I had a dream recently, the night after I participated in a Help-Portrait event at the Allume conference in Greenville, South Carolina. I saw a sheet with a list of names, highlighted in blue, of those who worked at this event to primp, pamper, and eventually photograph fourteen 5th-8th grade girls who participate in a local mentoring program for at-risk students in need of extra support.
Have you ever dreamed the same thing over and over, all night long? This was one of those nights, one of those dreams for me: that piece of paper with the list of names.
I awoke knowing the dream was about the One whose name wasn’t on the list but came anyway—as present in meaning but visibly missing as that “understood you” we learned about in English grammar class—Jesus Christ.
As sure as the camera I held in my hand, Jesus and I worked together that day.
He didn’t walk up from the hotel lobby or in off the street like the people who saw my camera and backdrop and laughingly told me they’d come for their head shots. But he was there.
When those young girls smiled their shy smiles and their sassy smiles; told me their names; and allowed me to create testimony to a day when greeters, stylists from a salon school, photographers, and a support team dedicated themselves to showing them just how valuable, special, and beautiful they are, Jesus allowed me to be His hands and His feet in this world, a merging of the virtual and the visible.
His eye and mine at the viewfinder, our fingers clicking the shutter. I pray these girls felt His love emanate from me.
Help-Portrait isn’t about taking portraits; it’s about giving them.
In January I told you that the last four years I’ve worked with Help-Portrait, a global movement of volunteers including greeters, photographers, make-up artists, and hairstylists, who join together on a Saturday in December to give back to their communities by photographing—and delivering those photographs—to those in need.
When the first commenter said, “I’m interested to join this . . . but you may have posted this too late?” I committed to sharing this in time for this year’s event on December 7.
Click here to find out how you can get involved. If you’re bold enough to start a new Help-Portrait event in your area, you’ll find helpful planning tips here.
You don’t have to be a photographer to volunteer. My husband served as a greeter last year and entertained kids while their mothers got their hair fixed and make-up applied. A lady read about Help-Portrait on my blog three days before last year’s event, signed up online, and we worked together most of the day.
If you’re looking for a way to give back this Christmas season, volunteering with Help-Portrait is a great choice. Join me?
by Dawn Camp, My Home Sweet Home
Leave a Comment
[Email subscribers, view the video here.]
Bev Duncan @ Walking Well With God says
What a wonderful ministry! It is a great reminder to me that God can use ALL the various gifts and talents that He has given us. Even better, we get Jesus by our side when we use our gifts. He always shows up to help 🙂
Dawn Camp says
Bev, that’s what I want people to realize about volunteering for Help-Portrait: God can use all kinds of gifts and talents there.
Our area hosted one a couple of years ago and it was an INCREDIBLE experience. My hubby and I worked as greeters and would do it again in a heartbeat!
Dawn Camp says
Karen, I hope you find another local event where you can volunteer this year!
Dawn, I was one of the greeters who spent time with the girls before and after you and David worked your magic. I can tell you they were transformed by the experience. The excitement on their faces as they were getting ready was infectious, and when they returned from their session they were walking on air. They had an attitude of curious wonder, too, as we encouraged and equipped them with our words and hearts: “Really? I am worthy?” their expressions seemed to say. It was one of the highlights of Allume for me!
Dawn Camp says
Kim, it was a wonderful experience, wasn’t it? I loved our little HP event. It was an Allume highlight for me, too.
Beth Williams says
Wow! What a great idea! It can truly build self-esteem for the youngsters, something that seems to be lacking lately.
God can use all of us in various ways–we just have to be willing and open to His calling@!
Dawn Camp says
Beth, HP events serve folks of all ages. Some amazing stories take place there!