Zoey Jean

 photo by  Hailey Marie

photo by Hailey Marie

We got to catch up with Minnesota babe Zoey Jean in her creative spaces, and dig a little deeper into her lifestyle brand / movement, LUMINOUS.


To start it off, tell us a little bit about yourself!

I'm an almost 21 year old, full-time photographer and content creator! I mainly focus on product and lifestyle photography, but have recently aquired a few social media management positions as well. Last February, I launched an Instagram movement called Luminous, which turned into a lifestyle brand in September once we launched our online shop. So I guess I'm sort-of a duel small business owner! I'm really passionate about people and bringing them together in community - helping people realize their capabilities and watching them flourish. I'm constantly up for adventures, road trips, and catching flights to new (or old favorite) places as often as I can! Also, I really love my Jesus and His church, and I actually see myself being a worship leader and a really cool mom one day! haha

Where were you born?

Actually in Pennsylvania

Woah, that's super close to here [New York City]!

Yeah! My family has East Coast roots & our little part is the funny part that ran away to the Midwest so my dad could become a pastor

Did you grow up in PA, or did you jump around as you were growing up?

We jumped around a lot, but I would say my hometown is Eau Claire, Wisconsin! That's where a lot of my crucial 'growing-up' years took place

So, you were born in Pennsylvania, grew up in Wisconsin, and where do you live now exactly?

I just moved to Minneapolis in Minnesota this past August! I absolutely love living here. It's a major city that a lot of people don't necessarily know about, but that's what I love about it! I joke that we're the ACTUAL Portland because it's so quirky an soul-filled here, yet hasn't been overrun by everyone wanting to travel here and be here! Everyone in Minneapolis has such a strong sense of individualism, yet community is evident. Everyone is cool being just exactly who they are, yet we easily come together.  It's a beautiful place to call home, because I LOVE to travel and experience other places, but Minneapolis is such a good space to come back to. 

How did growing up in all these different places shape you as an artist? Did it influence or affect you in any way?

I think growing up in so many places just gave me my 'adaptability' quality that I hold really highly in my life. It just pushed me into living an open-minded life because everything was constantly changing and you just had to either 1) be miserable and hate it or 2) decide that things are gonna be rad & explore all the things in front of you that you haven't yet experienced.

My creativity growing up was actually more music-based. My whole family is gifted in music. I danced and sang a lot, but then grabbed onto photography my junior and senior year of high school

So once you pair that attitude with a camera and the strength of your  own voice, things just happen! haha I think that's how I ended up how I am today. 

You’re a traveling photographer, and I love how your Instagram feed makes us feel like we're along for the ride. How are you cultivating community there?

It's absolutely bonkers how one app has had such a huge impact of my life. I would not know half the people I do or have half the amazing friendships that I have without it. I'm the type of person that LOVES to be inclusive - I want to bring people together into things -  and people crave the feeling of being a part of something. It makes them feel valued, and they should - cause they are valuable! So whatever I'm doing/wherever I am, I love to share that with my friends & followers - especially since I live quite a ways a way from a lot of them. It's a way to be creating community outside of location.

I think it's that whole thing in the bible how it's like "love your neighbors" "well who is my neighbor" "dude ... everybody"

I just wanna be a connector of people, and I think we can best do that by being genuinely ourselves, because we are all not that different.

Also I know dude is not used in the bible but Jesus was a pretty cool guy so...

I see that community is a big thing with your brand, "Luminous" – How exactly did “Luminous” come about, and how is it taking shape? Also, how can we live luminous?

Luminous came about really randomly and suddenly, but seemed like exactly what I was supposed to be starting/doing. I just know so many people who I think are BRILLIANT - just naturally wonderful, life-bringing, uniquely themselves, and they have this spark about them that you just want to be around. I describe those people as luminous. I wanna stir up people to keep living like that - to be bright, positive, and realize the influence they hold in carrying that sort of lifestyle. People are naturally drawn to positive people. It's a fact. But those people often don't know just how much of an impact they have, and are unaware of their capabilities. I am all about helping people realize their capabilities and reminding them how awesome they are. 

Essentially, Luminous is a way for me to do that while running a business and being my own boss. I never want to work for reasons I don't believe in, or things I'm not passionate about, so instead of just a movement, I'm pushing it to be a lifestyle brand that can eventually financially support myself and other artists/people involved. People live luminous by simply upholding the lifestyle of all the stuff I talked about above. You're you. You believe in the power of positivity and choose to spread it around. You're on the road to believing in your own bright capabilities, and you're about encouraging other people to realize their own shine as well.

I love everything you said! We think very alike. That’s exactly it!

Thanks! See stuff like this gives me encouragement and its like DUDE there are people out there just like you, me, us, who wanna see this stuff through and will be behind it!

Yeah, the feeling is definitely mutual

And as far as Luminous - I'm not putting any strict/straight ties to God or Christianity or anything like that - even though alllllll the underlying messages are there. For example, our main motto is "choosing light over darkness” but we could also be a low-key star wars enthusiasts club?

hahaha YES!

