MLK Jr. Day Camp 2019

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Each year we enthusiastically look forward to our Martin Luther King Jr. workshop. We are thankful to parents who value what we do and to the kids who invest their time in order to learn about this very important man and his work. Many thanks also to our supporters who directly impacted our ministry by sponsoring a few of the campers who otherwise would not be able to attend.

It is our esteem effort, particularly with this camp, to create an atmosphere of diversity among our group and purposefully teach team building activities to foster community. In order to get the kid's thinking about what it takes to get diverse groups together with the same goal, one of the games we played was a marble run game. It was interesting to see the different personalities, challenges, and problem solving skills that arose. It was our hope to encourage them to work together but also to imagine the difficulties that come with creating, joining, and working toward a common goal. They learned that Rosa Parks was a spark that got the ball rolling in the Civil Rights Movement, but it took effort from many people to actually unified action to accomplish real change. 

A highlight of the day came when we sat together and tried to learn a knot using para cord in order to create a key chain. Together, adults and kids, we helped each other, teaching and re-teaching one another to create this pattern of knots. It was an awesome blessing to hear the kids, some of whom just met that day, helping one another. This simple act of friendship was a beautiful picture of tying knots of togetherness and peace amongst those in our community.  We had volunteers help to fuse different cords together for the kids to make a finished product. While it was time consuming, the kids showed so much patience and determination to get this done. And so we continued this way working on projects together, collaborating with one another, making way for one another. Although the kids didn't leave the camp with many accomplished projects to take home, I know they left knowing they are a key member in God's movement to love, fusing kindness and respect to our fellow man. 

I led them with cords of human kindness,
    with ties of love.
To them I was like one who lifts
    a little child to the cheek,
    and I bent down to feed them. Hosea 11:4

- Nancy Rodriguez

Arts Ministry Director

GOYA's First Show & Contest

Gallery Of Young Artists Debut - Opening music by Jeremiah

Gallery Of Young Artists Debut - Opening music by Jeremiah

What a great turn out for GOYA’s debut! Parents where really appreciative and the young artists who participated had fun. Family and friends gathered to support. Sponsors were happy to give back. And we loved giving this opportunity for the young talented students. We are so grateful for those who supported and those who made it out to the event.

14 very creative kids

14 very creative kids

First Place Winner posing

First Place Winner posing

Our 14 GOYA Self-Portrait 2018 participants

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These 14 young artists participated in our Creative Giving campaign.

Whenever you purchase any of our GOYA art boxes another box is given to a child in need. We encourage creative giving. Buy an GOYA art box today!

Summer Review 2018

A Rodriguez Family Review

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This year we had an opportunity to visit Ecuador as a family. Our trip had a double purpose since we were able to visit Nancy’s extended family. The other reason for a visit was to explore what ministry opportunities there are available in Quito and the surrounding areas. We hoped to find some really good connections not only for ArtServe but also for our church, Cumberland Community Church. Our hopes were not disappointed as we connected with ministries and missionaries living there full time.

We were able to knit ourselves with the missionaries and the people, even for just a short while, and fully embrace our surroundings.

We visited with ministry teams, directors, and missionaries while gathering information to present to our missions ministry of our church. We mainly stayed in a small rural town, named Calacali. Not coincidentally, our lodging was a short walk from Nancy’s family. It was a retreat cabin run by a Christian couple from South Africa. We had such a wonderful time with them as well and it was such a comfort to Nancy, knowing that this couple lives near and frequently prays for the people that live in that area.

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We also spent some time in Otavalo, an indigenous artisan town. The native culture, crafts, and artistry is so strong and beautiful there. The highlight of our trip was toward the end when we went to Ibarra to visit missionary friends who are starting a small church. They invited us to do an art workshop in their community event. It was such a blessing to be able to share an art project that helped point people to the Gospel. The aim was for kids but since the mothers stayed to watch, we also included them.

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The Holy Spirit really touched the hearts of the mothers as they created a design on a metal cross while hearing the words, “You are his workmanship.”

As they covered that design with black paint, they agreed that we have a problem that covers up our original beauty, sin. When they received a paper towel and began wiping the black paint off their metal design they saw that the design could be seen more clearly. They understood, as they wiped of the black paint, that…

Jesus came to forgive our sin, that He alone can heal and make things beautiful again. There were tears and grateful hearts, open to the Gospel as we and several others began to pray with the mothers, while their children excitedly made more crosses.

