|EDITOR'S NOTE: Baptist Press' London bureau, in tandem with Tim Ellsworth, editor of BP Sports and director of news and media relations at Union University, will be providing coverage of London Olympics. Baptist Press will publish features about Christian athletes in the Olympics, recap results of their competition and cover initiatives to share the Gospel during the Summer Games and within the U.K.'s cultural milieu.
LONDON (BP) -- Her job isn't normal. She frequently heads into the African Bush armed with a sketchpad, pencils and paintbrushes.
But Michelle Michaels* isn't there to play around.
"Art is often overlooked when it comes to missions," Michaels said. "A lot of people go straight to humanitarian aid or church planting. Art is seen as more of a luxury than a necessity."
Michaels promotes learning how art is integrated into a people's culture as a gateway to learning how to reach them with the Gospel. Crafts and paintings, she said, can contextualize Scripture using an art form people are accustomed to.
"Art is everywhere, and it's important," Michaels said. "It really helps get the message across."
Michaels once developed a henna design for a South Asian bride on her wedding day. In the dyed design was a Bible story pointing to the Gospel.
"Henna is important to South Asian culture, and they get really excited when they learn that a design stands for something meaningful," Michaels said.
Before she and other Christians employed henna, the bride's family and friends had been hesitant to talk, Michaels said.
"All of a sudden, when we started doing the henna stories, it seemed like there were lots of opportunities to have conversations," she said. "It has been so great to see how it can have eternal purposes."
Michaels' experience is one of many. Continued...