More than a year in the making, our Roma Children's Bible is nearly done!
On September 14, 2022, I began working on a children's Bible with Create Seeds, a YWAM ministry that creates resources for children all around the world. At first, it was a casual "sure I'll help out" kind of job. I was to do the rough pencils for 60 or so Bible stories that would be paired with 60 or so illustrations about two Roma children. The Roma kids' story would prompt the Bible stories. For example, Roma boy might say, "I had a big fight with my brothers today," which would prompt the narrator to share the story of Joseph and his brothers.
This fall I committed to officially work with the Create Seeds team part-time, so for two hours a day I've committed to finishing these illustrations! I've been working with two other artists. One is taking on the Roma kids' illustrations, and one is teaming up with me to complete the Bible story illustrations. I graduated from rough penciller to full-on colourist, and now I am excited to say that I've only got about three illustrations left to go! Wow! Just in time for the Christmas season, I'll be finishing off with the birth of John the Baptist, the Annunciation, and the Birth of Jesus himself!
My Procreate Stack of all of the Roma Bible illustrations:
How God Led me Here
It has been wonderful to see how God has been slowly moulding me into the artist that I am today. If you had asked me four years ago if I'd be a children's book illustrator, I would have scoffed. I did not think that I'd ever get into children's book illustration. Children's books are huge projects! They take months and months to finish, and they require a high level of consistency in style. It seemed beyond my abilities.
But through the forced confinement of COVID, which prompted me to try officially working as an artist, and the open doors that continued to pop up since then, my book illustrating career has slowly but steadily gained traction. Thus, God equipped me to serve with Create Seeds.
What I love about Create
I've always loved being part of Create International. I loved being involved in the School of Cartooning and Animation for Missions (now Animissions) and the Frontier Comics Seminar, and now I love being part of Create Seeds. Something I particularly love about Create is their focus on creating resources for those who do not have them. Sometimes Create has been asked to make resources for churches in the States, but Create's heart is not to give more to those who have already (as in, there are hundreds of other media organizations who have a heart for the States and would be willing and able to fill that need) but rather to give something to those who have nothing. So they focus on very small audiences - unreached people groups, small language groups, specific cultures, etc. To Create, it's not about casting a broad net. It's about showing love to the one lost sheep. I think that's so special.
With Create Seeds, they specify even further. We're not only making resources for a cultural demographic, but also for an age demographic: unreached children.
This is what Create Seeds says about themselves:
Children love stories. Children love pictures. Create Seeds exists to create culturally relevant storybooks, colouring books, animated storybooks and interactive apps that communicate the love of Jesus to children with little access to this good news. We are part of Create International, a ministry of Youth With A Mission.
Discipleship through Reading
As a child, I was blessed to have a virtually infinite supply of Christian books, tv shows, audio dramas, Biblical learning aids, teachers, churches, music, (you name it!) to help my faith grow and to celebrate God. I would even go so far as to say that the authors, musicians and artists who created these resources did not merely entertain me, they discipled me. So when I think about children in unreached people groups who have no access to these resources, it troubles me. I am so thankful to be part of a group that makes resources that point children's eyes towards Jesus. It is certainly a worthwhile use of my time.
Consider the need
I want to re-iterate this. Consider the resources you have at your disposal, especially if you're English. If you have a question, like, "I wonder what the Bible says about marriage?" not only do you have the Bible written in your language, available as a printed book, an app, or audio-bible, but you also have thousands of blog posts, articles, recorded sermons, books, podcasts, songs, etc. to help teach you and encourage you.
There are many people who cannot say the same thing for themselves.
As it says in Romans 10:
How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?
Preaching the gospel is not just about a pastor delivering a sermon to a congregation. Whenever anyone witnesses to the Gospel of Christ, be it through a children's book, short film, Bible study, street sermon, apologetic debate, etc. that becomes an opportunity for someone who hasn't heard to hear!
Celebrating the Roma Children's Bible's impending completion
All of this to say: I am so excited that we're almost done this project. I'd say it'll probably be done within the next month or so. When it's finished it will join other Create Seeds creations on the Bloom Library website to be read for free, and it will also be printed in Serbia by the project partner we've been working with. Soon, Lord willing, children will be reading the stories of the Bible, maybe for the first time!!
One message that we particularly hope shines through in this book is that the Romani people are fearfully and wonderfully made by God. Apparently Roma are told, even from childhood, that they are garbage people, worthless and unloveable. But that is a lie from the enemy. Oh, that the truth of God's love for them would become their guiding light! Maybe through reading our book they'll come to know this!
I really hope that the artwork I've done will illuminate truth for the Roma, and that when I see Jesus one day I'll be able to celebrate the fruit that's come from this faith-work.
Would you like to be a part of this work?
Please pray with me for this Roma Children's Bible!
Pray that this Children's bible would be printed and distributed as a hard copy. That's a part of the process that's totally out of our hands!
Pray that the digital version of this Bible would likewise be discovered and enjoyed by many children.
Pray that our team would be given the provision we need to continue doing this work.
Financially partner with me!
If you want to give money towards my mission work, click here to go to the YWAM Canada donations page. They are facilitating my support raising. When you get there, you have four options:
Pre-authorized Payment (PAP)
Online giving via Credit Card
Feel free to use whichever one suits your giving style best. There are detailed instructions on the donations page. Use code WK11 to support me specifically! If you have any questions, shoot me an email!
Thanks for reading! I look forward to letting you all know about the upcoming projects I'll be working on once the Roma Bible is completed!