A friend of mine sent me the info that constitutes the main body of this post. It is a story of an Iranian female Muslim artist who had to flee her country because she became a Christian. Now she and her family live in Metro Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada--where I live as well.
The beginning of this post was to feature a painting of her, but I did not know how to move it from an email to this blog. So, you'll have to use your imagination. And since I do not feel free to reveal her identity, I am changing her name to Juma'a, a woman's name in the West African Hausa language, meaning that she was born on a Friday. Of course, I have no idea on what day she was born; it is a purely arbitrary choice. And, again in order to protect her, I am not even revealing the name of this painting. Sorry about all the mystery and protection stuff, but the situation in Iran demands it from me; it's not my doing and certainly not my preference.
Let me merely say that this hidden painting radiates for her the joy of God's grace.
Here's her story:
Juma'a taught art in Iran, the country of her birth, for several years. She had collective and one-woman shows of her art (landscapes and figures of women in acrylics and watercolours) in various galleries.... She recounts hearing the testimony of a taxi driver and being given a New Testament in Farsi. Juma'a read the New Testament and began attending church. Then her husband joined her. They were questioned by government authorities and asked to renounce their faith in Christ. When she refused, she was fired from her position.... She and her husband and son fled to Turkey and eventually immigrated to Canada in 2013, sponsored by the Ladner Christian Reformed Church, and in 2015 her second child was born here.
In 2016, Juma'a took up painting again as an expression of her devotion to God and gratitude for her salvation. She knows the peace of God deeply and can testify to his faithfulness through many difficult and dangerous circumstances.
Her own statement: As an artist whose life has been changed by the grace of Christ, I believe every aspect of my life is under the influence of His love. Now, too, my goal is to glorify the Lord even through my art, which belongs to Him. In my paintings I have tried to depict the song of my salvation in and through the image and figure of a woman. Each of these is a reflection of my own experiences in my walk of faith. The crown of thorns that Jesus wore has been exchanged for a wreath of joy on my head. His suffering has brought me healing. His death has brought me life – full, free, forever. God’s will is salvation for all the nations, to turn from darkness to the light.