Women from our Baptist Student Ministry go out on the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley campus each week for an outreach we call “henna stories.” This is one of their favorite outreach activities.
The henna draws attention for being unusual in the Valley, and also because it’s a free temporary tattoo. It is also my favorite because it is a very intentional way our students can share Bible stories.
Christians use henna stories in closed countries like South Asia where the gospel can’t be openly shared, but Christ-followers can evangelize women through storytelling. Women missionaries go out and offer to copy beautiful henna designs on other women. The designs have a biblical meaning that provides an opening to spiritual conversations. At the same time, the women enjoy fellowship and build relationships.
The way it work our campus is very similar. One of our leaders copies a henna design from our henna storybook onto a student’s hand. Each design takes around 15 to 20 minutes. During that time, we have the opportunity to sit down with a stranger and openly share our faith.
Each henna design has a biblical meaning. We encourage our students to read the Bible story and tell the story back to us. This is really cool, because it allows the young women to retell the story.
The henna design stays in their skin for as long as 10 days, so they are more likely to remember the story each time they see it in their hand. We challenge these girls to tell us what they think about the story. How does the story affect the way they see life or the way they see God?
At the end, we ask to pray for these young women. We ask that God keeps opening doors and hearts to hear about his great love.
Alexandra Granda is serving with Go Now Missions as a campus missionary intern at the Baptist Student Ministry at the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley.