Given the temporary restrictions on missionary work due to COVID-19, missionaries have sought out creative and innovative ways to share the gospel. Elder Timothy Ritchel is doing just that, taking a love for drawing to a new level by creating stunning portraits of Church leaders and other gospel-related drawings on chalkboards in Church meetinghouses.
“I’ve just always enjoyed doing it. I always drew on the chalkboards in my home ward building in Missouri, so I figured I’d just continue. I do it for others’ enjoyment, and here in Utah it’s even more enjoyable for people because they don’t ever expect it,” Elder Ritchel, who has been serving in the Salt Lake City South Utah mission for just over a year, said.
Out of the many chalkboard drawings Elder Ritchel has created, he has a couple favorites. One of these is a portrait of the Savior’s baptism. Elder Ritchel strategically created this drawing in the room with the baptismal font, so that it would be positioned perfectly for baptismal services. He said, “There have been several eight-year-old baptisms going on in the stake we serve in. I’ve been told by several members that it made their child’s baptism special, and that is special to me.”
Elder Ritchel’s other favorite chalkboard drawing is a piece that was originally created by Arnold Friberg, called “Captain Moroni and the Title of Liberty.” Regarding this drawing, he said, “I’ve just always loved that painting, as well as the story itself about Captain Moroni in the Book of Mormon. I think it’s inspiring how selfless he was to fight for the freedom and happiness of his people.”
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When asked about miracles he has seen through creating these chalkboard masterpieces, he said, “I think the biggest miracle is just seeing how much these drawings make people happy. There is never anything bad about making someone smile.” Like Captain Moroni, it is clear that Elder Ritchel is fully invested in fighting for the happiness of others and drawing attention to what matters most: the gospel of Jesus Christ.