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Art in Missions

Monday, May 10th, 2010

When I was about 5 years old and in kindergarten I showed my teacher a drawing I had just made of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. At first I was a bit frightened by her response because she made this long-winded and loud gasping noise like I had created something blasphemous. She then told me how good she thought it was. I was relieved. It was a bit like this growing up.

I’ve always loved to draw, paint and create things and it came pretty naturally for me. I continued to develop drawing skills throughout my childhood and teen years. It’s quite sad to admit, but probably 50% of the time I spent learning to draw was during math, science and English classes. I had this idea that I was going to be an animator or a children’s book illustrator someday and figured I didn’t need to worry about subjects that weren’t relevant to my future.

In 2006, I got connected with a ministry called Create International. The goal of this ministry is to communicate Jesus to unreached people groups around the world using audio/visual tools. It’s a sobering truth that the west is continuing to re-evangelize itself while spending very little effort in comparison on places still needing to hear the Gospel for the very first time! This had always been a concern and burden on my heart since I left high school and I was so excited to hear of a ministry with a passion to reach the unreached using media.

Create International was primarily producing videos when I joined, but they were slowly integrating visual arts into their ministry as another way to communicate. It’s been a privilege to work in an office with some really talented and committed people. Since joining, I’ve been able to make comic books, posters and viral videos all with an evangelistic message for various language groups found in the 10/40 window.

It’s been a huge learning curve for me as I’ve taken on these various projects- and not necessarily knowing how to tackle them. The process starts with a long-term missionary who expresses a desire to have evangelistic tools custom-made to assist them in their ministry in a particular nation. In one situation, we decided to make a short comic book about the prodigal son for young people in an unreached area. I went back to this story told in Luke and prayed about how to make this story contextual for a teenager living there. I researched their city, their style of dress, how they relate to one another culturally, etc. Then I came up with the characters and sketched them out, inked them, scanned them and then coloured them in Photoshop. Next, I added the word bubbles and then the English text. Finally, we sent the files back to our contacts and they had them retyped in the local language and professionally printed out. And now this simple comic which illustrates the Father’s love, is being distributed all over that country by the thousands, inviting them into a relationship with the Father through Jesus.

Every project I have had the privilege of working on has been unique in style and format because each one is tailor-made to speak to a different cultural audience. I’ve done projects in Photoshop, or hand painted with water colours.  And right now I’m working on something that is combining hand painting, Photoshop and video. The projects are always different, but I guess one thing I’m continuing to learn and grow in is being sensitive to hearing God during the process and allowing Him to give me input and direction as I research and create things.

It’s awesome to think how God knew what He was doing in my life while I was growing up. He was the one that gave me artistic ability and a desire to be a part of bringing His Kingdom to earth. As I’ve awkwardly followed His leading, he’s brought me to a place where I can be creative in the context of missions. It’s amazing and humbling to look back and see without a doubt that God actually took time to think about me and who I am, and find a place that I can do what I love for His Glory.


NM – Create International


 

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This entry was posted on Monday, May 10th, 2010 at 1:42 am and is filed under Arts & Entertainment, Testimonies, WORLD MISSION. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

 

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