Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Clearer Picture

A friend of mine who helped run the photography department of a Christian organization recently lost his job because of the economy. I had the privilege of sharing my thoughts with him and his family about what to do next. After a great deal of prayer, they decided to become full-time media missionaries, just like I am.

I wanted to share their latest newsletter,
because it is so encouraging to me. It communicates the importance of our new kind of ministry, and I hope it helps us see the value of what we do. From my friends:

Dear Friends and Prayer
We are excited to report our most recent ministry activities. A growing young
church in Geneva, NY invited us to share what God is doing in our lives. They were excited to hear our vision of using photography and media technology to help missionaries tell stories of God’s work all over the world. The pastor made a great illustration by getting people to recall the most memorable photograph they can remember seeing. He then explained that such images become emblazoned on our brain and are remembered longer than the best sermon you’ve heard, or the most eloquent speech. The power of visual images is critical to missions communication, and the role God has put us in is vital to missionaries being able to tell God’s stories.

Our next journey will take us to Indiana and Michigan for meetings, starting September 27 at First Baptist in Bristol, IN, where Becky grew up. We will end at a missions conference at Twin Branch Bible Church in Mishawaka, IN on October 7 before heading back to Pennsylvania.

Please pray for:

· Visits with supporters and potential supporters to share our vision
· Wisdom as we prepare
presentation materials
· Travel safety
· Our young children, will be away from home for 2 weeks

Jeff and Becky Raymond

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Las Cruces Wildlife

I find myself in the "Land of Enchantment". That's the official motto of New Mexico, and I find it to be so true! From where I am sitting, I have a wonderful view of mountains, hummingbirds, and cactus. Not to mention the roadrunner I met on the front drive this morning. He was enjoying a worm from the garden!

But even more interesting is the fact that I've been having a great time working on video here, and getting to know the people. It has been a blessing, and a time of renewal for me. It's easy to get lost in God's creation here.

So, I am busy working on video and print for Global Outreach's upcoming conference on East Africa. In addition to that, I am working on several other videos from my recent trips. It's nice to be blessed with such a great place to work in. Here are a couple of photos from the yard outside.

Monday, September 7, 2009

From New Mexico

I have been traveling this past week once again. First to Las Cruces, New Mexico by air, then to Hobbs by car for Labor Day weekend. It's been a great weekend here with my Mom. She's been beating me at all the board games we've attempted!

Mom invited her Sunday School class over for a lunch to thank them for their support of my ministry. I am always blessed by all the ways that people support me in my ministry. It always shows me how God is watching over me.

I am heading back to Las Cruces today to spend a week or so working from the home of Jeanne Gleason, a new friend who is very interested in future possibilities of media missions work. I also booked a trip to Togo (that's in Africa for those of you who... don't worry, I had to look it up too!) I will be taking photos for a new hospital that is opening up there.

Meanwhile, I have many video projects to finish, and will be working diligently to get all of them done by the time the missionaries need them. I am looking forward to working while in Las Cruces, the home I am staying in has a wonderful view of mountains and many hummingbirds that hang out at the balcony feeders. It's a charming place to think! And ponder God's creation.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Today in Maryland

I spent the day wandering through photographs after having gone out for coffee and some catch-up shopping this morning. I kept trying to step on the clutch in my little black car, only to let out a happy little sigh because I realized that I no longer have to shift gears in that old truck I've been driving the small winding roads of Spain! It's surprising how much I appreciate the little things when I get back home.

Although I have my photos organized, I need a software update before I can post them. So, I'm checking out for the evening, and will get back to posting later.

I have to admit that Spain, Uganda and Costa Rica have worn me out! I'm glad not to have to leave the country for a while.

Friday, August 14, 2009

My Last Week in Spain

Being at camp for four weeks for four different kinds of camps has been tougher than I thought. Sleeping in a teepee with new people each week, walking around up and down for electricity, food, bathrooms, or anything else I need has reminded me how grateful I am for a relatively care-free life in America. I can't even count how many different kinds of bugs there are here, most of which reside in my tent! I am so ready for my homeland.

But even as I think of all the struggles that come from living here these weeks, I remember that Spain has less than one percent of a Christian population. And the ones who do believe face ridicule and temptations from every quarter. This camp is one of the few ways that the youth of Spain, and most of Europe, can even be reached anymore. They no longer value the religion and churches of their forefathers, it has not worked for them. So they are looking for new answers.

For the short time we endure the inconveniences, the heat, the bugs, it's worth it. To see the lives of young people strengthened, and new answers given, that's worth it all.

I admit though, that I have to remind myself of this over and over, each time that I find a new species of bug in my tent that has just shed it's skin.

