Agape news

 Photo Project 2013 - Part One

This years’  “My Photo History” outreach project got underway on November 21st. Over the course of 9 days, Agape’s ministry team visited 6 orphanages and photographed 550 children, working with friends who came from the U.S. just to take part in this ministry. (Irina Minzer and Pavel Lyubezhanin from “House of Bread” church in Sacremento, CA.) This was the first phase of Agape Ministry’s Photo Project 2013, which covers the ‘13-‘14 school year.  It was successfully concluded, and the 2nd phase will take place in Feb.- Mar. 2014.

This particular project has completely been the initiative of Agape Ministries. Visiting and working in many orphanages, Agape staff noticed that very few, if any of the children had any personal photos, much less a decent picture of themselves. We decided that by giving each child a professional, flattering photo of themselves we could have an unique opportunity to bolster their low self-esteem and negative image of themselves. We also hope to help them begin to restore their crushed emotions and see themselves as a unique and beautiful creation of their Heavenly Father.

 The team tackled this project by working through a multi-step process. To start with, a qualified hairdresser and makeup artist got each child ready to be photographed. Then the children were guided to a portable photography studio for their portrait to be taken. After the children had all been photographed, each child’s portrait was edited and a Bible verse speaking of God’s love for them was attached. Our friends from the States brought a special printer with them that allowed us to print out the pictures on site and give them to the children immediately. As soon as the photo session was finished, children began receiving their portraits, which they added to the albums Agape had given them for Christmas last year.

 Some of the children were very curious and could hardly wait to inspect their portrait, while others just couldn’t bring themselves to look at their picture right away. Many had a hard time believing that the beautiful child in the picture was actually them. However, the more they looked, the more they shone with joy, seeing themselves in a different light than usual, each one a handsome and beautiful individual. It was such an emotional time for us all- so much joy and excitement - it simply warmed the heart to see. Praise God!


Here are some of the reactions of the children and orphanage staff:


“I really like this project. This is the second year I’ve gotten my portrait. I also like that they come and do haircuts, and makeup, and show us how to ‘get all pretty’ for the photo shoot.”(Kristina, 5th grade)

“It’s cool when a real hairdresser comes and gives you a stylish hairdo for free. It’s also cool to have such a good picture of oneself - I don’t have many.”                                                  (Sasha. 9th grade)

“Thank you for coming to visit us out here in the middle of nowhere to create such a special event for our children. A special thanks for not only doing these studio portraits of each child, but doing document photos for them as well.”                                                               (Ruslana Nikolayevna, Orphanage Director)

“We are always eager to take part in projects like this. You see, this isn’t just something that you are doing for the children, but something that will be a special record for us and for our whole orphanage.”                                                                                                           (Olga Nikolaeyvna, Assistant director)

“The smiles of the children as their faces light up with joy is the best confirmation we could ever get that this photo project ministry is valuable and needed.”                                           (Vika Savka, Coordinator for Agape’s Photo Project ministry.)