by Larry Van Pelt

The enclosed images are from 11x14 pencil drawings that are the result of an undertaking that began when I was 50 years old. I was awakened in the middle of the night with a clear, vivid impression that the Lord wanted me to do some special drawings -- drawings depicting ordinary people in their everyday environment . . . . with one important addition: the presence of Jesus Christ and His involvement in those routine activities.

It was also clear that the task would be allotted ten years to produce results -- an important consideration, considering the fact that I had never drawn anything before, had no training in drawing, and had never really been interested in drawing.

After a few years of self-study, and then three months training by an accomplished artist/instructor (a missionary on a one year sabbatical), the skills to accomplish the task began to unfold. These skills were honed by the drawing of wild animals and Christmas cards featuring our grandchildren. Finally, with much apprehension, I began the drawings of people in everyday situations, selecting those occupations, tasks, etc. that could be readily recognized. After completing nearly twenty drawings, the time arrived for the crucial task of including an image of Jesus in the drawings. A search for a suitable model to represent Jesus resulted in the selection of a young man who happened to be 33 years old! (the supposed age of Jesus at the end of His earthly ministry); had the length of hair and other physical characteristics often associated with images of Jesus; was willing to grow a beard; and, most importantly, was a devoted Christian. The inclusion of the image of Jesus in the drawings of ordinary people's lives was begun during the final year of the ten year task, and the completed drawings seemed to naturally fit the scripture: ". . I am with you always, even to the ends of the earth" (Matthew 28:20). Hence, a portion of that scripture, the phrase "With you always", became the title for the finished product(s).

The objective of the "With you always" series has, from the very beginning, been very clear to me: to help Christians everywhere visualize the reality of Jesus' presence in their lives at all times, particularly during those everyday tasks where we spend most of our time. My hope is you will find that inspiration as you view the enclosed prints.