The following is an article written by Jennifer Jacoby-Smith for the Living Light News
Photography dream comes into focus for former student
by Jennifer Jacoby-Smith
Many can recall an inspirational teacher from childhood. But few can say they in turn have inspired their teacher.
Six years ago Lisa Braun, her husband Roger and their three children returned to her hometown of Warman, Saskatchewan. While there, Braun picked up a calendar of prairie landscapes and noticed that several of the photographs were credited to Wayne Shiels.
Could this be her favourite teacher from grade six? she wondered. When she discovered Shiels still taught, she went to visit him and shared her own aspirations for photography, a long-time
hobby she was hoping to develop into more.
Shiels was impressed with her work and suggested she enter some of her photographs in a contest. “He really encouraged me,” says Braun. “He got my dream started.”
She received recognition for three of the five photos she entered, and since then her work has appeared in travel brochures and on local websites.
In 2006 Braun was asked by a local printing house to submit photos for a Saskatchewan calendar. This year, two calendars were designed with Braun’s photos, one featuring Scripture verses, a significant element for her.
Since becoming a Christian, Braun’s focus — in life and in photography — has changed. She sees her talent as a tool that God uses to bless others.
“In photography, people often ask me where I learned how to take photos and if I took classes and my answer is always, ‘God gave me a gift and I’m trying to nurture it.’ ” Her personal motto is “Capturing God’s beauty through photography.”
“God is everywhere in nature and I experience Him every time I’m out taking a photograph,” she shares.
Although Braun was raised in a Christian family, she rebelled and left home at age 15. “I made a lot of bad choices,” she admits.
Just before her senior year in high school she attended a Bible camp in northern Saskatchewan, and there she met God in a new way and committed her life to Jesus Christ. “I came to know who God really was. I found out that He was a God of joy. He wanted you to ... enjoy life.”
In her eye for a scenic prairie shot and in the everyday activities of life, Braun doesn’t believe events happen without purpose. “I don’t see anything as coincidence,” she explains. “It’s all God-incidence to me. Nothing is by chance or luck. He knows exactly what’s going to happen each second, each minute, and it’s all under His control.”
When her calendars were a few photos short, Braun’s elementary teacher came to mind and she decided to approach him. What she didn’t realize was how her request would impact Shiels, who had recently accepted Christ as his Saviour. Shiels had always believed in a Divine Creator. However, after enduring serious health problems and depression, he experienced what he calls “a darkness.” He recognized his need for the saving grace of Jesus Christ, and in 2006 he invited Jesus into his heart. “It is by the grace of God and the blood of Jesus that I am here,” he says.
“God gives us many gifts we are to use to glorify His name,” explains Shiels. “Lisa has shown me how photography can do this.”
Braun feels equally blessed. “A teacher who had inspired me, now years later tells me how much I have inspired him,” Braun says. “It blows me away!”
And just as teachers are encouraged when students realize their dreams, so years later Shiels marvels at how his former student’s photos continue to inspire him, and many others as well.
“It’s always been my dream but I never knew how to get started and I didn’t really believe enough in myself that I could do it,” Braun shares. “Well, now I know that I can ... but only with God’s help, never on my own.”
Shiels agrees. “It is rewarding to see Lisa’s passion and confidence grow,” he remarks. “She uses her God-given gift of photography to show God’s creation in ways that clearly speak to people.”
So that's the article. WOW! It continually amazes me how God works and moves around me and in me and through me to accomplish His Plan in and around my life. The following pictures were other fun photos that Wayne's daughter took for me and Wayne - they were fun to do. Great memories and keepsakes. I thank God for my teacher Mr. Wayne Shiels. :-) And for what He has done in Wayne's life and through his life and the impact he has had on so many students and adults. Thank you Wayne, my friend in Christ, I love you. May God bless you richly.