But I mean, dude if people are gonna get attached that way, that's fine by me!! People sadly get too turned off by 'christians' and companies that are straight forward about those beliefs, but I know God can work through what I'm doing even though I don't plan on slapping ‘Y'all need Jesus' on my shirts haha

EXACTLY! At first, I really thought that it had to be done that way, that it needed to be more in your face but in a less tackier way than "Jesus is my homeboy" or "Jesus Christ written in a coca-cola font" but then I noticed that, what God really wants is for us to be and do our best, and if you do that, you are doing exactly what He wants, worshiping Him with all you got!

YES YES YES - the moment in life when someone told me "it doesn't matter so much what you're doing in life, as long as you're loving God & loving others," was LIFE CHANGING to me.  So many people are like "I'm waiting to hear what God wants me to do" and its like DUDE He has told us in the Bible what we're supposed to do! We're to love Him, and love others. Know Him, and make Him known. So whatever career path you chose is fine as long as Love is your lifestyle - God will work the rest.

We put too much pressure on ourselves, and God's just like, “Dude, I'm right here. You're overthinking this."

Does what you do bring value in what you believe?

I don't really stand for doing things that don't hold meaning. When I had day jobs it was sort of a struggle because they seemed meaningless, so I had to pull them back to the points that they are giving me life experience and monetary sustainability to accomplish the bigger picture of what I'm supposed to be doing in life. But I would never do something if I didn't believe in it, or thought it had no value.

I was talking to Jessie the other day and we love how you share such intimate pieces, about meeting with your tribe, or feeling overwhelmed — how does your craft, or your art really, keep you grounded in such a social world?

I have so many thoughts going on about that right now, I'm trying to gather that haha

I think it comes down to ... I just have this .. feeling, or wiring ... maybe I should call this the Holy Spirit? haha - but in my gut I'm always like - "don't fade into the masses".  I don't just want to be another 'influencer' or try to perfect my life. Who was ever like "she's so perfect - I relate to her so much cause I'm perfect too" like ... ahhh ... no??? Nobody's perfect, and I want that to be obvious. I just want to be real, and be me, and connect with people through TRUTH. But do it in a tasteful way because I don't know, that's just what people are receptive to these days? 

In other words, it feels like what you do and how you do it just becomes a form of worship - - wouldn't you agree?

I mean, I've honestly never looked at it that way but now that you say that, I do totally agree. And I mean I guess that's the goal, the ultimate, to live a life of worship that reflects Christ. So if I'm doing that in any way, that's rad.

Where do you find inspiration for your work?

I don't really go looking for inspiration ... I kinda just shoot what I want. I'm a feeler, haha. A lot of my ideas just come from myself, or are brought to me by other people and then expanded in my own way.  The past few months have been a lot of me working on taking my ideas from my head into something tangible that others can understand. But I don't know, I'm kind of just like a sponge and I absorb things that catch me, they just hang out inside my mind and heart, and one day they'll pop out into ideas. With creativity, I think if you search too much or try too hard for inspiration, that's when you come up dry and it's really too try-hard.

What do you feel most gratitude for?

Wow. I LOVE THIS QUESTION, because gratitude is so essential in my life! Right now,  I feel the most gratitude for God - who He is and all that He's given me! His grace, his wisdom, his generosity, his timing - I could go on forever, but that's what Heaven's for, right??! Haha literally everything about Him. I'm grateful that He's planted me in this beautiful city and home to live in during this season of my life - with these GOLDEN friends I have who are just so good and true and loyal and REAL. I also feel so much gratitude for my parents and brothers because now that I've grown up and out of the house, and have different people coming into my life, it makes you realize how much your family-life actually formed you into the human you are today.   And I quite like who I am. So I'm grateful for who THEY are and all the goodness they have poured and continue to pour into my life. 

In your opinion — what does the world need more of?

Selflessness.

A lot of our problems point back to being selfish. It'd be amazing if people were living for more than just themselves. 

But this world is screwy and there's nothing we can do about it except be the best versions of ourselves, and for me - because I believe in the saving grace of Christ - strive to do all that I can through the power of the Holy Spirit living in me to make some sort of impact & bring His kingdom here on earth.


Censored Communication

I have always known what I wanted to do when I grew up, I just didn’t know there was a name for it. I went through many phases; moments where I wanted to be an astronaut, an archeologist, a biologist, a spy, a pop star, an actress, a gymnast, a painter and the list goes on. I was very creative as you can see! It's funny because I have always been a very passionate person. When I decided to be an astronaut I was only in kindergarten and I remember it was after a project that I had in school in which I was talking about Pluto (back when it was still a planet). All I could think about was how I wanted to go visit the planets and how cool I looked with an astronaut helmet. Not long after that, I decided to be a pop star. That's when I started to sing and dance to everyone that crossed my way. Funny story, quite often people that knew me back when I was kid still remind me of those days — even if I don’t have a clue of who those people are, apparently they’ve seen me dance and sing before. Then, when I was around nine years old, I got really into Mexican "novelas" and wanted to be an actress. I actually sent emails to a bunch of TV stations asking them to hire me, but I still haven't heard anything back... I wonder why? Up until a few years ago I found out what I’ve always wanted to become; a journalist.

