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.
“Does God really love me?” I think it is a question we have all asked at one time or another, and one that is particularly relevant in the midst of the current times. I have recently found myself frustrated and anxious, as I cognitively understand that God loves me but have struggled to believe it in my heart.
While recently discussing my frustration with my husband, he asked a question. “How do you know God loves you?” Slightly tongue-tied, I rattled off something about Scripture, the Gospel, and salvation. There was a moment of silence. He said, “Right, that’s good…how do you know God loves you today?” This time, I was speechless. “What do you mean?” He explained, “Well, today, what has God done to show you He loves you?” I started listing off all the possible things I could think of, and, wouldn’t you know it, they were all the “ordinary” things about the day that I had taken for granted. Tears sprang to my eyes as I thought about the Lord’s love in this new light.
Earlier this year, the newly combined OM Arts and Heart Sounds International (HSI) team announced that we were now “Inspiro Arts Alliance.” This change has been reflected on our website, in our literature, and anywhere and everywhere the names OM Arts or HSI once existed. However, you might have one simple question: What on earth does “Inspiro” mean? It is an excellent question, and one for which we thought it was high time we provided a broader answer.
Linda Wells has been a long-time member of the Inspiro staff. A professionally trained dancer, she came to know the Lord and was later called to serve Him through the dance. Over the years, she has taken countless dancers on outreach trips, helping them to see their gift as given by God and meant to honor Him. She has served as a deep encouragement to many through her vivacious and unashamed faith and determination to follow the Lord wherever He leads, regardless of how crazy it might seem. This month, Linda is transitioning to be an Ally of Inspiro Arts so she can devote more time to the ministry the Lord has given her at Compass Dance Academy in Tyrone.
We are absolutely thrilled by the recent release of our 20th Anniversary edition of VIVID Magazine. This edition looks back at the twenty years of history since the founding of Heart Sounds International (HSI) and OM Arts (now collectively known as Inspiro Arts Alliance) in celebration of all the Lord has done through arts ministry. It also looks forward in anticipation of all the Lord has in store for Inspiro Arts Alliance. To receive your copy of VIVID, please visit our giving page.
Occasionally, when we tell others we do arts ministry, we get raised eyebrows. Often, the questions boil down to, “Why art?” One of our favorite answers to that within Inspiro is: “Because the Gospel is beautiful.”
In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:18
For many around the world, this is the week of the Thanksgiving holiday, during which there is an increased focus on thankfulness. As I considered what I wanted to say in this article, I found myself hitting a bit of a wall. “Yes, Lord,” I thought, “But what about saying something about how hard things are this year? Is there a way I could creatively talk about thanksgiving that might make people feel better? What about those of us who just aren’t feeling that thankful this year?” I started considering Scripture passages about thankfulness, and I was struck by this commonly known (but no less beautiful) verse in 1 Thessalonians. And then a bit of tough love hit me. The verse does not say, “In everything give thanks….but, when there has been almost a year of COVID, division, anxiety, depression, and other things, then you don’t have to be as thankful. Also, if you don’t feel thankful, you can skip it altogether.” No, it simply says “in everything give thanks” (emphasis mine). It even goes on to say that this is God’s will for us! However you slice it, there is no easy way of getting around this verse – we are meant to give thanks to the Lord regardless of what our circumstances may be.
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn
- “O Holy Night,” Adolphe Adam
This refrain from the popular Christmas carol “O Holy Night” has been on my heart recently. As I have considered Advent, the season of preparing one’s heart for Christmas, in light of this year’s events, it seems the world needs this season more then ever. With the ever-present reality of COVID-19, increasing political tensions, extended periods of isolation, a rise in focus on racial reconciliation, and rescheduled and cancelled plans, 2020 has seemed bleak, indeed. And yet, here in the very thick of the anxiety and heartache is the season of Advent, reminding us of the beautiful reality of the birth of Christ.
This month, we are so excited to officially welcome Maria Kausalainen as our new Director of People! We were able to catch up with Maria recently to ask her a few questions about her new role. Read below to find out more about Maria!
It seemed I found a million and one reasons to be frustrated today. The nurse at the doctor’s office spoke with contempt on the phone, I almost got backed into in the parking lot, there were too many people at the store, that lady didn’t return my smile. . . the list goes on and on and on. As I milled around the grocery store with the hundreds of other men and women (all in masks) who were doing their last-minute Christmas shopping, I was full of an attitude of disdain, frustrated over how many of them seemed to be ‘in my way.’ As a sense of the rottenness of my attitude began to wash over me, I considered what might change if I began to view my fellow shoppers as on the same team as I – all of us shopping together rather than me versus them. Then, a quiet, inaudible voice said, ‘They weren’t in My way.’