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In the end, I think we came back changed..our hearts enlarged, our own children seeing the value of cross cultural ministry.  We are truly thankful for these opportunities made possible by supporters and summer art camps. Perhaps this will lead to future ministry and teams visiting Ecuador. We shall see!

~ Freedom and Nancy Rodriguez

Art Serve International in Puerto Rico

They call him “The Natural Man.” And by “They” I don’t mean many people. Only those who live just outside the trenches of the mountains in the center of Puerto Rico. And they’re even fewer who know him by name — Guillermo. He’s 75 years old and lives without a safe roof since the passage of Hurricane Maria. He received electricity only 10 months after Hurricane Maria. The hurricane damaged most of his few belongings and killed half of his chickens. The rain still seeps into the structure in which he lives. Guillermo explained that he needs construction materials to be able to strengthen it and build a roof. Guillermo does not receive retirement or social security, only $64 per month of nutritional assistance.

So where do we fit into the life of Guillermo?

Well, aside from being an inspiration for surviving the fierce passing of a hurricane at the age of 75, he’s isolated. And when someone is isolated, even by choice, they still need love. It’s a human essential. And we want to love him by visiting him where he is. We also want to inspire others to find those who are least reached and noticed. The marginalized. The ostracized. The forgotten. The isolated. The recluses. The least of these. They all need friends. At the very least, a caring person to visit regularly and just be there. To talk. To listen. To lift. To hold. To grab the other end of something heavy and help move.

This is where we fit in. Artist Freedom Rodriguez has painted a portrait of The Natural Man, Guillermo. To inspire hope. To illustrate the beauty and importance of people who live on the fringes of society and the need to hem them in with love and awareness — to let them and others know they are not forgotten.

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Another desire is to thank Guillermo with his own printed portrait. On our next visit, we will bring one as a gift of gratitude. The original will be donated to The Priester Foundation and featured at their 2018 Gala, to raise funds for Guillermo.

And as always, if your support us, you helped make this happen. So with grateful hearts we give thanks to God for you.

Here is a video of Guillermo and the conditions he lives in. http://www.elnuevodia.com/videos/donguillermorelatacomoelhuracanmarialosorprendioysellevosutecho-video-248652

2018 Summer Camps

This years summer camps went so well. There are many wonderful moments but two beautiful things in particular are kids from different backgrounds and cultures coming together to play, collaborate, and having fun. The second thing is the moment they experience the connection of what they are making with the makings of God. Our two camps where designed to bring about these two experiences.

The LEGO City Camp taught about the need for integration, collaboration, sharing of responsibilities, and other things that make great cities and great people. We are building block and every building or thing that is built to last needs a strong foundation.

The Art Around the World Camp taught about the different artistic styles and expressions around the world. But on a deeper level we shared how people all over the world are seeking way to tell a story—the story of their people and what they believe and how they see they world. It's important to observe, listen, learn from these stories and expressions of art because these are all point of making the connection of our one human story and God's plan for all of us.

Thank you to all the supportive families. Your campers are so creative and we serve a God who makes them that way! And a big thank you to Cumberland Community Church for partnering with us in ministry.

Martin Luther King Day Camp 2018

Every year on this special day we celebrate our freedom and remember those who live and even die for it. We use collaborative art projects to navigate through topics like equality, togetherness through diversity, and the desire to make the world a better place. We are also intentionally inclusive with this camp. This year, with the support of our Partners, we gave scholarships to 5 kids and were able to have a very diverse group of kids. This camp is a keeper! Remember us next year if you'd like to join us!

Thank you to all the parents and Partners who support us.

2017 Year in Review

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. 

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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. 

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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.

  

Painting Pumpkins

We had such a great time with you painting pumpkins. I must say, you never know what's going to interest our guests and, this time around, it was the fake glitter! 

For some of you, it was your first time doing a creative session with us. We hope to have more of these in the future. You can follow us on Facebook or Instagram to get announcements on future events. Links are below.

ArtServe Intl. has been a huge blessing to us and those we serve. All donations from our camps and creative sessions go towards supporting missions to share God's good news with people through art making. To date, we've done creative sessions in Kenya, Uganda, and Nicaragua. We would like to expand our reach locally in schools that lack resources for art, as well as South America. You can support this mission by saying a little prayer for us every now and then, donating monthly or on a one-time basis, or even hosting an art party in your home.