I was very curious little girl growing up and I loved getting to know people. I remember whenever I sat down with a stranger — strangers that my parents knew… hey, I wasn’t that reckless! — I would always ask them a bunch of questions about their life, their dreams, what made them happy, etc. You could say that I was interviewing them, but I didn’t know that at that time. One day I made a microphone out of a roll of toilet paper and a styrofoam ball. Let's just say I became unstoppable with my very own home-made microphone. I would see my mother cooking and I would tell her that she was on my TV show and she had to teach my viewers how to cook. I would create my own set and ask my little brother to record me with a VHS tape recorder — he was never too happy about it — and I kept on interviewing people. I had so much to talk about and I loved when someone would stop to listen to me. As I grew up I came to learn there was actually a name for all of that my heart was yearning for. It was a profession in which I would actually be paid to talk and share my opinions, that was the dream!

Since then I have been on a journey to become a journalist. Through it all, reality has knocked on my door and made me realize that speaking my heart out is almost entitled as offensive. We are living in a world that preaches about freedom of speech — theoretically "everyone" is entitled to their own opinions and they should respect different opinions — but what we see in practice is people being extremely judgmental of the opinion of others. This type of judgment can lead people to be afraid to speak up, and perhaps something even more dangerous where their judgment can lead others to second guess what they believe, and if they are not very certain of their own beliefs then they can be corrupted by someone else’s opinion. Pretty often I hear this “[that] all paths lead to God,” but ironically enough if one was to say that, "Christianity leads to God" it becomes unacceptable. It comes off as an offense and some might even take it as an attack. Our so called “free world” is full of suppression and it’s a world that associates being a Christian with something negative.  

Being a Christian within the communication business I have to deal with the fact that I am and will constantly have my opinion censored due to my faith. Yes, I have to deal with it, but thankfully I do not need to accept it. What our society has forgotten or simply doesn’t know is while the world condemns, Christ forgives. While the world is corrupt, Christ is justice. And while the world hurts, Christ heals. What many do not realize is Christians are not little saints that dictate what is right or wrong. Those who think that they have that power to do so are hypocrites and they do not represent me. Mark 2:17 says: “On hearing this, Jesus said to them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.’” Church is a place for the sick, where they find healing through God, a God that is the definition of Love. And this is what defines me and want to be associated with. I do not want to be labeled as a church-goer or by my religion. Religion does not defy whom I am and what I believe in. There are many churches and religions out there but there’s only one God, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He is eternal and His love is constant. I want to be known by my faith and actions, just as C.S Lewis wrote in his book Mere Christianity:  “The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us.” I want people to see God in me so they can see His love in my life. I get to experience this genuine joy and freedom because God has set me free, and everyone is welcome to experience it too.

I believe God needs His people to be influent in this world so his word can be proclaimed and exalted. He enables us all with the power to be great. We just need to find the will and courage to accept the challenge to listen to His calling and being His follower. I am knowingly going against the flow, but I couldn’t be more certain that I’m on the right track, because God Almighty is by my side. By studying communication I learned that a good communicator successfully conveys a message, and I decided that I can only consider myself successful if I live to convey about the most important message, the message of Christ.

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JOURNALIST | YOUTUBER | BLOGGER

Born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil, Beatriz Cavalcante, currently resides in New York City.

Follow Beatriz Cavalcante on:  INSTAGRAMBLOG


ILIKEA FERGE


PHOTOGRAPHER | ARTIST

Born and raised in Oahu, Hawaii, Ilikea Ferge is a mother, a wife, and an amazing photographer. When she's not being a bad ass mama or taking breathtaking photographs, you can find her expressing herself with a paintbrush and canvas. We have actually teamed up with her to take a few photos for to be used in various stories. And now, we finally had a chance to speak to her about her photography and how it has impacted her life, and how she impacts lives of others through this art of worship. 


SO ILIKEA, TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT BEING A PHOTOGRAPHER AND HOW PHOTOGRAPHY BRINGS VALUE IN WHAT YOU BELIEVE. 

Without a doubt in my mind photography allows me to take capture the moments in life that God has specifically orchestrated. Memories that could never be replaced. It has also given me a deep appreciation for the world around me. If you turn on the television to any news channel; in a matter of minutes you'll wish you had not. Our world is so corrupt and it breaks my heart. But photography, when you look through the little view finder, it's as if you're looking at everything through our Creator's eyes. You appreciate the little things in life. A sunrise, sunset, a smile, people holding hands as they walk along side together, and the list goes on!

