Because of your generosity to Accelerate, we are able to partner with God in His work of transforming lives. Every Friday, we’re taking a peek at how God is working in the lives of our high school students. These servants of Jesus are walking daily by faith as they navigate the hallways and relationships inside their school walls and beyond. Our weekly series will highlight what God is up to in their lives in their voices. Leave them some encouragement by commenting?

by Tyler Brooks

As a whole our society never sits still. We run through life, never truly grasping all the pieces. We are driven by time constraints and time efficiency. We rarely take a moment to stop and look around, to take in a deep breath and gaze past the stack of due dates in front of us. We are so focused on what is next and how we are going to get it done, that we let precious moments in time slip right by our eyes.

This past week I had the chance to slow down.

To take a moment and absorb my surroundings. To feel the emotions of others. To discern their pain, sense their joy. Along with 40 other Impact students and leaders, I headed down to the city, arms full of blankets and jackets, in search of those in need.

Now normally, when headed into the city the loud noises and congested, fast-past sidewalks draw attention away from the small things — those things that truly matter.

This time, however,I prepared myself, bringing along a little tool that helps me focus in on others and directs my eye to those who need it most. This little device is my camera.

Over the past few months I have fallen in live with photography. Its ability to freeze, and capture moments in time intrigues me.

When one stops and focuses full and undivided attention onto something, the amount of detail one can pick up is astonishing. The ability to see joy in a smile, peace in ones eyes or sorrow in ones frown is an enlightening feeling.

Each person who received a blanket that day had a different story to tell, and it was my joy to capture it. When I stopped, ignored the bustling city around me and focused in on one person, the things I noticed were remarkable and often shocking.

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More often then not my pictures were filled with a smile, rather than a sad, hopeless face. You would think that someone with next to nothing would have no reason to smile, but you’d be mistaken. It usually wasn’t even the blanket that brought them hope and joy but simply someone paying them a little attention.

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When a group of us would stop to hand out a blanket the overwhelming majority of homeless really just wanted to talk. Sure they were thankful to be receiving a little extra warmth but they were more thankful to be noticed.

Seeing this, through the small glass window in my camera got me thinking. How can I do a better job of slowing my life down?

It shouldn’t be that only on designated days do I notice those who need to be noticed the most. I should be living my everyday life, like I’m looking through my camera. Intentionally focusing in on those who need it the most.

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While I realize my camera will not always be there to slow me down, to focus me in, I know that I have a God who sees the entire picture.

That when I stop,  and focus in on Him, he will direct me to places I need to go.  To the places that he sees fit. To the people he sees in need.

IMG_0212-2Tyler Brooks is a senior at Warren Township High School; he’s involved with numerous student ministries along with the Tech Team during Sunday morning services. He also shoots videos for the church and other because his passion is photography/videography!

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