in front of me, heading to the x-ray machine.
Next mistake was not getting the proper currency before leaving the US in which to tip the porter. When the luggage came out of the machine, he once again grabbed my bags and took me out to an area where large groups of taxi drivers are waiting for arriving customers. Being dragged out to an area of about three hundred people all asking you for money, a taxi ride, use of a cell phone and not taking No for an answer, led to the last mistake. By not taking the proper money and putting it in my front pocket, I pulled my wallet to tip the porter, which is like blood in the water for feeding sharks, I was immediately swarmed and cornered.
The in country missionary that was to pick me up was delayed by all the construction for the upcoming Islamic Summit coming to Dakar in 08. As I’m trying to keep all my luggage secure, my wallet and passport in my pocket and in the midst of the onslaught, I prayed for guidance….yeah, who am I fooling, I was praying GET ME THE HECK OUT OF HERE!!! And then, in the middle of all this chaos…
To be continued,
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
I Corinthians 13:12
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
photo by Dale Stroud at Mission Field Images
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Did you know we're getting a Papa Murphy's? Yep, on St James next to the new Dunkin Donuts. My little sister lives in MN talks about this pizza place all the time. Its a take and bake pizza that her family loves! I am excited to try it and will look forward to our grand opening!
What is Papa Murphy's?
Handmade fresh.Choose your favorite Papa Murphy's pizza or create your own custom pizza get exactly what you want. Then we'll make your pizza fresh right before your eyes with the finest ingredients.
Home baked great.You take your pizza home and bake it in your oven whenever you are ready. Every Take 'N' Bake pizza from Papa Murphy's is always served piping hot and delicious. It doesn't get any easier!
Now are you excited to try some? I know we are looking forward to trying a slice of the 5lb stuffed Chicago Style Pizza! Yummy!!!
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Last night we found out if you had a reward card with Toys R Us you could get a Zhu Zhu if you were one of the first 50 people in line! When I told Kyle (our oldest) he was insistent that we get up at 5AM and head to Toys R Us to get a little girl a little hamster! He said, "Mom, I have always wanted to do this and Taylor really needs this to make it a great Christmas for her!" So, this morning before the sun was even up we were off to Toys R Us!!! When we got in the car the boys both wanted to pray and Caleb said, "Lord, please help us get just one!" It was a precious moment and at that point I realized why God gave us boys. This was not about them, this was about them doing for others and they learned the lesson how it is more blessed to give then receive.
God heard Caleb's little prayer and answered it and then blessed us with much more!
God gave us a little pet....
the car that we really wanted and....
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Friday, December 4, 2009
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
My snowman head has been demoted! He is now a decoration on the tree and has a brother and sister added to the mix to balance him out.
So, a new tradition arrived in the Littleton home this year, and I'm sure when Caleb is married and gone, I will still cherish this little star and I have a feeling my "perfect" tree topper is now a small little silver star on top of a cute snowman tree.