Last night we graduated.
Who knew this crazy 2.5 year adventure would get me an Associates Degree.

Making it this far has taken endurance, hard work, patience, trust, and FAITH. 

36 countries later, we did it. 

hip hip hooray!
three cheers for my favorite ladies.
 Praying before we walk the stage.

This is Cambria's speech. I am SO PROUD of her!

First of all, I want to thank you to Paul and Susi. Loren and Darlene for your vision and allowing us to be a part of it. Our journey with you has been epic to say the least.

These girls behind me and three more who are not here, they are my best friends and they are my sisters.

Emily is the artistic one
Sarah is the laughing one
Megan is the caring one
Lindsay is the passionate one
Natalia is the real one
Jaylene is the joyful one
Savannah is the courageous one
Naomi is the poetic one
Anne is the empathetic one
and Layne is the mothering one.

Today we are unified and we love each other deeply, but I can assure you, it hasn't always been this way.

This thing we have just completed was more than just a school.

Yes, we spent the past two years of life studying, and traveling the world as the PhotogenX track, and we now have an Associates degree...

but we also did life together.
We experienced the beauty and discomfort of community.
We were stretched beyond our capacities over and over again.

there was the good times
there was the bad times
there was yelling,
there was crying,
there was laughter.

We ate thousands of meals together, spent hundreds of nights dreaming together, and crossed tens of thousands of miles on planes, trains, and automobiles.

We learned to knit, we joked about things only we found funny, and we tried to get in shape, but failed.
We had tea with gypsies in the Himalayas, and shared ice cream with refugees in Athens.
We dined amongst the wealthy, and we dined with the rejects.
We saw the violence and grace of other religions. We saw truth in unexpected places.
We were humbled by the generosity of the poor, and the honesty of the dying.
We learned that His grace is sufficient.

When I and these 11 girls started PhotogenX track in 2009, we came from totally different backgrounds, but we each carried our own agendas. Agendas to grow and encounter the Lord.

We did not anticipate, however, the extent to which God would change our lives.

In Ephesians 4 It says, "I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace."

We got this as a word early in our journey when our differences were obvious.
Jesus challenged us in unity and love for one another. We set out to lay aside our pride and write love on our hearts.

In South Africa, we studied photography.
In the middle east we studied the Bible in a Biblical core course (thank you Andrew and Leah for coming along with us and teaching us. we love you!)
Finally, in Europe and Asia we studied Humanities and Science

but there was so much more than that....

In South Africa we dreamed together and committed to each-other.
In Egypt our patience was tested, and gracefulness often escaped us.
In Israel and Palestine we became responsible for our actions. It became less of us and more of God.
In Turkey we witnessed sin and beauty. We left humbled by our brokenness.
In Greece we recommitted to each other and our calling. It became less of us and more of them.
In Italy we saw through the wealth and saw the needs of the west.
In Germany our souls found peace and we turned from friends to sisters.
In Czech Republic and Romania Jesus' heart for humanity came alive in us.
In Hungary we reflected on our place in the world.
In India all we had been through came together. We clung to the Spirit's guidance and stuck together. We saw the value of community and as the prejudices of other religions were broken down, love had no bounds.

After that we parted ways for three months. We went such places as Thailand, Indonesia, Japan, India, Argentina, New Zealand, and the US, where inevitably more challenge and growth awaited us.

We came back to Kona in September of last year, where we thought the emotion our journey would come to an end.
We quickly realized we were wrong as we were all placed into the same dorm room together and told to "process".

We thought, this is a joke, right? wasn't.

We were launched into our communications core course and were asked to re-live the journey of track. We knew this time would come, but we didn't know it would be so challenging. We were to make a book reflecting what we discovered about the Father's heart for the world.

During that time, Jesus spoke John 15 to us. It says:
"This is to my Fathers glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have i loved you. Now remain in my love."

These words were hard to grasp as we started vocalizing our feelings about track. We found ourselves broken hearted as we looked back on photos of countless faces we left behind and read journal entries that bore our emotions.
It was intense.
It was uncomfortable.
It was hard to love each other with such unease weighing on us.

We wanted to wallow in self pity and curl up in the comfort of the hot Kona sun, forgetting the past 15 months.
We did not know how to look like disciples, we did not know how to do justice to the stories, and we did not know how to bear fruit.

Thankfully God is faithful.

He showed us how He had irreparably transformed us.  He had used us as we traveled and met people. By His strength, we impacted lives, and more than that lives impacted us. We gained Jesus' heart and love was redefined.

We saw:
God was in myriad of encounters and circumstances since the very beginning.
He was there when we met the starving, the wealthy, the homeless and hopefuls all over the world.
He was in the joyful seasons where we were surrounded by beauty and were at peace with one another.
He was in the dark seasons where guilt, frustration, hopelessness, and disunity were towering over our paths.
His Holy Spirit gracefully gave us soothing words for one another.
When we discovered racism, hatred, and bitterness in the world... and in our selves... Jesus responded with truth and grace.

As we recounted these these experiences we had revelation that our photos and stories were dripping with testimony of the Father's heart.

To do justice to ourselves and the people we met, we needed to speak up about Jesus' passion for humanity, and how we play into it.

We made a book called Act Here, Love Now. It is raw. It is bold. It is us.
It tells of our personal journey learning to live like Jesus, and it calls people to action.

We are seeking to share our message with anyone who wants to see the world be better.

Our agendas have become the Father's: to see the world transformed by the love of Jesus Christ.

Because we see that this love that brought us together.
It is why we live differently and will never be the same.
It is how we discovered the Father's heart.
It is the way we were made disciples, and have been set free to make disciples.

Thank you.


  1. Cambria. This is so beautiful. You've made me cry over here girl. I am so glad that these words were shared with the world. : )


Post a Comment