“It was the first time I realized that painting could capture the Word of God, speak into people’s lives and give me the opportunity to share my faith.”

Janice T. (Alliance & Short-term team member)

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Every day all around the globe, artists on mission are creating, cultivating, and contributing in their communities. As they seek to see their art used in the work the Lord is doing, we want to share their stories to encourage and inspire.
This blog is a place to read those stories, giving you a glimpse into how the Lord is using the arts around the world.

In normal times, the Lichthaus Cultural Cafe in Halle, Germany is filled with cafe visitors, concerts, and workshops. However, in these COVID-influenced days, things have become a bit more complicated. When contact with others is supposed to be limited and the cafe isn’t allowed to run as usual, it’s hardly possible to fulfill the Lichthaus’s core purpose-- bringing people into community. In response to this, the Lichthaus team came up with a new idea to connect people in December: setting up an Advent calendar in the windows of the cafe.

I rekindled my passion for painting in 2016 when I switched from working full-time to part-time. A friend connected me with her art teacher, and, for practical reasons, I learned acrylic painting. Inspiration for my first painting was from the cover of a Christian book, sitting on the side-table next to my bed. It caught my attention, and “Psalm 23” became my first attempt. Learning by imitating is a good start for beginners. I began using Google to find images I could imitate. Very soon, painting Bible ideas became my focus. Eventually, I was thrilled to participate in the Singapore Bible Society’s Annual Art Competition for two years in a row, painting pieces on Hope and Promises in the Bible and People in Need in the Bible.

In a small country in Europe nestled between France and Germany, a stirring is taking place to see the healing of a fractured and divided church. With three distinct languages and a diversity of culture, Belgium has long been divided into the French-speaking Wallonia, Dutch-speaking Flanders, and the German-speaking East Cantons. Clashes over politics, government, and federal funding have kept these areas apart. A ministry partner working with OM Belgium, Matt Swanton, says, “You cross from one side to the other and it feels like entering a different country.” 

 COVID-19 has been difficult for so many for a variety of reasons. One of these is the cancellation of events that many people have looked forward to and feel the loss of keenly. Read below about how one of our ministry partners is bringing joy into peoples’ lives by expressing the hope of the gospel through a traditional artistic practice.

How are you feeling during these unusual times?

Restricted and constrained. That is how I was feeling when the COVID-19 measures were first introduced in Austria. During the prayer time of a YouTube service from my church in Vienna, I told the Lord this. Suddenly, I realised that He understands what I’m feeling! He willingly restricted Himself far more for us when He became a human and even let Himself be nailed to a cross – all out of love for us, to save our lives.

This piece is called “Hope in a Darkened World.” I made it while I was confined to my fifteen square meter room in Pisa, Italy during the lockdown. The longer the lockdown in Italy lasted and the more COVID-19 measures were taken, the more I felt anxiety and fear was growing globally. As a result, there was also a growing spirit of mistrust and doubt.