Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. ~Philippians 1:3
Times are undoubtedly changing, and fast. In the blink of an eye, as the saying goes, and poof! Your kids are all grown up. We know this first-hand as we are raising three kids of our own. Enjoying as many moments as possible is vital to our family. So we slow down. Breathe. Place a hand on the shoulders of the ones we love, and speak with gentle eyes, words of love, wisdom, and team-spirit.
We try to cultivate a team-spirit in moments where we are involved in projects that require collaboration and depending on one another. We've had several moments of creative collaboration this year with our camps, after-school programs, and missions initiatives. The best part of what we do is being creative with kids because of their easy, bright, strokes and colors. Many of the kids we work with are from families we know. This is great because we get to play a small part in helping kids from great families grow. We are very grateful for the partnership and encouragement of friends and families that co-labor with us.
This past summer was a particularly busy one as we visited Peru, Ecuador, and Nicaragua. We hope to continually bring our art workshops to places like this where we can engage with people cross-culturally. One of Nancy's big highlights was doing a week-long art workshop for the kids at Rayo De Sol in Nicaragua. In the morning, she led a crew in mural painting to help bring new life to a classroom.
In the afternoons she led art sessions with various mediums for different ages. It was indeed a dream come true for her. She was able to bring the gospel to light in a very tactile way, notably when the teenagers made cross designs out of metal foil. After the kids made an impression on the cross, they covered it with black. It was a clear way for the kids to see that sin darkens God's original design. But that is not the end of the story. When the kids wiped the black paint off, they saw that their designs became more visible as the black paint gathered in the grooves of their drawings in the foil.
The emphasis was that God gives us a new life through Christ, and God's original design for our lives can be more clearly seen when we are forgiven. The result is a beautiful, unique masterpiece.
In this new year, we are eagerly expecting to see God at work in and through the art that people make with us. When we had a pumpkin painting workshop in October, one of the parents who came to paint with their child said, "I look forward to making this a tradition."
In an after-school program for middle school girls, they are learning to use scripture in their art making. There are just so many ways to bring the Gospel to people through creative moments. For this reason, we are very eager to continue our art adventures. We are developing partnerships with schools and ministries, local and international, that understand the communicative power of art-making.
Some things to be excited (and pray) about:
- Upcoming Martin Luther King day workshop (our focus is on collaboration and diverse community)
- On-going after-school programs that are Gospel-centered
- Partnerships with ministries where we can provide free art sessions
- A possible trip to Puerto Rico to serve in rebuilding some homes and a church and encouraging the people.
- Possible ministry connections us in Ecuador and Nicaragua.
- Building a growing partnership with friends who will support financially or volunteer in our workshops.
We covet your prayers for next years opportunities and possibilities. For now, we wish you a very merry Christmas and a fantastic new year.