Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Guadalajara, Mexico.

A few weeks ago, my uncle asked me If I would be interested in shooting a video documentary for his mission organization (MBMISSION) in the upcoming weeks. At first, I didn't think too much about it because I didn't want to get my hopes up. I don't usually like entertaining an idea that hasn't yet come to fruition. A let down, if you will.  You will…  However, after talking to my uncle and a meeting with his associates, I can say that I am going to Guadalajara, Mexico on Friday!   I'll be there till the 7th of January.

It's very exciting but I have no idea how the project will work.  I think the concept and 'heart' is still being formed.  I have been praying a lot about it in the last few days. I will write an update explaining more about it when I come back.  Just wanted to let you know!

More on this later!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Family Christmas bathtub shoot....

 Well, I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas. Is it just me or did this year not feel very much like Christmas? Maybe it's just me.  This is just a quick post to show and ask you what you think of a few photos I did over Christmas.

I have been wanting to do a bathtub shot for a long time and the other night, the opportunity came up! I was sitting around the Christmas tree with my family opening presents at my Grandparents house when I remembered that they have a very nice, vintage looking bathtub in one of the quest rooms. So, I leaned over to my brother who was sitting beside me and asked him if he would like to do a bathtub shoot after desert.  He agreed and after desert we made our way to the tub. I think it was perfect for what I had in mind.  With Jordan down to just his underwear, I snapped away trying not to laugh at the suggestive and obscene poses he came up with. I think I almost peed my pants at one time because it was hilarious. haha.. I missed a good shot because I was laughing so hard.

All in all...  I didn't get the shots I was hoping for..  But, I got some different ones! Still happy.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Ironic Humility...

As a Christian, I am exposed, at the very least, to a weekly ‘Christian’ influence.  I am taught to be humble, to trust, to be thankful and to forgive.  In Christian circles, these are the very traits that are praised and valued.  A person who is constantly demonstrating humility and thankfulness is put on a much higher pedestal than the one that is expressing the opposite.  For me, I know that I will get far more respect from my Christian friends if I am constantly expressing humility.  My 'humility' has suddenly become very ironic.  I came to this realization many years ago but I have recently revisited it through my 12 step group. To be in a group that is constantly urging you to share your 'defects' requires a degree of humility.  I can say that I started out humble, but now, I'm having trouble knowing the difference or rather noticing which is which.  It's an interesting thought--to be proud of your humility. Clearly, it's no longer humility at this point.  How many of us are just coasting by; appearing to be something that we know we're not?  I wonder if there are more examples out there...


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Learning to trust and be flexible.

Hello all,

I'm not in a writing mood. Bear with me.

I need to write. Writing, to me, may be like breathing. Our emotions and feelings need a way of getting out of us and into an action. Something tangible. Something we can understand.  Maybe all confusion starts to fade away the moment the words hit the paper--or in my case, this word document.   I keep a journal of anything worth documenting on a day-to-day basis. Sometimes I look back on the things I have written and I find it amazing to see the progression of myself.  It's good to keep track of progression. Sometimes I feel like I am stuck in a rut without any movement. When I look back on what I have gone through, I am encouraged because I can see just how far I have come.   It's healthy. 

On Tuesday I received an email from the leader of the PhotogenX program saying that the program has been pushed back by 3 months. As I mentioned in my previous update, they are having trouble landing an additional staff member and it sounds like there are a few other complications. Because of this, they have decided to move the date back to the 5th of April-rather than the 5th of January. 

Needless to say, I was quite caught off guard by this.  Mentally, I think I was already gone.  Over this past year, my mindset has been: "You are leaving in January for 18 months".  It's funny how we make plans for ourselves without ever considering any other outcomes--and then we literally are struck down in our tracks because we never planned for such a thing to happen.  Because of this situation, I find myself asking the question: "Is this me, or God?" Have I become so fixated on the way I want my plans and life to unfold that I have completely disregarded any possible direction from God?  Don't get me wrong; I believe that God has placed these specific dreams, passions and desires within me for a reason. A specific image comes to mind:  An employee may be given a task to complete but that, by no means, gives him the skills, knowledge and abilities to complete it. Sooner or later, that employee will hit a block and realize he/she needs help to complete the task. From there, he/she needs to make a decision to ask for help or try and do it himself/herself. I can imagine that these two finished tasks would look completely different.  We don't have all the answers.  We are given these dreams and desires from God, but then we must team up with him and work on them together to see them become a reality. Just as we must be in constant relationship with God, we must also be in partnership.

Are we flexible?

When I first read the disappointing words in the email, I felt angry, confused, and frankly, pissed off!  I had a plan!
I can look back at my own reaction in that situation with concern. It's a little scary that I reacted that way.  It all goes back to trust. I mentioned that in a previous update. I DO NOT trust God as much as I should.  As I have been preparing to leave on this journey. One of the recurring impressions has been the fact that this experience is going to stretch and challenge me; Specifically in the area of trusting God with everything.  Another growing experience…. 

What am I going to do for 3 months?!

