Reassembling the Collage

image1-1I came home from Guatemala feeling a lot different than when I left. Maybe it’s because I only got an hour and a half’s worth of sleep the night before I boarded the airplane home, but I think “emotional wreck” might be an understatement for describing my internal condition. I stayed up all night and into the early morning trying to hold onto the very last bit of time I could spend at Oasis with my new friends and passion for I AM ART Camp. But in the end, I knew I needed to return to go to classes, write papers, and take final exams.

Now that I am home, everyone keeps asking how my trip was and I want to be able to tell them everything, but words just don’t seem to be enough to explain it. I LOVED my time in Guatemala. The country, the culture, my team, and those girls were all enough to break my heart apart into a million pieces and reassemble it like the collages I helped the girls make in a workshop. Together we learned about the process of layering different pieces of papers and materials (ourselves and each other) to create a beautiful masterpiece, even if we didn’t know what it would look like in the end.

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(A completed canvas from one of the girls in the collage workshop)

I knew I would be sad coming home; I wanted my final collage to look like Guatemala and I AM ART Camp, not school and work. I didn’t want to leave when I was having such a great time and connecting with both my team and God in ways that I haven’t connected in a while. But what I didn’t expect was a different kind of emotion that I couldn’t even name on my own, a layer I hadn’t really planned on putting in my collage.

I asked my friend Tina who had gone on this trip last year about how she felt coming home and she finally gave me the word I was looking for – resentment. I’m not trying to say that I didn’t experience incredibly positive emotions. Everything you’ve ever heard about mission trips is true: they energize you in an unexplainable way. They supply you with extraordinary amounts of joy and love and connection. I feel all those things on a level I didn’t even know was possible. But I also feel resentment. I am bitter about coming home to all the obligations and necessary work when I feel so called to the mission of Athentikos and I AM ART Camp. Then once I recognized the resentment, I started to get mad at myself. I began asking myself, “Why didn’t I do all this work before I left? Why am I letting everything get under my skin? Why can’t I just enjoy all the positive feelings I felt before I came home?”

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(Gluing previously torn up pieces of art onto the painted canvas)

So as I wrote this blog and tried to answer those questions, I remembered a message we were told about Jesus’s presentation of bread in the Bible. First, it was chosen. Second, it was blessed. Third, it was broken. Then, finally, it was given away to be shared with others.  I was chosen when I felt God calling me to ask about working with Athentikos, and chosen once more when Amelia encouraged me to join one of the I AM ART trips. I was chosen to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Then I was blessed through my experiences in Guatemala. I’m blessed to have met all the wonderful people on my team and to have been able to open up my heart wide enough to fit over 100 girls and their stories inside. I’m blessed to be able to come home and tell my stories to everyone I meet. Yet as much as I keep trying to resist the brokenness, I know that I have to go through that too. It’s not a forever brokenness. I wrote in my Wreck This Journal this week, “Broken isn’t forever”, and I still believe that to be true. It’s hard to be grateful for being broken, but the girls at camp showed me just what it means to be part of the step where you’re given away to be shared with others. It doesn’t make missing my team or the girls any easier, but I think I might be able to love a little more and forgive a little easier. They set an example for me in their faith in God and love for one another.

As I mentioned, the night before I came home was rough. But that night (or early morning if we’re going to get specific), Amelia took my hands in her own and said a prayer for me so that I might come home and be filled with joy and spirit and not overcome by depression and pain. She didn’t pray that I wouldn’t experience hurt or brokenness; I think we both knew it was going to be difficult no matter what. But she knew that I would be changed in the best kind of way if I could let my heart be open to it… if I could give my broken pieces back to God and trust Him to create His masterpiece. So now, I am trying to figure out what that looks like exactly, and because of this trip, I have the courage and faith to grow and discover what I am called to do. I think that’s worth being a little bit broken.

God is our refuge and our strength. Our safe help in times of distress. Psalms 46:1

(Artwork from one of the girls in the collage workshop)

Philanthropy vs Charity

The pictures used in this post are from our Casa Bernabe team’s camp. 

