This week we’ve got a story from someone very special: Maribel*, a beautiful young woman at Oasis Home for Girls.
Maribel and the other girls at Oasis were sent there by the Guatemalan court system after suffering sexual or physical abuse in their homes, or being forced into child labor. Most of the girls arrive at Oasis significantly behind in school or having never attended school, and each one of them carries deep scars from exploitation. Oasis works to be exactly that—a place of restoration and healing—for both the girls and their families. At Oasis the girls attend school, have access to therapy, and are introduced to the transforming love of Jesus.
We were honored to partner with Oasis and make I AM ART camps part of the healing journey for Maribel and her friends. And now we honored to share Maribel’s story with all of you! Your support is an integral part of the fabric God used to weave this story.
Oasis staff member Jenny says that Maribel is well-liked by the other girls at Oasis, but she struggles with self-confidence. “Maribel keeps somewhat to herself but has been slowly opening up to others,” says Jenny. When she drops her defenses, she reveals a kind, responsible girl who loves to have fun—a girl everyone would love to know better if given the chance.
In November’s I AM ART camp Maribel was placed in the self-portrait class with artist Payton. She began the week covering a canvas with every color and design her heart desired. Then, guided by Payton, she traced her own silhouette over top and began painting in the details of her face.
On Wednesday, Maribel and the other girls were instructed to cover part of their self-portraits with tape and paint the entire canvas black. “I felt sick,” says Maribel. “I felt like all of our hard work was being thrown out.” But then the class talked about conflict, and how the piece related to their own lives: “It reminded me that our hearts are full of sin, like the black paint, but it is God who cleans our hearts.”
The next morning, Maribel and her classmates returned to their blackened pieces. Each girl carefully pulled back the strips of tape to reveal her own face, shining like a gem in the midst of the black. “I like how it turned out,” Maribel says. “I never imagined I would be able to create something like this.”
“Now Maribel realizes that she can accomplish things even if at first they look hard,” says Jenny. Her self-confidence has grown, and that girl everyone wanted to know better is making more and more appearances.
“I learned that no matter what, God always forgives and cleans us,” says Maribel. “He cares for us and protects us. I AM ART means that I am God’s art. No one is an accident. We are God’s perfect creations, and everything we do is art.”
*Maribel’s name has been changed to protect her privacy.