The reel deal:

Our annual showcase of overseas mission

One gap year of a lifetime. Seven Action Teams serving God overseas. Ten photos from a reel of 350. The judges have decided.

Welcome to the Action Team photo competition. It’s our annual showcase of the most stunning snapshots capturing God’s creation and BMS World Mission work across the world. Every year a group of incredible young people aged 18 to 23 dedicate a year to overseas mission through the BMS gap year, Action Teams. This year’s Action Teams spent six months in countries across the world, from Peru to India, their experiences captured in the striking photos below.

The judges spent many hours deliberating before settling on the top ten. Check out the seven runners up below, and stay tuned as we announce the winners next week. New perspectives, moving stories and artistic talent were amongst the judges’ criteria. We hope that their amazing selection will leave you reeling…

Guinea pigs in the kitchen

An orange and red guinea pig hutch with pots and pans next to it
Taken by Marika, Team Peru

The judges loved the dark grey contrast next to bright oranges, yellows and reds. The shot is an artistic take on Peruvian cooking.


This picture is a beautiful example of ‘crown shyness’. It’s where the crowns of fully-grown trees don’t touch each other and leave channel-like gaps in the canopy. Jonny from Team France, took this in a neighbouring forest in Gif-sur-Yvette.

“We were in France over autumn, and saw the seasons changing. It reflected how God was changing us and working in us,” says Taf, Jonny’s teammate.

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Trees in the sky

Trees taken from an upward angle going into the sky.
Taken by Jonny, Team France

In the park

A man tending to a bush in a park in India, next to a tree and a bench.
Taken by Cody, Team Delhi

The light filters through the leaves so beautifully in this photo, and the man tending to the bush shows a loving care for God’s creation. Cody, who took the photo, said: “He was working so hard and in the midday sun. We could learn a lot from him.”

Be still and know he is God

Branches floating in a lake with mountains in the background
Taken by Hermione* and Sarah*, Team Kosovo

“We were wowed by the beauty of the lake and the bizarre way we ended up there,” Niamh*, a Team Kosovo member, says. She explains that, if the team hadn’t got lost on their way to the lake, they would have never seen it in such a beautiful light, and the sense of peace when they arrived wouldn’t have been so strong.

Taken in an area of the world that has seen so much unrest, the photo is a metaphorical moment of calm in the storm. The team chose to name their photo accordingly: ‘Be still and know he is God’.

Peek a moo

Close-up of a cow's face with a wall and bridge in the background
Taken by Cody, Team Delhi

What a shot! This is a funny photo which was an udder success with the judges! They also liked how the lines of the bridge and wall frame the cow’s friendly face.

It’s Paris, but not as we know it. Just before this picture was taken, Team France were challenged by witnessing the end of a Yellow Vests protest, in which a car was set on fire. Aptly, this photo presents a new perspective of Paris.

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The Eiffel Tower

Underside of the Eiffel Tower
Taken by Jonny, Team France

Children in the church with no roof

Three children with different expressions sitting down in front of a grey wall
Taken by Bethan, Team Peru

This really is a moment in time. Each child’s expression is characterful and unique as they wait for a Bible study to begin in Ica, Peru in a church with no roof. The photo means a lot to the team as they learnt much from the church’s resilience and resourcefulness.

That’s it, folks. Congratulations to our runners up! We’ll see you again next week when we announce the winners!

Do you want to see these beautiful photos in print? Sign up to our next issue of Engage! As well as featuring the Action Team photo competition, you’ll discover how you’re saving children from a lifetime of begging, supporting survivors of the Sri Lanka bombings and giving life to the full to children with Down Syndrome in Uganda.

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Action Teams is a Christian gap year run by BMS. The teams spend six months in countries from Peru to Nepal, topped-off with a two-month tour of UK churches sharing all they’ve learnt. Know a potential Action Teamer? Click the banner above to find out more or to apply. The deadline for 2020 Applications is at the end of January.

*Team Kosovo’s names changed

Words by Melanie Webb

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Posted on: June 20 2019

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