So today I have a little story to tell you. I want you to get to know me a little better. You may or may not know this… but the country of Peru played a HUGE part on my life and who I am today. I lived there for about 6 years.. mostly in my teenage years. It would take a million blog posts to tell you all about it and all of the incredible experiences that took place in those 6 years. But I sort of feel like that is when my life began. When I think back on memories, Peru is very dominant in my mind because SO many adventures took place there and it definitely changed my life forever. Long story short, my parents moved my family to Peru when I was 11 yrs old. My father felt in his heart that it was his calling to become a missionary to this amazing country and thus the reason I have a connection with Peru. The rest is pretty much history. While I was there I met so many wonderful people. Tons and tons of them. Some of them came and left, and some stayed. Some were acquaintances and some became friends for life. I am so grateful that my dad brought us to Peru for a million and a half reasons but one of my favorite reasons is because of how many wonderful friendships were formed because of it. When we moved there, there were a few American missionary families already there that had begun a couple of churches. We had the opportunity to work with them as they helped us all adjust to the shock of moving to a third world country (that’s a whole ‘nother story and blog post!) and helped us find our place there. One of the amazing families was the Barriger Family. Pastor Robert Barriger and his wife Karyn had already been in Peru 11 or 12 years when we moved there. He and entire family were doing amazing things in the country of Peru with their church Camino De Vida. He had 2 children who were both very close to my age and over the years of living there, I became pretty close to both of them. His daughter Jenna and I were bestest of friends, we did so much together including lots of slumber parties and photoshoots (she’d model for me and I’d be the photographer, duh!) and Taylor was always a creative GENIUS that I looked up to and admired… he once even asked me to create a leopard pattern in his hair with hair dye. Still don’t know why he asked me but it actually came out pretty awesome!! I guess even then he believed in me so much as an artist, even at the mercy of his hair. I’ll have to dig up that photo to show you. Taylor recently called me and asked me if I could at the last minute fly down to Peru for their annual family portrait that they will use in their Christmas cards. I of course was THRILLED and completely honored. I haven’t been to Peru in 3 years so this was not only an opportunity for me to visit for a couple of days but the mere thought of being able to photograph this family that I have known more than half of my life, and have admired and looked up to ever since… was extremely exciting.
So, a couple of weeks later I was on a plane to Peru and accomplished my mission!! I only hope I did the photos justice… oh with the pressure of being flown down to South America just for that and all!! I had so much fun and again still feel so humbled and blessed to have been able to photograph this beautiful family.
On a side note: I am still planning to make a trip next summer to Peru and will be posting details for all of you who want to join me. We will be going to visit the Camino De Vida orphanage that is located outside of Lima and for fun we’ll also be visiting Machu Picchu. Tons more information and details coming soon. : ) I am SO excited about that trip!! And I hope you can come.
Taylor, thank you so much for inviting me down!! I am still so blown away by your confidence in me… and coming from YOU, it truly means way more than you could possibly ever know. Robert, Karyn and Jenna. Thank you so much for always believing in me. You have all made a huge impact on my life and I am HONORED just to know you. I love you all so much!!!
Meet the Barrigers:
Absolutely love the next two.
Love love love this:
While I was in Peru I also got the chance to photograph another amazing family. Nick Balcombe was another one of my dear friends growing up in Peru. He and his entire family were like my family too and I still just love each and every one of them. His beautiful wife Kristin moved to Peru several years later when we were all adults and the rest is pretty much history with those two. Nick and Kristin, along with their beautiful children, Jude and Reese, are serving with Pastor Robert at Camino De Vida in Peru.
Let me just say, I know first hand what it’s like to live in a 3rd world country and dedicate your life to the ministry of serving others. It’s not easy whatsoever to have to give up American conveniences and luxuries, along with all of your friends and family. It takes people with incredibly beautiful hearts to be able to do this… and the families above are some of the finest examples of people with beautiful hearts I have ever met in my life. I look forward to being able to bring a group of people with me to Peru next year so you can too, have the opportunity to experience what it’s like. I am truly the luckiest girl alive to have been able to live in Peru and be inspired by all of the amazing people there… Americans and Peruvians. We are so blessed. Count your many many blessings.