Between Today and Tomorrow

Kati joins Athentikos I AM ART

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]I’m currently fundraising as part of my Athentikos I AM ART Trip this summer, and my emotions include: frustration, hopelessness, doubt, despair, shame, anger, guilt, anxiety, panic, fear, rejection and loneliness.

This process of preparing for my journey to Guatemala has been MUCH more intense that I could have imagined. Yes, ALREADY. I find myself in an extremely humbling and uncomfortable place now: contacting people who I haven’t seen in years to ask for money, Trying to explain why on Earth would I work for free, and even PAY to do it, retaking video clips again and again only to find out it’s impossible for me to speak one minute of English language without pronunciation AND grammar mistakes.

I ask, am I really sure about this?

There was no voice, there was no assurance. But somehow, it felt logical and possible, surely inspiring and exciting. So, I jumped in. I wasn’t sure what I would be doing when I signed up, and I’m not sure of the details even now. I do know that traveling to Guatemala has been on my heart for 13 years! I also know that this journey is not about me …. And it’s not about the kids there either. It’s not about the donors, and it’s not about the man sitting next to me in the plane. It’s about all of us … together …

I was told that I will be amazed how much people will want to support me, how much I’ll feel blessed and believed in. I must say, I’ve been struck by how people actually DON’T want to give me support, or don’t think this idea is very smart at all.

But Also …

There are other people who are thrilled about this vision and want to help support my trip, including my colleagues, and people I hadn’t contacted in years. To my surprise, there are also other people who I don’t even know who wanted to help. I DON’T EVEN HAVE A CLUE WHO THESE ANGELS GIVERS ARE!

So, it is true. I AM AMAZED. This IS mind blowing. This is humbling. This is hashtag blessed hashtag seriously, with capitals. It’s not even about the money, weather or not I will be able to gain enough of financial support. It’s about what kind of a person I, we, you, are becoming in this process. It’s somehow about… Transforming pain into purpose? YUP. And I’m assuming this is only how it starts…

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][mk_button dimension=”flat” corner_style=”rounded” size=”large” url=”http://athentikos.kindful.com/i-am-art-vidas-plenas-2016/connect-campaign-kati-korosuo” target=”_blank” bg_color=”#dd3333″ btn_hover_bg=”#000000″]Help Kati Fund Her I AM ART Trip to Guatemala[/mk_button][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Prince Is Dead. Long Live Prince.

Purple

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

If you’ve logged on to social media in the last 24 hours, you’ve probably noticed the incredible response to Prince’s death. I’ve been pondering the phenomenon for the last day … it’s overwhelming .. so much outpouring of respect and sadness. I’ve asked myself over and over, why? Why are people publicly sharing their memories of listening to his music like he was a best friend? Why are skyscrapers being lit up in purple at night in his honor?

I think it’s because his art connected us as a culture. Certainly, he had the advantage of being a “mega-star” of 80’s music. But, I believe his notoriety was result of more than just marketing. Prince was an artist, and whether you liked his music or not, he connected to people through his art. But he did more than connect himself and his art to people. He connected people through his art (incidentally, that is why the marketing dollars were spent to promote his art). His art disrupted and transformed culture. In some way, his art and our response to it defined our culture. Most of us didn’t know Prince personally, but if we experienced his art, we experienced an intimate outpouring of his story. We connected to something intimate that connected us to each other. So, it is not surprising that when someone like Prince dies, we feel like we lost a close friend. That is the power of art.

So what does that mean for artists?

As a creative artist, you’re a blessing to this world and everyone who lives in it. Maybe you don’t have the platform of MTV, or stadiums full of fans. Maybe your work isn’t displayed in an international art gallery. Maybe your film will never be seen in a theater. But, I propose that we have a greater purpose as creative artists. Our purpose is to be who we are, and create, disrupt, transform, and connect culture and communities great and small. Our purpose is to invite people into intimate reflection and dialog to heal and unite. Our purpose is more powerful that we realize. We are more than artists. We are art.

How do you see art impacting culture?

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][mk_button dimension=”flat” size=”large” url=”http://Athentikos.com/iamart”]Learn more about the Athentikos “I AM ART” community and mission[/mk_button][/vc_column][/vc_row]

GO-ing for God and I AM ART!

I AM ART - Jen Galvin Blog

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]“ Go, then, to all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples: baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And I will be with you always, to the end of the age.”

My journey to Se Luz began when I took a class, a class that changed my “perspective” and my life. In the winter of 2011 I took the Perspectives class. A class that teaches you to be in a mode of looking to GO and tell ALL peoples that Jesus loves them and is there for them. This class did literally change my perspective and my life and made me go from wanting to help people locally, to really look to needing to help people for God both locally and globally.

