A Dream Come True | Peru Mission Trip

A mission trip to Chimbote, Peru with Friends of Chimbote

Friends of Chimbote

In 2019 my husband and I went on a mission trip to Guatemala. I didn’t know it at the time, but that trip would change the course of my life.

I have always had a passion for helping others, but helping others to this magnitude was so life changing and life giving that I knew it would not be my last trip. Fast forward to 2022, my son and I went to the Dominican Republic on a mission trip. During this trip I had an idea that I have been putting into the works ever since.

Seeing more poverty in the Dominican Republic than I had seen in Guatemala, my heart broke for the people in so many ways. One of the biggest things that really stuck with me is that “we” (Americans) are taking all these photos while we are on these trips to bring back and show our friends and family, but hardly anyone (if anyone) is taking photos of the people and giving them tangible copies of their photos.

Being so passionate about photography and the way it can help you relive moments long after they are gone, made me stop and realize: These people do not have photos of their grandparents, parents, children, or loved ones who have passed away. They don’t even have a photo of themselves. The only memories they have are in their hearts. It really broke me. I can’t image not having a photo of my grandparents! It was then that I decided that Twelve9 Photography was going to change that.

For two years I prayed for another trip to come open. I Googled mission organizations and realized that I wanted to do this but I also wanted to experience this with others in my community. Our church decided to do an adult trip to Chimbote, Peru with Friends of Chimbote.

The dream….

In 2023 I didn’t pay myself. I put hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars back into my business and into our community with various fundraisers for those in need, local non profits, and fundraising for this trip. I was able to get the equipment I needed to make my dream come true. With the support of the friends, family, and others who participated in what I like to call “Minis for Missions” (Mini photo sessions where 100% of the proceeds goes towards funding mission work), I was able to purchase a portable printer and the accessories needed to print tangible copies of the photos I would be taking, and deliver them to the people in the photos. In Peru, MY DREAM CAME TRUE!

The process…

Taking photos of people in their most vulnerable state is tricky. I wanted to be respectful and also wanted to make sure their dignity was in tact. While having a telephoto lens is great for capturing real moments without being up in peoples faces, it’s impossible to bring all of my equipment on a trip like this. I tried to be discrete when taking photos as much as possible, but when I was thinking about the images I would deliver, I knew that asking for permission to take the individuals photos and have them actually looking at the camera was best.

I had our interpreter explain that I would be back with a copy of the photo for them to keep. —The sad part, finding out that people actually come here, promise all these things (help, relief) JUST TO TAKE PHOTOS AND NEVER ACTUALLY PROVIDE ANY HELP. They come as a publicity stunt. They never intended to return and assist with building homes, clothing drives, food distribution, donations and so on. It absolutely broke my heart. I knew that NO MATTER WHAT the photos would get delivered to their rightful owners and I would make sure that their community was being helped in the process.

The trip…

We did so much in our short time in Chimbote and Cambio Puente. Many things didn’t even get documented due to the vulnerability of the situation but also because I went there to work, help get to know the families we would be building homes for, as well as assisting with building their home. I didn’t want to have my camera out the entire time and take away from the true purpose of the trip. However, here is a variety of what was captured.

You will see photos of:

– The streets of Chimbote
– The local market
– One of the home build sites in Cambio Puente
-A recipient of a previous home who is now flourishing with her own bread making business
– Our team devotionals
– Meeting the kids in the preschool next to where we were staying
– A few of our fish and loaves distribution.

(If you haven’t already seen my attempt at my first documentary, check it out here. Set your expectations low, I have zero experience with capturing and editing video.)

Friends of Chimbote

The organization we traveled with is absolutely incredible. They made our trip one that our group will remember forever. We were able to experience so much, all of which was so insightful. Friends of Chimbote has such a great way of providing opportunity to the individuals receiving homes. Each family who receives a home is given resources of some sort to be able to help create work in their community for them to prosper. They want the community to thrive and it’s evident that they are helping make massive changes for the people of Cambio Puente. This is an organization I will continue to support and a community I look forward to visiting again (and hopefully again after that).

Friends of Chimbote provided us with interpreters who helped us communicate with the families we were building for. My Spanish isn’t very good (I’m hoping to get better) but having them there was a total game changer. We got the chance to know their stories. That in itself made the whole trip so much more impactful. I would absolutely love to share more stories about this trip and answer any questions you might have about mission work and why it is so important to get involved. Send me a message on my contact page and let’s chat!

let's go on an adventure.

I want to tell your story.

My dream clients love adventure, laughter, and are passionate about their love! If you value the quality time spent together, know your partners love language, and are totally up for going along with my goofy prompts then we'll definitely get along!