October 28th, 2016

Driving in a van from the airport in Guatemala City to Antigua yesterday, meeting our team members, taking in the scenery and dipping in and out of different conversations happening in the van, my mind drifted for a bit and fixated on the word Philanthropy. 

buildingFirst let me give a little back story of why. Christopheraaron and I are the only “mission trip” virgins on our trip, (well maybe one or two other fellows but I don’t know everyone’s backstory yet).  Anyway, most of these ladies have shed their Americanized way of living, thinking and being to uproot/shift the lives of their families and friends to live some full time indefinitely or some part time traveling back and forth.  Many times when I hear the term philanthropist I think of the most recent celebrity to receive this award or accolade, but really those acts of the worlds wealthiest, as gracious as they may be, should really be called charity. This description below is taken from Webster’s dictionary of the word: Philanthropy.Philanthropy has distinguishing features from charity; not all charity is philanthropy, or vice versa, though there is a recognized degree of overlap in practice. A difference commonly cited is that charity aims to relieve the pain of a particular social problem, whereas philanthropy attempts to address the root cause of the problem—the difference between the proverbial gift of a fish to a hungry person, versus teaching them how to fish.

So in my reflection a true philanthropist is really a teacher right? When you think of your favorite teacher, what are some components you think of? When I think of what makes a good teacher, I think of Relationship, and the only way to build relationship is to invest time.  So to those that have altered their lives in anyway, shape or form to be the hands and feet of Jesus, my heart overflows with awe, gratitude and appreciation.

Matthew 4:19-20 “Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” They immediately left their nets and followed Him.

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Connecting with Kathlyn

kathlynWe are excited to officially announce that Kathlyn Beyer is our full-time In-Country Coordinator for I AM ART  in Guatemala. Kathlyn lives full-time in Guatemala with her family and has participated in the I AM ART camps for the last two years. She wears many hats as part of our operations team including logistics for hotels, transportation, meeting with artists in Guatemala, organizing materials, scheduling our translators, and she’s a fabulous photographer! Kathlyn also enjoys drawing, painting and music. She’s a great fit for our team with her organizational skills, love of kids, the arts, Spanish skills, and heart for God! Here’s a little more about Kathlyn:
What brought you to Guatemala?
Some family friends began a long journey of adoptions and mission ending in a move and new ministry planting here in Guatemala.  Before they made the move, they brought down short-term teams of which I was a team member.  I loved Guatemala.  When I returned home I agreed with my sister, who had previously visited Guatemala on a Short-term, that our family should take a trip to Guatemala together; that wish became a reality in 2011.  Our friends had moved down 2 months before our visit and had a great vision of ministry growth.  They asked my parents to join them in their efforts.  To which my parents responded, “we will pray for someone to fill the need.”  1 year later they felt God was asking them to consider being the answer to their prayers.  And so, the visits and church sharing, tears and prayers began.  We made the move in May of 2013.  I was 20.  Yes, I could have stayed back “home” in the states.  But, as you will soon discover, how could I?
What did you think about moving when your parents first started talking and praying about it?
I was thrilled. I had already left my heart in Guatemala, so I was anxious to be reunited with it.  God had provided a way and I was more than excited to be able to make such a move with the people closest to me, my family.
What is your favorite thing about living in Guatemala?
The color, the people, diversity in landscape from region to region. The colors are vibrant and give life to the concrete dwellings.  They also tell stories of the history and culture, wrapping the people in a rainbow of patterns. Family is important. The people are welcoming, lively, and always celebrating something or someone.  The countryside spreads from the ocean to the Caribbean.  With 22  volcanoes, many mountains and lots of farmland, Guatemala is an exciting and incredibly photogenic country to live in.
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There are so many epic places to visit in Guatemala, what is your favorite place to visit?
I unfortunately haven’t been to many of the touristic destinations.  That is something I would like to improve on.  I love to go to the beach.  I find it relaxing, but the sand is HOT.  Lake Atitlan is another great destination… so pretty, but frequented by tourists.  I like to go to beautiful places that I don’t have to share with a ton of people.
On the flip side, what do you miss the most from the US (besides friends or family)?
Outdoor adventures, peanut butter M&Ms, unlimited internet and phone use, clearance sales, car trips to see friends and family, Panera Bread Co., etc.
Why did you decide to join the Athentikos I AM ART leadership team?
Art has been a part of me since I was very young.  I remember creating things from twisty ties, painting rocks, sketching on Sundays, etc. as a pretty frequent part of my day to day life.  When I moved to Guatemala with my family I didn’t have any real direction as to what I should be doing. Naturally, when I heard of Athentikos I AM ART camps I was hooked.  I love the outlet it provided for me to use my creative/artistic abilities/hobbies in an impacting the Kingdom focused way.  The first week had such an impact on me and everyone else involved I just knew it was something I would want to continue being a part of.
What do you enjoy most about the I AM ART camp?
Watching the children experience and create during the week and connecting with them throughout the week.
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How do you see the I AM ART camp impact the kids?
I AM ART gives the kids an outlet to express themselves in ways they haven’t otherwise explored.  Throughout the week the kids slowly open up and begin to trust their leaders and share their hearts.  It’s a safe environment for healing to take place in the lives and hearts of the children.
You are a talented artist in several areas, tell us a little about your creative “hobbies.”
I grew up in a singing family.  Music happens randomly throughout the house any time of the day.  I love to join in on the music making: singing, playing violin, guitar, and piano.  I’ve been practicing photography for the past couple of years. I love documenting life, the faces of loved ones, the beauty of Guatemala, and pushing myself creatively with the camera settings.  I also love to sketch and paint.
A huge thanks to Kathlyn for telling us about herself. We can’t wait to see what the future has in store for her as part of our team. She is an incredible addition and we appreciate all of her hard work and passion!

