It is only fitting that the first pledge that posted to 4 Ewe and You and U would be from my church and my shepherd, the awesome Dr. Patrick L. Wooden, Sr., Pastor of the Upper Room Church of God in Christ, in Raleigh, NC. I tell you, if you have a great Pastor, like I do, you are indeed blessed. My life has changed immeasurably and eternally since I joined the Upper Room over 21 years ago. Dr. Wooden’s Holy Spirit inspired teachings have led this little ewe to green pastures, over high hills and, through the Word, gently led me through the deepest of valleys. Dr. Wooden’s preaching and teaching has introduced me to a Jesus that is absolutely incredible, loving and inspiring. I tell you it is all about Jesus, isn’t it. In every sermon I hear, I look to discover more about Jesus, the man and the Christ, because he is spectacular!
In honor of my first posted pledge, and many others are coming, I am posting the theme scripture that undergirds the ENTIRE project. It is from John 10:14-16, King James Version (KJV)
14 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. 15 As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.
I can hardly wait to get started drawing and painting. Please pledge today at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1324357090/4-ewe-and-you-and-u. I need your pledges to help build momentum.
God Bless Ewe, and You and U
Have you ever had a burning idea and you had no idea how you were going to accomplish it because of the energy required to defy the gravitational pull of, “We’ll, maybe it’s too big, or Is anyone else going to see the vision and support this?” This is bigger than me and requires tapping into skills that may need to be developed, or simply asking for the help of others, at this part of the process, rather than trying to do it all alone.
I am reminded of a painting above, I did back in 2003 called the Harvest Truly is Plentiful but the Laborers are Few. In the painting there is a lone figure working in a field. I deliberately chose cotton to symbolize, among other things, a multitude of people. People who want and need to hear the gospel but won’t or can’t if it’s left up to the lone figure in the painting to reach them. This painting represents a multitude of nations, too. Which brings me back to the focus of the current project: 4 Ewe and You and U.
No doubt, I need generous funding, but I need prayer, a couple of people with the gift of fundraising, and others. They will come. I know it.
One more thing about the pledges. I am reminded of the story of the promise of rain in I Kings 18-46. I only launched this project on Saturday, January 12, in the wee hours of the morning. By 10:00 a.m. I had already hit the streets securing pledges. I have checked the site multiple times, and like Elijah’s servant, I will have to look again and again until I see the pledges coming in. Maybe nothing at first, but then a trickle that grows like the little cloud in the Bible. The point is, I trust God and believe that since He has inspired me to do this body of work, he will make a way for it to come to pass. I believe it’s about to rain….
1 Kings 18:41-46
New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)
41 And Elijah said to Ahab, “Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain.” 42 So Ahab went off to eat and drink, but Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees.
43 “Go and look toward the sea,” he told his servant. And he went up and looked.
“There is nothing there,” he said.
Seven times Elijah said, “Go back.”
44 The seventh time the servant reported, “A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.”
So Elijah said, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.’”
45 Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rain came on and Ahab rode off to Jezreel. 46 The power of the Lord came upon Elijah and, tucking his cloak into his belt, he ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel
Back in June of 2011, I was leaving Millbrook High School, as a parent, for the last time. My son had just graduated that day and I was feeling happy and full of joy for him. It was a beautiful day, but also very hot as we walked the distance from the cafeteria back to the car. Halfway there I happened to look down and something caught my eye. It looked like a plastic cow or was it a sheep. I had my camera and took a picture of it laying there, as if it was waiting for me to come and pick it up. What was this little creature doing laying face down in a hot parking lot? It was so out of place.
I picked it up and decided it was some kind of sign to remember the sheep painting I’d envisioned back in February of 2011. Like my son (and me, too, by extension) had reached a significant milestone in life, this little plastic lamb in the parking lot was like a sign post for me to get started on the journey. In an instant, it was not a painting to create, but a series of illustrations and paintings. This was the green light that my original thought was not just a passing fancy.
So with that in mind, my Sheep Series of paintings that underscore the unity of the faith (the work of the Holy Spirit) throughout cultures grew legs so to speak. Although the reminder had come in a form with plastic legs in a melting hot parking lot, I took it as a sign that this was a work that should not be ignored. And so the journey began….
Please join me in this journey by pledging today. Here is the URL: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1324357090/4-ewe-and-you-and-u
This creative journey actually started in June of 2011. At the time, I was working for a Baptist church that was home to four unique ministries. The ministries included the French-speaking Congolese, dozens upon dozens of Chinese disciples, Farsi speaking Christians, and the host church which was mainly comprised of Baptists of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and maybe a few Southern Baptists, too. Working at that particular church was eye-opening for me. I carefully observed how each flock interacted with one another collectively and among themselves – culturally speaking and religiously as a whole. I was struck by the unique way each congregation fellowshipped, worshipped and served the Lord. The common denominator being each one was unique, celebrated and appreciated because of the unifying thread of the Holy Spirit. They were different but of the same fold.
I had worked at the church for over three years; I had several stories to tell about my journey there with each shepherd and their flocks. The idea of doing a painting about sheep in the fold turned around and around and around in my head. These were sheep in a fold I kept thinking. I was working out the details as to how, who and what to paint. Should I begin with the awesome Iranian shepherd (pastor) whose testimony includes facing genuine religious persecution in his home country of Iran because of his Christian beliefs? He can never return home; imagine that. His united congregation is awesome and so is his ministry. I always enjoyed fellowshipping with his disciples because they were especially close, were easy to be around, and the pastor was/is a great preacher and teacher.
The Chinese shepherd is a woman. Her congregation was composed of college professors, IBM professionals, etc., but they were great people, strong, full of faith, welcoming, and fun. Just you wait until I blog about my beach retreat trip in a van full of Chinese women, and the story about the tilapia; it’s quite amusing! The Chinese pastor shared with me many stories of her journey to become a pastor; starting with challenges in seminary. She is courageous, confident, thoughtful (and I think she reads Vogue Magazine because she is aways stylin’. I’ve got pictures of her somewhere when she visited my home church during a ladies’ luncheon and actually joined in the fashion show). She is also an influential reason why a significant part of the series will focus on Womankind as Shepherd. Women senior pastors was rarely heard of when I was growing up. I look forward to interviewing all of the women pastors I’ve encountered since I started thinking about this project. I have their business cards and I sense they would love to tell their story through art. Can’t wait to get started!
The paintings are accumulating in my mind and a project has emerged. At its concept, I didn’t know how was I going to get it done? My film student son is the one who told me about a website called Kickstarter.com that could help me fund the project. I really did not believe that such a site existed and initially brushed it aside. In May of 2012, I attended a workshop for artists at the Visual Art Exchange in downtown Raleigh, NC, and met an artist who shared her story about how crowd-funding made it possible to complete an artistic venture to South Africa. I volunteered to share what I wanted to do and just about everyone in attendance reacted with enthusiasm about the project. Just about everywhere I go, the enthusiasm is the same. People want to see this project come to life. So here we are today, finally. I just know I will reach my Kickstarter goal and my project 4 Ewe & You & U will more than reach its goals! Thanks, and here’s to some great art coming your way! – Carrie 🙂