Hello-my name is Peter, and I would like to tell you just a little about the new billboard planted on Highway 84, 2.7 miles south of the junction of 84 and 160. The 8- by 12-foot picture is in memory of Ginnye Donavan and others who have battled cancer and other hideous diseases. I mention Ginnye Donavan specifically because it was her battle with cancer that prompted the idea for the billboard back in December of '98.
Ginnye was dying of cancer. She and her husband Patrick had a print of the painting in their home, which was frequented by the hospice nurses who cared for her. One of those nurses, Edna Elder, was deeply touched by the picture and inquired how a print might be obtained. Ginnye told her that my wife Rebekah was the artist and gave Edna our phone number. She contacted us and asked whether prints were still available. In passing, she said, “This picture is so powerful and meaningful to me, I would love to plant them along the freeway in Cincinnati had I the funds to do so.” These few words pierced my heart and gave rise to the idea to make the picture more visible to more people.
The initial idea for the picture came in a vision of the many people living behind bars, both real and imaginary. The hand holding the keys represents the scarred and pierced hand of Jesus who now has the keys to any and all prison gates. Real hands at a real jail in Creede, Colorado, modeled the hands inside the cell. The gate itself was inspired by the gate on the grizzly bear enclosure at the Rocky Mountain Wildlife Park on Highway 84. The first grizzly to enjoy the hospitality at the park was named “Frederick the Great.” He had come from another zoo, where he had always lived in an enclosure with a cement floor. The first time he was permitted to roam in a larger enclosure on grass and real dirt at the park, he was reluctant to leave his confining, customary prison cell. Does that remind you of someone you know?
death itself. The good news is that those who have placed their trust in Jesus Christ shall forever be with Him. Let's shout these words from the mountaintops.
It took almost three years of trying and trusting to plant the billboard. Hopefully it will be the first of many. A number of people in this community rallied around this project and gave of their time and money. A sign company from Santa Ana, California, generously donated their talents and resources to create the graphics. A sign company in Farmington constructed the billboard, and local hands donated their tools, material, and time to install it. We thank John and Janna Ranson for making their property available, Ben Franklin for setting the steel posts into cement, and Denver McCabe for welding the sign onto the posts. We erected the billboard on Saturday, October 6th. Michael Ybanez, who had assembled the work crew blew his shofar when the sign was standing tall and strong. For the many gifts, large and small, we say “God bless all of you.”
We intend for this billboard to be a memorial to Ginnye and to the many others imbedded in our memories who have valiantly battled hideous diseases like cancer. May this memorial inspire others to raise up similar billboards along our nation's highways and byways. But even more important than planting memorials, this picture will remind us that Jesus Christ has come to set the captives free; and that He has defeated
Requests for copies of the painting have been continuous since it was put into print. Many prints and cards have found their way into prisons and prison ministries. The original is in our home. We invite you to come and see it.
The painting is entitled “The Gates of Hell Shall Not Prevail.” It may be viewed on “Rebekah's Art Gallery.” Two additional paintings will be enlarged to billboard size and serve as gates to the city of Pagosa Springs, Colorado.