Thursday, February 24, 2011

Today was our final day in Cite Soleil painting. It has been a stretch of mural painting, and I have to be honest and say I am ready to paint a 16x20 INCH painting :).

But you know that really really tired feeling when you have worked so hard and accomplished something really really good too? That is how I feel. And its not just about the painting. Its mostly about being where we were with the people we were with and knowing God's appointed time was now and was fulfilled to be with them. Today we probably had a 5 minute photo shoot with all our workers, wanting to take pictures with us alone and together. It was hilarious. They are ridiculous.

The hardest thing anytime we leave is people asking for things. Everyone's plea is a form of desperation, the circumstances different yet somehow the same too. The reality is we can't help everyone, and we have to tell them so.

The reality too is people seeing you and loving you for what you have. Many use God, knowing we love him, to try and get things from us, claiming they are praying for us, that they love the Lord, etc.

So that is all to say, leaving is bitter sweet. But mostly sweet. 'Cause can I blame them? I have no idea what it is like to be stuck. Where there REALLY is not opportunity. We are opportunity, a way to progress. I would love me for what I have too.

Today as our car drove away, I could not help but smile inside and out as I watched out the back window a slew of small children run after our vehicle. And that smile held a bit of sadness too knowing all the suffering we leave behind and all the things we can't do for those we really love.

Can't wait 'till we are back, Cite Soleil... See you in July.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Today, my favorite part was at the end. I finished painting, and I was like, “Where is a baby?” Holding a Haitian child is my therapy. I found this little guy who I just love, and he is basically a twelve year old in a five year old body. His attitude is ridiculous and hilarious. I rocked him in my lap, joking with him that he was a little baby. He loved it. I loved it more.

My sister too today found a little one to love. That little girl rested on her shoulder for 2 hours today. Copy and paste this to see:!/photo.php?fbid=10150432221590473&set=a.10150426278795473.639228.601600472&theater. Reminds me that I would not be doing what I am doing where I am doing it without my sister.

Years ago, my sister, not sure what to do with her life post college, had the opportunity to teach here in Haiti. Haiti found her. And she listened and obeyed the whisper of God to go. At the end of her time teaching here, I went.

And here we are, and here we will be together for a long long time if the Lord continues to will. Today, we had the opportunity to dream out loud with the local leader we are connected to and are invested in.

It seems God is aligning our hearts, marrying them. His heart is for the street kids. Leah’s and mine is as well. Things got written down today, doodled in fact. It seems a home for street kids is on the Lord’s agenda… ☺

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Today Adoo added some more of his magic to the first mural. I had originally made the sky day, and he turned it to night with stars… I LOVE IT. Honestly, I am getting bored with my murals… I mean, I am bored with my style. And that is a sure sign, God is going to swing it another way and do something jazzy fresh…

And these past couple days, I have just thought how much more dynamic art is when there is collaboration, like I have been doing with Adoo. Whether in song, word, painting, or anything with creative energy.

So, that is all to say, what is exciting me most is not my own work but Adoo’s jazzy jazz he is adding. And it is fresh. I am pretty sure he was my favorite part of the day again today, his smile and his painting.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Day 4:

There is something about being on the streets in Cite Soleil, PAP that has brought me back to life. It is life in the raw. I know that is selfish b/c it is really not about me… And people are suffering all around. However, this trip has affirmed more than ever that I don’t think I am an American inside. Don’t get me wrong, I love nice things, I love comfort, I love clean. Yet, there is something within my mind that is free here, something that is unobtainable for me in the States.

We were sitting with a guy at dinner who is here on the regular working for an NGO, and he made a comment like this: “I would rather be disillusioned here doing what I do than disillusioned in America…” I love that. Reality is, five steps forward, 10 steps back in the fight for the developing world, and frankly, for The Kingdom of God.

In this fight, disillusionment crept up on me the past months. This feeling of, “I am tired of the fight. It takes too much.” However, even in that feeling, I knew I would not leave the fight. To not fight, to go home every night and sit on the couch numbing my mind with TV in my comfort, I know is not an option.

Today, I was watching this graffiti artist go to work on one of our murals. Who knew these murals would become collaborative creations? LOVE IT. Such a blessing. And, I just was filled with hope for this young man as he wrote out this verse from John on the mural…

Giving up the fight is not an option.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Day 3:

There was a sweetest moment today. Sunday afternoon, we were painting on the street with our guys with Haitian Jesus music loudly playing in the background, and there was such peace. Like, “Ah, there is no place I would rather be.”

Here are some other moments and reasons why there is no other place I would rather be:

1)Honestly, it felt more like Jesus being on the streets painting with these guys than being inside the church walls this morning. I believe that God is doing something in this generation with and through art that is drawing people to Himself.

