I’m taking a deep breath and revealing to you people something that I truly believe God is calling me to do. Caleb so eloquently put it the other night: “When God slaps you in the face, you better stand up and pay attention.”
A few months ago I attended this heart-wrenching conference about human trafficking. I was put in contact with a lady who runs a community center in downtown Oklahoma City with the hopes of doing some sort of art camp or painting party with the kids that live in that particular area.
Here’s why this is so important: Kids want to create. Kids want to be paid attention to. When kids make a beautiful painting or score a winning goal, they can take pride in something they’ve done; when they are proud of something they’ve done, their self-esteem goes up. When their self-esteem goes up, they’re less likely to turn to drugs and whatnot. All the problems of the world solved? Not hardly. But maybe it will help a few of these poor little guys get through a rough patch.
Also? This gives me and others a chance to make friends with kids who maybe don’t have a lot of good role models around.
While this art camp hasn’t taken place yet, I’ve been praying and brainstorming of ways to come up with the money for the art supplies for such a party: paint, brushes, and canvasses don’t come cheap, especially when you need enough for roughly 60 people.
God is working, though, and ideas are churning out faster than I can write them down. And I got to thinking, what other groups can benefit from doing art? Um, EVERYONE THAT WAS EVER BORN. Who doesn’t love art? Who doesn’t just love it? Painting, drawing, collage, sculpture; poetry, story-telling, theater, and song–there’s something for everyone. It’s fun. It’s therapeutic. It brings beauty and joy to the world.
(Personally, I am currently intrigued with graffiti. But just so we all know, if it pops up in my town tonight, I didn’t do it. Because I would never deface public property. Honest. I wouldn’t. I’d think about it, I may even dream about it, but I would never actually do it. At least not anytime soon, because I’m not proficient at spray painting.)
This idea struck me out of the blue in the shower: start an organization that raises money for groups, like the community center, to have these art camps/painting parties (or just to buy them some art supplies to have on hand). This could apply to areas outside Oklahoma City, but also to children in other countries, as part of mission trips. What better way to develop relationships and talk about Jesus than by the pouring out of our hearts and souls on canvas?
Fund-raising ideas are just as awesome: art-related “events” that encourage and uplift, such as side-walk chalk festivals and art parties, would provide communities with um, BEAUTIFUL WORKS OF ART AND CULTURE. It would also encourage families to spend time together and yada yada artistic expression, fellowship, overall FUN FOR EVERYBODY, not just the people that we’re aiming at helping.
Does anyone get what I’m saying?
Here’s what I need: Hardcore major prayer. Pray. For. This. Pray for these children, who live in areas known for trafficking. To imagine a child’s future–growing up in such a mean, scary environment, perhaps without loving parents, perhaps without art, and perhaps without even Jesus–should motivate us all, wherever we live, to reach out to them in genuine love.
Pray that God will enable me to handle these obstacles: paperwork and phone calls, and technical stuff, and details, and everything that doesn’t directly involve painting and playing with kids. I admit to being overwhelmed and afraid. To the folks that know me, this might come as a shock: I am scared of people and large crowds and I’m terrified of big pictures, and of being in charge of groups larger than 3 and kids older than…well, 3. Already my heart is pounding and my throat is closing up. Tears literally come to my eyes. I freeze. Really, actually, freeze.
Other things I need: Think about volunteering at any one of the fundraising events, or at one of the art camps. Pray about going on a mission trip, which may or may not be a long way off.
I will update again soon with more details. Help me spread the word by sharing this post and by liking my artist page on facebook. Soon there will be an organization page to follow as well!
Thanks for all your support!