Blessings as you go, and remember that all the world was made by God, and we are all His children.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Kampala traffic is on my mind!!!!

Our short term team here has been praising me for my adept abilities in this amazing tangle of transport, but they don't see the concentration and reflexes that seem to drain me of every bit of energy! All I want to do is get to the destination without harming anyone!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Joy and Pain

Driving in Kampala was a BEAR today! And I am worn out. So, I leave you with a couple of images from the orphanage we went to yesterday. Forever burned in my memory -- the cry of a child abandoned left wondering why, and the joy of a child remembered by God.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Meeting of Minds

This morning I got up early and attended a prayer breakfast here in Uganda. About twenty-five or thirty people attended, one of which is a member of Parliament. We had a discussion afterward about her district in the northwest regions of Uganda, and her dream to start vocational training there, because there are no jobs for the people who actually finish high school level. Unemployment is still extremely high.

My next conversation was with an old friend, a respected Ugandan businessman. We discussed ideas for improving agriculture, and finding retired teachers to donate time to come and teach in Uganda. Lately, there has been little rain, and people who do not live in the cities are going hungry.

Driving around Kampala and visiting old friends reminds me how much I care about what happens here, and indeed in every country where there are people struggling to live out each day in good health and peace. I cannot help but lay my life down again to do whatever work God puts before me.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Going Irish

This week I have been staying in a Christian Guest House with a team from an Irish girl's school. Last night they invited me to join their quiet time, and I discovered once again that when we are in God's Word, we have the same heart. There are about twenty girls, and a hand full of counselors, one of which is the president of the school. As I listened to their quiet time, I could see that many of these girls already have such a great heart for Jesus and God's Word, and it was a blessing.

Today, I'm working on editing the second in a series of Christian television shows. The first was televised yesterday. It's so cool to be a part of reaching even more people through that medium. Who knew? Yesterday (or so it seems) a graphic designer, today a tool in God's Kingdom and loving it!


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Long and Winding Road

At last! I am in Uganda. But not without a long trip through the London Heathrow Airport. I flew in to one terminal, lugged carry-ons down stairs hooked up to the plane, stood on a bus for ten minutes, stood in line for twenty more, walked through 3 security checkpoints, one more bus, two more lines, to wait twelve hours to take a tram to another section of terminal!

But I am back in this country that I love so much. I forget until I get here about the unique bird sounds, the people walking everywhere on foot, the friendliness, and the places I grew to cherish while I lived here. I am staying at a Christian Guest house at the moment, planning for the next two weeks. I feel blessed to be here.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Building Relationships

Today the camp director talked to us about the great need in Spain for sharing about Christ. The camp reaches out in love, teaching values and life-lessons, like team building, that will open the door for deeper relationships. At the same time, the kids have fun. I am also building relationships, and am constantly amazed at how I see God's hand in everyday life. People who come here to work have given of their time because of love. And that core motivation bonds us together like the rest of the world cannot understand. But these kids see it.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

L'arcada Camp

This week I have roomates in my big teepee, and three of them are basketball coaches here for the basketball camp. I love meeting new people, and it has been a blessing to see them interact with the kids. There are also volunteers here from different churches in the states doing work around the grounds. A new week, and new hearts to share Christ with. Pics of my office, my living quarters, and the basketball court:

Sunday, July 5, 2009

A Youth Camp in Spain

I spent the last three days in L'arcada Youth Camp here in the mountains of Spain. I'm sleeping in a giant teepee with several other women who are here to coach basketball. This particular week is dedicated to that sport. Last week was the English camp, and I arrived just in time for the last days of teaching and sharing.

I have learned that although we sometimes consider Spain a Christian nation, maybe because there is a rich Catholic history, in fact most Christian beliefs have died out. This camp is reaching youth who have never heard about Christ before. The last night of English camp, a volunteer youth group form Wisconsin shared a beautiful skit that protraying what Christ has done for us all. I listened as I walked around camp that night, hearing the youth crying here and there because they had been so moved by the realization of what God has done for them through Christ.

My video here is meant to help raise support for a young missionary couple hoping to come work here fulltime, and I find that my mission is an important one. Thank you God for letting me have a hand in all this!

Pictures later, for now all I've done is video

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Getting on the Plane

Today begins my travel phase, which will last for quite a while. I will not be in one place longer than three weeks from now until November! I pray for safety for my equipment, and well, also for me! Funny the order that came out in my thoughts! But God watches over everything! I have projects already in the works, and will have many to complete once I finally sit still again.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Home is Where I Am

Although I am in Maryland today, in three days I will be in Spain for my next assignment. So I've been busily preparing all the equipment I need to take both to Spain and Uganda, since I will be going both places. There is a lot to take this time, and I always need prayer for equipment safety. I can't really stop to plan what I do next to get ready, I just have to rely on faith! But that is what my life is made up of, daily faith. It is something I had to grow in to, and something that will remain for the rest of my life.

