“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)

BLOG

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.

Some time ago, I attended a retreat with our Inspiro Arts team. We spent four days, working through different activities, exercises, spending free times and meals together — the kinds of things you would expect for a team-building retreat. One of the activities involved spending an extended time in individual prayer and listening, using our different artistic gifts to respond to whatever we sensed God bringing to our attention.

 

"You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness"

Psalm 30:11

Have you ever found yourself in a place of deep sadness, wondering when the storm will relent and the sun shine through? These seasons are marked by intense waiting, praying, and trusting but also by profound growth as we draw closer to the Lord. In this unpredictable and bleak time, many of you may find yourself in similar contemplative seasons of growth. It is with great joy that we can press into Jesus, the One who gives us reason to dance and promises to walk with us in our sorrow.

In the following video, artist Linda Wells, director of Compass Dance Academy and on staff at Inspiro Arts Alliance, shares her story of how the Lord used the artform of dance to bring healing and deepen her walk with Him. Check out Linda's story by clicking on the link below: 

Dancing into Freedom: An Interview with Linda Wells

2001 Mon 909

To Mon people with a Buddhist worldview, local Mon churches in Myanmar are culturally foreign in nearly every aspect (heavily westernised). Therefore, the Gospel is viewed as ‘a foreign religion,’ and evangelical Christians are small in number as is church growth. Our host recognized that redeeming local arts expressions for God’s Kingdom would resonate with the heart of the people and largely eliminate or minimise existing barriers to the Gospel. For the local Church, this is a very radical concept. Many discounted traditional sounding biblically-based music as being ‘Buddhist’ without listening long enough to hear the lyrics!

In this internet age, we have noticed that people also want to
see these songs, not just listen to them
.” -Mour host

In January 2020, a small team went to Myanmar for twelve days to film footage to make music videos for eight Christian Mon songs – using traditional instruments and musical styles.  Since 2012, this represented the fourth trip to this area to produce contextualized music and media for the Mon people.  As in previous installments, collaboration with local artists was critical for success.  While these artists were Buddhist, they seized the opportunity to uphold and celebrate their culture’s art forms, as did we. Dance would largely be the center piece for these music videos - beautiful, graceful, subtle, elegant and highly expressive.

2001 Mon 282      2001 Mon 591

While the immediate goal was to film dancers, musicians, singers and footage for the songs, God also infused this pursuit with many other wonderful outcomes. The dancers (from the same village) invited us to visit their village, which was a great honor. We spent the better part of a day meeting their families and neighbours, eating, hearing their stories and learning about their interests, culture, hopes and dreams. This was a very special time that built bridges of trust and friendship that local workers will follow up on.

This production required the team to be in an almost constant state of planning and adapting. The team also filmed a documentary about how the whole project has come together and why.  A lot of ‘behind the scenes’ footage was filmed along with interviews. We clearly experienced God’s presence and work beyond the focus of the video production. As these music videos are shared, our expectation is that God’s Spirit will open the hearts of the Mon people to see and understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ is for them.

Written and Photos by Dileep Ratnaike, East Asia Arts Catalyst

 

Taught silence, learning not to express herself, then this lady met Jesus. Now she was wondering- through what art might she speak about him, where expression may be so restricted?

-

Artists, pastors and worship leaders from seven ethnic groups in South Asia came together to learn more about praising God and sharing truth with art from their culture. They read scripture and created, from songs to dances, dances to drama

to painting

to textiles....

During the workshop, this lady wrote and sang her first recitation of scripture; and, she re-imagined mehndi, a beloved art allowed for women: a way to share the gospel without getting them in trouble.

Here is a picture of her women’s group’s hands the very next week - covered in Bible stories....

For more about this workshop by OM arts, read https://heartsoundsinternational.tumblr.com/post/185436943446/the-tree-of-lifeand-worship

‘Who is He?’ 

'Who is He' is a series of two-plate etchings by Olga Coronovschi.

Dance and theology… they don't sound like they go together, do they? After all, dance is mysterious, open to interpretation and engages our emotions; theology is analytical, focused on having the right interpretation of scripture and engages our mind. But what, at first glance, seem to be two very different subjects are actually deeply entwined: developing and deepening each other and giving us a perfect way to love our Lord.