“It was the first time I realized that painting could capture the Word of God, speak into people’s lives and give me the opportunity to share my faith.”

Janice T. (Alliance & Short-term team member)

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Every day all around the globe, artists on mission are creating, cultivating, and contributing in their communities. As they seek to see their art used in the work the Lord is doing, we want to share their stories to encourage and inspire.
This blog is a place to read those stories, giving you a glimpse into how the Lord is using the arts around the world.
Thursday, 18 January 2024 22:16

Liberation through the Arts: Senegal 2023

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In September of 2023, a team of 6 from Inspiro traveled to Senegal to lead an Arts in Trauma Healing Workshop. One particular participant, Chichi*, walked away with a powerful testimony. Read about her experience below!

In a city about an hour outside of Dakar, the team led a three-hour workshop that sparked an animated discussion amongst the local church leaders about being trauma informed. On Sunday, one of the pastors discussed what he had learned and challenged the church to consider this topic further. After this, the team settled in Dakar for the week to lead smaller, daily trauma healing sessions. About 20 people attended for the whole week, learning how trauma affects the brain and how worship and the arts can be used to reintegrate traumatic experiences. They were led in exercises using songwriting, acting, that helped them process their experiences. 

Chichi participated in the week of sessions. She shares that she learned several things from the workshop. One was to listen to people better, recognizing that listening is important for empathy. Reflecting on an exercise they did in which one person did a movement and another had to follow them, she said, “Listening is about connection.” She also learned about forgiveness and how important it is in the healing process. This made her think about people she needed to forgive as well as reminded her to check her own heart to see if she was in need of forgiveness for anything.

However, the main blessing for Chichi came through the process of lamentation. Chichi lost her mother at the age of 2. Prior to coming to the workshop, she shares that she “didn’t realize there was a wound that wasn’t healed yet.” Since then, she has been living her life unconsciously repressing the pain of this loss. She shares that she didn’t realize there was a wound that wasn’t healed until that specific day of the session when the Holy spirit convinced her she needed to be healed from her mother loss.   That very day, the participants were to construct laments using whatever artform they desired. The day before this was to happen, the leaders asked them to pray about what artform they would use. Chichi is a musician and a poet, and she anticipated using music to make her lament. However, she felt the Holy Spirit directed her to write a poem. She shares, “He knew what I needed to be healed from,” for the poem came from the depths of her soul and expressed things she had never expressed before.

When it came time for the participants to share what they had created if they felt comfortable, Chichi wasn’t sure she wanted to share. But, she decided to when she knew that God would hear her voice and that her writing needed to be expressed and her emotions allowed to come out. She shared the poem in a slam poetry style, and in doing so, the Holy Spirit showed off, liberated her from all the emotions she couldn’t express before. God’s healing presence was palpable, and the entire audience was moved. Chichi said, “I was liberated because I could not express these emotions before. From then on, I feel I’ve been relieved of a big burden, I’ve been HEALED.” 

We are praising the Lord with Chichi for His work to set her free through the arts. Our prayer is that many more experience healing like Chichi as they interact with the Lord through the arts. 

*Name changed for security purposes

Last modified on Thursday, 25 January 2024 20:56