I want to live to glorify God through my art and to take the love of God to people all over. I truly believe that we all have creativity and art inside of us and that God wants us to use this creativity to glorify Him. When I work with people and get to play and make art with children or adults, I want everyone I make art with to feel empowered and creative. I often find myself telling people, “If I handed you a basketball, you wouldn’t expect to make the shot the first time, maybe not even the fourth time.” Or, “ If I say you down at a piano, would you expect to play perfectly?” the answer is no, but we expect, somehow that art is something a person is born with the innate ability to either do or not do, and I am here to tell you that maybe some people are that way, but most of us, myself included, need to practice! Just like anything else we want to be good at, art is something that we can do that will glorify God and it can also just make our souls sing, but first we need to give ourselves the grace to as Ms. Frizzle of the Magic School Bus used to always say, “get messy, make mistakes.” Getting messy and diving in and letting yourself make some mistakes is sometimes one of the hardest things to do for me as an artist, but sometimes ends up being the most rewarding. I want to help children learn that art doesn’t have to be perfect the first time, that it can be fun and healing and just good to do for the sake of expressing ourselves. And, that as we do this, we keep getting better, and this practice is what makes us better artists, the mess and the mistakes. Just like in life, living through the mess and mistakes with the forgiveness of God makes us better humans.

Also, as we use art to glorify God and just to express ourselves, it heals our very souls. Whenever something happens in my life that I can’t vocalize, I need poetry and drawing and painting. I can’t talk it out, so it just comes out in my art. This is what I hope to bring to the children in Guatemala is to help them to tell their stories through art. And, not just for the week that we are there, but to give them some lifelong ways to use art as a form of hope and also of just getting out the feelings when we feel hopeless. When I pray before I create, my art is somehow different, always better, and this too, is something that I hope to help the students to see, that when we involve God in our lives, it matters!

Stepping out and GO-ing is always amazing, but usually involves some of those getting messy and making mistakes kind of moments. In order to be able to show God’s love and grace through Jesus to other people, first we need to give ourselves the grace to go and just be humble and experience another culture and hope that in that minute of joy and art and love that God Himself can only provide that we can be part of something greater than ourselves, part of the plan of the great I AM. And, through art, we can share love, share compassion, and show God’s love. Art can help us all to get messy and make mistakes together to grow and discover who we are for God![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][mk_button dimension=”flat” corner_style=”rounded” size=”large” url=”http://athentikos.kindful.com/i-am-art-se-luz-2016/jen-galvins-i-am-art-se-luz-2016-mission-fundraising-campaign” bg_color=”#dd3333″ btn_hover_bg=”#000000″]Support Jen Galvin’s I AM ART Trip[/mk_button][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Where Our I AM ART Trip Began

La Limonada

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Throughout my life, I have been profoundly influenced by the work of missionaries, and have been exposed to many of them personally.  From a cousin who served for many years in Haiti, to missionaries that visited my childhood church and shared the Gospel with me as a 3 year old in Cubbies clearly enough that I knew I needed to know Jesus for myself, to some friends from my years as a teenager that are now actively serving on the mission field in Bolivia, and very dear friends of ours who left the ‘American dream’ behind to obey the call of God on their lives to serve in full time mission work in Jamaica and in other parts of the U.S…..  YEP! It’s safe to say that missionaries have left their imprint on my life and world view.

Growing up with these influences, and in a Christian home, I always knew I wanted to serve on a short term foreign mission trip ‘one day’. In 2010, the church we attended at that time announced that they were looking for a small group of adults to go and serve in Guatemala City, for a ‘work trip’.  I knew I could swing a hammer and I could wield a paintbrush – but I didn’t really have an interest in going on a WORK trip.  But, after 3 nights of waking up in the middle of the night with GUATEMALA as my first cognitive thought, I asked with my heart pounding in my chest, “Is that you, Lord?” Turns out – it was!  The trip that was designed to be a ‘work trip’ ended up being a group of 5 women who did not once hammer a nail or paint a single wall. God was up to something!!

On that trip in 2010, I visited the community of La Limonada for the first time.  It is one of the largest slums in all of Central America.  It is a hard, extremely poor, often dangerous place.  No amount of ‘preparation’ could have truly prepared me for this trip. Our group ran a VBS type lesson with activities and crafts for the children attending the mission based academies within the slum, the heartbeat of the AMAZING ministry of Lemonade International/Vidas Plenas. Emotionally, I was completely undone on this trip.  As a mother of two small kids, I could not imagine what life must be like raising a family in that environment.  I found myself wrestling with the Lord all throughout the week on WHY ME?  WHY WAS I HERE?  WHAT COULD I DO?