OH, COMPLETELY! AND I BET YOU GET THOSE AMAZING VIEWS ALL THE TIME. DOES WHERE YOU LIVE — AND HAVE LIVED — INFLUENCE WHAT YOU DO IN ANY WAY?

Well, I was born, raised, and still currently live in Kaneohe (located in Oahu, Hawaii). And personally, Kaneohe has to be the most beautiful town on Oahu. Just throwing that out there! (laughs) Living here, it makes it super easy to do what I love to do. You have the gorgeous Koolau Mountains behind you and the vast ocean in front of you. Everywhere you look is beautiful, and I guess that is something that I enjoy.

WHAT IS WORSHIP TO YOU? 

Worship, I used to think was only singing songs unto God, but as my relationship with Him grew closer, I realized that it's not just singing but it's really whatever you are passionate about. There is a different passion in each of us that I believe God has planted in the core of our being. For example, my husband is one of the most musically talented people I know! Now, I love music just as the next guy, but nowhere near as much as he does. And it's the same with my passion. If I take a picture of a sunrise — I see a beautiful masterpiece, the details, the colors, the tears... Oh, the tears! It's breath-taking. My husband, he sees a pretty sunrise — nothing more, nothing less. So worship is not only singing, dancing or playing an instrument. It is when we ask God to share in our passions, our hopes, and our dreams — and in the end, giving Him all the credit and the glory. Now that is what I would consider to be worship.

HOW DO YOU USE PHOTOGRAPHY AS A MEANS OF WORSHIP? 

I consider photography as a form of worship in my life. It's funny because I'm one of the only people in my family who doesn't play five million instruments. And sure, I can hold a tune, but singing has never been more than just a shower gig to me. On the other hand when it comes to photography, I feel like a little kid playing hide-and-seek with her Dad! God is giving me all these clues, waiting for me to find Him. I try to make sure I bring Him along with me to every photo shoot I do. From start to finish I need Him there. Worship isn't only about singing or playing an instrument as I stated before, it requires a little more than that — it requires action. You are inviting God into every aspect of your life through worship. Over the years I noticed that when I don't invite God with me, everything seems to go wrong! He is my Peace, my Love, and my Helper.

IN YOUR OPINION — WHAT DOES THE WORLD NEED MORE OF?

I honestly feel like the world not only needs more people who are simply willing to love as Jesus Christ loved and still loves, but the world needs more people who are willing to be themselves — wholly and truly selves!

In Psalms 139, it says that, "We are fearfully and wonderfully made..." Why be someone else when God has made only one of you? We all want to be loved and liked by everyone, but I've realized that not everyone is going to like you and that is ok. We have to live with the mindset and a heart for those who do not have the one person who is able to anchor our souls to His love. God created us all with a plan and purpose for our lives. (Jeremiah 29:11) And if we are so set on trying to be someone else; how will we ever fully live the life God intended? BeYOUtiful.


Follow Ilikea Ferge on: INSTAGRAM | BLOG


DANIEL MARCIANO

I AM THE CHANGE :: THROUGH MUSIC

Being in a journey with Christ, trying to overcome each day in life is not as easy as it seems. As a full-time student, a musician and a youth leader, and in everything that I do, I try to show Christ in me. At the end, I am still a human being — far from perfect — but seeking the perfection found only in Him. 

I was Born in New York, which is where I currently live. Living here has had a good influence in me, since I love music, and everywhere you turn in New York City you can hear music, of the best quality. Even throughout the subways you can see a large number of musicians performing. There is also a broad number of schools and places scattered around here which motivates me to learn more about it. These factors are helping me improve as a musician, and I hope that along the way I may be able to help other musicians to improve too in their journey.

I'd have to say that music pushes me closer to God. Everything that I do is done for one sole purpose; Him. I don't know, I love music and I see Him in it. I see Him in every harmony, melody and note. Music has been a safety place for so many people in the world, so I guess what I am trying to say it that I really don't know how NOT to see God in these beautiful symphonies that compose life.

 

Music helps me see and value even more what I believe in (Jesus), because I see Him through music.

 

Through life I've been through many experiences in which I would put my headphones on and listen to some songs, and I would simply hear Jesus speaking to me. And also, just the idea of how music is created — each note together forming a key and each harmony interlaced with another — made me understand the existence of a perfect and all creating God. Music is just too perfect to be something created simply by the human mind.

I am more capable of expressing my feeling towards God through music. It leads me into a deeper form of worship, where I actually find the words or even the expressions that are in my heart (which also includes the instrumental part). Music helps as a connection in worship. Even though worship isn't music, it can be composed by music.

With that said, I would say that worship is how I compose my praise to God. He is the essence of all songs and it is what keeps me going and the reason I live for. Music gives me the capability of understanding myself and also makes it possible for me to express how I truly feel about God, externalizing it.

