by Sheri Schofield
The Apostle Paul, missionary to the Gentiles, had a vision one night. A man from a country across the sea stood before him begging, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” (Acts 16:9 NIV).
Paul went. There in Macedonia, he preached the message of salvation and raised up a church for Jesus where hungry hearts longed to hear the message!
Many years ago, the Lord started me on a journey that would lead to my own Macedonia. It all began with a simple request that I made to my pastor one day.
“Pastor Jim, could I please paint a mural on my children’s church wall? I want to paint a picture of Jesus by the Sea of Galilee surrounded by children with the faces of kids in my class. I think it will help them understand how much Jesus loves them.”
“But, Sheri, that’s our fellowship room! We use it for so many other purposes! I don’t think that’s a good idea.” Pastor shook his head.
I couldn’t say that I blamed him. I hadn’t painted in over sixteen years, and I’d done mostly landscapes. But portraits? And after sixteen years? I sighed. I’d felt so sure that this was what God wanted me to do!
The desire did not go away. Instead, it grew. Every now and then, I’d bring it up to my pastor. Finally, after a year and a half, he said, “Okay, Sheri. But don’t get too into it. We may want to paint over it!” Then he left on his summer vacation.
Yes! I had three weeks! It wouldn’t be enough time to cover the space the way I wanted, but I’d get a good start. The wall was textured and in many places almost like stucco. It would mean I’d have to push the paint onto the surface instead of brushing it. The wall was nineteen feet long by seven feet high. What a challenge!
Then the miracle happened. God took my small ability and greatly multiplied it! By the time Pastor Jim returned from vacation, I had painted the background of the Sea of Galilee, a Cyprus tree hanging over the water on one side, and Jesus with three children – each child easily recognizable!
Pastor Jim was speechless. He stood looking at it for a few minutes with wide-open eyes. “How are you doing that?” He finally asked.
I shrugged. “I don’t know, Pastor. I just asked God to help me!”
Eventually, every child in my class was on the wall. When their pictures went up, the children would say, “I’m on the wall with Jesus!” They’d scoot their chairs over to the wall and pat it while I told the lesson. One toddler would break out singing, “Jesus Loves Me” every time she wandered through the room. Every child in that class asked Jesus into his or her heart that year.
And nobody painted over that mural!
I asked God, “What am I supposed to do with this gift?” But He told me to just have fun with it. So I did. I practiced painting, always on the alert for further instructions.
Once I had mastered the craft, the Lord told me to write and illustrate a children’s picture book on the plan of salvation and give it away to the poor! There are now over 3,000 copies of that book circulating in Montana. It has also been translated into Spanish; 2,000 of those are being printed, to be distributed on our southern U.S. border to the immigrants and poverty-stricken towns of Mexico’s Sierra Madres.
This is my Macedonia. I embrace it gladly!
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners. Isaiah 61:1 NIV
About the author: Sheri Schofield is an award-winning children’s author-illustrator and children’s ministry veteran of 40 years. Sheri was named Writer of the Year in 2018 at the Colorado Christian Writers’ Conference for her work in effectively sharing the gospel of Jesus. Her ministry, Faithwind 4 Kids, can be followed on her blog at her website, http://www.sherischofield.com. Questions welcomed!
Read Sheri and her husband’s amazing story in One Step Ahead of the Devil: A Powerful Love Story. Thrust into national politics because of her husband’s work, Lissa McCloud struggles to save the life of the man she loves from those who are bent on his destruction. Based on true events, the reader is taken deep into the heart of national politics –all the way to Congress and the President of the United States.
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