Gifts From Above

I have a new hobby: photography. My adult children asked me what I would like for a retirement gift. After some thought I said, “A camera.” I named a model that is suitable for self-recording videos and taking good pictures”. In the end, they generously gave me a better model and I was happy to receive this improved gift. 

Since then I have been taking lots of photographs and started an additional Instagram account @visiojourney to assist in my learning journey. However, I have yet to begin making teaching video content for my YouTube channel. Lord, give me your grace to start.

An engrossing hobby

Photography has been an engaging and fun hobby with so much to learn. There are so much technical knowledge and skills to understand and develop and I am so thankful for the many instructional videos available in YouTube to learn these skills so I can go out and practice them. 

I found that watching YouTube can also be engrossing and addictive for I ended up watching video after video telling you what kind of lenses are best for getting good photos. Because I am unconsciously seeking a short cut to better photographs, I keep watching these videos even though I already have lenses: a Viltrox 23mm f1.4 and a pancake Fujinon 27mm f2.8. “Maybe a better lens will help me make better images more quickly, without having to patiently learn the skills!” Of course, this is only partly true. Good lenses and equipment are vital, but so is having good photography knowledge and skills. Therefore, I need to remind myself to obtain more skills and resist the temptation of buying more and better lenses. 

Providence in buying second-hand lenses

However, to complete my system, I needed a zoom lens and after watching many reviews I finally settled on a Fujinon kit lens, the ubiquitous 18-55mm and the newer Fujinon 16-80mm f4 lenses. I checked Carousell and consulted Matt, my son, and he recommended the older kit lens, and even offered to pay for me. What a pleasant surprise! I was thrilled, of course. I completed the transaction and bought it at $300, a good price. 

The Carousell transaction was interesting and frustrating. The meeting point was settled and I was there on time. “I am here in front of Fun toast”. Ten minutes later, I wrote: “Hi D–, I am waiting here at HillV2. Hope you did not forget our appointment”. Another twenty seven minutes later, the seller finally replied, “Hello, are you still there? So sorry. I just woke up. And my phone was dead the whole night. Please let me know. Apologise for this”. “I am here. Still waiting. Can you come soon?” “Ok I’m getting it and bringing it down”. When he arrived, he apologised again; I checked the lens and completed the transaction. I was surprised that in all, I waited a total of one hour and ten minutes.

Another interesting story of God’s provision was the wide/macro Xenvo kit for mobile phones that I had been eyeing and wanting to buy. Camera macro lenses are expensive and bulky so I had been looking at getting the portable and much cheaper Xenvo macro lens. Therefore when an acquaintance told the WhatsApp hiking group that he wants to sell this exact lens kit at half price, by God’s providence, I happen to open the message and straight away registered my interest and arranged to collect it. This time with another interesting thing happened. 

I arranged to COD the item after I had pre-recorded my sermon for the Deaf Congregation of my home church. At his home, the hiking acquaintance surprised me and gave it to me free of charge. I never had the opportunity to know him as I was away from hiking during the last five years of my pastoral work. Even though he did not know me well, he generously gave me the Xenvo kit free of charge. I felt grateful and touched by this blessing, and also that God was showing me that he does care for the details of my everyday life, not just my needs but also my wants. I must say photography is fun, and I hope it will always remind me of God’s love and faithfulness. I hope every time I use these gifts, it becomes a trigger of thanksgiving to God.

LORD, you are faithful and abounding in love, and I feel overwhelmed by the generosity of loved ones and acquaintances. You provide not only for my needs but also my wants for it pleases you to bless me. Bless the givers and help me use these gifts for the joy of photography and the praise of your name. 

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