[The Christ in Media Institute (CMI) at Bethany Lutheran College instituted a "Fellowship of CMI" to recognize and encourage Bethany students pursuing academic projects in harmony with the goals of the Christ in Media Institute, that is, to employ media to spread the Gospel. Maida was recognized as a Fellow of CMI in the spring of 2023. Here she describes her work and that of some colleagues. — The Editor]
God has been showering the Hmong Lutheran church, also called the Hmong Free Church, or HFC, in Vietnam with blessings. The congregation is absolutely flourishing with over 140,000 members and rapid growth. They just approved 60 men for seminary training, in addition to more than the 120 men who have already received seminary training there. This year marked the completion of the construction of their new seminary building outside of Hanoi. On top of the main church body, there are over 350 village congregations as well as many growing satellite groups. The Sunday School classrooms in Vietnam are well-equipped with our beautiful, WELS-produced, instructional comics. [WELS is the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod.]
I, along with 14 other skilled artists, have the incredible job of producing these comics for WELS Multi-Language Productions. With the goal of communicating God's Word clearly, we craft two-page illustrations based on the scripture used by Sunday School teachers. Each story is carefully considered by the artist, researched, sketched, and sent in for approval. Unlike most other comics, ours are composed of images only, no text. Our focus is on communicating with the universal visual language. This project started with Zambia (which you can read more about here) and has grown so much since. More artists have joined the team, and the demand for work has increased. For Vietnam, we are producing a fuller curriculum of stories spanning from creation to Paul in Rome. In addition, the churches are looking for two versions of each story: one for primary and one for elementary ages. Along with the full-color illustrations, we create coloring page versions for students to color and take home.
It is such a blessing to be able to combine the skills of our hands and heads, with the mission in our hearts.
Below are some of the images — some produced for younger audiences and others for older audiences.
For Younger Audiences
The Golden Calf by Joanna Wessel
... and here are a few produced for older audiences
The Passover by Andy Overn
Religious Worship Ordained for Israel by Lydia Kratz
The Forerunner of the Savior Announced by Lizzy Strackbein
Parable of the Sower and its Meaning by Maida Jaspersen
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