Collaborating with friends who have the same passion is always fun. Collaborating with them for a purpose is even better. Keep reading to know how two artists teamed up to create something that would ultimately help victims of trafficking know that they are beloved, treasured, and having hope is possible.

Recently I, Jon, was able to work on a joint project with a good friend from college (Moody Bible Institute). I knew Anya from typical interactions like class, the gym, and mutual friends, but we also were both part of a small group I started for artists at MBI. We all holed away in an abandoned classroom to paint and draw in a space where we could encourage each other’s creativity. Years later, Anya and I are both striving to use our artistic gifts in ways that honor the One who gave them to us and I’m excited to show you what we came up with as we combined our newest artistic crafts.

First, a little more about Anya. She started a small business, Haven Made Designs, building and painting custom wooden signs. These hand made pieces of art make it possible for people to hang words of hope, inspiration, and truth in their homes and businesses where they can be needed reminders at each glance. You can see what I’m talking about by visiting her website.

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Not only do Anya and I share a passion for art but we also have hearts to see victims of trafficking be freed from their bondage and find hope in Christ. So I asked her to collaborate with me on a project for ATR, the anti-trafficking ministry Erika is directing. I made a set of six pens. Then I sent them to Anya who beautifully painted a word on each one. Finally, she sent them back and I put the finish on each one.

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The blocks of wood that became the pens.

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The same wood after I hand turned them.  

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After Anya painted the words. Ready for their finish.

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With the finish, before the pen body is assembled with the rest of the kit.

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The finished products.

And these are the finished products. Beautiful, if I do say so myself.

Each of the words we chose carry a lot of significance for us as we consider the victims of trafficking in Italy. We know that while they feel ashamed and despised that they are in fact deeply loved by God; beloved daughters. We know that while they are in despair that there is hope in Christ who can restore all things. And we know that while they are treated like trash they have inherent value as image-bearers of the King of Kings and treasured by Him no matter the darkness that has marred their souls.

 

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The pens are representative of the work of Alleanza Tesori Raggianti / Radiant Treasures Alliance (ATR) to equip, empower and unite practitioners and advocates in Italy who are seeking to show God’s treasured daughters – 50,000-100,000 who are being prostituted in Italy right now – how He sees them and to share His offer of hope and healing. As such, each pen in this limited edition series is for sale on my website with all proceeds going towards the work of ATR.

But wait, there’s more!

As you well know, we are working hard to get back to Italy so that we can continue full time ministry there. Erika has been directing ATR from a distance while we’ve been Stateside and while it’s been amazing to see what God has done to grow and use ATR to impact treasures in Italy, it will be that much more effective when we can be on the ground. We are also excited to launch the micro-enterprise initiative where Jon will teach treasures to turn pens as an alternative way of generating income. But he can’t teach them if he isn’t there.

We are ready to get back on the ground, but we are waiting to find the rest of the financial partner team we’re missing so that we can reach our financial goal. We also have some special expenses that need to be covered and Anya had a creative idea about how to help us. She has announced that she will be painting 20 signs, with the same words you see on the pens, and donating some of the proceeds to help cover the costs of our family’s move back! If you are interested in buying one of those limited edition “Better Together” signs, you can do so through Anya’s website but you better hurry because I doubt they’ll last!

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Who wouldn’t want one of those beautiful signs in their home signifying the truth that we are all treasured and beloved by the God of the Universe and He alone holds out true hope?! Not to mention that your purchase will impact Italy by enabling us to return to serve treasures there to the glory of God.

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It’s always fun working with other artists to create something, especially when it’s for a purpose. Anya, thanks so much for your generosity in heart, talent and time to see people come to know Him and to help us offer them safe haven. How cool that a couple dozen individuals or families will  have one of these works of art as a reminder of all they represent while impacting Italy’s treasures too.

Reader, remember that YOU too are beloved. You are treasured. You can look to Him and Him alone for hope.

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