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Why is the most important question we can ask during our journey in life. It is important that we wait patiently for the answer to make sure we are asking the right question. I have many times asked myself why we invest in Athentikos and I AM ART. Each time, I am encouraged to wait and learn more … Over the last five years, we’ve watched I AM ART grow from a rough idea into a detailed creative journey that deeply transforms the hearts of at-risk youth, artists, and translators.

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I AM ART 2015 Casa Bernabe included international team members from California, Guatemala, Michigan, and Tennessee. Many of our translators were students at the University of San Carlos in Guatemala City, who volunteered to gain college credit, but said that they had been richly blessed through the experience. Over 70 at-risk youth from Casa Bernabe Orphanage joined our team of creative volunteers to walk through a five day curriculum based on elements of story: character, setting, plot, conflict, resolution, and response.

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I documented the week in photos, and had the privilege of witnessing the details of all the activities – and the resulting transformations. Our curriculum is challenging for both the artists and the youth because it connects external symbolic truths to the truths of our lives. Strategic waypoints teach the profound truth that God creates beauty from the broken. I AM ART uses the vehicle of creativity to teach the deeper lesson: We are all God’s Art. Our lives are precious and meaningful, and we are meant for community.

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At the end of the week, we gathered as a team for a final time of evaluation and encouragement. We were all exhausted from having poured ourselves out into the activities. It was a good tired … the kind of tired one gets from a job well done. I looked around the room and was filled with gratefulness. Each of our team members took risks – including – taking time off from work, raising funding, developing lesson plans, traveling, engaging with new people, and … transparently sharing their hearts.

A few team members shared stories of being hurt in the past by people they trusted. They explained that I AM ART helped them see their wounds and stories in a new light. I AM ART encouraged them to engage life with new passion and intentionality. Several team members expressed a desire to reconnect with communities of faith of which they had once belonged, but had grown estranged. I AM ART repaired the broken by connecting individual stories to God’s greater story.

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At the end of our meeting, I told our team that creative ideas often sleep dormant in the mind, and are never born into reality. Many dreams just linger as a dream. However, with I AM ART, a dream was born into reality greater than the dream itself – authentic community.

As creatives, we can understand each other more than anyone else. We don’t have to create in a vacuum. We have the ability to observe truth, reflect, and communicate truth to one another. We can encourage one another and serve together, using our talents to help others heal.  That is our mission. That is our purpose. We are not just artists, we are ART of the Great I AM … trophies of grace.

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Learn more about I AM ART 2015 Casa Bernabe.

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