Becoming Chris Kamalski

"There's a Writer outside ourselves, plotting a better story for us" ~Don Miller

Tag: Pure Hope

12 Significant Photographs.

Our 2011 year-end report at long last!

Download ’12 Significant Photographs,’ our 2011 year-end report here.

“Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop” (Ansel Adams). Of all people to suggest such a modest creative output, Ansel Adams’ assertion that there are but a few significant photographs in our lives each year is a metaphor that extends way beyond the crafting of images. 12 Significant Photographs employ captured images from 2011 in the hopes of telling in brief the story of God at work this past year. Grab a cup of Rooibos + enter in!

The Breathtaking Empty Space of an Open Door.

Beautiful Instagram by Maike McNeill of welovepictures fame!

Read the latest [60* Stories] update, “The Breathtaking Empty Space of an Open Door,” here as well.

[The Breathtaking Empty Space of an Open Door]

“Lord, help me now to unclutter my life, to organize myself in the direction of simplicity. Lord, teach me to listen to my heart; teach me to welcome change, instead of fearing it. Lord, I give you these stirrings inside me. I give you my discontent. I give you my restlessness. I give you my doubt. I give you my despair. I give you all the longings I hold inside. Help me to listen to those signs of change, of growth; help me to listen seriously and follow where they lead thorugh the breathtaking empty space of an open door” (A Prayer for Major Life Transition in Common Prayer).

As it became increasingly clear in early January that Vancouver was a closed door for us due to timing with visas and role issues, we embraced the reality that this unexpected turn in our next steps brought. A close friend encouraged us to “love the curveballs” thrown our way, returning to God in dependence, drawing near to each other as (relative) newlyweds, and uncluttering our life to create fresh space for desire, calling, and the “things we can’t not do” to emerge out of a return to our core vision and sense of self. In this chaotic process, we increasingly found peace in the reality that as we listened to God and our own longings, the city and Kingdom work currently underway in Cape Town kept rising to the surface.

A world-class, creative, multi-cultural, urban city nestled in the bowl between Table Mountain and the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean, Cape Town had long been on our personal radar as a possible destination to raise our family within South Africa at some point in the future. A key realization as we sat with our longings was the fact that many of our key relational networks and partners had existing or fresh work taking place within Cape Town, and that South Africa is where we currently have influence and favor. A deepening desire for fresh, collaborative work to emerge between churches, non-profit organizations, all leaning towards the empowerment and holisitic formation of South Africans throughout the Western Cape and beyond have only grown upon our return to South Africa these past few weeks.

Simply stated, we are deeply excited about the relational, vocational, and collaborative possibilities that reside within Cape Town, and feel a growing sense of calling towards the city, to the point where we must follow Abram’s lead and “go to the land where God will show us” (Gen 12:1). A few partnerships we are listening alongside:

  • Bridges of Hope, a key global partner alongside ROCKHarbor church that includes an academy for orphaned and vulnerable children as well as holistic community development within multiple townships in the Cape Flats
  • Key local leaders including Chris Jones, a professor at the Stellenbosch University who is highly connected to justice initiatives throughout the Western Cape, especially in the area of rehabilitative work among juvenile prisoners, as well as other local leaders who run foundations connected to community development in the city
  • The possibility of adjunct teaching within the University of Cape Town or other schools for Chris, as well as looking into sociology programs for Maxie to study within
  • Local church partnerships in the area of spiritual formation, retreat, and liturgical year rhythms similar to our work with 3rd Place these past few years (Invia is run by friends of friends)
  • The possibility of birthing a fresh missional community/organization within NieuCommunities or alongside one of these partners within the city that combines our shared passion for holistic spiritual, emotional, physical, and community development and the empowering of local leaders to live out their calling in the stories they invite South Africans into

We aren’t quite sure of the ‘what or how’ as of this writing, but invite you to listen, pray alongside, and speak into our discernment process as we literally hit the road today towards Cape Town. We’ll be meeting with local friends and contacts within Cape Town for the next two weeks, literally walking the streets in an attempt to move towards the land God will show us. NieuCommunities has graciously extended our transition within Church Resource Ministries through the end of March to allow this emerging sense of place and calling to firm before we make a final decision as to our next steps. Maxie and I will then return to Pretoria via Jeffrey’s Bay in an attempt to allow the breathtaking space of an empty door to emerge. We anticipate making a final decision toward the end of March, and will be in communication shortly after that!

[A Financial Update as We Discern]

As you can imagine, our longer than anticipated transition has not enabled us to fundraise the loss of Maxie’s salary after she released her work as the Director of Pure Hope in November, anticipating our possible move to Vancouver. Currently, we are still employed by NieuCommunities/CRM through the end of March, and will communicate our next steps towards the end of that month. If you feel led to partner within us in this transition, a transitional gift would be deeply appreciated and felt. Please support our work here or by contacting Chris privately.

God Is At Work In Kenya!

