On a quest for peace
One night Mary Loria-Stamps woke from a vivid dream when she thought she heard the booming sound of a nuclear bomb exploding.
Stamps said she grabbed her sleeping husband to be sure it hadn’t been real. Soon after her prophetic dream, she took her paintbrush to canvas and started swirling a giant, rushing waterfall with bright shades of blues highlighting frothy white water.
Stamps said this was her first painting, entitled “Glory,” that is part of a 40- piece project she hopes to share worldwide. She is also in the process of opening her own studio.
“I’m a visual person,” Stamps said. “This is how I do life.”
River of Lights Studio will be a global, traveling art studio through which Stamps hopes to share her art with refugees in Jordan, especially women. She said the working title for the group of paintings, “The Quest for Peace,” is designed to encourage, edify and restore faith in women refugees who are in pain and have suffered loss.
Stamps said she typed a mission statement two years ago to keep herself on track about her goal to move to Jordan. She said she is drawn to the spirituality of Arab women and asked herself, “What do I have as skills I can bring?”
As the mother of “seven children at a time when that number was not acceptable,” Stamps said she can relate to the refugees as a woman and a mother and respond to them with positive affirmations.
Her life centers around her relationship with Jesus Christ, she said. Stamps said her message for the refugees is simple.
“I hope they’ll get a closer relationship with [God] who created this,” Stamps said. “A sense of hope, a sense of vision and purpose and joy.”
Stamps plays the part of homemaker as she moves into her kitchen and starts squeezing fresh lemon juice into a blender mixed with ice and a bit of sugar, offering purple straws to enjoy the cool summer drinks.
Her youngest son, Ben, 5, peeks down the stairwell to see what his mother’s doing. When she returns from tending to Ben’s bath she easily transitions to stories about her mission trips all over the world.
Stamps said she traveled to the eastern Soviet Union in 1991 with her husband, Craig, just before the fall of the regime. She was five months pregnant with her fifth son, Josh.
“We were going into a land that people said was just impossible,” Stamps said.
She said people wept when they were presented with the Bibles they brought into Russia for the first time in 70 years.
She has also traveled to Jordan and Cuba, where conditions were less than ideal.
“Our safety has been in the Lord,” she said. “Nine times out of 10 I was the one sent out in a threatening situation.”
With her small hands softly folded in her lap, she shrugged her shoulders and said she must not be very threatening.
Eric Moen, pastor at River Rock Christian Fellowship, said he has known the Stamps family for 10 years. He said Stamps’ artwork at the church evokes different emotions in how it may touch a person individually.
“Prophetic artwork is what God is speaking to us, but instead of the words this is a way of painting what God shows you,” Moen said.
Stamps said she doesn’t assume people think of her as a great artist. She said the painting project and planned mission trip to Jordan has been her biggest challenge because she wants to connect with people on a deeper level.
Stamps will pack up 8 x10 photographs of several of her finished paintings to display at a trade show at the Moscone Center in San Francisco Aug. 5-8.
Stamps flips through her book and stops on a photo of a painting she recently completed of her teenage daughter Sarah holding her younger brother Ben when he was a baby.
Encouraging her own family is important to Stamps.
“(I hope) I have inspired them and they pick up on my compassion,” Stamps said. “I want to instill compassion for people that are suffering.”
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