New Definition of Beautiful

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″]Prior to joining the Athentikos team on the Fall 2014, I Am Art trip to Guatemala, I had struggled defining the purpose for this stage of my life. I had a great job working for a great company and a family that I loved dearly but something was missing. I couldn’t define what my life was supposed to look like but I knew that I wanted to do something where I could make a difference in people’s lives.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″]During the week-long art camp, my eyes were opened to something I had never seen. I saw a new definition of beautiful. I knew for the first time in my life that God was clearly telling me to step out in faith and follow Him. He had a plan for me. So, I returned home, tendered my resignation and put my affairs in order to be away for an extended period of time.[/vc_column_text][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/6″][mk_image src=”http://athentikos.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/DSC08832.jpg” image_width=”800″ image_height=”350″ crop=”true” svg=”false” lightbox=”true” frame_style=”simple” target=”_self” caption_location=”inside-image” align=”left” margin_bottom=”10″][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/6″][mk_image src=”http://athentikos.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/DSC01401.jpg” image_width=”800″ image_height=”350″ crop=”true” svg=”false” lightbox=”true” frame_style=”simple” target=”_self” caption_location=”inside-image” align=”left” margin_bottom=”10″][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/6″][mk_image src=”http://athentikos.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/DSC00048.jpg” image_width=”800″ image_height=”350″ crop=”true” svg=”false” lightbox=”true” frame_style=”simple” target=”_self” caption_location=”inside-image” align=”left” margin_bottom=”10″][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/6″][mk_image src=”http://athentikos.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/DSC01582.jpg” image_width=”800″ image_height=”350″ crop=”true” svg=”false” lightbox=”true” frame_style=”simple” target=”_self” caption_location=”inside-image” align=”left” margin_bottom=”10″][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/6″][mk_image src=”http://athentikos.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/DSC08944.jpg” image_width=”800″ image_height=”350″ crop=”true” svg=”false” lightbox=”true” frame_style=”simple” target=”_self” caption_location=”inside-image” align=”left” margin_bottom=”10″][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/6″][mk_image src=”http://athentikos.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/H4G-DSC02979.jpg” image_width=”800″ image_height=”350″ crop=”true” svg=”false” lightbox=”true” frame_style=”simple” target=”_self” caption_location=”inside-image” align=”left” margin_bottom=”10″][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″]I felt learning the language was an important first step so I made the decision to go to Antigua to study Spanish. I plan to be in Guatemala for a couple of months where I can study and find opportunities to serve with others. I do not know where God will want me long-term but I have never had so much peace about where I am and absolutely no concern over where I am headed. My goal is to be prepared for the next chapter of my life – and I have no doubt who the author will be…..[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=prxqpwqflHY”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][mk_fancy_title tag_name=”h3″ style=”false” color=”#0ba9b9″ size=”25″ font_weight=”bolder” letter_spacing=”0″ margin_top=”10″ margin_bottom=”30″ font_family=”none” align=”center” font_style=”inhert” txt_transform=”uppercase”]HELP US EMPOWER 500 AT-RISK YOUTH IN 2015[/mk_fancy_title][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][mk_custom_box border_color=”” border_width=”1″ bg_color=”#f6f6f6″ bg_image=”” bg_position=”left top” bg_repeat=”repeat” bg_stretch=”false” predefined_bg=”” padding_vertical=”30″ padding_horizental=”20″ margin_bottom=”10″ min_height=”100″ visibility=”” animation=”” el_class=””][mk_font_icons icon=”mk-icon-money” color=”#0ba9b9″ size=”xx-large” margin_horizental=”4″ margin_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”center” link=”https://Athentikos.com/give” target=”_self”][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”center” margin_bottom=”0″]

