Call it a sabbatical if you will; I’d much prefer to look at it as if I fell into some vortex of a world that wasn’t necessarily perfect but pretty darn close. All year long I can remember myself praying, “Dear God, let me see mountains again!” Who knew He’d actually answer my prayer and not only give me a mere glimpse of them but actually allow me to live among them for twelve weeks! If that wasn’t enough, let me tell you about the food—if a man’s heart is truly won through his stomach, then I left my heart in Pegosa Springs along with the cooks. And then there were the people who ate the food with me: 30 students who I not only ate with but also studied with, worked with, played with, prayed with, laughed with, cried with, and truly lived with for three months. Such adventures we had and though I keep trying to remind myself that the end is only just the beginning, I honestly cannot believe it’s over . . .
There are some things in life I always want to remember and then there are some things I will never forget. If a picture speaks a thousand words, then not even a picture can express well enough what I felt while living in Colorado. Don’t get me wrong though. It’s wonderful being home again. Being back in the city, where this city boy probably belongs, I can tell how much I missed the rush of Houston traffic, the stress free life of a stay-at-home college student, the worry free . . . Who am I kidding? The answer is not at all! Still, it is very nice to be home again. And by home I mean where my heart truly lives among my family who all five brothers and one sister I call friends, and parents who I consider wise and wealthy with God’s providence. As much as I long to go back to the mountains, I’d be dragging them all up with me in a heartbeat if I knew that I could. But who knows? God knows and that’s enough to keep my hopes up. As fretful and anxious I may get from time to time, I know who controls my destiny. Ask a fellow minister of mine how to spell love and he’ll tell you, “T-I-M-E.”
So what about my work, my art in photography? Well, in the next several weeks I will be uploading a ton of photos to Flickr featuring most of my favoritest and bestest work from places as majestic as the Pegosa Spring Mountains, to as mystical as the Great Sand Dunes, and the misty Grand Canyon in winter. Also, I plan to feature some amazing HDR photos and a few portraitures I did so stay tuned for that as well.
And as for the world of video, I plan to upload a bunch of those too as long as I can manage time to edit and upload them all.
sigh of blissful content
I really can’t tell you how exactly I feel right now about everything. I feel amazing yet at the same time totally exhausted. I feel super happy and excited yet at the same time totally depressed. But I’m making due. It brings me overwhelming joy—which is quite possible to have when you’re feeling lonely and sad—to know how much my family and friends care about me. Though they may be near or far, I love each and every one of them with all my heart.
It really is good to be back . . .
And, as always, there will be plenty more to come!
December 13, 2011 | Categories: Blog Posts, HDR Photogrpahy, Ministry | Tags: College, Colorado, HDR, HDR Photography, Mountains, Oakley, Pegosa Springs, photography, Rob Oakley, Robby Oakley, Robert Oakley, Snow Wolf Lodge, Summit, Summit Ministries, Summit Semester | Leave a comment
I was required to write a biographical sketch as a part of my application to Summit Ministries. This was required, of course, because I’m hoping to be accepted as a video production intern for the entirety of this upcoming summer. I’d like to share a little bit of what I wrote because writing has little worth if only seen by a few eyes in my opinion and I rather not have any of my writing go unpublished. I hope you can take from this as much as I hoped to put into it–a vignette, if you will, of merely part of my life’s work.
I came into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ when I was eight years old. At the time I described to my father my fear of dying and losing loved ones. I was terrified of the fact of death because I didn’t understand fully what happens and the thought of never being able to live again was unbearable. This was all due to a recent funeral my family attended of a distant family member and I had lots of questions that needed answers. Of course, I was privileged to have grown up in a Christian home; and that night, with tears in my eyes, I called out to my earthly father who then shared with me the story of Christ and how much my Heavenly father loved me so much that he humbled himself as a man and died on a cross for my transgressions. None of it really made that much sense before until that night. From then on I looked at life from an entirely different angle; I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. The stories I heard in early Sunday school were not just stories anymore—they were chronicles of an epic journey made by incredible people. The Bible is full of history and fulfilled prophecies ultimately revealing God’s handy work in all of creation and His perfect plan for redemption by conquering death and freeing us from our sin.
Like any Christian walk, everyday is a day to further one’s sanctification, I believe my faith grew the strongest during my teen years, for at that time I experienced many trials and temptations that challenged and overall enforced my walk with Christ and His influence over my life. One of my favorite books of the bible is the book of James. I once heard it described as “The proverbs of the New Testament” and it is there I turn to most for answers in trying and hard times. My life verse is James 1:2-4 …
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” (NKJ)
Further on in this chapter, James goes on to talk of wisdom and that if any man lacks of it, that he should ask it of God who gives to all men freely. I know with all the knowledge and understanding the world has to offer I could never be fulfilled or truly happy without the Lords wisdom and guidance in my life. Other readings I have enjoyed and have had great impact in my life are “The Pilgrim’s Progress” by John Bunyon, “The Chronicles of Narnia” by C.S. Lewis along with his many other works, and “Understanding the Times” by David A. Noebel.
