The other day (this would be back in July of 2008) I got an email from my friend Maralee. (Maralee is a ventriloquist who has a TV show called Maralee Dawn and Friends.) She told me about an email exchange she had with a man named Bear. He has an idea for an animation series and told her how he wrote to artist and illustrator Kevin Scott Collier about his idea. Collier wrote back and included a couple of sketches of what Bear’s characters could look like.
(The name Kevin Scott Collier rang a bell with me. So I checked and found this was the same KSC who interviewed me for Kid Magazine Writers in 2005. I read on with interest…)
Bear emailed Collier back: “Just looking at these pics again. They are awesome. So how does someone become so generous with their talents?”
Kevin Scott Collier replied (quoted with his permission):
Let me tell you something. In November 2003 I wrote a short story for a niece about a boy who accidentally gets an email from an Angel in heaven. (Heaven had gone high tech.) When I was writing the story I felt God's hand on my shoulder. He spoke into my heart that this story would be a book for all kids to read. I prayed to God asking if this were true, where would I find a publisher, whom should I contact... how was this all going to happen. God touched upon me that if I trusted in Him, he would bring me everything and everyone I needed.
As I was mailing the story to my niece, I overhead some men in the next line talking about books to the clerk. I wandered over and asked who they were. It turned out to be a youth fiction publisher from another state, who just happened to be in the area on business. We chatted, and two days later after receiving a copy of my story, drove back up from Indiana to Michigan, took me to lunch, and signed me to a book contract. "Barthpenn@heaven.org" was published.
Now I was a published author, but I was always an artist. I stumbled across the internet and met a lady who had written a poem. I asked if she could email it to me, as she wanted advice. For fun, I illustrated the entire poem over two nights, and created a pdf "book" for fun to email her back. Turned out she was a minister's wife from Ohio... and she showed it to a friend of hers that was a book publisher... it was contracted, and Topsy Turvy Land went to print.
In the summer of 2005 my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Later, on that very day, a publisher I had never heard of contacted me and asked if I would illustrate a book cover for a survivors book on Breast Cancer. I did it for free, and I went on to illustrate a dozen other books for them, too... and mom recovered.
In late 2005, I had an idea for a book based on Noah's Ark I wanted to write. I wanted a co-author, however, someone who could add to my idea for a book. I found a lady named Kristen Halter in a writers group, and we began writing "Natalie's Ark." I discovered this godly woman was a single mother, and her son never knew a father... didn't have one per se, he had vanished. So, Jarod prayed every night to Jesus for a dad. I fell in love with this woman (who live 350 miles from my home in Ohio) and married her, and adopted her son. Now I am a dad... you can see us all on our homepage... http://collierauthors.blogspot.com
I recently stumbled upon the Old Schoolhouse Magazine's website and saw they had a mascot (frog) for their reading program, and it was clip art... so I redrew the character and sent it to them for free just to help. They liked my stuff so much, they want to hire me as an illustrator for their magazine.
Know what life is all about, Bear? Planting seeds and having faith that God will lead you to the right people.
I thought Kevin’s letter was a great illustration of how God is at work in our lives even when we aren’t aware.
So be encouraged. God has barely begun to do the ministry through your life. Stay the course. There is something big ahead for you. It is God who sets up the big appointments and they are supernatural. Keep planting those seeds and following His lead.
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