Estar em uma jornada com Cristo, tentando vencer cada dia na vida, não é tão fácil quanto parece. Como um estudante de tempo integral, músico e líder de mocidade, e em tudo mais que eu faço, eu tento mostrar Cristo em mim. No final, sou ainda um ser humano - longe de ser perfeito - mas estou buscando a perfeição, que é encontrada somente em Jesus.

Nasci em New York, onde moro atualmente. O fato de morar aqui tem exercido uma boa influência em mim, e por todo lugar que você vai em New York, você pode ver um grande número de música da melhor qualidade. Até pelas estações do metrô você pode ouvir e ver um grande número de músicos se apresentando. Também há uma grande quantidade de escolas espalhadas pela cidade que me motivam a aprender música ainda mais. Tudo isso tem contribuído para o meu aperfeiçoamento como músico e eu espero que, com o passar do tempo, eu seja capaz de ajudar outros músicos a aperfeiçoarem também ao longo da caminhada.

Eu digo que a música me leva para mais perto de Deus. Tudo que eu faço é feito com um único propósito: Ele. Eu amo música e vejo Deus nela. Eu O vejo em cada harmonia, melodia e nota. A música tem sido um lugar seguro para muitas pessoas no mundo; então, eu acho que o que eu estou tentando dizer é que eu realmente não sei como NÃO ver a Deus nessas lindas sinfonias que compõe a vida.

 

A música me ajuda a ver e valorizar ainda mais a minha fé em Jesus, porque eu O vejo através da música. 

 

Tenho passado por muitas experiências na vida, nas quais, ao colocar meus fones de ouvido e ouvir algumas canções, ouvi Jesus falando comigo. Também, a simples ideia de como uma música é formada — cada nota em conjunto formando uma clave e cada harmonia entrelaçada com outra — me fez entender a existência de um Deus perfeito e Criador. A música é simplesmente perfeita demais para ter sido criada pela mente humana.

Eu consigo expressar melhor meus sentimentos para com Deus através da música. Ela me leva para uma adoração mais profunda, onde efetivamente encontro as palavras e até mesmo as expressões que estão em meu coração (que também inclui a parte instrumental). A música funciona como uma conexão na adoração. Embora a adoração não seja a música, ela pode ser composta por música.

Diante do exposto acima, eu diria que a adoração é como eu componho meu louvor a Deus. Ele é a essência de todas as canções e é isso que me faz prosseguir, e é a razão do meu viver. A música me dá a capacidade de entender a mim mesmo e também me possibilita a expressar e exteriorizar o que verdadeiramente sinto por Deus.

You can sing all you want to, And still get it wrong.. Because Worship is more than a song.
— Jimmy Needham

IN YOUR OPINION — WHAT DOES THE WORLD NEED MORE OF?

In one word: Jesus. But since I have to elaborate on that, I would say that the world needs more of the heaven's musicality. The world needs more people to sing and play the truth. I say that because I like to see the Holy Spirit as a maestro, that conducts us through the songs in life. There are those happy songs and then those sad songs, but it all turns out to be beautiful if the maestro knows how to perform and guide the song. We need more people sensitive to the music of heaven because these people will understand that even if you are going through a sad song right now, God has a whole album with beautiful things for your life. Don't give up.

EM SUA OPINIÃO — DO QUE O MUNDO PRECISA MAIS?


Em uma palavra só: Jesus. Mas, uma vez que tenho que falar mais sobre isso, eu diria que o mundo precisa mais da musicalidade do céu. O mundo precisa de menos artistas e mais pessoas para cantar e tocar a verdade. Eu digo isso porque eu gosto de ver o Espirito Santo como um maestro, que nos conduz na vida através das canções. Existem aquelas canções alegres e também existem canções tristes, mas todas elas se tornam lindas, se o maestro sabe como executar e conduzir a canção. Precisamos de mais pessoas sensíveis à musica do céu, pois elas compreenderão que ainda que, você esteja passando por uma “triste canção” no momento, Deus tem um álbum completo com lindas canções para sua vida. Nunca desista.



DANIEL MARCIANO

 


Brave Beauty

Growing up Catholic-Italian, I always had an awareness and reverence for the Lord, and a heart for His people on the Earth. As far back as I can remember, I would lie in bed and pray for all of the sick and needy people of the world, longing for this earth to be touched by Him. Yet in those same nights, my heart would often be struck with fear, sifting though the countless “what if’s” and uncertainties of life. Being cautious, hesitant and anxious I lived within the confines of fear through much of my childhood and adolescents. I can see now the war for territory over my heart began back in those sleepless nights as a little girl.

At age fifteen I gave my life to the Lord, and I would love to say that my fears and anxieties instantly vanished, but that wasn’t the case. However as time went on, my heart was awakened to the character of my Father in heaven. I realized I belonged to Him long before I belonged to any earthly family, however amazing or dysfunctional they may be. Through this heart revelation, every fear and every worry had become for me an opportunity to know Him in a deeper way. And when fears arose, I ran to Him like any child runs to their parent seeking comfort and peace. For me, bravery was never equated with the absence of fear; however, this journey of deep intimacy with Him was causing me to be brave where I never would have been before.

