The Billboard Project - Part 3  (of 4) 
May 2013                                                                                                                                                                                                      

The quest to find a billboard continues ...

The primary challenge is to meet someone who would agree to display the image of Jesus on his/her billboard; the secondary challenge is to do so at an affordable cost. Having come to so many dead ends, and hope looking bleak, I stopped trying for a while, but continued praying (sometimes I would pray throughout the night).

So many other things were happening in my life. I had a friend called Helen who worked in a Care Home. One of her patients was suffering from depression. Knowing that I had conquered (and been healed) from depression in the past, Helen arranged for me to visit her patient to see if I could help her.  I was looking after 5-year old Angelina at that time (see An Unexpected Salvation), so I came with little Angelina. Upon arriving at the Care Home, I was told that Helen's patient was still eating her lunch, and so I had to wait in the waiting room. As I sat in the waiting room with Angelina, a man (who was also waiting there) greeted us. His name was Jeff. He thought he knew me, but I told him that he must have mistaken me for someone else as I certainly didn't know him. Anyway we chatted, if only for 10 minutes, before I was called to see Helen's patient (as she was now ready to see me). In that 10 minutes of talking to Jeff, I made Angelina show Jeff all her mathematical skills which I had taught her and she left quite an impression upon him.

I spoke to Helen's patient for a mere 5 minutes before being told to go because her husband had arrived and he didn't like strangers visiting his wife. I went home feeling pretty annoyed, I came all that way to visit for just 5 minutes, I barely got talking to her! I felt I had wasted a lot of time and effort, and the visit had been completely useless.

2 weeks passed. One day, Helen called me to say that Jeff had been asking after me & Angelina. Angelina had made such an impression upon him that he couldn't forget her. So we arranged to meet up with Jeff again, and a friendship began to flourish. Jeff and I got on really well, and we talked about just anything and everything. One day the topic of billboard came into the conversation. I told him that I was looking for a billboard to display an image of Jesus (to preach the Gospel through a picture) but that I had so far been unsuccessful. Jeff's eyes lit up, he looked at me and said,"My niece's husband has 3 billboards along the highway into Wellington. My niece is a Christian, she may be able to help you". Jeff gave me her contact details and before long I met up with her. She was keen to help and was happy to be part of God's plan. She told me she would approach her husband, and although he is not a Christian, he should be willing to help.

Sometime later, I heard from Jeff's niece. She forwarded the availability and the prices of the 3 billboards he has on the Highway -- and would you believe it, one of the three billboards was within my budget! Even better approximately NZ$2,000 for two months!!. And if no one booked the billboard in the third month, I could leave the image up there for a third month for free!! The other two billboards were more expensive and would be out of budget. Using the amount of money that God had given me, I was able to decipher that the one that was within budget was the one God wanted. More amazingly:
  • Looking at the locations, all three billboards lie between the highway and the local railway. So people in both cars and trains will be able to see the billboards. 
  • But even better, the billboard that God had chosen lies also facing some offices (whereas the other two didn't), so people in those offices will also be able to see the billboard
  • Not only that, compared to the other two billboards, the billboard that God chose is the one nearest to a junction (Petone / Maungaraki junction) where in rush hour, traffic would often be backed up well in view of the billboard.
  • And finally, out of the three billboards, the one that God had chosen is nearest to a lamp post, hence it would receive some illumination at night.

Now that an affordable billboard has been found, one thing still remained - would Jeff's niece's husband allow the image of Jesus to be displayed on his billboard? I had to ask for his approval. I sent him a jpeg of my Jesus artwork and asked if he would have any concerns, to which he replied,

"The only approval that you would require, Elma, is if you thought your artwork would breach advertising standards, but no I have no concerns."

I was so thrilled, so happy. Finally I have found someone who didn't object, who was willing to help and who gave me a good price, a good deal! Now I just have to check with the New Zealand Advertising Standard Authority to make sure I will not be breaching any advertising standards. I looked at the rules and regulations on their website, and I am good to go.

A few weeks later, a contract for the billboard booking came through the post. I have now booked the billboard for October and November 2013 (the spring/summer months of NZ where the daylight hours are longer). I hope to get December 2013 for free, but God will take care of that if it is within His plans. Meanwhile, it's time for me to get down to refining my artwork of Jesus ready for the summer. 

After much praying about which image I should use, I felt the Holy Spirit leading me to refine the "Adulteress Forgiven". God wants everyone to know that He is willing to forgive (and not condemn) anyone who comes and repent to Him, no matter what they have done in the past. Such a wonderful message of hope for the community and for the lost!

Looking at the journey so far, I have learnt two important things:
  • One - the visit to the Care Home that day was not for Helen's patient, but for the billboard! I was meant to meet Jeff (not Helen's patient). The fact that he thought he knew me, was no coincidence either (as otherwise he wouldn't have approached me). It was all part of God's plans. I was wrong to be annoyed and to think that the visit was useless and a waste of time.
  • Two - when God asked us to do something, it will not be easy. That road will be full of rejections and setbacks, but if we keep on trying and putting everything to prayer (especially when it gets tough), He will help us succeed, and with that, He will also reveal His plans to us.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.