Saturday, January 2, 2010

MY AFRICA

6x9 oil on canvas sold

My commissions come from many different sources, but I have to say receiving a commission from your daughter’s long time friend is a first for me. My daughter is 19, soon to be 20, and I've known her friend, Laynie since she was a little gap-toothed 5th grader. Laynie commissioned me to paint something from her mother's mission trips to Africa.

Cyndi received her painting on Christmas Eve and very kindly shared her journal entry about where the original photo was taken for this painting. As I read her journal entry, I was in tears thinking of my own family, how very different our lives and circumstances are and it’s only by the grace of God, I live in the United States and not someplace else.

Through Cyndi’s church in Dallas, Watermark Church, she and a group of lawyers go to Africa annually on a mission trip in the fall. Among many things, their mission is to assist Congolese lawyers, visit prisons, and spread God's word. The following is an excerpt from Cyndi’s journal upon visiting The Women's Sexual Violence Treatment Center:

"We stopped in front of a small house with a sign in front and picked our way carefully down the rocky slope to the front door. There were people to meet us at the door, and a happy group of women who clapped and sang their welcome to us after we had found a seat in the tiny gathering room. It was hard for me to wrap my brain around the reality of their circumstances. They were counselors to the women who had been violated, but my gut tells me that they too had been brutalized as well. Shara opened the suitcase full of bears and blankets and explained why we had brought them, and they were so appreciative - again they sang and clapped their thanks. Then Rick stood up to speak for us all and explain why it was important to us to be there with them, that we wanted to remind them that God had not forgotten them, that the world had not forgotten them. Then he pointed to a box of Healing the Wounds of Trauma books, to which again we heard the clapping song of gratitude. And then he leaned over and opened an ordinary looking cardboard box packed with Swahili translations of the Bible. And the women literally leaped for joy, they squealed with excitement, they were exultant, and their gratitude was uncontainable. I began to cry and did not stop crying for a long while. We prayed together and one of the women prayed for us. She sang the prayer, and the women joined in the refrain. I joined hands with a woman with a beautiful infant swaddled to her back. Our eyes never met. One squeeze as we said "Amen". I never heard the translation for this but I knew for certain this to be true, GOD was in that place. He was filling their hearts, our hearts, with His Spirit, and the conviction that His word is true, that there is power in His work and that He is able to accomplish His will with those who seek Him and trust in His word.

I was humbled and convicted. They knew what I often forget or take for granted, that the LORD God has revealed Himself in His work, and His greatest desire for us is to seek hard after Him, whether it is at the kitchen table in the suburbs, or the desolation of a place like Goma."

I know this was a long post, thank you for visiting and commenting. Thank you Laynie and Cyndi!

10 comments:

Art with Liz said...

A beautiful portrait Angela - a poignant reminder to the rest of the world of my Africa! Ngena uxolo.

Edward Burton said...

What a sweet portrait, Angela, and so beautifully painted.

Sheila said...

What an awesome story. How wonderful for this daughter to chose a unique gift for her mother. Something that will be a beautiful reminder of doing God's work in Africa.

Stunning painting Angela...bravo.

AutumnLeaves said...

Angela, this is a truly gorgeous painting - made more so by the original blogger's heartfelt words. What a fabulous mission experience she had! I know Cindy's mom will treasure this beautiful gift.

Ann Rogers said...

An absolutely stunning painting with an equally moving story behind that precious face. A good reminder to all of us in this country of the richness that we have in our everyday lives. Thank you for sharing your lovely African portrait and the story as well.

Dana Cooper Fine Art said...

I am blown away by this image Angela! The sensitivity and innocence is lovingly portrayed...bravo!

dominique eichi said...

Oh so beautiful in spirit and in work........ God is good.

Gwen Bell said...

Exquisite! Love the crop on this and your beautiful brushwork. The child's skin tones absolutely glow. Great eyes! Thank you for the inspiring story as well.

Deborah Ross said...

This is just beautiful, Angela. Just beautiful. You painted a lot of meaning in those little eyes. Thank you for the story.

Ruth said...

All the above are perfect descriptions of this piece. Grabs at the heart. With such a delightfully beautiful child, you must have enjoyed every stroke you put on this. The colors are soft, but cause vibrations at the same time as they surround. So glad you added the story. Thanks. The poignancy emanates from the story and thru this little girl's dark, bright eyes and beautifully shaped mouth that you've rendered so tenderly. Thanks again for sharing all.