On day 3 of our trip, we visited the second mission- academy on the opposite side of the slum, and there was a boy around 10 years old that was very quiet and shy who had deeply sad eyes.  I couldn’t stop staring at him from across the room.  I asked our translator if he had a sponsor family yet, and the translator told me that he didn’t think so.  In that moment, I knew what God wanted my response to this experience to be, and that was to sponsor Yeremi.  My translator introduced me to him as his ‘padrino’ which is spanish for ‘god-parent’.  That day started a relationship that is in tact 6 years later.  We write letters and send pictures and gifts and he knows how much he is loved by us and by his Creator.  It gives this dear boy dreams of a better future, one outside the walls of the slum, one that does not embrace gang culture, one that helps him to aspire to rise above the circumstances he has been brought up in. He has tangible proof that HE MATTERS.

Upon my return to the states in 2010, I tried to articulate all that God had done in my heart and mind, and how my world view had shifted on it’s axis.  I spoke of it so much, that I just KNEW I had to get my husband there to experience the slum and meet the precious people of La Limonada for himself.  At that time, we were leading a new college ministry and realized that many of those students would learn from experiencing it as well, so just 8 short months later in 2011, my husband and I traveled back to La Limonada a second time, with 3 college students in tow. The sheer size of the slum, and the vast needs represented there hit my husband like a punch to the gut, much like it had to me the first time I had visited.  Guys, this place demands a response from you!  We were able to work within the classrooms again with the students, and many of them remembered me from my first trip – and boy!!!… was Yeremi surprised to see us!!!!  We were blessed to have a day with him and his mother and little sister.  It was an experience I will never forget.  We also did many in-home visits and heard stories of so much hurt and sickness, and having to go without – something most of us in our American way of life never truly experience.  While life in La Limonada is hard and each day is with it’s own set of challenges – I could not deny the unwavering faith many people declared in our GOOD GOOD FATHER .  We prayed with them in their homes, we heard their joys through their sorrows, we saw their contentment with so little… and this place, that so many see as scary and terrible and dangerous?… took on a new quality to us.  Is it a sad place?  Yes, of course.  Is it dangerous?  Certainly. But you know what else?  It’s BEAUTIFUL.  In this place, I felt the presence of God more tangibly than any other place or time in my life.  His deep love shows all throughout Scripture for the least, the lost, the broken, the widows and the orphans…for the typical people of a place like La Limonada! This place matters to God!  God is there, He sustains when all else is empty, and it is etched into the faces of so many of the people there who have experienced His faithfulness in the midst of their struggles.

Since our trip in 2011, there has not been a single day that I haven’t thought about La Limonada and wanted and wondered when we could go back again.  It is a place that we cannot travel to on our own, due to the dangerous nature of the slum, finances have been a concern, and our timing has not been right….until NOW!  Now, this summer, my husband and I have been selected as team members for a trip with Athentikos – (another ministry we are very passionate about)  and we are so compelled to step out in faith and GO! The most amazing thing of all – is that this trip will be serving the people of La Limonada!  We are so excited to be going and facilitating an art camp for the children!  Through this camp, we will help the children discover who they are, and who God sees them as.  That each has value to the Creator who loves them and wants them to know Him.  We are leaving our own 2 children, ages 8 and 10, to be able to go and minister to these precious kids who need to see and feel the love of God and we want to be an example to our kids of what it looks like to serve and be uncomfortable for the sake of His name.  We desire to have Yeremi involved in this art camp as well, and hope we can somehow make that happen.  We want to be an encouragement to our friends on staff at Vidas Plenas that we have remained in touch with, and we want to once again, allow God to wreck us for His glory.  We are asking God to stretch us in this experience, we are seeking and asking what He wants our response to be this time, and we covet your prayers as we are trusting God with the finances and other details of this trip.

For His Glory and Our Good –

Harmony Charles

[/vc_column_text][mk_button dimension=”flat” corner_style=”rounded” size=”large” url=”http://athentikos.kindful.com/i-am-art-vidas-plenas-2016/connect-campaign-sottharmony-charles” target=”_blank” bg_color=”#dd3333″ btn_hover_bg=”#dd9933″]Help Scott & Harmony empower children of La Limonada with a tax-deductible donation.[/mk_button][vc_single_image image=”7518″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][/vc_row]