There are people in this world who actually change it. Lots of people dream about investing their life in something big, something that matters, something that changes everything. Most of us usually stay right in that place: dreaming. But Brian is different.
I met Brian four years ago through my church. We were in the same all-guys bible study, and I couldn’t have imagined how much it would impact my faith and my everyday life. These guys taught me how to believe, how to pray, how to grow up in the faith, how to become a man. Brian was one of those in the group that pushed me beyond all my boxes and taught me the parts of faith that require more than an American frame of mind.
During those four years, Brian was building with his own hands an international dream. It was starting to take shape, gain traction, and change real lives overseas. He started a ministry called Play for Hope in which community leaders recruit boys living on the streets of Rwanda to play on national soccer teams. Through their experience on the field, the kids are trained in team work, sobriety, faith, job placement, and life-management. Rwandan kids are literally moving off the streets filled with substance abuse and onto the soccer field, and eventually into a stable adult lifestyle. The dream is now a fully functioning organization due to a once-tiny idea from a Portland-born guy named Brian.
We all wondered over the years who would end up marrying Brian. Who would go to Africa with him and who would join his dream?
Enter MJ. MJ is also Portland-born and met up with Brian on terms that had nothing to do with romance. She had heard of his ministry and shared a mutual love for Africa. She desired to use her film-making skills to tell the stories going on overseas and saw Play for Hope as a great story to tell. So they met at a coffee and shop. And as it turns out, she was a beyond perfect fit for Brian.
During a trip to Africa together, Brian proposed. Once the wedding was planned, the Blest crew got on a plane and headed to Portland (YES!), and we had an incredible time shooting these two. We even got to shoot them on top of an Oregon waterfall!
Enjoy the photos and keep Play for Hope in your prayers, as well as Brian and MJ.
** bear with how many photos are on this post—we did a day-after shoot, so there are more than normal!