The Billboard Project - Part 1   (of 4)
March 2012                                                                                                                                                                          

I was moving house. As I packed things, I ran across a folder of my artwork on the Life of Jesus (see Art Gallery). Being another thing I had to worry about, I asked God, "God, what am I going to do with these drawings?" (I had been asked to draw a set of 10 pictures on the Life of Jesus for someone, but they never came to use them). I packed the folder in a box and thought nothing more of it, until one early Sabbath morning when my phone rang to hear the voice of the Head Elder of my church greeting me. He asked me to bring that folder to church because the topic of the Sabbath School lesson that day was "God The Artist". He wanted to show people my drawings of Jesus. I agreed to bring them.

As the Sabbath School discussion started, some were saying how people who have been gifted by God in the Arts often use their gifts against Him. For example a sculptor would sculpt a statue for worshipping. Others would make use of their gift of drawing, painting, photography to create provocative images. And we see many of such works displayed in public places in the form of billboard advertising, TV commercials, etc. In an attempt to balance the discussion, the Head Elder chipped in, saying that we should counteract that and use our art skills to promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ. At this point he pointed to me, asking me to show my work to the people in the class. I did so. I added, we can indeed promote the Gospel through pictures - no words have to be said, no preaching to be done - just through a simple picture for all to see.

After Sabbath school was over, a young man came forward to ask if he could look through my folder. I had never seen him before. He was a visitor. As he looked through my pictures, he asked me,"How much will it cost to put one of these on a billboard?". I shook my head saying, "I don't know. I have never looked into it", but it dawned on me that what he was proposing was a good idea! A Godly idea? Was God answering my question that I asked when I was moving house?

The young man then proceeded to say that he would be willing to pledge some money towards the cost of putting one of these pictures on a billboard. He asked for my email address. Two days later, I received an email from him saying,

"Good afternoon, Elma. Further to our conversation last Sabbath, I would like to pledge an offer of AU$1600 to start a billboard campaign. Need we delay? Let me know when to transfer."

I couldn't believe my eyes, he really was serious. I realised that I was very blessed. So many charities try hard to raise money to fund their cause, but here I am, not even a charity, being offered a large sum of money to have one of my pictures of Jesus on a billboard. I knew this was from God, so I have to start investigating on how I can make this happen.

When I asked the young man about himself, the story got even more incredible. Although a New Zealander, he works in Papua New Guinea (PNG) for most of the year. He comes back to visit NZ now and again, mostly to Auckland, but rarely to Wellington (Porirua Church) where I am. He became a Seventh Day Adventist Christian whilst working in PNG. He was visiting relatives that weekend in Porirua. As he drove past my church, he caught a glimpse of the Seventh Day Adventist Church sign, and decided to visit us. It was his first visit to a church in Porirua since he became a Christian. Most visitors attend just the main service (and rarely do they attend Sabbath School), yet he attended Sabbath School that day and was moved by the topic. What are the chances of all this happening, if not God-orchestrated?

God never ceases to amaze me how He orchestrates events in such fine timing... to help us do what He asked us to do:

Mark 16:15
He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation..."