Artist for the Lord
“Before I came to OM Lifehope I didn’t really paint,” said Bit Cho Rong Gang, 25. Growing up in Siheung, South Korea, Cho Rong was drawn to the arts, attending an arts academy for secondary school and then studying graphic design at university.
“I didn’t have much experience, though,” said Cho Rong. “I was building a portfolio, not knowing if I was any good in the real world.” In 2011, she came to OM Lifehope to participate in one of the community encounter teams, followed by five months with OM’s Transit Challenge team traveling across Europe and sharing the love of Christ. But it wasn’t until she participated in OM Lifehope’s New Year’s 2012 outreach that her arts ministry began.
“The first time, I was worried about my skills,” said Cho Rong, “but as I painted and listened to the music it just came.” Using acrylics and oil pastels, she created an image of the earth with a yellow cross at the centre, and a leafy tree overtop. It was based on 1 Corinthians 15 where Paul writes that everything through Jesus has life; seeds, unless they die, cannot give life. Since that day, Cho Rong has been using her gifts as an artist to minister to people as often as she can, joining in with outreaches and community events, as well as blessing the OM Lifehope community with her talent.
“Art means worship,” said Cho Rong. “I want other people to be able to experience God through art.” On one occasion, Cho Rong helped a friend whose first language was not English to understand the sermons she heard in English on Sunday morning, using art. Other times, she has connected and prayed with people from a variety of backgrounds and in various circumstances, because of her art. “Art can really touch people’s hearts,” said Cho Rong. “I’ve learnt that I can help people better understand Scripture through art. I’m starting to see that art is powerful. That’s really exciting!”
It wasn’t a simple transition, however. “I was caught in a lot of rules and tradition,” said Cho Rong. “I felt guilty about taking time to observe the world around me. It was a challenge for me to slow down and pay attention. Now I know this is how God created me to be and it’s part of creating art. He has set me free and taught me about His love. I’ve learnt that I am called by God to be an artist.
Currently Cho Rong is catching the vision for how she can pursue the arts as ministry with youth and perhaps through art therapy.
“So many people think, ‘I can’t paint. I’m not very good,’” said Cho Rong. “I want to encourage them to create, to help people discover a new freedom in their lives. Often we are so busy we don’t stop to enjoy the beauty. I want to help people slow down and enjoy God’s beauty.”
Cho Rong is now back in South Korea for further study and continues to explore opportunities for arts ministry. Her time at OM Lifehope was pivotal in the new direction her life is taking.
“God doesn’t care how much we are doing for Him—He cares about our hearts,” said Cho Rong. “I found out who I am in Him, and I’m walking forward in that knowledge.”