And so I continued to put one foot in front of the other, not void of fear, but with an eagerness to know my Father better. At age 25 this lead me to quit my job as a high school teacher and move to South Africa. I knew that I might fail, I might get sick, I might be lonely, I might encounter horrific suffering, and I’d probably feel regret at some point, but louder than all of those fears was the truth that He said He would never leave me nor forsake me. He had me by the hand and I knew He was leading me. I had no control over what the future might hold, and I actually didn’t want it. 

Upon arriving in South Africa, I was fairly quickly ushered into counter human trafficking work. Before I knew it, I was speaking to crowds of hundreds and sometimes thousands of South Africans bringing awareness and prevention to the countries’ most vulnerable. Fast forward two years and I was assisting Cape Town’s Organized Crime Investigating Unit with raids and the countries’ lawmakers in developing protocols for rescued victims. He was using me in places and ways I never would have imagined. If you had told me, the little girl laying in bed at night full of fear, that I would one day be working to set modern day slaves free across the globe — I wouldn’t have believed it. When I look back and wonder how in the world I got here, I am honestly not quite sure except to say that I try to live each day, moment by moment, relinquishing control and trusting in Him. It’s so freeing to realize that being brave looks a lot like absolute surrender to Him — our kind, loving, and gentle Father.



Christina Bacino


This post was taken from our friends over at Brave & Wild — Be sure to visit the link and check out their other tales about cool humans being brave and wild.


CHARYSE ISERI

I AM THE CHANGE :: THROUGH TEACHING

My name is Charyse Iseri and I am from Kaneohe, Hawaii.

 

 I have always had a passion for children; and really, have always had and still do, just have a passion for a bold, carefree and playful spirit! The curiosity and excitement that children have about life when they are 5 and 6 years old — so energizing! My students truly bring me joy and fulfillment, and I am so thankful everyday to be a part of their lives. I am a kindergarten and 1st grade special education teacher, and I absolutely love what I do. I am in my second year of teaching, and I have no doubt that I am doing exactly what God has called and purposed me to do — express His love to the younger generation, build them up, help them to become more aware of their purpose and potential and give them opportunities to do their best and be their best! God is allowing me to do what I love for a living... And by that, I know that He loves me, is faithful and favorable.

There is also this passion for a bold, carefree and playful spirit within me... I LOVE to be out and about, adventuring, exploring and thrill-seeking! Basically, I love experiencing Him — all that He has created around me, as well as who He has created within me. I love going to new places — on the island, off the island, in the country and out of the country! I love going to new heights, new depths, being challenged and being stretched! There is an inexplicable joy and fulfillment that I feel, as I experience Him, in and through all of His beautiful and amazing creation, with the curiosity and excitement that He has given me. Further confirmation of His love, faithfulness to and favor upon me — as a teacher, I have school breaks... So as an adventure/thrill-seeker, life-experience enthusiast, I have the time and opportunities to get out and live! It is wonderful!

I lived in Los Angeles for two years, where I attended Loyola Marymount University. I lived on campus and it was a blast! I completed two years of school there, then returned to Hawaii and graduated from the University of Hawaii. I have been back in Hawaii since 2006 and currently live in Kaneohe, on the island of Oahu.

 

I would have to say that my hometown has a HUGE influence on what I do! The school that I work at is my hometown's homeschool- all the students that I see and work with everyday, are children that live in my neighborhood/community. So knowing that I am working with and have the opportunity to impact/influence the younger generation of my community, really encourages me and makes what I do that much more meaningful and important to me! My hometown is also incredibly beautiful... I have a lot of pride for my side of the island! The mountains are always lush and green, the ocean is always calm and blue... It is a blessing to be surrounded by such amazing natural beauty. And it is this beauty that I see daily, that inspires me to get out, see and experience more!

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I believe we're all given a platform, as a means of fulfilling our purpose here on earth. Working with children and families I believe is my platform; and through this, I can be an example of Him and His love. My job has really affirmed my faith — as I consider the peace, joy, worth and purpose I feel when I am just around the children, I cannot deny that He is real, He knows my heart and He loves me... It is humbling, and I am so grateful I get to do what I do.

 

Worship is how I can put myself aside, acknowledge who God is- all that He's done, doing and will do in my life, and just thank Him... Give Him all the praise, honor and glory that He deserves. It's a lifestyle — being and showing God (as best as we can) in and through what we say and do, that we honor and love Him. Especially using the qualities and abilities He's given us...

 

Just loving on Him the way He graciously loves on us!

Through teaching and living an outgoing lifestyle, I am using the abilities, heart and spirit God has given me to live with purpose and intention — impacting/influencing the lives of others and not taking for granted the life and health He has given me.