I really love this life I've been given!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Beautiful Day

One more day until I leave for Maryland. This morning there were butterflies floating through the work shop next to our breakfast table. so many different kinds, I can't remember them all. In addition to that, there are a couple of small black birds that have decided they like the human company. So the are flitting around singing a sweet song all the while.

In addition to the butterflies, I have been bitten so many times by some small invisible insect that I can no longer count the bites! Just me... I must be special.

I can't help but make that in to a parable, about what kind of person each one of us decides to be. One kind of insect bites and runs away, the other transforms in to a beautiful creation that soars on the wind. Can you see the parallel in human life? The interesting difference is that we can CHOOSE to be one or the other, God has given us that gift. I choose metamorphosis!

Our guest at the dinner table last night:

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Gift

I am often overwhelmed with all the people I see called to work for God in one way or another. It's truly amazing. Yesterday, I taped an interview of a young Canadian woman who knows she is called to work with the homeless in Costa Rica. Today I videotaped a young Costa Rican man who feels called to work in India. And my current mission is videotaping Americans who have started a camp and training center here in Costa Rica. I see people who have a heart to cross borders, and share what God has done for them, and each one is called in a different way.

God calls each of us to use whatever He has given us to the best of our abilities, whatever they may be. Someone called me blessed by God today because of the gift I was given to share, and I know that I am. But I believe that each one of us is blessed with something special to give, to God, and to others.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Rainy Days

Taking photos here is very different from other places. Much of the sky is cloudy. But it makes interesting light now and again. New photos up on Flickr (see the link at the right).

I've been chatting with various missionaries from Costa Rica recently, and it's interesting to see how often God provides in miraculous little ways, providing equipment, funds, and whatever else we all need at just the right time. As we chatted, one missionary realized she knew of an apartment opening up that another young missionary in our conversation needed, at just the right amount, in just the right neighborhood. Very encouraging.

On Sunday, members of the Tabarcia church will come to the conference center for the first time. I will take video then of the first meeting being held there. It's such an amazing view, you should really go look at the photos on Flickr! Meanwhile, here's a teaser... a local frog living in the bamboo just outside.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Mountain Rain Forests

Life in the Countryside

I went trekking through the property this morning because Miguel found a rather large ugly bullfrog by a tree. It made for cool video, but it’s one of the ugliest
creatures I’ve ever seen! Compared to the tiny green and black frog I found yesterday, like beauty and the beast. Miguel is busy using a machete to clear out the jungle from around the building we are staying in. Still working on doors (almost done), and walls for the upstairs rooms, we watch the clouds roll in and out of the structure. It’s really beautiful here, and you can see God’s hand every where.

We painted the front bathroom, a large one, a few days ago.
And Franklin is busy creating doors, frames and screens and then installing them. There is so much work to do here, and no teams coming in for a while.

This morning we went to a local sugarcane farm where they crush, boil, cook and process the cane sugar in to a sort of candy, or table sugar. It was very interesting, and I had great fun shooting photos and video. Then this afternoon, I was left on the road near a mango tree for an hour or so, to photograph the various butterflies that find the fruit irresistible. It smells a bit like a brandy factory there, with all the fruit all over the ground. But the butterflies are gorgeous!Everywhere you look, the views are incredible. God is amazing!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Costa Rica

From Costa Rica with Love

Today I was worshiping in church in Tabarcia, Costa Rica. I could not understand the majority of all that was said or sung, but a young man from Kenya was asked to speak for about 15 minutes, and chose the topic of prayer. As I sat there, listening to a Ugandan give Costa Ricans encouragement and words about prayer, I thought about my church’s recent studies on the importance of prayer.  I thought of the fact that across continents God has made it clear how valuable conversation is with Him. I realize that there am blessed, and He is truly with us all, everywhere, all the time.  He hears each prayer because He is God, Almighty,Omnipotent.

In the same Costa Rican service, I met someone from each of these countries, England, Colombia, Kenya and Uganda.  Six countries together in one small South American Church, worshiping together.   And we all had a common heart, a common idea, to love God, and to love others as ourselves.

Have a blessed Sunday, and may we all make talking with God, and listening, the priority in our lives.