GIVE

Sponsor a child for as little as $17/month

[/vc_column_text][mk_button dimension=”two” corner_style=”pointed” size=”medium” outline_skin=”dark” outline_active_color=”#ffffff” outline_hover_color=”#333333″ bg_color=”#eb7f2c” btn_hover_bg=”#252525″ text_color=”light” icon_anim=”none” url=”https://Athentikos.com/give” target=”_self” align=”center” fullwidth=”true” button_custom_width=”0″ margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”15″]GIVE A DONATION[/mk_button][/mk_custom_box][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][mk_custom_box border_color=”” border_width=”1″ bg_color=”#f6f6f6″ bg_image=”” bg_position=”left top” bg_repeat=”repeat” bg_stretch=”false” predefined_bg=”” padding_vertical=”30″ padding_horizental=”20″ margin_bottom=”10″ min_height=”100″ visibility=”” animation=”” el_class=””][mk_font_icons icon=”mk-icon-plane” color=”#0ba9b9″ size=”xx-large” margin_horizental=”4″ margin_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”center” link=”https://Athentikos.com/give” target=”_self”][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”center” margin_bottom=”0″]

GO

Join an I Am Art Trip

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Healing Through Dance

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″]Cori taught healing through dance in I Am Art Fall 2014. She helped at-risk youth communicate their story through the art of dance, and learned to live with joy, regardless of circumstances. Please watch and share the video.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbyYyHXQmZo”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

[mk_page_section bg_color=”#0ba9b9″ attachment=”scroll” bg_position=”left top” bg_repeat=”repeat” bg_stretch=”false” enable_3d=”false” speed_factor=”4″ bg_video=”no” video_mask=”false” video_opacity=”0.6″ top_shadow=”false” section_layout=”full” min_height=”100″ full_height=”false” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”20″ margin_bottom=”0″ first_page=”false” last_page=”false” layout_structure=”full” video_source=”self” stream_host_website=”youtube” bg_gradient=”false” gr_end=”#1e73be” sidebar=”sidebar-1″ full_width=”false” intro_effect=”false”][vc_column width=”1/1″][mk_padding_divider size=”30″][mk_fancy_title tag_name=”h3″ style=”false” color=”#ffffff” size=”45″ font_weight=”bold” letter_spacing=”0″ margin_top=”10″ margin_bottom=”30″ font_family=”none” align=”center” font_style=”inhert” txt_transform=”uppercase”]HELP US EMPOWER 500 AT-RISK YOUTH IN 2015[/mk_fancy_title][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][mk_custom_box border_width=”1″ bg_color=”rgba(255,255,255,0.75)” bg_position=”left top” bg_repeat=”repeat” bg_stretch=”false” padding_vertical=”30″ padding_horizental=”20″ margin_bottom=”10″ min_height=”125″][mk_font_icons icon=”mk-icon-money” color=”#0ba9b9″ size=”xx-large” margin_horizental=”4″ margin_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”center” link=”https://Athentikos.com.give” target=”_blank” animation=”flip-x”][mk_fancy_title tag_name=”h2″ style=”false” color=”#7c7572″ size=”32″ font_weight=”900″ font_style=”inhert” txt_transform=”uppercase” letter_spacing=”0″ margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”Arial Black, Gadget, sans-serif” font_type=”safefont” align=”center”]

GIVE

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Sponsor a child for as little as $17 a month.

