Sunday, March 31, 2013


CENA - São Paulo, Brazil  (3 of 3)  After the workshop, I went out by the materials table. One of the guys at CENA was picking out some materials to make a story rope. 

“Why do you want to make one?” I asked.Because I want to use it when I work with people here.”   Our friend saw the story rope as a valuable tool to discover how people land on the street. It usually always has to do with broken relationship. The story rope helps a person see their journey through life and where it all went wrong.  The truth that they are in God’s story, offers hope, in the middle of Crackland. 
Photos: My friend Diane with CENA worker and Crackland.


CENA - São Paulo, Brazil (2 of 3)  

After telling their stories with their story ropes, I asked the group if they thought the story rope would be a helpful tool in their ministry at CENA and how might they see it used?

Without hesitation two leaders gave their ideas. One said she would use it in September on the three day retreat they were planning to have with women of the program. Another said she would use it in April at a special event she was planning for a group she was working with on the streets.

After that discussion, I brought out the golden cording and stretched it out with the help of 2 people holding the ends.  This was God’s Story Rope.  We are each connected to His story.  Our future is not rooted in the past.  

But Joseph said to them, “Don't be afraid…You plotted evil against me, but God turned it into good.  Genesis 50:19-20 
They spontaneously moved forward, putting their ropes on God’s rope, connecting each of their stories to His.  That's me in back row on right.  photoshop-poster edges filter
To be continued.

Saturday, March 30, 2013


São Paulo, Brazil (1 of 3)

The 16th and final storyrope workshop of my 6 week trip to Brazil and Peru, was at CENA in São Paulo, Brazil. 

CENA is in Crackland aka the mouth of the garbage. The mission there helps the street people - the prostitutes, homeless, crack-addicts and transvestites.

 I was invited to show them how to use the story rope. Perhaps they could use it in their street ministry.
We had an afternoon workshop with 9 attending.

• Outside the 2nd floor window looking down into the courtyard. 
• Young adults from Germany serving at the mission. They stood right by the materials table - set up in the hall and created their ropes. 

To be continued.

DIANE BLOGS ABOUT 'Linho do Tempo'

Just came across this blog post from our friends, the Droogsma’s,  in Rio De Janiero. We stayed with Jeff and Diane for 4 weeks and just returned a week ago.  Diane and I did the story rope ministry together. I enjoyed seeing the pictures and reading Diane’s re-cap and perspective on our travels around Rio and São Paulo with ribbons, buttons & fabric strips.

We shared much time together, listening to women’s stories and saw God open the door to healing over and over again, through the ‘Linha do Tempo.’ (timeline) I left all the story rope materials with Diane so she can carry on the ministry as God leads.
There's Diane on the right in photo at CENA in São Paulo. 

Diane, you were awesome to partner with!!! Thank you both so much for your hospitality!

Friday, March 29, 2013

PIURA, PERU The Wedding Veil

Piura Norte, Peru (Part 5 of 5) February 16, 2013  (In photoshop filter)

Toward the end of the teaching, Cathy took a wedding veil and a mirror out of the felt heart pillow. She moved around the room, putting the wedding veil over each woman, one at a time. As she make eye contact with each, she held a mirror up for them to see their image. To each she said, “This represents who you really are. You belong to Jesus.”

It was like a Holy Communion taking place. One by one, each had a personal encounter with Jesus and what His Truth meant in their life. We were all spellbound at what was taking place.

There were tears, many tears around the circle, women finding hope in Jesus for the first time in their stories. Community was forming as they found others in their group had similar very hard stories.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

PIURA, PERU The Tale of Two Hearts

Piura Norte, Peru.  (part 4 of 5)  
February 16, 2013  (photos PS-dry brush filter) 

Cathy did the teaching Saturday night at the 2-evening retreat. She used her story rope and 2 heart pillows to tell the story of her own broken life and her identity restored by Jesus.

