Featured Artist Epiphany
All the World is One
Photo exhibit at First Lutheran Church
With a change of seasons comes other changes too. In this case the art wall in the narthex has transformed from astonishing quilted art to photographic art and story telling. Paul Haines, both member of FLC and a life long photographer has displayed photographs linking us to the notion that “All the World is One”.
Half the display are images from the India Christian Mission Center, an orphanage and private school for some 2000 children in Salem, Tamil Nadu, India. Paul traveled there in January 2006 as a volunteer to assist with evaluating a water purification system at the orphanage and to connect with cast off children cared for at this Christian Mission facility. The children are largely from the poorest of the casts, the “undesirables cast” of Indian culture. The mission is run by a Christian couple who employ hundreds in the Hindu and Muslim community through donations to house, clothe, feed, and educate children from new borns to college in the ways of Jesus, the sciences, their culture and the planet. They prepare more than a ton of rice every day in large outdoor metal vats to provide two meals daily. Dr Jayaraj Krishnan (Pastor Jay) and his wife Christy, when not in jail for preaching Christianity, waits for mail each day to see if there are donations to pay staff and vendors who anxiously and vocally wait outside their office door. The photos are just a few of the over 1000 Paul took while documenting their lives.
The other half of the display is from a September 2011 trip Paul and his wife Karen took to volunteer with a very small not-for-profit NGO (NonGovernment Organization), UTU, in Malawi on the continent of Africa, to assist with AIDS/HIV education focused on youth in remote village. The trip largely focused on small fishing settlements on Lake Malawi (350 mi long/47 mi wide) in northern Malawi. The only access to these villages and many others was a day long hike or borrow a small boat or dugout canoe. Fortunately they were able to borrow a small 6 passenger wooden boat with a 1.5 horsepower engine in which they transported 12. With a severe fuel shortage in Malawi, they hired a taxi to smuggle fuel back from Tanzania so they could run the engine and a small generator to show AIDS/HIV educational movies to villagers. No electricity, no foreign exchange, no fuel, government corruption and an AIDS/HIV epidemic that left thousands of children without parents had not drained the villages and orphanages visited of their warm smiles, hospitality, hunger for education and informed curiosity on world events. The photo again are just a few from over a thousand showing that human spirit is alive and connects us all.
Paul and Karen are happy to share more about their journeys. Just ask.