January 5, 2017

Photos tell the story

Written by  Lauren Good
EMM worker Mike Lotvola lights a candle of remembrance at Maria Schutz Kirche in Kaiserslautern, Germany. The 2,862 candles represent refugees who lost their lives in 2015. EMM worker Mike Lotvola lights a candle of remembrance at Maria Schutz Kirche in Kaiserslautern, Germany. The 2,862 candles represent refugees who lost their lives in 2015. Photos by Lauren Good.

This article appears in the January/February 2017 issue of Missionary Messenger; sign up to read more articles like this one.

Photography is where I find the words to say.

When I returned from my photojournalism mission trip throughout Europe, I couldn't even begin to express in words the things I had seen. Photos told the story. When I shared my pictures, others were able to see — and almost to hear, taste, smell, and touch — crystallized moments that took place a world away. A candlelight service in a German cathedral, Moroccan tea sipped on a rooftop, a gathering of missionaries encouraging each other to press on. In an age of cell phone cameras and selfies, may we never lose wonder at our ability to capture frozen images! 

Eyes to see

Of all the stories my pictures told, the most powerful was that of people coming from many lands to create new lives in Germany. I'd heard the phrase "refugee crisis" many times, but through the lens of my camera, what was once an abstract concept became a real situation with real people. At a welcoming tea for refugees hosted by pastors in Germany, my photos captured friendships being formed across cultures. Through my viewfinder, I watched appreciation bloom as an EMM worker helped a refugee family understand how to enroll their children in school. It’s one thing to say, “I saw a room full of Syrians and Germans getting to know each other.” But it’s another to show photos of the interaction — of their expressions, their relief, their smiles.

Photos are evidence, experiences, captured emotions. And when words fail, photos minister powerfully.

Lauren Good served as a photojournalist with GO! from September to November 2015. A graduate of Kutztown University, Lauren lives in Souderton, Pa.

This article appears in the January/February 2017 issue of Missionary Messenger; sign up to read more articles like this one.