One heart was made of felt with objects hidden inside. The objects represented false hope, fear, worry, shame, pride, hardened heart, strongholds, etc.  Cathy talked about each after pulling them out of the heart, one at a time – and placing them at the foot of a cross.*

She then correlated the teaching with another heart  pillow.  This 2nd pillow was tightly bound up with black ribbons – which were released one at a time, as the objects were placed at the cross.  This represented inner (heart) healing as God’s truths set us free from the lies of shame, fear, etc – allowing a bound, unidentifiable heart to become recognizable, representing freedom to receive and give out God’s love.

Cathy's teaching was about our identity. Though our identity was stolen by the Enemy, it is ours to take back with the powerful help of Jesus. Our future is not shaped or determined by our past.  Our identity is found in Christ.  Our future is in His hands. We belong to Jesus, who is crazy in love with each one of us.
When we truly know who we are -
because we know who He is, 
it changes the decisions we make. This changes homes, churches, cities, nations and cultures.
Next post: The Wedding Veil.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

PIURA, PERU The Chile Dinner !

Piura Norte, Peru  (part 3 of 5)
February 16, 2013

Brenda made the 2 evening retreat, a very special time for the women of Piura Norte.  On the second night she prepared a chile dinner followed by chocolate cake!

It was easy to see with such special attention to details, how much Brenda loves these women!

click on photos to enlarge
Later in the evening it would be Cathy's turn to teach.  

Cathy's presentation turned out to be a most moving, impactful time for the women of Piura Norte. 

To be continued in the next post.

For other posts on Story Ropes in Peru click here.

Friday, March 22, 2013

PIURA, PERU Choosing and Creating

Piura Norte, Peru (part 2 of 5)   
February 15, 2013

Retreat on Friday night 

Their turn. 
Create a story rope.

Encontrando a Dios en La Historia de Tu Vida.

• choosing materials

• working on their laps 

• looking at their ropes

 click on photos to enlarge

Monday, March 18, 2013

PIURA, PERU A Weekend Retreat Begins

Piura Norte, Peru 
(part 1 of 5)

The in-town retreat for the women of the Allianza Piura Norte church, was actually held at our hotel in the breakfast room. 

It was a very nice room with AIR CONDITIONING!!!!!!! 

Piura is HOT!!! 

Cathy and Brenda set the room up as I prepared for speaking that evening. 

For every group we had to flex  in response to - changing focus, size of group, logistics and/or timing. That was a good thing.  

It kept us focused, dependent on God and challenged our problem solving skills! 

Here's how the evening started:

• sharing my story-rope

• teaching with the quilts

• break with treats 

• a closer look at the quilts.

Yesterday on the Creative Process, I wrote of our arrival in Piura. Click here.

LIMA, PERU Sharing Stories in Monterrico

Monterrico.  Lima, Peru  (6 of 7)
Feb. 12, 2013

Our second night with the women of Monterrico. 

Sitting in a circle, it was time to tell their stories.

Ruth translated for me.  

They listened so intently to their friends.  

Sharing joy mixed with tears.

click on photos to enlarge 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

LIMA, PERU An Artist walks in with a Collage!

Monterrico.  Lima, Peru  (5 of 7)
Feb. 12, 2013

It was the second night of our class in Monterrico. Tonight they would share their story ropes, created the night before.  

One of the women walked in with a long narrow piece of plywood with her collaged story. An artist in the group!  YES!!! She told me she could not wait to get home the night before to begin working on this collage! 

I wish I could the story except to say the  meandering purple represents her life before Christ. I believe she used purple in place of black for a troubled past. At the cross, the purple stops when Christ enters her life.

She also made a story rope with more than one strip. There were two stories going down the side-by-side strips.

BRAZIL You Are In God's Story (3rd story rope class)

Rio De Janeiro 3rd class 
After making their cordão de vida they were invited to share - but ONLY if they wanted to.

Following the story-telling we tooked at the two quilts. 

The quilt on the left is
 Pathway to Healing, the first of the Rwanda quilts (click to see all 4 Rwanda quilts). 

