JOPLIN, Mo. —
Theresa Allen's new book, "Letters from God," might more appropriately be titled "Inspiration from God."
At a recent book signing event, the Joplin woman said she was inspired by God to not only write the 38-page children's book but also do the artwork for it.
It has not been an overnight project. In fact, she said she has been working on it off and on for many years.
The book, her first, began with the hope of sharing God's word in a unique way. It has become even more unique than she imagined with copies being sent to an orphanage in Haiti.
Allen got the idea of drawing and designing each letter of the alphabet and then picking out scripture from the Bible to match up with each one.
For example, she said, the letter A has been designated for angels.
The writing is something new for Allen, a native of St. Louis. However, she said she has had a love for art since elementary school.
She put the project away for a while because of the lack of funds to keep it going. In the interim, she turned her talents toward her first love, painting, and started her own art collection.
"Then after a while, God brought me back to my book," she said. "He said, ÔYou are going to paint all the letters of the alphabet' and I said, ÔFor real?' So I got on it right then, and it was literally like carrying a baby and giving birth because nine months later all 26 letters of the alphabet were painted."
Allen said that as the book evolved, so did her growth in the word of God.
"I was so in awe," she said. "I did not know how it would evolve, but definitely God has been the focal point of it all."
As owner and operator of Studio 27 LLC Hair Salon in Joplin, Allen said she has gotten to meet an assortment of interesting people, including Melanie Keeling.
Keeling and her family felt compelled to go to Haiti after the devastating 2010 earthquake to offer help particularly to the children, many of whom are orphans.
"After they came back on one of their visits, I felt the need to do something myself," Allen said. "Her selflessness inspired me to send art from my book on one of her visits."
The art, in the form of the letters, went to Imagine Missions School and was hung on the wall for the 90 students at the orphanage to see and hopefully be inspired.
Allen, who considers her book as a ministry to the children, plans to donate six copies to the school right off but has set a goal of eventually giving a book to every student in the orphanage.
"God is going to make it happen," she said. "My goal is to promote literacy educationally and scripturally. This book has been one miracle after another, and I feel so blessed that I can share God's word through it."
Allen said that when people read the book, she hopes they will know that they have an opportunity to share in all the promises that God has for them.
She said she is planning on following up with more books and is in the process of creating more letters.
The self-published books are for sale at For All Bible and Music Store at Northpark Mall for $32.35. Donations for providing copies to the Haiti orphanage may be arranged by calling Allen at 417-540-8840 or visiting her website: www.tejonice.com.
Address correspondence to Rich Brown, c/o The Joplin Globe, P.O. Box 7, Joplin, MO 64802, or email email@example.com.