From the Field

Life frames: The wise men

World Vision staff in Mongolia stand with Bactrian camels.

Written and photographed by World Vision photographer Jon Warren

Nikon D750 camera

10.5mm lens, 1/60th at f/7.1, 320 ISO

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I love Matthew’s account of the wise men — the Magi — who traveled far, facing peril and making sacrifices, all to bring precious gifts to the newborn King Jesus.

When I saw the majestic Bactrian camels in Mongolia, I knew I had to try to recreate that scene. We were in the Bayankhongor area, on the edge of the Gobi Desert, so I turned to the best possible helpers — World Vision staff, who seem to know everyone in their community.

They introduced me to a local man who had a large herd of camels and who was happy to help us. He warned me, though, that the camels weren’t tame, making it difficult to separate three of them from all the others.

Finally, with the help of camel herders, we lined up three unruly camels next to a ger, or yurt, and hung some battery-operated Christmas lights around the door.

And then their patience with me paid off. The setting sun filled big clouds on the horizon with brilliant color. I switched to a 180-degree fisheye lens to gather it all in.

Some gifts are material, like the animals and gers in the World Vision Gift Catalog. Others are time and hospitality, like the camel herders’ gift to me. But ultimately, every good and perfect gift is from God, and every gift given in love is an act of worship.

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