Thanks again for your involvement. We look forward to many more fun times in the future together.

ARTSERVE Intl. Become a financial partner

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Creatively Responding to Crisis

“Rohingya Mother and Child” by Nancy Rodriguez

“Rohingya Mother and Child” by Nancy Rodriguez

I was asked once if art can change the world? I replied, “no, but people can, and art can help us in the process.” For so long art and design has been used as an instrument for change and communication. Imagery and symbols provoke thoughts and emotions, in other words, reactions that can help bring social change. 

So much of what is happening in our world is wrong and saddening. For this reason, we want to be relevant, current, and responsible with our gifts and talents and our very lives. One of the most recent tragedies moving our heart is the outbreak of violence in Myanmar that has spurred a massive refugee crisis, forcing more than 500,000 terrified Rohingya refugees to flee to Bangladesh. What hurts our heart the most about this crisis is the children, as young as 4, getting separated and lost in the exodus.

These events are critical and needing the response of caring people worldwide. As artists who bear the name of Christ, we are compelled to use visual language to be influencers for God’s Kingdom of grace and love by bringing awareness of this current tragedy. Please join us in praying for the Rohingya who have lost their homes. 

This image painted by Nancy is a reminder for you to pray for the hurting, displaced, and those fleeing religious persecution. For more information and how you can provide practical help, visit: help.rescue.org/donate/choose-humanity#

(Puerto Rico is also heavily in our hearts and we encourage prayers and assistance for them too. If you would like to support us in bringing Gods truth, beauty, and goodness in creative ways please donate HERE.)

...let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. ~ 1 John 3:18

Start of a good Summer

Kingdom Camp

Our June 2017 Kingdom Camp was an absolute blast!  Kids, 9-14 yrs old, learned the process of creating stories, characters, and even a little animation. Everyone received their own blank book in which to begin their story making and illustrating skills. Some of the kids wrote their story complete with a hero, a villain, a sidekick, and an overcoming trial. They analyzed characters from different books and movies, however the most epic true story we looked to for inspiration was that of Jesus, our loving Hero who will do anything to rescue his bride, the Church.


Exploring South America

Thanks to the generous support of Cumberland Community Church and the proceeds from after school programs and summer camps, we were able to take a long awaited exploratory trip to Ecuador and Peru. It was a sweet time of connecting with family members, the culture, and the land (with a little stomach trouble here and there). We were able to visit local churches and ministries to better understand spiritual climates and ministry needs. Freedom met with pastors from La Fuente church in Quito and City Church in Lima and also visited an all girls home that houses children who have been in abusive and at-risk situations. It is our hope to continue sowing into these ministry connections and we are praying for long-term partnerships. Later this summer, Nancy and Joshua will be heading to Nicaragua with a team to bless a ministry called Rayo de Sol. Please pray for us as we seek the Lord en Español!


Open Studio 1st & 3rd Saturdays

Parents, do you have a budding artist? A curious tinkerer? A kid with creative sparks and no outlet? Starting in August consider bringing your son or daughter to Cumberland Community Church on the 1st & 3rd Saturday of each month for Open Studio art sessions, from 4:30pm - 6pm. Mr. Freedom is an amazing illustrator and he will be teaching kids ages 10 - 14. This is open to all skill levels and is especially great for kids who are interested in learning to draw comic book or anime characters. There will be plenty of experience with a variety of media, styles, and art techniques. There is always a chance for some out of the box projects as well (ex. leather working, spray painting, woodworking, sculpting, and more). If you are a recurring monthly supporter of our ministry at $30/month you can join us for our Open Studio time at no extra cost. Otherwise, it's $40/month. Here's the link to support: https://actintl.givingfuel.com/asi-support


And last but not least, ArtServe has joined forces with Artists in Christian Testimony International (A.C.T. Intl). A.C.T. Intl exists to mobilize and equip artistic and innovative ministries and missionaries (like us) for Christian work around the world. This is very big news because they will help with the coaching, accountability, organization, non-profit status, and administrative systems that we'll need to move forward in ministry. All future financial support for ArtServe can be given through A.C.T. Intl.