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Art and Haiti

Mondays are technically my day off from work at the church. So, I thought I would use this morning to give a couple personal updates that both involve art and mission.

  1. I got to spend the day with artist and pastor Paul Oman on Friday.
  2. I and my daughter, Leah, will leave for Haiti on Friday morning. My job is to paint a mural at the school.

Meeting Paul Oman

Special thanks goes out to my friend, Pastor Kevin Doely from Faith Lutheran in Coon Rapids. He invited me to drive out to Stillwater on Friday to spend the day with Paul Oman. Paul is an ordained pastor in the ELCA, a phenomenal artist (watercolor, oils, acrylics), and has a passion to use art to draw people into the Word of God (pun intended). Hmmm…I wonder why Kevin thought I might have something in common with him.

We spent the day dwelling in the word and sharing our stories with each other. It is amazing how many parallels Paul’s story has with mine. In many ways we are radically different. He’s a farm boy and I’m a suburban kid. But, our passion for art and for the Word is in lock step. I was so inspired by meeting him. Paul is a humble man who oozes a genuine passion for God and art. I can’t wait to get to know him more and track his career more closely.

He makes his living, for the past five years, by traveling around and creating live art for groups of people who want to encounter the Word of God in a fresh and exciting way. Check out his website www.paulomanfineart.com to see if he might be painting in a location near you. Or, just go there to see his amazing artwork.

Left to right: me, Kevin Doely, Paul Oman

Left to right: me, Kevin Doely, Paul Oman

Going to Haiti

There is a ministry team at our church called Grace2Haiti. It was born out of a Sunday Evenings @ Grace session of SHAPE when Greg and Lori Ackerson felt a calling to do more with their lives. God led them to connect with an organization called World Wide Village that works with people in Haiti. Grace2Haiti has been taking people from our church to Haiti for the past five years.

Greg called me up last year and invited me to go with the group this year. It is a family trip, so when my youngest daughter, Leah, found out I was going, she wanted to come, too. I’m so proud of her. She earned all the money on her own!

During the first team meeting several months ago, we brainstormed on the kind of things we could do with the school and the village while we were there. I felt compelled to suggest that I might bring my gear down and draw caricatures of the school children. I was a little sheepish to make the suggestion, but as soon as I did, everyone who had been there before said that the kids would love it! One thing led to another and the next thing I know, not only am I going to draw caricatures, but I am also going to paint a mural on the school wall!

I am so excited to go down there, not as “Pastor Steve,” but as artist dude Steve, my alter ego. Greg took pictures of the wall for me, and I have done some preliminary sketches.

My plan is to paint several panels along this 50′ wall that walk through the life of Jesus. This will be a nice teaching tool for the pastor, so they tell me.

the wall is 8' tall by 50' wide

the wall is 8′ tall by 50′ wide

I intend to blog about the experience, of course. I will blog here with the category Haiti. I also encourage you to visit the team’s site at Grace2Haiti where many of the team will blog during the week.

Here are some of the kids we will get to meet. This is a photo from Chrissy Petersen during her last trip there.

Here are some of the kids we will get to meet. This is a photo from Chrissy Petersen during her last trip there.

Please keep us in your prayers and feel free to follow along and comment as we journey together. I hope to post progress reports on the mural as we go.

Peace.

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