the beautiful faces

The first thing I noticed when we landed in South Sudan was all of the beautiful, interesting faces of the people. I guess that’s just the photographer in me. Many of them are truly striking.

But it’s more than just the aesthetics. My experience so far photographing the South Sudanese is that they wear it all on their faces. The sorrow, pain, hope and even the joy. We in America seem to have on masks that can hide the deepest parts of our souls. I see this all too often as a photographer.

Experiencing this raw, honest humanity has been moving. To visually witness the joy exuding from these believers’ faces is overwhelming and contagious. Their love for Christ and how He has set them free is evident. And reflecting on this yesterday, I was led to Psalm 27.

Verse 8 says, “You have said, ‘seek my face.’ My heart says to you, ‘your face, Lord, do I seek.’ Hide not your face from me. Turn not your servant away in anger, O you who have been my help. Cast me not off; forsake me not, O God of my salvation!”

I feel as though I have seen God’s face in his people here. I have also seen His work being done through Seed Effect, which tells me that the Lord will not hide His face from us, or His people here in Africa.

What a blessing it has been for me to see this, and to capture all the beautiful faces of Kajo Keji and Nimule, South Sudan.

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margaret dradu, anzo-aa

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all images © andrew r. slaton | photographer 2013