Two weeks ago I headed up to Big Bear to help out with my church’s summer camp.  I hadn’t really planned on serving this year because I’ve been pretty swamped with work, but then my friend Will from Epicentre was invited to lead worship for the week.  He asked if I could help with vocals and I just couldn’t say no because I really love helping out at our summer camp.  I haven’t led worship or sang in such a long time and I was started to miss it, so it was definitely awesome to be able to lead worship alongside such a great group of musicians.  As each day passed, it was so cool to see the kids open up more and more in their worship and really just let go and start worshipping from the bottom of their hearts.  And on the last night, I had the chance to listen to some of the testimonies from the junior campers, jr highers, and high schoolers, and it was such a blessing to hear what they had learned and how God was working in them!

Here are a few pictures I managed to get when I wasn’t leading worship or trying to get some work done in my down time.  Enjoy!
On the first night we always have a Praise Night with all 3 camps

300 kids or so

Not Lil Mama…..Phat Mama

Jr. High camp shirt/theme

Love Bert’s outfit

In a game of Dance Dance Imitation, she rocked the Napoleon Dynamite dance.

Inspired by Project Runway, the HS camp counselors had the kids design outfits made from trash.

Love the hair!

One of several bridal creations (for Mel Sam =P)

Made in Oregon

A tribute to Fanny Pak!  So sad they got eliminated from ABDC.

Tug of War in the mud pit

And then some mud pit Tic Tac Toe

Oh schnap!

And a few pictures of the band…

Will “Above All Else” on guitar

Anthony “Mini Brown Bear” on keys

Ryan “Loves Prayer” on electric

Ernest “Hu?” on drums

Ricky “the Candyman” on bass…..I love this guy!

Here’s the last installment from our trip to Arizona.  Tons of pictures of all the cute, cuddly animals at Pastor Albert’s house.

Princess, Stewie and Nikki’s dog

Caveman, because they found him under a rock

I must have caught him while he was shaking his head.  Or could it be…..a skinwalker?!?

Returning to the Navajo Reservation this year was bittersweet.  It was good to see so many of the people that I have grown to love over the years, but at the end of the week, I was a bit sad to have to leave again.  Our church has been going out to the Navajo Reservation for many years now, even long before I went out there for the first time my sophomore year of high school.  Every summer we partner with Twin Mesa Bible Church in Hardrock, AZ (about 2 hrs northeast of Flagstaff) to hold a weeklong VBS for the kids, teens, and adults out there.  It’s a small church, with limited resources, so over the years we’ve also helped the church with various projects to help maintain and improve the facilities, from refinishing the pews to painting the church to installing new outhouses.

The Navajo Nation has long been torn by the effects of alcoholism, gambling, witchcraft, violence, and abuse.  So many of the kids come from broken homes and families, and fall victim to the seemingly never-ending cycle of alcoholism and abuse.  That’s why the ministries of churches like Twin Mesa Bible Church are so important.  It broke my heart this year to see some of our former students show up the first day intoxicated and wanting to pick fights.  I felt so disheartened and discouraged seeing this, and wondered if anyone was having any impact out there.  Then halfway through the week this Navajo man showed up, thanking us for our ministry, and sharing with us the awesome news that his father had just accepted Christ two days before!  He then shared with us this verse that was such an encouragement to me: “Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:58

Here are some pictures from our trip.  I didn’t get to stay the whole time this year since I had to get back for a wedding, but I am really grateful I had the chance to serve again this year.

About to embark on the 11+ hour drive.  Love the flare from my 17-40!

We slept out in tents that we set-up in Pastor Albert’s backyard.  Here’s my tent.  I don’t know how I managed to get a tent all to myself while there were 6 senior guys crammed into a tent smaller than mine…..haha. =P

But if you think I was living it up, check out Pete’s tent…

One of the many beautiful sunrises I woke up to.

Face painting

Lesson time!

Memory Verse time!

Craft time!

Play time!

Our 3rd/4th grade class

How we cook

Toasting some pop tarts

Washing the dishes

Our showers

I live off this stuff when I’m in Arizona

My brother and “Peanut”

Haha…..I thought this series was pretty hilarious.

A lot of the families out there own horses.  In fact, there was supposed to be a big horse race at the end of the week that one of my former students was riding in.

One night the horses at Pastor Albert’s house escaped from their coralle, which put all the dogs in quite a frenzy (pictures of the many dogs coming up in another post).  The dogs were running around and howling like crazy all night long, trying to get the horses back into the coralle.  They eventually managed to get all but one horse back in.  The white horse you see below ran off and refused to come home.  Late the next day, the white horse eventually made his way back along with two other random horses, and quite a dramatic chase ensued to wrangle the horse back into the coralle.  It was quite exciting to watch!

It took two cars and seven people, but eventually the family was able to surround the horse and grandma yelled for the horse to get back into his coralle.

Repainting the pews

Burning our trash

By the end of the week, our car was pretty dirty.  Would you believe that under all that dirt is a silver Jeep?

And this is how our car got so dirty.

