From Henna to Heart
Every Saturday, hundreds – sometimes even thousands – of visitors come to a large island off the coast of a city on the Middle East. They hop on ferries that keep a constant transport of people back and forth from the many mainland ports to the largest of five small islands just off the coast.
What makes this island special is the century-old monastery and church on the very top of the hill. People from all over the world come to make the hike just to cross its threshold. Their hope: to find God. They climb carrying their sicknesses, worries, needs, fears, and sin. They are looking for healing, forgiveness, and hope.
About halfway between where the path really starts to incline and the peak where the church stands, is a small path that levels out just enough to make the perfect rest area. This is where the group of henna artists and storytellers set up. They have carried up to a dozen stools, board signs, backpacks and bags full of Bibles and literature in many languages, all the art supplies necessary, and bottles of water for the day. For the next six hours (at least) they welcome people to have free henna art painted on their hand and listen to the words of Jesus.
Depending on the weather and the season, we can have anywhere from 20 to 200 people come, sit, listen and engage in the reading from the Bible! The design we paint on hands is especially significant and directly symbolizes key points of the Gospel. We have conversations with groups at a time and often end up praying for most of the people who have henna done. Because the group of artists and storytellers is made up of such a variety of believers from different backgrounds and ministries, there are also many ways to set up further contact with the people we meet.
After each Saturday, we count up all our supplies and try our best to calculate how many people we’ve had contact with that day. Despite being hunched over to paint and sitting on tiny plastic stools for most of the day without a break for food or “other usual necessities,” everyone in the group is resilient! We try and record as many stories as we can from the day so that we can share and praise God for all that He is doing! Here are just a few of the highlights from some of the Saturdays on the island:
“I was amazed at his understanding of the Prodigal Son story as if God was revealing to him the mystery of salvation right in front of my eyes!” – From a Storyteller
“She said she had never heard Jesus explained so well, that for the first time she understood he wasn’t just a prophet. We explained how God the Father is both just and is love. We exchanged numbers and plan to go to a local fellowship together. She said, “I believe you are the reason I came to the island today.” I felt the same way.” – Testimony from an Artist
“They all wanted Bibles. One even asked for one for her father! She told us he’d been searching for one for years!” – Report from three ladies who had henna done and were given Bibles
This henna program is just one of the many beautiful activities we get to be a part of here! And its one of the many programs that are on-going and effective because of your prayers! I hope these pictures and stories bless you today, and perhaps, whatever your time zone is, we may be praising God together for letting us be a part of His plan!
Please Note: For the sake of security the identity of the Global Worker(s) and exact geological locations have been omitted from the article.