2)Robinson, the local leader we are working under, got on the loud speaker in Cite Soleil explaining the mural we painted, and how there is hope for the Haitian people of Cite Soleil through Christ.

3)Rounding up the guys at the end of the day, holding hands on the side of the street and praying together. Just beautiful.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Day 2:

Our first wall is on one of the main streets of Cite Soleil, on a segment on a wall surrounding Aristide’s water tower.

We have 5 guys painting for us, plus a bodyguard. Lets just say our bodyguard is not the stature you would select for a role such as that, however he and the other guys watch me and Leah like hawks, so I have complete confidence.

Such a great day, highlighted by me falling with the ladder collapsing under me. That has honestly never happened before. Talk about God watching out. Landed on my painting arm, however with a little coaxing, she is doing ok ☺.

My favorite part of the day was meeting a local graffiti artist, age 24, who has tatted up Cite Soleil all over. Graffiti, an art form I love and respect, although often used for destruction in Cite Soleil, is going to be redeemed in these murals because I am having him do some of the writing and fonts for the verses the local leader wants written on the murals. SOOOO excited for that. Today, felt a surge of energy and excitement to hopefully empower local artists like this young man to do what I do and therefore empower their own people.

It is funny b/c I am pretty culturally aware of the Haitian people and their lifestyle, however, it is obvious they see through their Haitian eyes when I am painting. They interpret things differently as a different culture. For example, I was painting a Haitian man’s face today to represent the people of Haiti, however most did not understand that. Even the idea of symbolism is foreign to them. They thought it was Aristide. So, that is all to say, I can try my best as a white, 30 year old, American gal to paint a picture they will understand completely, however, it is their own people who will do that best.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Day 1:

Lets just say the eight 4’x8’ murals grew. And lets just say that 4’x8’ is about 1/8 of the largest wall we will be painting. LOVE IT!!

So, we will officially be painting 5 walls scattered throughout Cite Soleil. Two right on the wall circling Aristide’s water tower at the center of Cite Soleil. We could paint murals until Jesus comes back around that tower!

Such a great day with lots of guys and a token girl painting with us, all around ages 18-20 and all hungry to work. I poured the primer, and they went at it. There were so many moments that I thought, this is what I am meant to do. And it has nothing to do the paint. That feeling had everything to do with watching our Haitian brothers and sisters come alive through work, to laugh with them while putting our hands to the same goal.

I felt a surge of energy and refreshing I really needed today through work with those guys. Just more and more of a sense of destiny for Redemption Art to be a source of work for those who have no hope in that area and just want to DO something with their lives.

Not too long ago, Redemption Art intentionally set itself up to be a “business as mission,” basically meaning that it is set up to empower people through work. 10% of every sale goes towards a business as mission account to pay people like those in Cite Soleil this week. Granted, it is a project to project system right now, however hopefully, more sustainability will come in the future through frequency of projects. Being in Cite Soleil so far has reminded me more and more, that is the true purpose of Redemption Art because that is where the true redemption is.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Picture above: Part of mural in Cite Soleil we did in 2009, means "life" in Creole.

So tomorrow we begin painting in Cite Soleil. Our dear friend and who we consider a brother stopped by to see us at the hostel today after we arrived in PAP, Haiti. We were just catching up a bit, and he was explaining why he wants these murals painted.

He described and area where at one time 19 men were killed at one time, and where now we will be painting. He said, "To turn a place of dark into a place of light." He described how he wants people to come to Christ through this art.

And when he shared that, I was like, "God, really? You picked me to be a part of this?" Wow. That somehow my art could do this?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

This is a picture actually from Maai Mahiu, Kenya from this past summer with CTC International. One night, we were coming home from a nice dinner in Nairobi, and we got to see the town in its darkest form. There seemed to me an eeriness and an evil lingering behind all the trucks lined up along the highway, behind the bar and unlabeled doors. With that feeling, I had such a desire to get out of the car. To be in the midst of the darkest dark. As if I could DO anything. Maybe hoping somehow Jesus' light would shine in the midst just being in the midst of it. Anyway, I show this picture b/c it is a reminder to me of what God has called me to. Me and my sister to. The darkest places. Granted, that sounds as if there is darkness in levels. Evil is evil. Although it comes in different disguises and forms.

I was reading yesterday, and the author posed this question: "...what was it that stirred your heart over the years? Go and get it back." And I didn't know the answer when I read that question. You see, my heart has felt pretty dead lately. Like, where did my heart go? I think the work has sucked out my heart lately. Yet, I look at this picture, and I know the answer. My heart is in the midst of the darkness b/c that is where its Jesus shines.

So, tomorrow, we (my sister and I) head to Cite Soleil, Port au Prince, Haiti. To a place much like this picture. And my heart feels stirred again. I am going to get it back.