I don't know.  Maybe that is the best answer I could give.  I don't know. I had these 3 months full and now they are wide open. God has a funny way of getting us exactly where He wants us to be.  He knows that I want to be in that place, though I may protest at times.  I'm trying to take on a new optimism through this situation.  God's got a plan. I don't know what it is but I need to trust that He knows what I am doing. 


My jobs are just ending now because that strange white stuff has hit the ground and it doesn't look like it's leaving. I am thrilled for it to be here..  I wasn't planning on having to find another job but, oh well… 

As I look back on all the amazing events that have taken place in my life; I can't help but feel a little secure in the fact that God has got me and this whole thing is going to work out.  Countless situations, though scary and confusing at the time, have come through for the better.  I expect nothing less.

If you have made it this far, I applaud and thank you.
I am going…  Just 3 months later than originally planned.

If a man cries out to God for courage; God does not simply hand him courage. Instead, he is given an opportunity to BE courageous.  If we are given something that has not been earned, we don't respect it and therefore, do not know how to use it.

There is no value in a trophy that has not been earned.

Thank you so much for your support.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Please PRAY....

Hello All,

I have been receiving a lot of positive feedback from people that have read/been reading my blog; and all I can say is "Thank you!"  Having so many people behind me in constant support is a huge blessing and I DO NOT take it lightly. 

Yesterday, I spoke to the leader of the Photo school for about 40 min. to clear up any remaining questions I had. Everything is set to go with the acception of one thing. My leader is trying to find one more person to staff the school. Without this person, the school might not go forward. After talking to her and hearing all the incredible things God has done in preparation for this school; I am encouraged to believe that God wants the school to work! Bringing another staff member is nothing for God.  

Please pray that this one remaining staff will be found.


Friday, November 11, 2011

12 Step, Money, Camera Gear, MORE Money and LESS THAN 2 MONTHS!

In the last update I sent out, I mentioned my attendance in a program call '12 step'.  For those  of you who assumed Alcoholics Anonymous--You can all breath a sigh of relief.  When I first started to tell people about the program, I didn't realize that their minds may jump to the all too familiar 'AA'.  Oh, well.  I'm not an alcoholic.  

12 step is a Christian, self help/recovery/inner healing program that, I suppose, does reflect many of the same values as 'AA'.  I didn't take time in my last update to explain more about the program because, frankly, I was unsure how to explain it.  I think I have a better idea now that I'm approaching my 7th week of attending.  Basically, as you progress through the '12 steps' (one step a week), there are several questions that you must answer and then share said answers with the group.  The questions are aimed to cause you to look deep into your life, and hopefully, by your answer, provide some kind of healing and perspective on why your life is or is  not 'messed' up.  

Just to give you an idea of the question categories: 

Repressed or Inappropriately expressed anger
Approval seeking
Fear of abandonment
Fear of authority figures
Frozen feelings
Low self-esteem
Overdeveloped sense of responsibility
Inappropriately expressed sexuality

So, yes.   You can just imagine the fun time I am having with this stuff.  
It's good. It's hard to look into yourself and examine for flaws and defects while being committed to changing yourself. But, its a crucial step that I believe all of us should take. 

I'll keep you posted on more of that later.

Snow started to fall here yesterday. I should have taken a picture but no, I didn't  There's something magical about the first snow.  The temperature is still high enough for objects to be damp which the snow takes advantage of by sticking to them.  This is most impressive on trees.  White branches sparkling in the warm glow of dawning sun.  Maybe it's jus me but when I see snow, I feel complete. I feel like I am on top of the world and impervious to any opposition.  One of my favourite things in the world to do is to drive through a blizzard at night without snow tires while listening to German Christmas music.  Best feeling in the world. It fills me with nostalgic feelings of childhood. Somehow, my memory tells me that everything was OK when that mysterious, white substance was on the ground.  

However, at this particular moment in time, it's bittersweet.  Although I love the snow, it's presence means that work is coming to an end.  There aren't many campground related jobs to do in the winter. Last year at this time, I was working for Landmark Builders. Great company and I loved working for them. Anyway, I've been working for them during the last 3 weeks but that is starting to wind down now. Or is it?  I don't know. They don't give me much information in advance.  I'm trying to find some more work to help me save up for my trip in January.  I can't believe how soon January is!

I'm trying to work as much as I can and save money. I think i'm doing pretty well. I only need about $10,000 for my trip.  I have just about all of my camera gear now. All my lenses!  I picked the last one up last weekend.   I made the decision that I would leave for this trip even if the money hasn't fully come in.  I know that this is what God has for me at this point in my life and I think I need to take a risk and go with it.  Although, if I really am convinced that this is what God has for me, where's the risk? Exactly.  Maybe there is no risk.  But I think we will always feel some kind of risk as long as we are not completely trusting in God.  Many of us don't get to be in that place but we MUST always strive for it.  If anything, our RISK is a gage to our TRUST.   TRUST enough to RISK and RISK enough to TRUST.   

I found out where the school starts!  BogotaaaĆ”, Colombia!  I have to be there on the 5th of January.  I've been looking into flights and they are a lot more expensive than I thought they would be.  Lame.