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Other than spending time with my nephew and my close friends' children, my worship through teaching is only through my job... My heart though, is to travel out of the country and teach children abroad!

 

There is so much value in worship... Praise and worship! Aside from teaching and adventuring, I LOVE to praise and worship. The experience you can have with God when you come to Him humbly... And just let yourself go... It is just an experience like no other. And I just love it! Whether broken and crying out or content and expressing peace and joy... God loves when we give ourselves to Him in worship, and through our worship He can and will do amazing things.

IN YOUR OPINION — WHAT DOES THE WORLD NEED MORE OF?

I instinctively thought — doers! That people (myself included) would be full of faith and trust, seek the desires of their hearts with God's guidance and direction and not have any fear, worry or doubt...


Follow Charyse Iseri on: INSTAGRAM | BLOG


EMILY WADE

I AM THE CHANGE :: THROUGH FASHION

My name is Emily Wade, and I’m from a little beach town in Sydney, Australia. I love anything creative — I draw, design, paint, sketch, and play the drums. My perfect day off would be a good sleep in, eggs benedict with a soy latte, then a swim at the beach. 

I studied Fashion Business, and after a few years of working in the Fashion Industry, I was able to start my own business, “The Emily Anne Collective”. Oh, and I am also currently working on a new clothing line.

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I was born in Southern Sydney, Australia but I lived in Thailand during my teenage years. I moved over there when I was 12 with my family to establish a children’s home for neglected and abandoned babies in a northern city called Chiang Mai. That experience definitely affected me in the way I view life. I would say I met some of the happiest people during my time there, and these people had nothing. I remember specifically meeting a man who lived in a cardboard box with his son, and yet I had never seen anyone display a smile so big. It was fascinating! It taught me to live life simply, rely on God, and it planted a seed of love for people.

 

Working in the fashion industry is hard as a Christian. Image, insecurity, status, and money have such a hold on people, and it breaks my heart. People will do whatever it takes to get to the top. One afternoon in college we had a guest speaker who was a successful celebrity stylist. I asked her if she had any advice, what would it be? Her answer was very simple, "Just be nice to people, because it's rare in this industry". That shook me. I had recently just returned from New York Fashion Week with a non-profit organization called Models for Christ. We went in and prayed for people through out fashion week, and just spread the love of God through the event. It was the most amazing experience and really gave me a heart for the people in the industry. That they won't find their identity in shoes and skirts, but in God. And that He is the ultimate designer that created them perfectly. God's ready to shake up the fashion industry.

One night God asked me, "If I told you to live in a mud hut in Africa for the rest of your life, would you do it?" It honestly took me a while to answer. But I thought about how much I love God, and that all I want to do in life is to serve him. Even if he told me to live in a mud hut in Africa. I think that's what worship is, although it's also so many other things. Living a life that glorifies God, that brings His love to people, using the gifts He's given us and shine His light. He loves it when His children do what they were created for.

 

Living a life out of my comfort zone is another form of worship for me. I like to be in a place of complete trust and faith in Him that He will provide and come through for me. And He always does.

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Before I sit down to draw sometime I usually spend time with God; I pray and put on some worship music. And in that moment, pictures come to mind as I'm drawing and sketching. I really enjoy these times. As I'm designing I pray... that it won't just be a dress, but that the woman who puts on this dress will be blessed and that she'll feel beautiful, loved and empowered. I just feel like prayer is so powerful.

 

Something that I originally struggled with is the question of how can I make an impact on this multi million dollar industry? The reality of that set in while I was at the New York Fashion Week. I'm just a little girl from a small town in Australia, but something God keeps reminding me is that He stops for the one. There's a quote that's always at the back of my mind, "We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop." We shouldn't under estimate what we do for God. Even if we go out and pray for one person and they encounter God, heaven celebrates. There's something beautiful about that. We can't see the bigger picture, but God can. That one person could go on to bring thousands to God.. because you were obedient. All God wants is a willing heart.

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In your opinion — What does the world need more of?

I just moved to a town a bit more rural then I've grown up in. The people in this town are soo friendly. People will always say good morning... I spilt chocolate milk on myself last week and people came running over with tissues to help. Makes me wonder why that's lost in big cities?


Follow Em Wade on: FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM


PACO COULSON

I Am The Change :: Through Music

I am Michael Coulson; a worship leader at Hope Chapel Kaneohe Bay in Kaneohe, Hawaii, but everyone knows me as Paco. I am a music enthusiast, and I find the best way to express myself is sonically.

 Photos by: Ilikea Ferge

Photos by: Ilikea Ferge

Being born and raised in Hawaii definitely has affected me growing up and plays a huge factor in how I play and make music. Not so much in a genre sense; it taught me to be independent in my work and always pioneer my own path, not just follow the path already set before me. Hawaii taught me to be my own person while still being a part of a team.

