Rebecca Grant Shults shares hope through the creative arts
August 1, 2014 | Valorie Coleman
Rebecca Grant Shults has looked squarely into the face of human desperation, but she also has seen the love of Christ free the human spirit and transform lives. She puts her hope in the God who can do that.
Shults, a 2004 Evangel University graduate, grew up overseas. She is the daughter of David Grant and Dr. Beth Grant, co-founders of Project Rescue. This ministry provides physical, emotional and spiritual rescue and holistic restoration to women and children in sexual slavery.
“I first met women and girls who were survivors of sex trafficking when I was 16,” Shults says. “I saw such a contrast. I saw hope and joy in the eyes of those who had come to know Christ as compared to the death in the eyes of those on the street, in the red light district.”
Shults now works alongside her husband, Tyler, using the arts for healing through Rescue Arts. Rescue arts is a method for facilitating healing, developed by Rebecca, that involves working with trauma survivors and encouraging freedom of expression in the creative and performing arts.
“In India, they love to dance, so I almost always include that just because they love it,” Shults says. “Then we’ll move to creative writing and art. Knowing these girls’ stories, knowing how powerful God is to bring joy and hope, that’s what gives me the motivation to go on, fighting for restoration and sharing God’s love with as many people as we can. The only hope is Jesus. If I didn’t know stories of his miraculous help, I couldn’t go on.”
The Shults have found their place of service in India, but she did not necessarily set out with this destination in mind.
“I went to India to give a year and it turned into another year and another year,” she says.
“I went because I was passionate about an issue. Halfway into that process, living in the homes with these women and girls, I fell in love with India. It became more about the people than the issue.”
Shults uses her degree in drama and speech education from Evangel, coupled with her master’s in theater from Missouri State University, to help trauma survivors.
“I added the education major at Evangel to be practical,” Shults says. “I’m so glad I did because there have been so many settings where I use my classroom management skills — in working with kids with short attention spans, in lesson planning. I feel like I got a great education. I loved living on campus all four years. I just love that I have this diverse group of friends who are all serving God in different ways.”
Shults’ life is full of exciting accomplishments and endeavors. She and her husband now have a 16-month-old son, and she contributed to her mother’s most recent book, Courageous Compassion: Confronting Social Injustice God’s Way. The family plans to head back to North India soon.
In the meantime, she gives the following advice to others contemplating how to best use their talents: “God uses us first where we are. Foster care abuse survivors in Missouri were the first people with whom I worked. If God is leading you to start something creative, do it where you are first. Allow God to open doors. That’s how he prepared me for overseas.”
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