I’m back from Arizona and, as always, I have plenty of pictures to share!  I split all the pictures up into three posts, and this first post is of all the random, cool, abandoned, decaying, interesting things I found all around me.  Since we had Andy come along as the official historian for the trip, I had a chance to shoot for fun and shoot whatever I wanted.  In all my years of going out to the res, how did I never notice all the cool things that were around me?

I love rainy, cloudy days!  Makes the sky look so much more moody and ominous.

I am at San Jose airport right now waiting for my flight back to LA, and it’s been great because they have these laptop stations along with free wi-fi.  So I have been getting so much done while I’ve been sitting here waiting!  To prove to you my productivity, here is Chris & Adrienne’s engagement session that I just finished editing.  I’m so glad they have free wi-fi here so I could upload these and share them with you.

I had a great time hanging out with Adrienne & Chris at the Griffith Observatory.  They recently finished remodeling the observatory and it’s open to the public again.  In all my years of living in LA, I don’t know if I’ve ever visited the Griffith Observatory until this year, but it’s a really beautiful place with great views of LA and the Hollywood sign, lots of hiking trails, and some pretty cool science exhibits.

Chris & Adrienne….thanks for a great afternoon and session!  Can’t wait to shoot your wedding this weekend!

It’s been quite a busy and exciting year for my family!  One wedding and two graduations makes for quite a memorable year.  A few weeks ago my brother graduated from high school.  I am so proud of Caleb!  It has been so exciting watching him grow and mature over the years.  He has such a big heart and he is always looking out for others’ needs.  He is also amazing with kids….can we say future baby sitter?  Haha….ok seriously now, not for a while.  I think me and my sister did him proud as his personal cheer team.  Who needs those annoying airhorns when you have lungs like ours?  It was fun running around being his personal photographer and seeing all the friends he had….or as he likes to call them, “business associates” (haha….inside joke).  Now that I’ve moved out of the house, I seriously miss hanging out with my brother, driving him around, and watching Hannah Montana together….er, I mean Monday Night RAW.

Congrats, Caleb!

My sister made this hilarious, multi-functioning fan with my brother’s face on both sides.  It was great against the heat AND for waving in the air so friends & family knew where to find us.

Someone set off some illegal fireworks on the street behind the school… was pretty AWESOME!  I know this picture doesn’t look that awesome, but believe me….it was awesome.

The family….no oompa loompas this time. =P

Admittedly, I’m not so good at the Bluesteel face….yet.  But in my defense, they’ve had hundreds of ruined family pictures worth of experience.

Oooooo….who’s that, Caleb?  (Hey, I’m his sister, it’s my job to tease him occassionally.)

Ms. Park, Ms. Park!


Sonya and Richard had a fabulous wedding in LA and I seriously could not wait to get home and go through their pictures!  Their beautiful and inimate wedding was held in the Westminster Chapel of Immanuel Presbyterian Church, and afterwards they headed to a salsa club with their friends for an awesome after-party.  I seriously loved all the details they incorporated into their wedding….like the hair flowers Sonya and her bridesmaids wore, the wagon the ring bearer came down the aisle in, the red carpet photo area, and the tables named after their favorite musicians.  Jeremy and I had such a great time shooting their wedding.  We are so honored to have been a part of your special day!

(Btw Sonya, I can’t wait to take vocal lessons from you. *wink wink*)

Sonya’s gorgeous Jim Hjelm dress!

Loved the lace on the bottom of the dress!

And loved Sonya’s styling Steve Maddens.

The church was so beautiful!

We found this awesome alley behind the church and took some great bridal party shots there.

Jeremy found this awesome nook at the church

Doesn’t Sonya look stunning?

Sonya & Richard set-up a red carpet and had a “paparazzo” take pictures of all their guests as they entered the reception.  Such a fab idea!  It totally looks like a red carpet event!

A close-up of the rings

Some of the great details from the wedding.

After their beautiful wedding and reception, Sonya & Richard held an after-party at a salsa club.  Here they are in their party outfits.  Don’t you just love Sonya’s dress?!

My little sister graduated this past weekend and I couldn’t be more proud of her!  Actually, she’s not so little anymore.  Not only is she taller and more stylin’ than me, but her hot new haircut probably makes her look older than me, too.  I have to say, though, that it has been so exciting to see how she has grown and matured and come into her own over these last few years.  Love you, sis!

There were tons of people in attendance at UC Riverside’s graduation.

This is what we did to kill time during the long, boring speeches.

It was an 8:00 AM ceremony.  Needless to say, we were a little sleepy. I for one only got about 2 hrs of sleep the night before.

Our family =)

For some reason the white balance on my point-and-shoot was a little crazy and made us look like Oompa Loompas….or like we all had a little too much Mystic Tan!
This is the “before” version of the above picture.  Thank goodness for Photoshop!

Couldn’t resist making my sister jump about 5 times in a row for this shot….in her heels.

My brother’s next…..he’s graduating from high school this Friday!

Just got pictures back from our friends Johann & Wendy who helped (wo)man the photo booth at our wedding.  Thanks so much for helping out!  The pictures are so fun to look at!  Check ’em out!

I’ll upload all the pictures to an online gallery soon, and I’ll post the link so that if you were a guest you can view and download your pictures!