Enjoying a little Java House break (minus Annerika's smile) 🙂

God is at work, BIG TIME, here in Nairobi, Kenya. Maxie and I have been working with almost 40 Kenyans this entire week, facilitating the Life Compass process for them. Today was so fun, challenging, and profound, as we opened up a conversation on vision, calling, and the stories we are to tell with the sum of our lives…we fielded a ton of questions that initiated a super helpful conversation on the divergence and commonality of mission and vision, purpose and calling. Our new friends at Missions For Hope are amazing, and filled to the brim with passion to see fresh work break out into the Kingdom of God!

We cannot wait to tell you the stories that are emerging from this growing story we are carrying…

If you missed our introduction to Life Compass, watch here 

Our newest *60 Second Field Stories is here 

Gesit By Die Huis.

Prison makes sense if one has nothing to do.

Sitting with our friends in Enthomjeni Youth Prison this morning working through our Life Compass curriculum with them, Maxie was beginning to explain how each of the guys should take a personality assessment (Extrovert/Introvert stuff..) that a local educational psychologist would score this week in preparation for her visit with us to explain how personality affects choice and life direction this coming week. The personality assessment has a space where you list your current occupation (Favorite past response to this question: “Robbery.”). We were joking with the guys this morning that none of them were allowed to write in ‘prisoner’ or ‘house break-in,’ which they all found hilarious, and if an effort to not discourage they guys, Maxie wisely suggested that they write down what they used to do prior to being in prison.

One of the kindest, most interesting guys in the course this time is a young man named Wayne Poe. Wayne mentioned that he loves to swim, which Maxie and I both found super interesting, as a lot of South Africans from more impoverished backgrounds haven’t had the privilege to learn how to swim before, and have somewhat of an innate fear of water. When we were leaving prison this morning, Maxie pulled out Wayne’s paper and simultaneously smiled and sighed with the weight of his answer as to his previous occupation:

“Gesit By Die Huis” (Translated from Afrikaans, this means “Sitting Around The House).

We laughed at the irony of this response, while shaking our heads at how ensnaring poverty truly is. We both found ourselves wondering, If Wayne was given enough opportunity to pursue swimming instead of sitting around the house, would his lack of boredom have prevented him from a life of crime?

[Our most recent ‘Field Stories’ update ‘Refusing to Perish,’ about our work with fellow inmates like Wayne, can be downloaded here]

[Our latest ’60* Second Field Stories’ email can be read here]

Washington D.C. Time-Lapse (Project 365, Day 213).

Aperture: f/5     Focal Length: 39 mm     ISO: 160     Shutter Speed: 10′


Refusing To Perish.

Enthomjeni Youth Prison, where the mantra is "A Place of New Beginnings." Sounds just about right!

Download {REFUSING TO PERISH}, our latest [Field Stories] update here.

(Hi-Res version here). (Low-Res version here).


‘Without vision, people perish.’ This provocative phrase found in Proverbs 29:18 (KJV) anchors our work in facilitating the Life Compass course with inmates in Enthomjeni, a rehabilitative prison for juveniles in Pretoria. A growing partnership between NieuCommunities South Africa and Pure Hope (the NGO that my wife Maxie directs through a local church in Pretoria) has led to 16 inmates refusing to perish in the past 9 months, fresh hope building in their hearts as we speak life into them, seeking to tell a fresh story with their future. The Life Compass process is a holistic developmental tool that seeks to provoke a directional vision and a vocational call in one’s life that propels a person forward into who they are created to be. We have been given the privilege of shepherding this process here in Pretoria, and are ecstatic about how God is developing our hearts for this work. The [Field Stories] above paint a brief picture of the stories God has begun to tell with these inmates’ lives. We hope you are inspired with their visions, penned by their own hands…

My Wife, A Hero.

Really proud of my wife @maxiekamalski! Sharing with Moreleta Park Church inviting them into a life of engagement with Africa's realities...

Decor (Project 365, Day 184).

Aperture: f/3.5     Focal Length: 18 mm     ISO: 1600     Shutter Speed: 1/8 second

#Chraxie Celebration Presents ‘The 25’

An epic photo from an unforgettable celebration. #Chraxie forever! (copyright we love pictures)

Download #Chraxie Celebration Presents ‘The 25’ here. (May take awhile to load as images are hi-res).

Download #Chraxie Celebration Presents ‘The 25’ (Small) here. (Faster, smaller version).

We can’t wait to show you a little piece of creative beauty that we put together entitled ‘The 25’ to celebrate the most amazing #Chraxie Celebration that went down this past month. We hope that whether you participated in our special wedding day, or are simply clicking through via Facebook, you know that we consider you a valuable member of our community. We can’t wait to continue the party this coming November in California!

We love you, Chraxie 

A little sneak peak of our wedding courtesy of we love picturesSneak Peak!

Shack Delivery (Project 365, Day 173).

Aperture: f/4     Focal Length: 20 mm     ISO: 100     Shutter Speed: 1/320 second


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