Henna, a dye made of extracts from the henna plant, has been popular among women in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East for centuries as an ornamental beauty accessory. It is common for them to gather for henna parties. Today, groups of Christian women are using it as an evangelical tool.
At the Baptist Collegiate Ministry on campus, girls are learning how to do henna art and plan to offer free henna tattoos to others. On Friday, November 11, volunteers met for training on how to use henna and to practice doing the designs on each other and telling the corresponding stories. They take their patterns from a book containing multiple designs with different meanings. The designs incorporate symbols such as an apple, a rainbow, a flame, a star, a cross, a flower, and other things that represent different biblical concepts. Through these symbols, each pattern presents a way to tell Bible stories to those getting the tattoo or to others who ask about it. After training, they opened the doors to any girls who wanted to come and get a henna tattoo.
BCM has also started using the Way of the Master evangelical program. John Schaffner, pastor of BCM, and Erica Davis decided to incorporate the Way of the Master techniques into the henna designs. Heather Hickman, a UAFS student and member of BCM, created a unique henna design that does just that. When asked how she came up with the design, she said she based it off of some of the designs in the book, and added her own ideas. “Anyone can adapt it,” she said.
Krystina Davis, another BCM member, talked about the design that was applied on her own hand. “It's one of my favorite Bible stories,” she said, “the prodigal son.” She explained that she had shared the story with someone on a bus in East Asia and could not help but cry as she was telling it. She looks forward to being able to share the story with more people who notice the tattoo. Henna helps girls share their favorite Bible stories with friends and opens the door for conversation with strangers.
Erica Davis says that BCM plans to hold other henna events, such as setting up a table in the campus center and doing henna at campus events such as the block parties. If you are interested in participating in the henna ministry, want to know when the next henna event will be, how to get a free henna tattoo, or for questions or information, contact Erica Davis at 479-353-0588 or find the BCMEvangelismTeamonFacebook.