Click picture to enlarge and see detail
Jessica and Thomas are in the picture
Recently our Relief Society President asked me if I would ask Jacob (my 14 year old son) and an individual that I home teach to paint a mural on a 4X8 piece of plywood to share at our Christmas event (Visions of Bethlehem) to be held at our Ward building but was open to the whole valley. She also wondered if they could cut out holes where the heads were so kids could put their faces in the holes and pictures could be taken at the event.
I mulled the idea around in my head.
I waited 3 weeks and with 2 weeks until the event I sprang the idea on Jacob and Jack Koonce (the person that I home teach). They gladly accepted.
Jack is not a member of our church. He is a professional artist that belongs to a family that I home teach. 6 months into visiting this family, Jack, who had been absent began sitting with his family as Jake and I presented our lesson each month. Jake and Jack became quick friends due to the commonality that Jack and Jake have for art. Jake would bring some of his art over and Jack would nicely critique. Jake would send his claymation videos and Jack would laugh and marvel. When approached with this project Jack indicated that he would instruct Jake on how to paint a mural but would not do it for him. Painstakingly, and with just 2 weeks to spare, Jack taught Jake how to paint a mural.
When I saw the mural for the first time I was flabbergasted and could not speak! The mural that I saw before me, which started out as an idea in our Relief Society presidents mind, was stunning. I was told by Jack, that Jake had painted 95% of the painting. Those who know me know what happened next...
We took the mural to the social event where it was the highlight. Hundreds came through our building to see nativity's from around the world on display in our cultural hall and then to see this nativity mural painted by Jacob. Our local Albertson's supermarket used a picture of the nativity mural in their hour-photo as an example of the season.
On a recent visit to Jack's home I was humbled as I thanked Jack for helping and mentoring my son to make this beautiful work of art. I told him that this mural would be used for years to come as a show piece for the annual "Visions of Bethlehem" event, that hundreds have seen it and will continue to see it and that words could not express the gratefulness in my heart for his time and effort.
He told me that the pleasure was all his. That working with Jake was one of the great experiences of his life. Then in mid-sentence he teared up. Then those of you that know me know what happened next...
Jake and Jack's perfect example of selflessly sharing their talents to build the kingdom and bring others closer to Christ shined as an example to me.