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Picturing God

Students are using art to express what God means to them at a BMS World Mission supported international school in Albania.


“I love teaching art,” says BMS teacher Jill Morrow, who works at Christian international school GDQ in Albania. Her class of nine year olds loves art too and recently they have been using it to show how they feel about God.

For some time Jill has connected art with topics like history, geography and science. “It is a way the children can learn and be more expressive about what they know,” she says.

This academic year, she decided to do something slightly different. She got the class to create abstract pictures of the sea or a water scene made up of different shapes. Then she asked them to put words or a phrase from the Psalms into their pictures to reflect what they felt about God.

Jill’s students responded well to the exercise and were quickly absorbed by it. The children asked her questions like, “Well I know this about God, it isn’t in this psalm, but can I add this in?” and “Is it OK to write this about God?”

Jill let them add their own words about their experience of God into the pictures. The students not only created beautiful works of art but personal ones too, reflecting on what God meant to them. The next day their art was used as a stimulus for prayer and then displayed in the school for others to see.

Working in a Christian school gives Jill the freedom to connect faith with learning, something she really values.

“God has made us with all our different interests, our different abilities,” she says. “Art is one of the ways we can express our thoughts and meditate on God. It is part of developing children to reach their full potential, whether it be increasing their scientific knowledge or through aesthetics. It’s about making them into more complete children and adults.”

Around 70 per cent of GDQ’s pupils have parents working in the mission community with 30 per cent from the business community. Some of the non-Christian students are really receptive to the exploration of faith in their lessons.

“I think the children are really responsive,” says Jill. “A few of them are like little sponges when we are talking about different ideas in the Bible class. One girl from a non-Christian background who has two younger brothers, came to me at the end of the class and wanted to know: ‘How can I explain this to my little brother?’ I thought that was amazing.”

GDQ is not only allowing parents to change Albania for the better by teaching their children. They are helping these children, as their mission statement says, “to reach their maximum potential for the glory of God’. Pray for Jill and the rest of the GDQ staff as they prepare to do this important task in the coming school year.

Painting a picture and taking a photograph. Both can capture a moment and a mood before you have to move on.
 
This week, find out how art has helped GDQ students get closer to God, the stories behind some of the winning entries from the 2015 Action Team photo competition and why mission workers Claire Bedford and Kathy Russell are on the move.

 

This article first appeared on the website of BMS World Mission and is used with permission  

 

 

 

BMS World Mission, 14/07/2015
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