[/vc_column_text][mk_padding_divider size=”25″][mk_button dimension=”two” corner_style=”rounded” size=”large” outline_skin=”dark” outline_active_color=”#ffffff” outline_hover_color=”#333333″ bg_color=”#f6852e” btn_hover_bg=”#252525″ text_color=”light” icon_anim=”none” url=”https://Athentikos.com/give” target=”_blank” align=”center” fullwidth=”false” button_custom_width=”0″ margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”15″]GIVE A DONATION[/mk_button][/mk_custom_box][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][mk_custom_box border_width=”1″ bg_color=”rgba(255,255,255,0.75)” bg_position=”left top” bg_repeat=”repeat” bg_stretch=”false” padding_vertical=”30″ padding_horizental=”20″ margin_bottom=”10″ min_height=”125″][mk_font_icons icon=”mk-icon-plane” color=”#0ba9b9″ size=”xx-large” margin_horizental=”4″ margin_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”center” link=”http://athentikos.com/iamart/i-am-art-application/” target=”_blank” animation=”flip-x”][mk_fancy_title tag_name=”h2″ style=”false” color=”#7c7572″ size=”32″ font_weight=”900″ font_style=”inhert” txt_transform=”uppercase” letter_spacing=”0″ margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”Arial Black, Gadget, sans-serif” font_type=”safefont” align=”center”]

GO

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Join the team to empower at-risk youth through creative arts.

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The Color Wheel of Emotions

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It’s difficult to sum up the contrast of feelings and experiences related to I Am Art. In my workshop, we studied mixed media self-portraits.  We started the first day making color wheels called “color wheel of emotions” and talking about primary and secondary colors  as an exercise to help them practice for creating their self portraits during the week.

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RED: Red represents many things, but its essence is intensity and passion. Fire, blood, warmth, love, the heart, danger … red can symbolize of deep anger or sincere love. Red came to mind first when describing my experience in the first two days. I didn’t intentionally start with red, but I believe it came to my mind first because of the dichotomy I experience in a place and an event like this. I’m inspired by the people who serve this very hard community. I’m also deeply inspired by the artists who voluntarily and sacrificially join us to serve this week. My heart is deeply stirred and filled with HOPE. But my heart is also stirred with anger and hard questions. Why is there so much obvious hurt and poverty in one place?

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BLUE: Its essence is peace, but ironically can also represent sadness and melancholy. Perhaps a better description could be a place of stillness. It’s hard to be still like this. On the second night of I Am Art Camp, we had a great team meeting focused on worship and prayer lead by David  Lee (our music workshop leader) in which we centered on God and being still. I’m so grateful for people on our team that challenge me to be still, to engage in the moment and to listen to God’s voice. This is probably the hardest thing for me since I’m responsible for so many details of the camp. My mind is worn out, but I really want my heart to engage and heart God’s voice.

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YELLOW: Yellow is a fun and energetic color! I think this color best describes camp. The kids laugh and smile, genuinely engaged and there is great hope in their eyes. The students in my workshops loved experimenting various techniques and encouraged to one another. The counselors at camp are the teenagers who daily work with the younger kids. They have been very helpful in managing the students and assisting in the classrooms. We learned some of their stories of overcoming great obstacles and it is so inspiring to see them take on leadership responsibilities at such young ages.

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On the second day of camp and we focused on “Your World.” The kids explored and expressed their world through their projects and we also talked about their eternal home. My class created a pastel color project based on warm and cool colors representing their world. I found this cool project and it reminded of the mountains and sun of Guatemala!  The kids used various pastel techniques in their project: blending, etching and coloring. We talked about the emotions colors and lines can represent. I LOVED how these turned out! Even though they all look similar, each child created the project very differently. It is a perfect example and expression of our uniqueness in identity as art of the Great I Am!

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Hope for Guatemala

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On Sunday, November 9, 2014 we drove from Antigua to Zone 18 and found hope for Guatemala.

Driving from Antigua to Zone 18 is like driving from Brentwood to East Nashville. Antigua is a tourist town full of ancient history and beauty, while Zone 18 is a crowded slum with traffic, diesel fumes, gangs, murder.  Zone 18 is listed as one of the places NOT to go while visiting Guatemala.  We were driving in the crowded slum for a while when we turned into a driveway … to our surprise we had arrived at Hope for Guatemala.  We were told it was at a farm “una finca” near Zone 18.  We didn’t see farmland anywhere.  But, this was it.  The gate and wall were painted with a fabulous mural that reads, “the place were dreams are planted …”

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The gate opened, we drove in, and found we have come to an oasis in the middle of the city.  There were lush green trees and plants, bright orange flowers in the trees, and a view of mountains in the distance.  There were no stores, no crowded streets, nothing but the farm house, a few outbuildings, and rolling hills with tall trees as far as the eye could see. How could THIS be in the middle of THAT??

