For All Mankind

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I wrote in an earlier post about my trip to Africa, and how it changed my life. Because the experience was so personal I expected the paintings from my time there would not have wide appeal… I was wrong.

I am overwhelmed by the number of people I meet who feel about Africa the way I do. When I read their comments and hear their stories I am truly grateful.

One of the first children I met in Zambia was a little boy named Kennedy. At three years old, Kennedy had lost both of his parents to AIDS and was found living alone with his six year old brother and ten year old sister. When I thought of those three children struggling to survive and the millions of others across Africa in similar circumstances, I felt an overwhelming hopelessness and said to myself, “No amount of money can fix this.”

I was curious to see how Kennedy and the others would react to Phillip, the man playing Christ. We decided to drop Phillip off several hundred yards from the “farm” and then drive in and set up our cameras. We told the children we had a wonderful surprise for them. When Phillip came into view the children instinctively ran to him and threw their arms around him. Everyone except Kennedy.

When Phillip saw this little boy standing apart from the others, he walked over and knelt down. As he opened his arms this little soul ran to him and threw his arms around his neck. He began speaking as fast as he could. Phillip looked for help to understand. One of the others translated.

“My mom and dad died. They are in heaven. Have you seen them? Are they ok?”

At that moment I knew it wasn’t hopeless. I realized that the Savior could fix not only the problems of Africa, but of the whole world…and we can be His hands to do it. For the first time in my life I felt what Isaiah meant when he said, “He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces.” To Kennedy and all who struggle to understand why, I promise that God has not forgotten you. That the time is coming when He will come in power and glory and when He will keep his promise and wipe away all of our tears.

To watch the children run to Him, laughing and smiling was truly a testament to me that they knew the Lord. I thought in the beginning I was there to help them, but I see now that it was them who helped me. I love them and miss them and pray that the Lord will teach me to have the kind of faith I saw in Africa.

According to the United Nations Counsel on AIDS (UNAIDS), a child in Africa loses a parent every 14 seconds. We created the Giclee´ Canvas Limited Edition with 6,171 canvases, the number of children who lose a parent to AIDS in Africa each day.

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