Lessons from Ecuador on perseverance, hope and creativity
I wish I could say that life was easy. I wish I could tell you you’ll never experience pain or darkness or loss of difficult moments ever again. I wish I could tell you that your loved ones will always be around and your kids will never make mistakes and your job will always be stable. I wish I could say that life was easy. But it doesn’t work like that. At least not for me. And I’m betting you would agree.
Life is full of moments where we think to ourselves, “Why me? Why now?” I’m not here to tell you those moments don’t matter. I won’t tell you to “just trust God, he’ll work it out.” I won’t tell you that everything is going to be all right in the end. While I do believe God works all things for the good, sometimes things don’t turn out how we would like them. Sometimes what we want to happen and what does happen are two different things. Reminding ourselves of God’s faithfulness, while always true, is not always helpful. When you find yourself in the middle of a hurricane with a harbor nowhere in sight, truth doesn’t always keep you afloat. But it’s the truth, nonetheless.
When I first started learning about graphic design in 2014, I was living and working in Quito, Ecuador, with a nonprofit missions organization called Go International. We spent the majority of our outreach time with orphans at local orphanages, kids who worked on the streets selling a variety of small items and snacks, women who were forced to work as sex slaves, and even juveniles in one of the local juvenile detention centers. It was during this time where I first experienced how art, design and creativity could be used to minister to hurting people who were looking for hope.
Since that time, I have been passionate about storytelling and using design to make the world, both around me and abroad, a better place. Simply trying to sell more products or make more money for a company or client has never been my heart’s desire. Seeing the facial expressions when I’m able to play a small part in bringing their vision to life for those hurting around them is what I enjoy most about anything creative. Sometimes, art and creativity can find a place to land when words can’t. Being able to help bring forth a vision that someone may not even be able to fully articulate themselves is an incredible thing and a great privilege.
I wish I could say that life was easy. I wish I could tell you you’ll never experience pain or darkness or loss or difficult moments ever again. But when you do, know you’re not alone. Know that there are people in this community, in your community, who care. Know that there are people who are chipping away the darkness little by little so the light shines in.
Maybe you have experienced loss or addiction or hardship and don’t know where to turn. Maybe someone you love and hold dear is struggling and you don’t know what to do. The beautiful thing is that when you feel at the end of yourself, other people show up who can keep moving forward with you. That’s what I love about Raleigh and the people who call this city home, who spend their moments walking into the darkness and helping people find the light. Even if it’s just a sliver.
I’m proud to be a part of this city and a company where we seek to serve those who are serving others and where we give our time, talents and treasure (and creativity!) in the hope that our community would be a place of change and healing. To all those who are being the hands and feet of Jesus, thank you. We’re rooting for you.
– Jordan Elmore, Graphic Designer
At Angel Oak Creative, we take time each week to pray for our clients and our community. Maybe you’re going through something difficult right now… or maybe you want to praise! Either way, we’d love to join you in prayer. Simply fill out our prayer form.