God’s greatest blessings are spiritual.
During January of 2014, I spent three weeks in Nicaragua leading a unique interterm experience which was comprised of teaching history, culture, and design to Greenville College students. During the ending two weeks of the trip each student used skills learned in his or her specific major and worked in an occupational ministry site under full time Students International staff. In each of these ministry sites students were given tasks to help improve the lives of those living in the poorest communities of the area.
While surrounded with poverty in Nicaragua, I never once thought to myself “I am more blessed than this group of people.” I simply don’t believe that is true from a Christian sense of the word “blessed.” God does not bless Americans with material goods more than those who are living in less developed countries. That would imply that Americans pray harder and in return God gives them more material blessings. I personally do not believe in the “prosperity gospel” as many of the strongest believers in the world are living in poverty every day. God’s greatest blessings are spiritual. However, I don’t have a problem with saying that I’m blessed when referring to a material good as I feel that in doing this I am acknowledging that all good things come from God.
So rather than praying for material blessings for those I was serving, I prayed to be more open to God. During my morning devotions on the mission trip I asked God to “Open the Door” to my heart and to “Fill me with your love” so that I could find the right words and actions needed to make another person’s life better in some way. I also prayed for focus so that I could hear his plans for me. Even though I was in another country, it was easy for my mind to wander back home and I felt that it was important that I put my whole self into the ministry work during the time I was in Nicaragua.
Once I returned to the states, students Kathryn Kelley, Fallyn Paruleski and I put on a campus gallery show titled “Masaya, Reflections from Nicaragua.” At this show we featured the design work we created for the non profit Students International and artistic pieces we created in response to our experience living and serving in Nicaragua. You can view some pictures from this event here: Greenville College Masaya Gallery Show and you can view photography from the trip here: Greenville College Visits Nicaragua.
Since the gallery show was about my trip to Nicaragua, I felt it was important to find a way to use my prayers in a design. It was also important to me that the content would be something that the viewer would find uplifting. When I reflected on all of the devotions that I studied while in Nicaragua the verses Isaiah 41:10 and Matthew 7:78 came to mind. I paired these verses with my own prayers in a design that equally focused on typography and photography. I also wanted the gallery viewers to interact with the design and make the words their own in someway. This is why each of the designs were printed as a standard 2 x 3.5 business card and the line “This Prayer or Verse Will Guide My Life” was added to encourage the viewer to write something personal on the back of the card.