I'm trying not to freak out about leaving in less than 2 months. Yes, the money is a factor but also i'm being overwhelmed by it as a whole.  I feel like there is so much to do and not enough time to do it in.  Again……    TRUST.

A few of you mentioned that you would like to support me financially…   If you would still like to do so, please get in contact with me and I'll tell you how!

Also, if there is anyone else that would like to support me financially and through prayer..  Fell free to contact me.  Even if you want to support me in prayer, please tell me. I like knowing who's praying!  

Thanks again for all your continued support!

I'll keep you posted,


Thursday, September 29, 2011

New Camera

Hello all,

I’m still preparing to leave in January for my 18-month trip around the world.  There are a few things to tell since my last update.  Including:  I have purchased my new Camera Body!  I ended up buying a used Canon 5d Mark II.  Very nice camera and I’m confident that it was the best possible camera for me at this point in my life.  I’m working on tracking down the remaining lenses I need for the trip.  I’m getting everything used because I can’t afford to buy it new.  Used can be just as good. 

I have started going to a program called 12 step at a local church.  (More on that later)

Other than that, I have been working trying to save as much money as I can.  I still have to raise about $13,000, which is a lot of money but for some reason I feel confident it will all come in!  I have been able to save about $23,000 over the last year and a half.  I’m pretty happy with that. Still, I have a long way to go.  I should have constant work up till mid November and I’m not sure what I will do for money from mid November till the end of December.  God knows. 
I was planning on having a bike-a-thon to raise money for the trip but it turned out to be a major flop.  I couldn’t get enough people to take part.  A few people did join in and that was a huge blessing so, thanks guys!  We raised about $300 from that and about $200 from a car wash a few months ago.  Everything helps!

If anyone would like to support me financially, please let me know via email!

This has been a very short update. I will be sure to update you on news as it happens and my general thoughts on the trip as I have them. 

Thanks again for all your prayers and support.


Friday, July 29, 2011

New direction....

Hello everyone!

I know it has been quite a long time since my last update and I apologize for that. The truth is that there just hasn't been much to report. Currently, I am working at my parents campground and... that's about it! However, I finally have something to report!

On January 1st, 2012 I will be embarking on an 18 month mission of love and justice. I have joined a ministry of Youth With A Mission Called Photogenx. My intension is to use photography and other elements of digital media to expose global social injustice that is being overlooked or underexposed. Presently, digital media is the most powerful source of information and awakening to the realities of this world. The world is full of voices; some quiet; some loud. Who will listen to the ones that need to be heard? This journey is not just for me or even them. Ultimately, this journey and sacrifice is for the Glory of God. When Jesus left the earth He didn't request of us, but commended that we love one another--take care of the widowed and the poor. We MUST let our love for others be greater than the love we have for ourselves.

What compels you? My church just finished a youth camp where the words "I MUST" was their theme. It is taken from Luke 2:49: "Why were you searching for me?" he asked. "Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?" What do you think of that? I think that Jesus was almost surprised that Mary wasn't expecting Him to be at the temple. I mean, it is Jesus so how surprised could he have been but.... Jesus is saying: "Why were you looking for me? Don't you know that I MUST be about my Father's business?" Does that make sense?
I haven't been able to stop thinking about it these past few days. The great commission hasn't changed. What is God's 'business' for you? There is so much opposition to face as I am preparing to step out into this journey God has for me but-- through everything, I feel and I say "I MUST". I MUST reach out, I MUST be about my Father's business, I MUST love, I MUST be a voice to those who have none.

Think about it.

I will be traveling for 12 months to each of the 6 inhabitable continents to engage with the community, serve in outreach projects and fight against social injustice relevant to each region of the world. After the 12 months of travel our team will undertake a massive debrief time wherein we will compile our experiences, stories, service, photos, interviews, and data. As a team we will create a professional publication about the issue(s) of social injustice we feel need to be brought into the global spotlight. The last month of this mission will be spent in various parts of the world doing speaking engagements to increase awareness, incite action and raise funds to fight these issues through the sale and distribution of our publication.

The mission is a combination of training, outreach and activism. We are engaging with countries on every continent with the express purposes of gaining a Godly, global perspective of the people and cultures of the world; to experience firsthand the issues facing the poor, needy and oppressed worldwide; to grow in Biblical truth, knowledge and understanding; to serve the people everywhere we go; to generate relationships and share the Lord with people around the world; to understand God's heart toward injustice and His desire to see it end; to create a publication used to increase awareness; and to raise our voices to fight on behalf of the abused, overlooked and neglected.

I am asking for all of you to be praying for me and my team as we are preparing ourselves for this journey. Financially, this trip is supported by the people who choose to be apart of it. In all, I need approximately $35,000. That money will go to airfare, accommodations, equipment, insurances, visas, etc. As of now I have $18,286.00. I have worked hard to save this money and I am very passionate about where it's going. I am asking to you to please pray and consider supporting me through prayer or ever finances.

If you want to hear more or get together to talk about it, please send me an email and we'll plan something!

I am so blessed and fortunate to have all of you behind me--supporting my every step!

God Bless
Brendan Daniel Serez

"Why were you searching for me?" he asked. "Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?" -Luke 2:49

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