I often volunteer my creative services. It's been part of the ethos of my little business since it's beginning over 7 years ago. I don't just sit at my desk but pack up my life and move to another country for two months to work alongside the inviting ministry or business wanting my help, since doing this I've gained a lot more practical experience, because when you volunteer, you tend to lend a hand on other projects, especially if you have an aptitude towards it, or more, a willingness to it give it a go.
My current 'Colouring Page' product and service option actually birthed from my very first overseas volunteer trip to Thailand. I spent a year designing, project managing, creating Thai TV travel programs and travelled the length of the country collecting stories of the people who lived there who found God, for a couple of different ministries.
One of the many products I was involved in centred around the creation of a music DVD my team began producing. It was for Thai Children to help them remember Bible verses. Before my involvement, the music and melody had been set to each of the chosen 11 Bible verses with beautiful Thai flourish. As I came onto the scene to lend a hand, a group of willing Thai children and their parents had been gathered together to record the songs in a local music studio.
Our next venture was to bundle these familes and our crew into vans and galavant round Bangkok to beautiful places and film the videos that accompanied each song.
I learned that children the world over are the same, even the ones who live in a hot country and are 'used' to the sweltering heat. They get tired then begin moaning and act out because they are hot, tired, grumpy and hungry or any combination of the above. Loads of fun when you have 15 of of the little darlings trying to keep motivated to finish the song for the 8th time with smiles after mopping their brows for the umteen time. I admit, I was in the middle of a lesson on paitence myself and failing miserably as I was also hot, tired, grumpy and likely hungry. These poor kids were actually doing a stella job considering the temperature and even through we had their parents watching close at had with bottles of water, towels and a change of clothes, everyone was a sweaty mess. Did I mention I don't speak a lick of Thai? Thankfully some of the student missionaries around me did so I could be left thinking about more creative aspects of the job like setting up equipment and scouting round for ideal camera angles etc. This last 'job' was particularly useful when I was feeling especially hot and bothered and my patience wore more thin than was suitable for children to see.
Overall it was a fantasticly fun project and it seemed like we had all our basis covered, then an idea came to me about how we each have different learning styles and we were missing a couple to make this a complete learning experience for children. We'd had naturally covered:
Aural and Verbal - in listening of the songs and singing along with them.
Physical and Social - in movement of the body with the actions and dances accompanying the songs along with dancing with friends and/or siblings.
Visual - could be found in watching the DVD.
The last areas I thought to make my mark was that of Logical and Solitary, for the children who perfered to be on their own and work at things in a systemised manner. The Lord inspired me to create colouring pages for each of the Bible verses so they could be coloured and ordered how a child needed to suit their learning style.
The idea was enthusiastic embraced by the team and a week later The Little Scripture Colouring Book was created and was reduced in size to be made into a little booklet to fit into the DVD case perfectly. I aimed the pictures at both boys and girls doing everyday things and also added the cord changes to help future musicians when accompanying.
A friend in NZ commented on how she loved the pictures and wished for a copy for her grandchildren if it as in English. Thinking this was a grand idea I translated the scriptures, created a printable and gifted it to her. The shape of the pages, now, still retain their original purpose, to fit into a DVD case, because, at that point I hadn't had my Aha-moment in illustrating individual images so I could move them around to fit different page shapes.
Sadly, as is the nature of some projects in other countries run by volunteers, the project wasn't competed due to red tape - which is extra long in Thailand and the team all had to return to school in the States as I stayed on.
The Lord used this project to help me see how my gift and enjoyment of illustration could serve in a practical way a ministry and business.
When looking at the images of The Little Scripture Colouring Book you may notice there is a Thai 'feel' to the booklet, now you know why, it is a delightful memory of my year in their country.
If you'd like to purchase your own copy of this 11 page booklet for yourself for $5.00 NZD can do so here
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