A piece of art starts with an idea. The idea turns into a plan which then turns into a reality.
The plan changes throughout the execution of the piece but the idea remains the same. As Christians, we are reminded by our Father to keep our plans on this earth flexible and to keep our hearts fixed on the higher goal.
I had a yellow envelope with my visa application inside. In five days, I would drive for ten hours and arrive at the French Embassy in Vancouver. A visa would be issued, and I would be on my way to language studies! However, as I placed the last document in, I had a feeling that this would not all happen as I planned. I even said to my boss that day, “I’ll probably be rejected for the visa or something. It feels too unreal.” I could have never foreseen, and probably wouldn’t have believed it if I had, that a global pandemic was on its way.
Like everyone else, I was disappointed that I wasn’t able to move on with life. I had not seen my parents in months, and they were going to help me prepare for my move. It seemed like I was set back from doing the work God has for me, and I had to sit at home in the middle of my not yet packed possessions.
However, I am looking back and can see how God has been working in my life during this time. I wasn’t prepared for the journey mentally or physically, and this summer has been a time of reflection and a time of spiritual growth. It’s almost like I was in the middle of a hike. I knew that the peak was ahead of me, but my muscles were aching and my lungs were working past their limit. This unexpected time was my break, my time to sit, chat, and regain my energy for the next stretch.
Now the plane ticket is booked. It’s a little later than I was expecting, but instead of going to France for six months, we have arranged for me to go straight to Niger. Because of the virus, I am going to Africa four months earlier than planned! Isn’t it a beautiful thing to see God working?
The desire to create art has always been so strong in me, but I have also always wanted to be a missionary in Africa. I thought I would have to choose between these two dreams, and was getting ready to leave the missionary life behind as I advertised for art lessons in my home city in Canada. Then I met a lady who had been in Niger. She told me the school she had worked at was looking for an art teacher. This was perfect! I knew right away that this position was meant for me. It has the three things I love: kids, art, and Africa.
Remember that God has purposefully created you, He loves you, and He has a unique plan for your life. I was recently reminded of the story of David as he prepared to face Goliath. King Saul dressed David in his best armour, but David rejected it because it was untested by him. He went into battle with only his sling, but the Lord was gracious. He had prepared David ahead of time by giving him training in the field, protecting his flock against lions and bears. So, God fashioned David’s life to be used as a tool to bring freedom to His chosen people. He has a purpose for all our lives, and will also use our experiences to bring freedom to those He loves if we are willing to be used.
The “idea” is to use my life for God’s glory. He is always in the process of making this a reality. He is the author and finisher of our faith, the One who gives us breath each day, and the One who paid the highest price for our salvation. He is the One we owe everything to and He has the authority to use our lives to point others to Him. This is the “idea”. This is why I am going to Niger and why I will wait for His perfect timing.
If you would like to stay updated on this ministry of using art to share the love of Jesus in Africa, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you.
To give to Anna's support, go to www.sim.ca/anna-pederson