The desire to work for Summit Ministries this summer is a strong one to say the least. I am always keeping my heart open to opportunities like this. It has been my dream to one day film and produce narratives and documentaries alike with the message of Christ in them. I’ve also had the passion and desire to teach what I know on both personal and technical levels. Being the eldest of six siblings has had a major impact in my own interest to raise and lead a family. As I am still young and unmarried, much of this desire has been fulfilled quite simply by being an older brother, helping and teaching my younger siblings with what it means to be a child of God and that with the capacity to read and learn all that which is in the will of the Lord can be achieved. I can see doing this at Summit but with an opportunity to grow and learn from others just as well.
The most recent experience I have had with Christian service was a mission trip to the Rio Grande Bible Institute and producing a series of videos for the West Houston Pregnancy Help Center.
Late in the summer of 2010, members of Katy Bible Church, one of my brothers, and myself traveled very near to the Mexico border to aid and assist the Rio Grande Bible Institute in various tasks including striping and re-waxing an auditorium floor; scraping linoleum tile, removing a cinder block wall, and installing sheet rock in one of the dorm rooms. This was all done for the returning students of the fall semester who have dedicated their lives in the theological study of God’s Word and sharing it on a multicultural level, especially to the Spanish speaking communities. One of the most interesting aspects of RGBI’s ministries was their radio station where they broadcast the good news of Christ on a frequent basis to not only the school and surrounding area but also clear across Mexico and as far as South America where in some countries it isn’t even legal to send the Gospel in such a manner. Although I didn’t feel like I was ministering specifically to people while physically there. I know the work we did will speak greatly to the students who eventual returned along with those yet to come and those they minister to. One of the great lessons I learned while on this trip was that with even the mundane of things, God can do marvelous and magnificent work. My brother and I also became very close to two of Katy Bible’s leading elders, Barry Hays and Danny Snyder. It was a privilege and a pleasure to work with these two men and I’m looking very much forward to an opportunity like this again.
While all of this was going on, a very close friend of mine who is a very talented photographer had been coordinating and consulting with me concerning his Eagle project for the West Houston Pregnancy Help Center. His name is Stephen Herbert and he decided to produce a series of videos that would help train and recruit volunteers; inform and guide future and current clients; and with the hope of sharing the Gospel and saving the lives of the unborn at risk of abortion. Stephen did an amazing job directing the entire project, and I was privilege to have been a part of the production as a primary consultant and editor. Over the entirety of the summer, he and I spent several hours sifting through and editing footage of what eventually would become a series of videos made for online distribution and clips later authored to DVD. We used primarily Adobe products including Photoshop, Premier Pro, and Encore. Stephen and I learned so much from this project and I am pleased to report that his project was a major success in regards to both his career as a Boy Scout and the Pregnancy Help Center.
All of what has been stated so far has a lot if not everything to do with how I view the World. The need of a critical and discerning mind is especially relevant in today’s society due to the rise and increase of accessible information. I believe the internet, mass media, and current political agendas are hefty evidence to the changing times and desire of global conformity. This postmodern era of likeminded thinking is a dangerous one, for there can only be one ultimate authority to the existence of the universe. I for one am thoroughly convinced of the Lord God, Yahweh/Jehovah, His most Holy Spirit, and the redeeming fellowship and blood of Jesus Christ. Through His word, the Logos, all of this is revealed, and by only His word can truth be found. It’s easy to have one’s faith pushed aside, judged, and compared to lesser thinking. The culture we live in—as citizens of not just the United States but also the entire world—is a conglomerate of thinking in desperate need of sifting. Furthermore, having a better grasp of not only one’s own worldview thinking but also that of others can help us understand where our fellow man is coming from. We must not only know what our brethren believe, but whom they believe in and why. Only then can we effectively reach out and ultimately reveal the truth. Of course, I also believe that although our efforts can be highly influential to society, there is no change without the work of the Spirit; wherefore, it is even more necessary to have the capacity to pray. I believe to change a man’s mind is impossible; to influence his mind is essential. By living as godly examples, by living pure and undefiled lives, and by loving one another with an agape love we can make a difference.
March 28, 2011 | Categories: Blog Posts, Events, Ministry, Opportunities, Travel | Tags: Barry Hays, Colorado, Colorado Springs, CS Lewis, Danny Snyder, David A. Noebel, Dr. Jeff Myers, film, Internship, James 1:2-4, John Bunyan, Katy Bible Church, Ministry, Oak Tree Meadow Productions, Oakley, OTM Pro, OTM Pro Media, Pikes Peak, Rio Grande Bible Institute, Rob Oakley, Rob W. Oakley, Ron McDonal, Ryan Oakley, Stephen Hebert, Summit, Summit Ministries, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Pilgrims Progress, theProject, Understanding the Times, West Houston Pregnancy Help Center, what a wonderful life, Worldview, Worldview thinking | Leave a comment