Spain (MNN) — When you want to share your faith story with someone, it’s usually a good idea to sit back and listen to their story, first. That’s what one ministry is doing through art therapy, and it has become an avenue to talk about the Gospel.
World Gospel Mission partners with a ministry in Spain by sending missionaries to work at their community centers. This ministry is reaching out to those who are ignored at best and rejected and mistrusted at worst.
*Katie is a volunteer with the program. She says, “In our community centers, we offer services to immigrants, mostly coming from North Africa. We try to help with social and cultural integration through offering Spanish classes, English classes, and technology classes. We do educational support for children and teenagers.”
(Photo courtesy of Katie)
Most of the people they work with come from Morocco. But they also meet people from Sub-Saharan Africa as well as the Middle East. Katie says the community center offers them something they usually won’t find anywhere else.
“I think a lot of them need to experience love and acceptance because as immigrants living in Europe, especially because they’re Muslim, I think they sense some rejection and have trouble really integrating into the culture.”
She says that the prevalence of terrorist attacks in Europe has not helped matters and there’s been a lot of pushback.
Art therapy leads to conversations
Recently, the center began offering art therapy. Many of the women who came to the center carry stories heavy with grief and trauma. Art therapy helps them share and process their experiences.
“The women come and we choose different mental and emotional health topics to discuss each week and do some kind of art or craft. And that has opened a lot of doors for women to share about their deep pain or struggles or trials. And then that really opens the door for us to share the love of God [and] even to be able to incorporate Jesus’ teaching into topics like anxiety, for example.”
This project, while deepening relationships and helping women heal, has opened the door to share more of God’s truth with the women. Katie shares the story of a woman from Syria to show how that happens.
(Photo courtesy of Katie)
“She’s been coming to our center and also coming to the art therapy and has just experienced the pain of watching her country kind of disintegrate and all the destruction that’s been going on there.”
Through the class, she was also able to share her grief of losing a family member to the war in Syria. Her level of openness allowed the workers to invite her to an Arabic church. Here, she learned about God, the Father. The exposure she’s had to the truths of Gospel has led her closer and closer to accepting Christ.
If you’d like to help out with this work, there are a couple of things you can do. First, pray. Ask God to use this outreach to help immigrants adjust to society, and to open their hearts to the Gospel. Pray for perseverance and energy for those who are reaching out.
Katie says often there are short-term mission teams who visit from all over the world. You can get more information on this by contacting World Gospel Mission here.
*Name changed for security.