|   Posted: May 26, 2022

When Rebecca came home from her trip to Uganda, she decided to take on a bigger role in the fight against poverty. How was she going to do it? She would start by picking up a paint brush.

Artistic Advocacy

When Rebecca came home from her trip to Uganda, she decided to take on a bigger role in the fight against poverty. How was she going to do it? She would start by picking up a paint brush.

meeting Roger's family

Sometimes, in the face of extreme poverty, we feel powerless to help. We think things like, Are my efforts making a difference? Is this worth it? I want to do more, but I don’t know how. Rebecca thought these things too. But when she met her sponsored child in Uganda, her perspective changed. After this trip, she decided to take on a bigger role in the fight against poverty.

How was she going to do it? By pursuing her lifelong passion for creating art.

Rebecca grew up in a creative family, and her artistic talent was clear from an early age. Friends and family encouraged her creativity, and she continued to explore different forms of art. Despite her talent, she felt discouraged that it would probably be impractical to try making a living as an artist. She eventually let her passion lie dormant, only creating art for her home or for gifts. She worked a few different jobs, got married and moved to Dallas with her husband. In Dallas, Rebecca stayed in the artistic community by working as the administrative assistant in the University of Dallas’s art department.

Cool Dude

Rebecca and her husband Robert discovered Compassion’s sponsorship program at a work conference. She was skeptical at first. “I was not convinced,” she shared. “It sounded great in theory, but I wondered how effective it really was.” Robert started sponsoring a child, though: a 9-year-old boy from Uganda named George. Over time, Rebecca warmed up to the program as she watched Robert and George’s correspondence. Eventually, Robert planned to visit George in Uganda. “I knew enough to know that trip would be life changing,” Rebecca said. She decided to join Robert on the trip and began sponsoring Rogers, another boy in Uganda.

Rebecca’s guess was right: that trip was life changing. She and Robert got to meet George and Rogers and visit the centers they attended. They were able to see firsthand the difference the program made in George’s and Rogers’ lives and in their communities. Rebecca gained a deeper understanding of the holistic nature of poverty. “It’s not just that the children don’t have enough food sometimes,” Rebecca summarized. “It’s about their sense of worth, their confidence in who they are. Knowing that they’re important and that they matter.”

After returning home, Rebecca decided to use what she knew and loved best to make a difference for more children like George and Rogers. Using photos from the trip, she started painting a portrait series of children her team met in Uganda. She planned to give the proceeds from the sales to Compassion’s Where Most Needed Fund. She set the price for each portrait at $456 — equivalent to a year of sponsorship.

Her first art show was held a few months later at the University of Dallas. Alongside her portraits, she provided sponsorship packets, offering attendees the opportunity to sponsor a child and have an ongoing impact. She featured her portrait series in numerous art shows and shared about Compassion.

Are You Real?
Wide Eyed Wonder

About five years after she started her portrait series, she transitioned to being a full-time artist, and she continues to create art and advocate for children in poverty. Robert makes ceramics, supporting Compassion with his work, too. They sell their art in markets together and donate 10% of their proceeds to Compassion. They talk about the sponsorship program with their customers, letting as many people as they can know about the difference sponsorship makes in real lives. They also share about Compassion on their podcast, Coffee Time Conversations. Doing all she can to fight poverty comes naturally to Rebecca as she lives out her passion for creating art. “It’s a reason to build a legacy that’s beyond me,” she asserted. “It’s not even about my art, but about the lives that can be changed because of it — just by talking about my story and sharing theirs.”

Nowadays, portraits from her Compassion series hang on the wall of Rebecca’s church, creating opportunities for the members to pray for the children or even sponsor a child. Rebecca has come a long way from looking at art as a side hobby and being skeptical about the impact she could have. “I believe we are given our talents for a reason,” she shared. “And I understand sometimes it’s hard to know how to use them. But I think if you don’t give up and you listen to the Lord’s prompting, that little nudge of the Holy Spirit, you’ll find a place.”

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