Art is helping HIV/AIDS abroad and souls at home

By April 15, 2008

USA (MNN) — It took over a year, but a student at Western Michigan University used an Urbana experience to make a global difference.

Urbana is InterVarsity Christian Fellowship's triennial youth missions conference. It's the largest in the world and was held in Saint Louis in December 2006. While it was held over a year ago, it touched Bette Lau, who is a senior art major at the Western Michigan University and a member of the InterVarsity chapter there.

She said God used Urbana to encourage her to make a difference. Lau says God gave her a picture "of an art exhibit that would raise awareness for AIDS victims in Africa, to people here that would help them understand what was going on there."

So Lau decided to hold an art exhibit to raise money and awareness. The first thing she did was to get other students involved. "[I invited] them in to join me in this process — inviting art students at Western to create images that would raise awareness of the AIDS epidemic. And to my surprise, 40 people in Western's art department signed up."

The exhibit featured works from Christians and non-Christians. Lau says, "Creating this exhibit really formed community with the artists involved. [They came] together behind this mission and supported one another and encouraged one another to say, 'Wow, this is a world-changing event.'"

She says it helped artists understand that their art can make a difference in the world, as well being a way to earn a living.

Lau says it also had spiritual significance. She was able to "share the Gospel with some of the professors and the students, [some] who were asking, 'Why are you doing this?' and just being able to share with them."

The exhibit was held this month, and they were able to raise $1,800 to send to help World Vision HIV/AIDS victims in Africa. There were abstract works, portraits, landscapes and other art that helped depict the HIV/AIDS suffering.

Lau will graduate in the spring and will be attending seminary at Cornerstone University's Grand Rapids Theological Seminary to help her discover how God can further use her art to lead people to Christ.

Pray that God will continue working in the hearts of other Urbana participants who felt called by God to do something special for Him.

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