Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Reward of a Completed Project

So I finally did it. I finished a project that I started about a year ago, when I moved into my new office studio. I had decided that I wanted to paint five different colored paintings to hang along the long wall in my office and I finally did it. It seems kind of silly to be excited about finishing decor for my office, but there might just be something else there. I mean, what would you think if you went to a doctor's office and there was nothing hanging on his walls, no magazines on his tables and maybe no tables? I know what many would think, "is this guy for real? Or is he going to still be here tomorrow." It's kind of like putting down roots.

So, by completing this project, it's like I'm showing the roots that I've been planting all year. I've been in this specific role for two years now, and I feel like I have been hitting my stride the past several months. I have down or am doing projects for places such as Peru, Venezuela, Northern Africa, the Lisu people group, Taiwan, and Spain. This is on top of the general resources that I am creating that can be used anywhere in the world! The paintings mean that I'm putting down roots and am in this for the long haul.

The five paintings also represent something else....creation. God created the heavens and the earth and everything in them. When I see the different colors of the paintings, I think of water, earth, sky, springtime, the sun and fire. I see God's creation. My paintings pale in comparison, but my goal is to give God glory in everything I do, whether it is explicitly or implicitly reflecting Him.

On April 21st, from 2-4pm, we will be hosting an Open House at my Studio/Office. If you are interested in coming, please write me so that I can get you more information. And you can see the paintings in person!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

March 2012 Newsletter

Here's our March 2012 Newsletter. Right click on any of the pics below and choose "save link as..." to download the pdf.

QR code scanning info -
* What is a QR code? It's kind of like a bar code but it can contain much more data, contact info, web addresses, etc.

* How do I scan this on my device?
  • Windows 7 Phones with 7.5 (mango) update can use the bing vision search. [if you don't have this update try PhraseMeme Scanner (found on the windows marketplace)].
  • Android phones/tablets try QR Droid (found on the Android marketplace).
  • iPhone/iPad try QR-Reader (not tested personally).
  • Blackberry try QR Code Scanner Pro (not tested personally).
* How do I read it on my device? You'll need a reader with pdf support (PDF reader).

Friday, March 16, 2012

New Storytelling Project For Oral-Based Cultures

I transitioned from our missions ministry in Italy to a missions ministry using creative arts to spread the gospel less than two years ago. My most forefront goal has been to create resources, tools and art that can be used by any of the 320 Team Expansion missionaries around the world.

I have already had several highlights...For instance, developing a one of a kind missions focused VBS curriculum, JUMP VBS. Another has been creating illustrations for the first children's curriculum for a secure/closed country.

Now, I am really pumped about a new project that I am working on. It is to take a current, helpful training program and convert it over the next year into large-size illustrated flip chart that can be used to teach/train people in villages where it is impractical or improbable to use modern digital teaching methods. The end goal primary user is someone who wants to train/teach his tribe that is oral-based and uses the classic storytelling methods that have been passed down through the ages.

Once I start completing images, I'll place some on my art blog, Matt's Sketch pad. Now back to work that I love doing with a purpose of spreading the gospel!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Coffee at Doubleshot in Tulsa

At the beginning of March, I was extremely busy putting together our brand new display and booth for Edmond Christian Church's World Outreach Sunday. I needed a boost of caffeine and a place to work that was close to the hospital where my mom was having her first round of dialysis, so I went to Doubleshot at 18th & Boston in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The atomosphere makes it easy to create and the solitude makes it easy to concentrate. The bonus is the great coffee, some of the best in America that actually reminds me of coffee in Italy! Maybe it's because they have an Italian coffee roaster and espresso set-up? Here's a pic of the latte I had that day.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Has It Been That Long?

Eleven years ago today, we arrived in Italy to start a phase of ministry that went on for another eight years. We were privileged to be part of a church plant in Ancona, then followed God to Verona to help launch a new team there with the goal of another church plant in that city.

A couple years ago, we moved into a creative arts role based out of Tulsa, Oklahoma after a car accident in 2009 left my brother minimally conscious with traumatic brain injuries and in need of home care.

When we boarded that plane back in 2001 we had no idea what the future held. We had been raising support for one year and ten months and that flight was the culmination of much waiting and prayer.

