Idea comes to fruition for Shelley woman

SHELLEY — Despite a sometimes rocky life, a former Shelley single mother has returned with a photo exhibit which testifies of Jesus Christ.
"The message is the hope that Christ lives," said Debbie Evans, who owns the exhibit at 152 South State. "Life hasn't gone completely smoothly since I came home from my mission, yet I've never been alone."
There is no admission charge for the exhibit, which is open from noon to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. A DVD presentation with inspirational music plays in the background. It will open through Sept. 3.
Evans, a graduate of Snake River High School, owned a sign shop for six years before moving to Oregon last year. She came up with the idea of her exhibit, then engaged people who could help her bring it to life.
The exhibit features photographs of tender moments from Christ's life taken from the Old and New Testaments.
Jake Walton of Twin Falls portrayed Jesus in the photos, which were taken by Sherri Baron of Shelley. Mindy Lewis, Janel Andersen and Valerie Balmforth, all of Shelley, portrayed Mary, the mother of Jesus; the other Mary and the woman at the well, respectively.
"There's a lot of power in words, pictures and music," Evans said. "Those three things can convey a story in a short time.
"There are a lot of people in the same situations (as Evans has been)," she said. "Christ offers the hope that there's peace available."
Although Evans is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she chose passages from the New Testament (with one from the Old Testament) in an effort to keep the exhibit completely non-denominational.
After graduating from high school, Evans spent three years as a fine arts major at Idaho State University. She then accepted a mission call to Australia.
Upon her return, she spent a year at BYU-Provo before marrying.
Her marriage was short-lived, but produced sons Nathan, 10, and Christian, 9.
She moved her family last year, but decided to bring her exhibit back to Shelley in part because she has the building in which it is housed.
"It's nice to come back to Shelley and see old friends," she said.
"I've had positive feedback," she said of the exhibit.