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Painting a testimony
When asked why she chose not to sell her artwork, Washington County teen Rebekah Harris previously answered, “Because I love art more than I love money.” But recently, she decided to part with her creations to benefit something she loves even more: growing her faith and sharing the Christian gospel.
Harris, an active member of Impact Student Ministries at First Baptist Bonifay, told her parents, Ricky and Cheryl Harris, that she wanted to attend a camp and a mission through her church youth group, as well as a camp with American Heritage Girls (AHG), a faith-based, scout-type character development program.
“We told her that we would pay for two of those, but we couldn’t do all three,” said Cheryl Harris. “It was then she decided to sell some of her artwork to fund the third trip, because all three are important to her.”
Rebekah says AHG – which will take place in Central Florida – is important, not only because of the focus on building character through service, but also because she forged strong friendships at the camp through the years.
“I have friends who I met there, and the only time I get to see them is when we go to AHG Camp Deep Water,” she said. “The camp and the service projects have really made us close, and I don’t want to miss out on that.”
The Impact Student Ministries trips include Fuge Camp, a week-long discipleship and missions camp scheduled for this summer at the University of Mobile in Mobile, Alabama, as well as a mission trip to Clarkston, Georgia, a community east of Atlanta that has been dubbed the “Ellis Island of the South” due to its dense population of refugees. While in Clarkston, the youth and adult leaders will help facilitate connections between the refugees and churches and other resources. Clarkston Ministry Center is a Send Relief hub for the North American Mission Board, with which FBC Bonifay is associated.
16-year-old Rebekah works with mainly with watercolors and colored pencils but has also created some sculptures.
“I have done art pretty much all my life,” she said. “I’m not self-taught, but I take art classes through homeschool co-ops and have practiced a lot over the years. I want to be an art teacher.”
Her mother, Cheryl, says her daughter fell in love with art at a young age but only recently began to sell it.
“She’s been doing her own artwork for years and just loves it,” said Cheryl. “I invited her to join us at the Rock the Falls event in Chipley to sell her artwork, and she finally agreed because of these trips.”
First Baptist Bonifay Youth Leader Noah Wagner says Rebekah’s dedication comes as no surprise to him, that he immediately recognized the work ethic fostered by the Harris family when he first began his position.
“When I started working here in 2018, she had just moved to the area her family, including two siblings,” said Wagner. “The Harrises are a unique family in that their mindset and philosophy do not parallel that of most, modern-day teenagers in particular. I think a lot of that has to do with their parents having a military background.”
Wagner says Rebekah is the only student who has signed up for both the camp and the mission trip. “It’s not just a trip to her for sure,” he said. “It’s truly all about church and her relationship with God. It’s an opportunity for her to grow and to also pour out to others. She really exemplifies that.”
“The camp and missions are great for our youth because not only do they get that fun camp experience; they get to pour into the community as well,” he added.
To view more of Rebekah’s artwork, visit her Instagram page at becka_artist or email her at: [email protected]
To help support Impact Student Ministries or learn about other missions at First Baptist Bonifay, call 850-547-2420 or email Wagner at [email protected]