Reflections on 15 Years of Ministry
From Lori Westling, Art 2 Heart Founder, on the 15th Anniversary of the Art 2 Heart Ministry
Besides getting to be a wife and mom, my next greatest privilege has been getting to be a part of Art 2 Heart for the last 15 years. I vividly recall God’s hand in the “birth” of this ministry in the Fall of 2004 as my kids helped me with design ideas for beaded flatware (our first product line.) My daughter prayed with me and we walked into a store in San Juan Capistrano, CA to ask if they’d be willing to sell the flatware so that we could adopt an entire village in Zambia through World Vision. When the lady working there said a Christian man had just purchased the store and that she knew he’d want to sell the flatware there, God opened Door #1 for Art 2 Heart -- and He has been faithful to provide and guide through every season since.
I could literally write a book about all the amazing characters God has brought together and the adventures God has orchestrated to write Art 2 Heart’s story over these past 15 years! God moved our family back to Minnesota in 2008. Soon afterward, He divinely orchestrated Art 2 Heart's establishment in Hamel, including providing our first 6 months of rent. At that point, we knew God wanted Art 2 Heart in Hamel, and we have been blessed to be operating here ever since.
Art 2 Heart has changed dramatically in size, the number of volunteers, the number of handcrafted products we offer, and in the number of ministries we are blessed to support, and it’s because of God’s grace and all the faithful, talented volunteers God has brought every step of the way to carry out the creative work He wants to do through us. But, one thing that has remained constant is that this is a MINISTRY first and foremost.
You see, it was also 15 years ago that God gave me a new life. He helped me understand and accept the priceless gift of forgiveness and eternal life through Jesus Christ. I realized He lived the perfect life that I never could and died in my place so that I could live a new life, free from the past, and with a joy and peace I had never experienced before. I had lived 35 years without a relationship with Jesus and have now lived 15 years with Jesus in my life, and there is no comparison.
So, my personal faith journey, and my desire to be creative and to help others through my creativity, is the foundation of the Art 2 Heart story. Our volunteers share this desire to use creativity to positively impact the lives of others as we share God’s love and hope through Jesus. And our prayer is that everyone who interacts with Art 2 Heart -- whether as a customer, artist, volunteer, ministry, or those who we are privileged to bless through our ministry partnerships and through our HEartReach prayers and little care packages -- will in some way be encouraged and inspired in his/her faith and life.
God has enabled Art 2 Heart to operate all these years and expand our impact through faithful donations from people like YOU! It’s our once-a-year fall fundraising time, and our team has a fun incentive for you: In celebration of 15 years of ministry, for every MONTHLY gift of $15 or more, I will personally bead a piece of flatware for you as a special thank you gift! (Use the DONATE button at the bottom of this page.)
THANK YOU to everyone who has played a role in Art 2 Heart’s amazing story over these past 15 years. All of us here at Art 2 Heart are excited to see what God has planned for the years to come!
Lori Westling, Founder, Art 2 Heart