Back in the day, when I was completely awkward, Jeff Smyth was my youth pastor. Like most kids in youth group, I have so many great memories from that time. Over the years, life took Jeff to different places and it was only recently when I started working for Youth Unlimited GTA that I was able to reconnect with him and his family. Jeff and his wife, Heather, do amazing work in the Scarborough Area with youth and youth pastors. I've seen it in action. A few months ago I had the pleasure of attending one of the DOXA events (visit this website for more info about DOXA) and was so so inspired. Probably about a hundred youth gathered together from different churches in a park doing service projects, enjoying a BBQ, sharing testimonies and singing worship. It's truly an amazing thing to witness multiple churches coming together - something that should definitely happen more often.
That night I got to know Jeff, Heather and Nathan and left incredibly encouraged! This is a family who have been through the ringer together and have come out on top. Heather has been through multiple bouts of cancer. I'm sure those families who have had loved ones go through this would attest that it is something you go through together. The Smyth family wear their courage and joy on their sleeves, despite being through this tough journey. It's so evident that their faith in God has allowed them to be closer as a family - which is why this photo shoot was extra special!
Heather's 5 year post bone-marrow transplant anniversary and upcoming birthday were the circumstances for this shoot, which will give some context to some of the pictures! I only hope these photos can inspire you as much as they inspired me!
P.s. Who needs the Distillery District in Toronto when you have Liberty Village? If you're looking for a cozy spot in the downtown area with old buildings and beautiful scenery - I would highly recommend this place. Hefty permit not included, either!