Monday, May 25, 2009

May Update 2009

Seven Countries Last Year
In 2008, I traveled to 7 different countries.  I was experimenting with trying to make my travel budget go further by hitting three countries in one trip.  But this comes with its own set of issues.  It’s not always as easy as one would think to travel from one close country to another!  Quite often you have to fly to a city that is not in a straight line, and takes you hours out of the way.  Another issue became having the time to finish all the projects I took on trying to make good use of the travel.  I only finished the last of the 2008 missionary videos a few weeks ago.  

Local Projects
In addition to the international travel, I also created several videos and animations for the Youth Evangelism Conference (Uncharted) that was held in Baltimore this March.  I drove to Mississippi, and home again, stopping along the way to visit ministries and churches.  While in Mississippi, I met with Global Outreach to start planning and creating for GO Expedition, an exhibit on East Africa that will be opened up to 4th graders in the region of Tupelo, Mississippi.  

Video and Photo Catalog
Most of the videos created by this ministry and its partners are up online now at I need help with evaluating their speed and accessibility. Also, I've added photos from most of my trips to my web site.  

Videos at
Photos at

Where to Next?
I have upcoming trips to Costa Rica on June 12, and Spain and Uganda in July and August.  When I return, I will be in Mississippi for the month of October to prepare for the Global Outreach Conference, and GO Expedition East Africa.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Striving for Excellence

This weekend I attended a photojournalism conference at Southwestern Baptist Seminary in Ft Worth. I was greatly inspired by extremely talented professional photojournalists who humbly pointed back towards God as the reason they put no stock in fame or accomplishment. They love God first, family and friends next, and excellence in serving God through their work after that.

Two thoughts really stay with me. I asked John H. White (Nikon legend and pulitzer prize winner) why he photographs and what he loves to shoot. He replied, "I try to see through God's eyes".

The second is that as a Christian media specialist, I need to be a jack of all trades, and a master of one - Storytelling. I am reminded of how Jesus reached out to the multitudes everyday. He is the master of all storytellers, and I want to be like Him.

Inspired indeed.

When the weekend was done, we took a trip down to the Fort Worth Stock Yard, and I tried to put in to practice some of the ideas given to me over the weekend. In the stables there, we ran across a Christian cowboy who works with prisons through the Christian Motorcycle Association. He introduced us to his horse named Katrina, found in a shelter where she was taken after guessed it...Katrina. It was a great day, and further proof that God is everywhere we go.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Melody in January 09

Dear Friends and Family,

It has been a while since I sent an email out.  I feel like I'm in a confessional! Here’s the current update:

What I’ve Been Up To
What’s Next

I have been many places over the last year, and God has shown me more grace than I could have imagined.  He always does that somehow, the more I give Him, the more He surrounds me with blessings and faith.

Sometimes He works miracles in my life, and lets me know for sure that He uses me, even through my weaknesses.  Not long ago, I was descending a flight of stairs and tripped up, sending my computer flying.  It managed to last through the next several months, Uganda, India and Egypt, and even to a missions conference in Mississippi before it died on me.  

With videos to finish, and no backup that could handle it, I was on my knees in prayer.  But within an hour of finding out the cost, I located funds to do the repair.  And not only that, but I received a call minutes later from a recipient of a previous missions DVD, telling me that he and his wife wanted to buy me a brand new computer, because they understood that the work God has given me to do is important. Before the week was out, I had the new computer.

What I’ve Been Up To
My trips to Costa Rica, Haiti, India, Egypt and Uganda have kept me running.  In these places I gathered photos, video and stories that continue to open my eyes to the great need, and the shortage of help that they each have.  I've seen ministries that rescue street boys, create community centers, train pastors, take in abused and abandoned children, drill water wells for poor communities, set up medical camps, and the list goes on.  Each of them needs more awareness and support for their work.

As I pray for more people to help, it seems that God is beginning to send them. I have five people considering going on short term trips with me this summer, but I know that God's hand must be on their plans as well.  I know so deeply that it must be His calling that sends them.

What’s Next
At the moment I am working on video shorts for the upcoming Uncharted conference designed to get youth involved in inner city ministries in Baltimore.  Along with the videos we hope to include more internet interaction with Facebook, iPods, blogs and other interactive media.  I’ll also run the video backgrounds for the conference.  This summer, I plan to take volunteers with me to Spain and Uganda, and possibly back to Mexico to help out Armonia.  These are the projects that God has laid on my heart.

I am working on putting up a web site that encompasses more of the media work that I'm doing. There I will try to tell some of the stories that are too long to tell in this newsletter, and include more high resolution videos and photos.  Until then, here are more photos to enjoy!

Haiti –
Costa Rica -

Pictures from Egypt, India, and Uganda can be found at

Thank you for all your support.  May God bless you greatly, and I pray that you will hear all that He has to say to you and me.

Melody Warford
Global Outreach International