‘Chalk full of grace’

Published 10:25 pm Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Visitors to the Suffolk courthouse on Tuesday afternoon got to see an atypical piece of art in the making.

Rebecca Rinard set her easel and paper outside of the courthouse and drew an eagle soaring over a lake with various colored chalks. While she was drawing, her husband Greg and their two sons, Calvin and Seth, spoke to those walking by.

For the past six years, Rebecca has been doing what she and her husband call “Chalk Full of Grace.” Her latest example was finished in less than three hours to help promote the God Bless America Rally held at Calvary Missionary Baptist Church on Monday and Tuesday.

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“It’s incredible what someone can get from the mind to their fingers and put down on paper,” said Zane Meyer, a volunteer for the rally.

The Rinards are members of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Winchester. For their “Chalk Full of Grace” ministry, the couple takes their homeschooled children around the country in a 20-foot camper to church meetings, parks, county fairs and other venues.

Greg preaches, while his wife draws large pictures with striking detail on paper approximately three feet by four feet in size.

“We’re called to be missionaries to the United States,” Greg said.

The family had traveled to Illinois, Ohio, West Virginia and Maryland within the past month and a half before arriving in Suffolk. Greg said his children travel well, and they treat the experience like an adventure.

“It’s fun traveling around the country,” 10-year-old Calvin said. “Serving the Lord is fun, too.”

Rebecca uses an easel custom-made by a Baptist minister in North Carolina, along with chalk made to produce darker, richer colors.

She even has chalk that’s designed to show only under a black light, which Greg uses to make an impression during sermons. The lights will go out during the indoor occasions to allow a blacklight mounted on the easel to illuminate the hidden image.

One example of this is an eagle on an otherwise empty sky, which refers to Isaiah 40:31: “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.”

“We’ve run into a lot of Christians who are praying for us and tell us it’s a great thing we’re doing,” Greg said.

Rebecca recalled driving through northern Idaho with her family and stopping at a county fair. A local Baptist church had a booth for the fair, and Rinards became fast friends with the worshippers, who gave the family a place to stay at a farm down the road.

“There’s just so many stories like that, of how God has provided for us,” Rebecca said. “We’ve made lifelong friends in the places we’ve been.”

She and her husband plan to keep their ministry moving, and are set to tour national parks across the country in 2019, she said. Their goal is to keep moving, drawing and sharing their message.

“Our message is that God loves you, that he loves everyone, and that he has provided eternal life in heaven,” she said. “That’s the good-news gospel we are trying to let people know.”