Canvas Tree Of Life

How can we serve?

God has given artists the ability to communicate in ways that others can’t.  Think of ways to serve from home when you can’t go on a mission trip. Here is our story and we would love to hear about yours.

Our church had a mission trip to Peru to the Amazon Jungle, in the east of the country, to communicate Christ’s love to tribal people.  Unfortunately, Karen and I could not take the time off to travel to Peru that summer.  The team of missionaries wanted to do an art project with the tribe in a small jungle village. We thought we could help by preparing a project that the team could take with them.  There were a few factors that we had to consider:

  • The team would have to transport all materials on planes and boats. Size and weight were factors.
  • It was very hot —no oil pastels or supplies that melt.
  • They didn’t have access to sinks and running water to clean up paints, etc. There was a nearby river.
  • They needed a collaborative project for approx. 500 people, to complete in 15 minute. As art teachers, we usually work with a class of 8 to 30 students over a 45-minute period.  Wow this was challenging!
  • The group gave us a bible verse to incorporate.

We found a lightweight 9’x12’ canvas tarp at Home Depot.  I drew a sketch of a tree and horizon line.  We used watered down acrylic paints to paint the sky, tree, and grass.  We printed the bible verse in Spanish, traced onto the canvas, then filled the letters in with a Sharpie marker. After canvas was dry, we folded it up into a nice compact 6” x 9” size, ready for transport.

Once in Peru, the canvas tree was laid out and groups of children put their hands in paint, then added their handprint to the tree, to represent leaves.  Variations in hand sizes and colors revealed the growth and beauty of God’s creation and His children.

Something wonderful happened, that we never considered! The process of helping the children place their handprints and wash in the river water provided an opportunity for the tribe and mission helpers to interact, touch and connect.  We were glad we had this opportunity to share in this wonderful activity.

¡Te alabo porque soy una creación admirable!

¡Tus obras son maravillosas, y esto lo sé muy bien!

Salmos 139:14

This is another verse the missionaries shared during this week.

John 13:34

34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

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