Jose, the director of Hope for Guatemala, told us the story behind this place. This finca was the largest egg farm in the country back in the 80s and early 90’s, and has been in the family for 140 years. His daughter was kidnapped and the family fled the country. The house has been abandoned since the mid 90’s.  A year and a half ago Hope for Guatemala discovered this place and God opened the door for them to move their ministry here.

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So now, kids who live with three families in a one room shack with no water or electricity can come to this beautiful oasis in the middle of the slum. They can play on awesome playground equipment and with the goats, horses and chickens. They learn to work the land and produce a crop. There is a lake to jump in and catch tilapia. None of these things would not even be possible in their “neighborhood.”

There is peace here. There is freedom here. There is safety, love, and family here. Who would have guessed we’d find a place like this in the middle of the slum. God has planted Hope for Guatemala here to provide such an oasis for this community. What a blessing!

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What Do You Want To Do?

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I remember that meeting at Panera Bread. Scott and I had been trying to connect for about a year at that point but our mutual friend Major insisted that we had to do it this time.

Scott sat across from me at that outside table, sunny day, few patrons walking in and out of the food establishment. As he explained his idea of taking a team to Guatemala to capture some stories in hopes of putting a documentary together I kept having little flashbacks of the talks I recently had with my wife. I had shared with her my desire to have a chance to use my skills in film and video for something larger than what I can see, something that would be honoring of God’s call on my life. I began to question whether this was it. Was this project Scott was explaining to me that one chance? As Scott completed his “pitch” so-to-speak, he looked at me and asked me for my thoughts. I responded with a question of my own. “What do you need me to do?”

Scott replied, “What do you want to to do?”

[/vc_column_text][mk_image src=”http://athentikos.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/10.10.13_02.jpg” image_width=”800″ image_height=”350″ crop=”true” lightbox=”false” frame_style=”simple” target=”_self” caption_location=”inside-image” align=”left” margin_bottom=”10″][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″]That was a very good question.

I think many times we set the bar too low when it comes to the vision for our lives and what we have to offer. The goals we set for ourselves pale in comparison to the vision God wants for us. Even now as I type this out I’m facing with some tough decisions to make because work as been very slow the last several months. As a freelance video producer a slow month or two is fine and expected, but not several months in a row. The dreaded term “day job” has crept back into my discussions with my wife. But all that to say, most of us have a tendency set our sights too often on the temporary and react. The question Scott posed to me years ago that sunny day at Panera Bread gave me a chance to really think beyond just the task at hand.

At the time I wasn’t convinced Scott’s proposal to join the team to go to Guatemala was really that chance I had been seeking. So much so that when my wife asked me how the meeting went, I laid out the details and after her excited response, I voiced my hesitation. She did a verbal slap over- the-head as she responded with “What? How can you not see this is the chance you had been praying for and seeking?” Even after half-heartedly accepting Scott’s proposal, going through the pre-production for the trip, making all the travel arrangements and even sitting down in my seat on the plane, ready for take off, I still wasn’t convinced that this leap of faith was the right decision. It really wasn’t until I stood on the edge of the Guatemala City cemetery that things in my heart began to shift. While overlooking the largest dump in Central America, witnessing hundreds of people scavenging for discarded materials, smelling the foul stench in the air while I was surrounded by vultures and death I finally started to answer the question Scott had posed to me several months before.[/vc_column_text][mk_image src=”http://athentikos.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/021_IMG_0123_600p.jpg” image_width=”800″ image_height=”350″ crop=”true” lightbox=”false” frame_style=”simple” target=”_self” caption_location=”inside-image” align=”left” margin_bottom=”10″][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″]

I’m a firm believer in the fact that trying to answer a call on your life, whether you’re a Christian believer or not, can be difficult without stepping outside of your surroundings. This is especially true for those of us who live in industrialized nations where our culture makes individual comfort a high priority. It takes accepting chances and opportunities that you’re not quite sure of in the moment but for some reason you know you should do.

