LOOK HERE: Amazing Grace
I was lost.
More than a decade ago, I went to the States to “find” myself. I wanted to run away from the life I had and start anew. I left behind my ex-girlfriend and my 2 month old baby boy. I worked two jobs and I worked hard, but I played around even harder. It was during this time that I really wanted to pursue my photography. Having the means and the time to do so, I bought a DSLR camera and enrolled myself in a photography school. It led me to places I was not supposed to be and to people I was not supposed to be with. But I had 4 years of bible school behind me, backed up by young people I used to minister to and a church that I used to pastor. In my heart, I knew what God wanted me to do. I knew that no matter how far and how long I ran away, He would catch up with me in the end.
And one day He did. I was jolted back into reality and it dawned upon me that no matter how hard I worked and no matter who I went out with, I was not happy. I was not complete. I was so far away from God and His will that I felt like I was just going around in circles in my life. Five and a half years had passed and that prompted me to think about going home.
My ex-girlfriend, upon knowing of my plans to return to the Philippines, started scouting for studios where I could work. She made the rounds of bridal fairs and once gathered a handful of flyers from every photography booth she passed by. She sorted through these and upon looking through hundreds, one was set aside: Imagine Nation’s. She sent this to me with the message: “This is where I want you to work.” Now you ask what it was in the booklet that led her to send it to me? It was full of Bible verses you see, and she had the notion that it would help me pursue my dream of becoming a photographer and “fix” my walk with God as well. Alongside this, she had already messaged John Ong, the owner, about his next apprenticeship schedule.
But I was proud and thought that I could do things on my own. I thought I could put up my own studio and make a name for myself. I never thought I would get into taking photos of the one thing I tried very hard to avoid for the longest time: marriage.
Fast forward a little,… my son and I were prompted to attend a dad and me camp. During the orientation, we were seated in front of a couple who turned out to be,… you guessed it,… John and Monique Ong. My ex-girlfriend, who was already my wife at that time, nudged me and said, “Do not go home from camp without his number on your phone.” As God would have it, John and I were roommates at camp, so I went home with his number and an offer for a job. And that is the story of how I got into Imagine Nation. The rest, as they say, is history.
I started out as an apprentice. Was promoted to junior… to senior … and finally to master photographer. I faced a lot of challenges and opposition along the way. God was working on my character and there were times when I wanted to give up and go back to my old ways. But I heard my calling here, and being in the center of God’s will made everything fall right into place. I found my niche in strobist photography and have since been playing around, not with fire anymore, but with light. God’s amazing grace was with me all this time. This journey is not just about the betterment of my craft, the number of clients I have booked, or the amount of money I have earned. It is about my walk with God, my service to other people and my love for my family.
Photography has given me a vast expanse of opportunities only God could have laid out before me. It has brought me to places I have never been to and introduced me to a wide variety of people who share my love and passion for my line of work. It has given me plenty of chances to serve and has always made me want to become a better person, not only for my sake but for the sake of the people around me as well.
God makes weddings beautiful; We only capture them, say all of Imagine Nation’s photographers. I take pride not in the many couples who choose me to shoot their wedding, but in the number of friends I make along the way. I take pride not only in the beautiful shots the bride and groom get to take home but in the creativity bestowed upon me from above. I take pride not in the mistakes I have committed but in the family that received me for who I am and for what they knew I can become. I take pride in being a part of the Imagine Nation family.
Now I am found.
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