By Julie Mowery, Back2Back Cancun, Mexico Co-Director
I’m passionate about learning! I’m also passionate about art, music, and food. So when all of these things are combined, it makes for a wonderful time.
Recently, Back2Back Cancun hosted a cultural event for the children of Bonfil, an under-resourced community we serve. The children enjoyed an evening spent learning about Italy, eating Italian food, and looking at paintings and sculptures by Michelangelo.
The primary motivation for the event was to expand their view of the world beyond where they live. Many of the children never travel far from home and don’t have opportunities to see much outside of their immediate community. Our hope was to expose them to a different culture and, in doing so, broaden their worldview.
We started the night by giving each child a passport with his or her picture in it; when they entered the event, they received a stamp in their passport. For dinner, we ate baked ziti with salad and rolls while Italian music played in the background. This type of dinner was a new experience for the children. We enjoyed showing the children how to sprinkle Parmesan cheese on their pasta. After dinner, Back2Back staff shared about Italy focusing on some fun facts about the country. We then taught about the famous Italian artist, Michelangelo, with time dedicated to viewing photos of his famous paintings and sculptures, such as David, the Sistine Chapel and Pieta.
Toward the end of the evening, we taped copies of The Creation of Adam (the famous painting of the hand of God reaching out to touch Adam’s finger) underneath the tables and asked the children to climb under and start coloring. We did this to help them understand how hard it might have been for Michelangelo to paint the Sistine Chapel ceiling. At one point, I couldn’t stand it any longer – I just had to see what the children were doing and why they were so quiet. So I crawled under one of the tables and joined Danny and Ana. They both were so engaged in coloring, fully focused on the task at hand.
As I lay side beside the children, I had “a moment” where God’s presence was so obvious and completely overwhelming. He reminded me He loves children so much! They are His masterpiece. I began to think about what it takes to create a masterpiece. Words such as passion, perseverance, patience, process, and beauty came to mind. Typically, masterpieces are not created quickly. It took Michelangelo four years to paint the Sistine Chapel ceiling and six years to paint the altar. Similarly, the process of change and life transformation takes time. That night, I looked at Danny and Ana realizing it may take years to see what God is doing in their lives, but along the way I can see pieces of His masterpiece coming together to create something beautiful.
Julie Mowery and her husband, Erick, serve as the Co-Directors of Back2Back’s site in Cancun, Mexico. Julie is passionate about family preservation and orphan prevention in Cancun and the surrounding communities. Julie is passionate about education, literacy and the arts. She enjoys creating lesson plans and activities to make learning fun.