Updated: May 22, 2021
Christel Neuendorf grew up with a love for God’s Word. As a young girl, she would often write down scripture to paste on magazine ads or write Bible verses on blank spaces she found within ads. She would send these “visual faith creations” off to friends or post them around her room.
Now a missionary and deaconess in Puerto Rico, this practice of sharing the Word creatively was rekindled through inspiration from her missionary friend, Lizz Warren, a Christian lettering artist, and family members who introduced her to Visual Faith™ Ministry. Christel very often finds herself serving groups of women, children or the elderly….and the ideas have begun flowing!
Christel initially saw some Visual Faith™ Ministry prayer cards by Pat Maier and was struck by the opportunity to not only create art and pray, but also to share that “visual prayer” with someone in need of love and care. She worked with Lizz to create the Compartiendo Los Salmos (sharing the Psalms).
They chose eight psalms – prayers of lament, ascent, and praise - that have been shared time and time again in song and worship, through dark times and times of joy. Christel calls this the “gift” of the Book of Psalms — “prayers written by people like you and me, going through this life like you and me, inspired by the Holy Spirit.”
Four cards identify each psalm visually. After a Bible study, a visit, or a devotion on a psalm, participants might color or paint the cards, praying or simply embracing the time together in the Word with their fellow believers. Cards can be shared with friends or neighbors, given as an invitation to a church gathering, or kept as a personal remember of the promises of God.
Using the Compartiendo Los Salmos provided for many opportunities to gather around God’s Word and paint cards with local missionary women, seminary wives, and Spanish teachers. Sharing with missionary women from across Latin America led to the devotions being shared with many other congregations and small groups.
Christel found that promoting a gathering as an evening of devotion and “manualidades” (crafts) resulted in good turnout, leading to community building among women of the churches and their neighbors. Very often, attendees are women - working full time, raising families, and new to the church. Sharing a technique like watercolor (not a common pastime for adults) made it FUN and helped them to embrace their creative side.
She remembers one woman saying, “I am so relaxed right now,” as she painted several scenes (cards). Christel explains, “ In our Latin American churches, we care for women who hold many (and often heavy) vocations. They are daughters caring for their parents, mothers caring for their children, the bread winners of their households, and more. These women, just like many of us, forget to take time out for themselves. We all need to allow ourselves to be creative and have a space to relax. At this Bible Study, we tried to provide that space in the Word, in art, and in fellowship.”