One day, in what seems the distant past, I came up with a great idea.
“Melbourne is kind of cool and artsy. And Unshackled and HOPE61 are kind of partnering. Maybe we should co-host an art show to introduce a wider audience to both ministries! That’s an awesome idea!”
Much like my previous (massive) crush on William Moseley and my experience as senior class president, as the end approached I could only wonder aloud to any listening ear,”Why have I done this? What’s wrong with me?”
I’m one of those people who can’t keep their own room clean but who wakes up in the middle of the night to send myself emails with work notes.
Put paper straws in glasses at 7:25 so they don’t get soggy.
Put fruit and water together at 6:00 so it flavors well.
Pick up Kia & Kiana’s artwork.
Ignore ridiculous email from so and so.
You get the picture.
Jess (Unshackled coordinator) and I were the creators and managers of the event, getting some much needed help the day of the event from friends who helped us hang the artwork, prepare the food, and made us stop to eat supper. Some of the Unshackled team members helped with the food table and with the information table. OMS people helped with set up and clean up.
Overall, I was amazed to see our vision come together. All those frustrating interactions, all the good ones, the errands, the hope I had the right hooks for the type of wall…all the hours of preparation came together seamlessly. I don’t often say this with conviction, especially with events, but I am proud of myself. Despite getting fewer attendees than I would have liked it was just as we’d discussed and imagined. Rhian, a friend from Houghton College now living in the UK, created the logo we used as a part of our theme “What’s in a Name?” emphasizing that slaves today are names, not numbers. Sally, another Houghton College classmate, advised me on how to display the artwork.
Twenty artists submitted their work for display and seventeen donated it for sale, benefiting HOPE61 and Unshackled. We made back our event costs plus some and are exploring how to sell the rest of the artwork online to make further and much needed profits.
Since working with OMS Australia I’ve found the value of good relationships with board members. Not only are they wonderful people I can learn from and grow with, but they’re encouraging and often want to help spread the word. They have insider knowledge of the mission and see each ministry as it grows. It made me so happy to have a few of them come along to the art show.
Raising funds is well and good, but it was also an opportunity to share HOPE61 with people who normally attend Unshackled events and vice versa. Partnership is something I rarely engage in from a ministry standpoint. Honestly, it can sometimes distract both groups from their real focus instead of forming a stronger vision. Unshackled works in a different area than us, raising funds for anti-trafficking groups & creating political change, so I’ve found that neither one of us overshadows the other. We do different things. I also like that Unshackled is inherently supportive and is a local group making local waves. They’ve taught me a lot about advertising and holding events in the Australian culture, and I’m sure I’ll keep learning from them. It’s good to be a part of their team.
I’ve gotten so much positive feedback from the evening that, at day’s end, I have to stop and thank God for what He did. All glory goes back to Him, as it should and will, forever.