 

Music has always pushed me forward and inspired me. If it wasn't for the musical expression of worship and praise, Christianity wouldn't have stuck with me as far as it has. On the flipside, it's what I believe in that brings a lot of value to what I do as well. Jesus is my constant inspiration, I would never have been able to get where I am if it wasn't for Him constantly molding me to be a better follower of Him.

  Photos by: Ilikea Ferge

Photos by: Ilikea Ferge

Worship to me is a vocal expression of our love and thankfulness towards Christ. When Jesus went up on the cross to take the burden of our sin, that was an expression of His love for us. Worship is our expression back to Him. We can never repay what He did for us, it's impossible. The vastness of His love is infinitely larger than what we can offer. But that's the amazing thing about God; He doesn't care how much we can offer, He cares about the heart behind it. In my opinion, worship is that same heart's response to the amazing phenomenon known as grace.

 

To me worship can be anywhere. God's Word says that wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. The Holy Spirit's presence can be just as thick in a congregation of 1000+ people as well as a small group of 5 or less, as long as the heart is there. Growing up I always thought 'worship' was the 20 minutes of service that usually happened before the sermon. As I grew older, God broke down that mindset and showed me that worship isn't a set time, but an action. That no matter where you are, if you have something to be thankful for, you can worship.

  Photos by: Ilikea Ferge

Photos by: Ilikea Ferge

I try my best to set aside time each day to sit and worship God by myself. Whether it's playing and pouring out my heart to God vocally and musically, or putting on an instrumental track and just sitting there soaking in God's presence, I try not to let the day go by without praising God.

  Photos by: Ilikea Ferge

Photos by: Ilikea Ferge

  Photos by: Ilikea Ferge

Photos by: Ilikea Ferge

In your opinion — what does the world need more of?

What the world needs more of nowadays is people who are willing to step out in faith towards God's calling on their lives, especially in a creative aspect. People who are willing to create even if they don't know where to start. Pastor Carl Moore from Hope Chapel taught me that you might have the greatest idea for the greatest song, clothing brand, art piece, etc. but if you don't take that first step towards it, all it will ever be is a great idea.

  Photos by: Ilikea Ferge

Photos by: Ilikea Ferge


Follow Paco on: INSTAGRAM | SOUNDCLOUND


Meet Cory Ida

Cory Ida x Anchored Apparel


A visionary with a huge heart, that's the best way to describe photographer Cory Ida. Most recently, Cory has become known for documenting beautiful underwater masterpieces. From the vivid colors of his photographs, to the unique scenarios his models are in, everything is set up beautifully. Best part of all, we were able to team up and collaborate for Anchored Apparel. To see more of his work, check out and follow his instagram @cory_ida or by clicking here.


WHO ARE YOU? WHAT DO YOU DO? 
I'm an early childhood educator that also loves photography. I actually have thought of starting my own ECE Center / Daycare with children's portraiture included, but realized there was no way it would work having to rent space and pay employees, I wouldn't have anything left for myself to live. So, I currently work with 3-5 year olds for the Hawaii DOE, that's where I get the majority of my income. Most of the photography I do is to bless or connect with other friends or small businesses I believe in.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU? 
For photography I think the youth are greatest thing to shoot. Their exuberance, emotions, and the twinkle in their eyes absolutely need to be captured and cherished forever. Artistically I enjoy anyone that can make something normal look extraordinary. In life I'm inspired by people who really live their lives for Jesus. Pastors, leaders, volunteers, you name it... they are willing to give up part or all of their lives. It's something most of us are unwilling to do.

DOES WHAT YOU DO BRING VALUE IN WHAT YOU BELIEVE? 
Yes. I have recently discovered how powerful a tool photography can be. If we are called to introduce others to Christ, photography has been the best way for me to connect with people. Photography has become a great way for me to serve.

WHAT DO YOU USE? WHAT DOES YOUR EQUIPMENT LOOK LIKE? 
For underwater I use my Canon 7D. I have an Ikelite housing which I use for most creative shoots. I also own a SPL Waterhousing that I use for spots I need to hike to, or there is surf. The Ikelite is really bulky and heavy and the SPL is a lot lighter and easier to handle.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS. 
To be completely honest, I don't have much of a creative process right now. When I do get ideas, I'll write or sketch them. The hardest part of underwater photography is finding consistent models to work with. I believe once I find some I will be able to get more creative.

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY LISTENING TO? 
The "No Other Name" album by Hillsong Worship has been on repeat for a week.

DOES WHAT YOU LISTEN TO AFFECT YOUR CREATIVITY? 
Nah, I probably don't notice it since all I listen to is worship music these days. Before I got heavy into photography I would write creatively. I found that I wrote the best while listening to MxPx though haha.

DEFINE HOPE. 
The exciting feeling we get knowing God has good things planned in our future.

IF YOU COULD CHANGE THE WORLD TO BE A BETTER PLACE WHAT WOULD YOU DO? 
I would put more love into everyone's hearts.

IN YOUR OPINION - WHAT DOES THE WORLD NEED MORE OF? 
Definitely love.