Your Story: Destinee Mcginnis

I can't believe I get to share this awesome interview today! Destinee is a sweet online friend who has been living on mission since I've known her! Today she's sharing her story and sharing how you can help her spread the love of Christ among the art community in NYC! Check it out... 

Tell us a little about your story and how you got started in performing arts...
I grew up always dreaming that I would change the world! I was an ambitious child but very aimless and unsure of how to focus my talents and gifts. When I was eleven, I was given the opportunity to take free dance classes at the Boys and Girls Club and later be a part of a musical theater company in Plano, Texas. I didn't understand how and why I was given this opportunity, but I knew it was for something big and great, something that would forever change my life for good. Because of my passion and extreme exposure to the arts, I realized that I was created to be an artist and had a strong desire to pursue musical theater  This passion led me to audition and be accepted into the musical theater department at Sam Houston State University. 

While at SHSU I learned so much about growing and developing as a good an excellent artist, but most importantly I learned about the original and greatest Artist: God, the Creator of the Universe. My junior year, after being in a spiritually dead place, I was captivated by Him, and the way he orchestrated, wrote and choreographed the story of creation and the redemption of a fallen world. 

What kind of art do you do and what do you love about it?
I am a performing artist! I dance, act, and sing; choosing which one I like the best would be like trying to choose who is my favorite child. I love them all for their different, unique and special reasons (I don’t know if that is the verbiage I would ever want to hear from my mom). When I first began performing, I learned very quickly that through artistic expression of my personal connection to a story, I could touch something deep within a person. I love giving people the invitation to feel again -something that is such a unique trait of humanity. 

When did you first discover "Transform" and what will you be doing through this program?
I found out about Transform through the campus ministry I was involved with in college called CRU, formerly Campus Crusade for Christ. My senior year, my mentor said to me and a friend, “I wish there was something for people like you guys who want to pursue art professionally, be in full time ministry, and grow deeper in your walk with God.” 

That summer CRU developed Transform. The vision of Transform is to build relationships and trust in the art community using the artistic gifts that God has given us along with our understanding of the culture and the people in it. We want to help the church learn to engage with the arts and the artist because we believe it is crucial in God’s kingdom and for humanity to flourish. As a performance artist I will be growing in my artistic gifts by being in dance, acting, and voice classes; as well as my walk with Christ by going through discipleship, different courses and modules on the Christian faith, and leadership development. From the meeting of these two comes this sweet overflow that pushes me to share the gospel with the lost and tell stories of redemption through my work. 

When did you realize you had a heart for the art community? What do you love most about artists?
My junior year of college I found myself in a closet after physically fighting a friend. The lifestyle I was in was filled with unhealthy relationships, drugs, and heavy drinking, but it all made sense to me. I was holding on to hurt after hurt because I believed that it made my art better, and I was willing to sacrifice anything for my art. After coming to know the Lord intimately, I realized that this was a common way of thinking in this community. So many things were being sacrificed for the sake of art, including freedom from bondage. I developed a huge burden, not only because I was seeing friends go down dark paths in hopes of landing upon greatness, but I had experienced it myself. 

Artists have this amazing understanding of expression and are the most passionate people I know. They cannot live without the ability to express themselves which I believe is so important. They truly believe that they have something important to say and that the world would not be the same if they didn't say it! 

I love that you brought your heart for Christ and passion for the arts together! Was that difficult? What advice would you give someone who wants to use their gifts for good?
So difficult! It is an ongoing process that I will always wrestle with and always have to continuously submit before the Lord. The fact that art touches the heart, mind, body, and soul is something that I don’t take lightly! If I have the power to touch someone I want to make sure that it is in a way that benefits and brings them closer to the creator. 

The advice that I will always give is that -as an artist you are not just a tool to be used. Yes, art is moving and can be used as a means to say and show many things. You are not a tool!  You are a living and breathing human being and the Lord created you to express yourself in a unique way. Art is His means to pursue you and reveal things to you that he could not reveal in any other way. Out of that deep journey of discovery and love comes a message that can be shared on canvas or stage. When we truly believe this, it takes the pressure off of us and places it into the hands of God, who is a better artist than we will ever be.

What does it feel like to be moving to NYC?! What are you looking forward to?
I am beyond excited! I will admit, it is kind of surreal, because I have always dreamed of living in NYC. Tim Keller, a pastor in NYC, has this analogy that if our country were a body, New York would be the heart of it. So many innovative people are coming from or live in New York. That makes me stoked! I am looking forward to connecting with people and seeing the greater picture of what God is doing! 

If my readers want to help, how can they get involved in funding your journey through Transform? Will you be sharing your adventures online?
Transform is a non-profit under CRU and like most other non-profits CRU has no central funds to place us on salary. So in order to report to NYC I must raise a team of supporters who are willing to give monthly or through special gifts. I would so appreciate  anything that you can give! I am so close to my goal I can taste it!

  https://give.cru.org/0742795  ------ my giving page!

I will be posting online about my adventures in NYC, on a website coming soon! I will also be sending out a monthly Mail Chimp. But if you want to talk more about Transform just call me 214-405-2431.

Thanks so much for sharing your story, Destinee! What an encouragement! If you're interested in helping Destinee reach the creative community in NYC, please click the link above and join what God is doing in her life and the lives of artists.

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