The Billboard Project - Part 3 (of 4)
A Seemingly Pointless Meeting
The quest to find a billboard continues ...
The primary challenge was to meet someone who would agree to display the image of Jesus on his/her billboard; the secondary challenge was to do so at an affordable cost. Having come to so many dead ends with hope looking bleak, I stopped trying for a while, but continued to pray about it.
So many other things were happening in my life. I had a friend 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, the care worker arranged a visit for me to see if I could help her patient. I was looking after a 5-year-old girl at that time, so I came with the little girl. Upon arriving at the Care Home, I was told that the patient was still eating her lunch, and so I had to wait in the waiting room. As I sat in the waiting room with the little girl, a man (who was also waiting there) greeted us. 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 the patient (as she was now ready to see me). In those 10 minutes of talking to the man, I had made the little girl show the man all her mathematical skills which I had taught; she left quite an impression on him.
I spoke to the 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 that the visit had been completely pointless.
Or Maybe Not ...
Two weeks passed. One day, I had a call from the care worker to say that the man, whom I had met in the waiting room, had been asking after me and the little girl. The little girl had made such an impression on him that he couldn't forget her. So, we arranged to meet up with the man again, and a friendship began to flourish. The man and I got on really well, and we talked just about 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 in the plight to share the gospel with the community, but had so far been unsuccessful in finding a billboard. His eyes lit up, he looked at me and said,
"My niece's husband has 3 billboards along the highway. My niece is a Christian, she may be able to help you".
He 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 was not a Christian, he should be willing to help.
Success at Last!
Sometime later, I heard from the niece. She forwarded the availability and the prices of the 3 billboards he had on the Highway. Two of the billboards were over my budget, but one was within budget of approximately $1800; even better, $1800 for two months, gasp!! The niece also said that if no one booked the billboard in the third month, I could leave the image up there for a third month, for free!! Finally, not only God had provided a billboard, but more amazingly:
All three billboards lie between the highway and the local railway. So, not only people in cars could see the billboards, but also people in trains.
The billboard that God had chosen (that was within budget) was near some offices. So, people in those offices would also be able to see the billboard. The other two billboards were further away, so would not have had the extra audience.
Also, compared to the other two billboards, the billboard that God had chosen was nearest to a junction, known to suffer slow rush hour traffic. Thus, the billboard would receive more attention from drivers.
And finally, out of the three billboards, the one that God had chosen was nearest to a lamp post, hence it would receive some illumination at night.
Now that an affordable billboard had been found, one thing still remained - would the 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 even gave me a good price! Now, I just had to check with the Advertising Standard Authority to make sure I would not be breaching any advertising standards. I looked at the rules and regulations on their website, and I was good to go.
A few weeks later, a contract for the billboard booking came through the post. I had the choice to choose either the Spring/Summer or Autumn/Winter months. I chose the Spring/Summer months because the daylight hours were longer. In the meantime, I got 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 wanted 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!
So, looking at the journey so far, I learnt two important things:
One - the visit to the Care Home that day was not for the benefit of the patient, but rather for God's billboard! I was meant to meet the man in the waiting room. The fact that he thought he knew me was no coincidence either, as otherwise he wouldn't have approached me. It was all orchestrated by God. I was wrong to be annoyed, and to think that the visit a waste of time and pointless (as I had felt that day).
Two - when God asks us to do something, it will not be easy. That road may 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.
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.
© Elma Larsen. All rights reserved.