In my own story, It was hard for me to sense God's precence when I was in the deep depression. This verse offered me comfort that He was there:  

Behold I go forward but he is not there, and backward, but I can not percieve him. When He acts of the left, I can not behold him, He turns on the right, I can not see Him. BUT HE KNOWS THE WAY I TAKE and when He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold. Job 23:8-10. 

This is my story! 

The quilt on the right is God's Story Rope. 
Many of their stories contained a lot of darkness.  So many women  I've taught, most recently in this southern hemisphere, have been hurt and abused in evil, ugly ways, at the hand of others. 

This is verse I've used alot in these groups:  Genesis 50:19 What was meant for evil, God will use for good.  Don't stay hunkered down in the black -  in the past. Take risks!  God is there. Always available. 

At the end, everyone hung their story on God's story rope. For some, the healing process began last night. 

BRAZIL A Circle of 30 (3rd class in Brazil)

Rio de Janeiro  3rd class-part 1

There were 30 in the story rope class last night.  30 women in the circle. 30 individual life stories to think about and work out on their cordão de vida (life cord or story rope). The evening began with worship. (photo 1)

Using my cordão de vida I told my story, how God had used everything, even the very, very long difficult dark time. God wastes nothing!!!!! 
(photo 2 - telling my story with Raquel translating)

On to teaching how to make their own cordão de vida - standing by the materials, explaining they need to choose a long strip to begin the process. 
(photo 3 - holding my story rope)

click on photos to enlarge

continued in next post 

Friday, March 15, 2013

BRAZIL Showing Me Their Cordão De Vida (2nd class Brazil)

Rio de Janeiro (2nd story-rope class) 

In Brazil, we are calling the story rope, cordão de vida.  

At the end of class something was lost in the translation.  

It happens.
Although I thought they were told we would be sharing their stories to one another at their tables, they started coming up to me with happy faces, to show their ropes and tell their stories in Portuguese which I don't understand!

Then they all got ready to leave! 
What is happening?!!  
Where are they going?!! 
Class was over evidently!  We quickly got their attention!

I grabbed the gold cord to explain about God's Story Rope that we are all a part of it.Not all of their ropes were put on God's story rope. Some were already in their bags.  Then we took this group picture.

OK. Time to regroup, debrief and not make that mistake in the next group. Sharing their stories with one another is the most important part of the story rope making process. It is when the healing begins.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

BRAZIL The Great-Grandmother (2nd class in Brazil)

Rio de Janerio 

I figured something out. My new iPad Mini takes much better photos than my digital camera!  Here in Rio, I switched to using the camera - after using the iPad exclusively in Peru a couple weeks ago. 

All to say-these pictures, taken with my camera, were out of focus!  Photoshop filters rescued these first 3 photos! 
Yesterday we presented at the Handcraft group at a local church.  I think over 45 women were there. This group meets two times a week, creating handcrafts to sell at their craft fairs 2 times a year.  

It could be my presentation was different for them - using our creative handwork for God. It is always hard to figure out what the perception is when one does not speak the language -  but I think I connected. 

One of the women, making a story rope was a great grandmother of 82. As I went through my pictures, I found her (in dark plaid dress) pictured at the story rope table sorting through the materials to create her rope. Later I took this picture of her. 

Sometimes things aren't communicated correctly. Not knowing the language, I wondered why everyone was leaving !?! 

We had not shared our stories yet!!! 

Oh well. You have got to be flexible on these trips. 

But before great-grandmother left, I sat down with her, asking her to tell me her story. 

Having been through much hardship - the death of 2 husbands and un-natural death of two sons - she was convicted by God, not to give up.  At 82 she is resiliant, a testimony to God's faithfulness, letting go and letting God take care of unresolved justice. HE alone is the judge. Thank you for sharing with me, Great-grandmther. 
Click on Photos to enlarge.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

BRAZIL Sharing Their Long Stories (con't 1st class in Brazil)

Story-ropes were long 

stories even longer 

black was very black 

stories hard to share

but they did. 


trembling hands

smiles of God's presence

arms of support. 

Afternoon slid into night 

down two flights of stairs

caught a taxi

home in the darkness.

You intended to harm me, 
but God intended it all for good.
Genesis 50:20