Restoration: From Our Team To Our City
The arts were expressed in ministry in many ways through our mission trip. But before sharing more of these projects, I want to take time to share our team was prepared for them. God did the work of preparing our hearts and minds, shaping and restoring us to be ready for these ministries. Most of this restoration came through our time with Arianna Caliguri and Edge Project in Spain.
While our team was there with Edge Project, something very unexpected had a transformational effect on our whole team: a labor-intensive project given to us the day after we arrived. It was the opportunity to help resurrect a very important and historic building that was acquired by Edge Project, only by a series of miracles and God-sized happenings. It sits in old town Altea as a central gathering point for the ministry and it is the only building still attached to the 1000 year-old city wall. It is also a crossroads for people traversing old-town. This building, El Diseño, was built in the 1700s and was so old it was close to collapsing, but due to God’s hand, the building is being resurrected to continue as the central hub for Edge ministry to the city.
Our team had the privilege of helping to restore this building—removing rust, painting, scraping, sanding, cleaning, and constructing. It was clear that God was resurrecting this building for a very specific reason. It was not a purposeless restoration. He had a plan and a future intended for it. There was more light to shine, more art to make, more of the city to change, more lives to impact.
But this was not just a symbol for EDGE and it’s ministry. As our hands went into the walls, floors, and windows, we knew it was also a direct symbol for the restoration for each member of our team and a symbol of the exponential ministry we will see through the arts Saddleback. There were many tears as we circled together, on our knees in prayer over the building and over how we saw ourselves in its restoration.
From this point on, we knew that this entire trip was a preparation for the mission that waited for us back home. God was taking this time in Europe of listening to His voice, of stepping out in faith, and becoming more ourselves in order to prepare us for our return.
Becoming Ourselves – a continuing work in restoration
Our time in Altea, Spain was truly a time for us to become more ourselves and in becoming more ourselves it made us flourish in what God was calling us to as artists. We found that the more we became ourselves, the more God was able to shine through us, and the more powerful our art would be.
One of our team members, Cody, made a realization that, “Being myself is being like Christ and being like Christ is being like myself. And when I’m myself I can love others. And when I love others, I’m like Christ. It’s like this big circle.” Cody knew that God shone brightest when he made the art that he was specifically purposed to create. He loves to create his own custom beats, he loves to rap and sing in his own unique way. It really is unique to him and who God created him to be.
He would sometime fight with the vulnerability of putting his art on display for all to see, but said, “When I push through to get on the mic and play my music I feel everything I know about myself come back.” And it affected our whole team and the community around us. When Cody stepped out and displayed his art, truly being himself, the public walking by our art outreach became more interested; our team loosened up and gained energy. The atmosphere changed.
Cody was just one of the eleven of us that stepped into a truer version of ourselves on this trip. All of us took an inward journey, investigating who God made us to be, and listening to how he was asking us to live that out. We learned that every time we listen to who we are, joy surfaces and God is made known.
Our time in Altea, Spain culminated in the moment we stood in the Mediterranean Sea off Spain’s southern coast baptizing three members of our team. We had given our time and hearts to God, allowing Him to change us and teach us. We came closer as a working unit of creativae as we stepped out in faith using our art, music, and stories to reach the city. In Altea, many of us including myself, stepped into a refreshed way of ministering– out of an overflow of our truest selves in Christ.
Alongside our team members’ baptism, a Spaniard woman named Mimo declared her new relationship with Christ by being baptized along with us. She is just one of the Altean locals we saw dedicate her life Jesus for the first time through our trip. Her baptism is a result of a team of artists practicing their God-given talents amidst the culture.
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