I knew in that moment of standing in the cemetery overlooking the El Basurero (the Dump) my desire to create my own fictional stories would not stop there. It extended to doing what I can to tell the true life stories of people who live out their transformation and better the lives of people living in their communities, their country and even around the world.

I’ve also been blessed to see other creatives and other artists discover the answer to that same question and begin living it out in their every day lives. Some take leaps of faith to go after their

dream job. Others have gone on to build organizations with a mission to create community and better the lives of the people around them. It truly is a blessing. But I don’t think it would have begun without someone asking that question. I’m thankful I didn’t miss that opportunity.

So…
What do you want to do?

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The Official Fall 2014 I Am Art Team

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Introducing the Fall 2014 I Am Art Team

We’re blessed with an extremely diverse team this fall, including talent, age, and location. Our official team includes people from 6 states, with skills including theatre, dance, writing, collage, percussion, sculpture, painting, animation, quilting, scrapbooking, jewelry, spray paint, and art therapy.[/vc_column_text][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″]The Fall 2014 I Am Art US Team

Darlene Armendariz
Jenni Halterman
Julia Halterman
Cori Kiepke
David Lee
LeeAnn Love
Paul Lowder
Bobby Marko
Amelia Moore
Scott Moore
Heath Shackleford
Tammy Starr[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][mk_image src=”http://athentikos.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/I-Am-Art-Team-Square-02.jpg” image_width=”500″ image_height=”350″ crop=”false” lightbox=”false” frame_style=”simple” target=”_self” caption_location=”inside-image” align=”left” margin_bottom=”10″][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][mk_padding_divider size=”20″][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/1″][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″]Our 2014 curriculum theme “Discovering Your Story” will help at-risk youth value their personal stories, open their eyes to dream beyond their current circumstances, and empower them with problem solving skills to achieve in life. We’re thrilled to journey with Hope for Guatemala and CTM Guatemala and impact the lives of Guatemala’s future leaders![/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][mk_padding_divider size=”20″][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″]

Help our team empower at-risk youth in Guatemala.

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I Am Art 2014 Begins Team in Guatemala

i Am ART Team in Guatemala

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″]The Athentikos is in Guatemala this week with their I AM ART program for the purpose of facilitating a weeklong art camp in La Limonada. The Athentikos’ I AM ART initiative enriches the lives of at-risk children by using creative arts to show them the power of their true potential. Our vibrant collective of professional artists teaches children how to find their voice and share their story. With I AM ART, our goal is to help each child find the art within so they can change the way they view the world around them. Through the I AM ART program, Athentikos raises funds, organizes projects, develops curriculum and provides spiritual oversight for several art programs: overnight art camps, art workshops, and theatrical performances, teaching training and mentorship. For three years Athentikos have organized the annual week long Art Camp for almost 100 children with the leaders in La Limonada. We’re excited to continue our relationships in La Limonada!

During the art workshops this week, the students will learn more about their rights as children. The Rights of The Child outline basic needs and rights every child should have. We will be focusing on ten basic rights: name, nationality, protection, love, education, recreation, food, housing, medical attention and family. We will also be exploring the truth that God “has wonderfully made” each of us for a unique purpose! It is exciting to see how art can be used as a spiritual and therapy tool. Art allows students to explore their world and discover new insights about God. And all the art produced during the week will be for others. The main project will be a 9×30 foot community mural project on the outskirts of La Limonada. The mural will be a public declaration of leadership and reconciliation as the youth work together in an area that is typically segregated by gang leaderships. At the end of the week, the group will host a Celebration Ceremony to dedicate the mural to the community. During the ceremony, the participants will share about their art workshop production and their leadership commitment to make positive choices.

Our personal journey in Guatemala began with the adoption of Scott and Amelia Moore’s two beautiful boys who are now 6 and 8years old. Through the process of adoption, Scott and Amelia were introduced to the beauty and destruction of Guatemala. The Moore’s were inspired to respond. Using their creative skills of film production and photography, God lead them to create Athentikos and partner with local creatives to produce two documentary films, Reparando & Becoming Fools. From those projects Athentikos have been connected to many organizations in which they have now organized artistic projects in various communities.

These art projects are made possible through generous individual donations, church support and grants. Would you consider making a financial investment? We would be honored if you click here and supported this project through a tax-deductible donation. The funds raised will go towards materials, travel expenses and scholarships for the kids from La Limonada to attend the I AM ART related programs.

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