Here's some pics from the days surrounding when we left Tulsa (March 6th) and the day we arrived in Italy on March 7th. From Rome we went on to Perugia where we would spend the next nine months in language study prior to moving to Ancona.

March 5th (Night before we left at Chili's for a Going Away Party)

Our nieces and nephews on the Crosser side (back row from ltor: Matt, Taylor and Angie; middle: Kohl and Brittany; front: Brandon and Jacob)

David, Mary Ann and our niece Shelby. Macy wasn't born yet!!

Angie with her dad, Steve

Matt, Angie and Angie's mom, Elaine

March 6th (At the Airport for our long awaited departure flight)

With Matt's parents (from ltor: Bill, Matt, Angie and Jeanne)

Brothers and Cousins (from ltor: Todd, Kevin, Matt, Kirk, Greg)

Best Friends (from ltor: Anita, Angie, Erin)
All our nieces and nephews (with the exception of the yet to born, Macy) (from ltor: Jacob, Taylor, Brittany, Brandon, Kohl and Shelby in front with the bottle)

March 7th (Due to a 7 hour time difference and length of flights, we arrived the next day in Italy, tired but happy)

Surprisingly couldn't find any pics from the day we arrived. Guess we were too tired.  I'll have to check with the Casey family.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Trip to Edmond for World Outreach Sunday

This weekend we made a trip to Edmond, Oklahoma. Edmond is only about an hour and a half from Tulsa. We went to be part of Edmond Christian Church's World Outreach Event. It is an annual event that highlights all their supported missions and focuses the church on God's heart for reaching the nations. Edmond has done a great job of hosting this event through the years from  getting the church goers involved to making it kid friendly.   

We got there Saturday afternoon and set up our display. I got the opportunity to contribute to one of their kids rooms. There was a room with a huge map on the wall for kids to write notes and draw pictures of encouragement to missionaries. The second room had a medical tent set up, complete with a medical dummy and nurse to take their blood pressure, heart rate, etc... In that room they learned about medical missions. It was in the last room which I got to help. The room was to help kids understand about servant missions, like building houses and painting walls. On one side of the room was a large beam for the kids to hammer in nails. On the other side was a big canvas draped over a pvc pipe frame. They asked me to paint a house outline so that they next day the kids could "paint" the house!

As we were leaving the parking lot after setting up we saw a really cool sign. Every church campus should have this sign as you leave to reenter the world.

Sunday morning came and we got to speak with many believers there in Edmond about the work and great opportunities that God was for us. We gave out many new prayer cards and added a commited prayer partner!  Kids came by and we gave them stickers that we made and stamped their "passport". The passport was something that Edmond came up with where each booth had a stamp and the kids took their little book with full color of the missionaries and we stamped the page with our name and picture on it. Such a creative way to insure that each child stopped at each booth!

When the service started we found a seat to worship together. During communion they showed a video of believers from all the world taking communion. Then during the offering they showed a companion video of believers taking up offering in countries around the globe. Great visual.

Then Angie and I went to talk with the children's church for about five or six minutes. We talked about the images and illustrations that I create travel all over the world to help missionaries tell people about Jesus. Then using my Motorola Xoom tablet, I drew them a picture based on a suggestion from the group. Afterwards the kids prayed for us and we rejoined the adults.

The message was brought by one of the missionaries, Nathan Lawson, missionary in Zimbabwe. Great sermon using the story of the master leaving three servants in charge of money while he took a trip. When he returned two had done something with the money, but the third buried it and hid it from sight. The thought that "what we have is not OURS" was impressed and other great ideas to reflect on.

After the service there was a lunch for all. The missionaries all went to a table in the front and after eating, we had a question and answer panel. Several questions were asked and answered. Then once the panel was finished everybody disbanded and we packed up our display. It turned out to be a great experience for us and the church.

As we left Edmond, we made our now compulsory stop at Pop's. It's on Route 66 and has hundreds of variations of pop/soda/carbonated beverages. I got soem root beer, grape soda, strawberry pop and a peach soda too!

Here's a video I created showing me drawing in CorelDraw X5 on my laptop. I did this so people at the event could see a little of how I do what I do.