It’s seven months since I got back from Nairobi, where I ran an art residency for SIM International Arts, and I’m bowled over by how God has taken that three-week event and breathed a life into it which keeps growing. Frank is one of the people we met.
During the residency some of us went to a men’s prison for their compulsory church service. There I used some big drawings illustrating a broken bowl, and the same bowl put back together with gold lacquer — as in the Japanese art form kintsugi, which gives broken pottery objects more beauty and value than before they broke. Then I spoke about the obvious connection: broken lives healed by God.
We all felt God’s presence clearly in that service; at the end 39 men committed their lives to Christ. Seventeen-year-old Frank was among them. Frank’s mother died when he was nine. His alcoholic father abandoned him, and Frank lost his way on the streets in petty crime. But when he was released from prison four months ago, artists and leaders from our art residency met with him, and took care of basic material and spiritual needs. All of these Kenyan artists struggle financially themselves, but they have been fundraising for Frank—he’s now in a Christian boarding school. They also held a party for him when he turned 18: the first birthday he had ever celebrated.
These artists, now including Frank, have organised and run art clubs for rescued street kids, where the gospel is presented.
These days Frank’s face shines. He is starting an art club for kids at his new school, and with his mentors has made the long trip back to his grandparents’ house in the countryside, to ask their forgiveness for running away.
He recently stood up in a church and gave his testimony, about how the Lord has used Christian artists to change his life. Please pray for more young Kenyans to be reached through Frank and others, because of God’s creative ministering to his children. — Zoë Cromwell