Religious—flux dp

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The second lens I explored through my degree project was a religious lens. As a Christian, I believe our time on Earth is temporary and that our true home is with God in Heaven. Living by this creed can look and sound different than a life lead without Christ, or under the notion that this one life is all that we have. Through a religious lens, I sought to explore making work about the most personal aspect of my identity, one that I’ve arguably struggled with the most through my short twenty-two years on this Earth.

The primary question of the religious lens was: “How can I use graphic design to make the gospel accessible to people who are not religious?” Many people have been either personally hurt by the church or some form of organized religion, or are hesitant and unaware of the heart of Christianity.

Starting this project, I quickly became aware and sensitive to the observation that many designers do not make work about religion. It is a tricky and challenging subject to approach. With my own reservations, and personal conflicts and questions about the faith that I grapple with day-to-day, I sought to use this lens as a means of pursuing my faith through form making and using visual design to supplement and build upon the act of sharing the gospel and supplementing personal testimony about Christianity. As Christians, we are called to spread the goodness and to evangelize; graphic design is the study of communication and language; marrying these two together seemed really compelling and helped me grow both on my own walk and as a designer.

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There were two main projects I made for the religious lens, each with multiple components (and each taking longer than expected!). I had hoped to make a larger body of work and to explore more themes, but I also feel like the projects I was able to ‘complete’ could have been made richer with more sustained meditation on the word and time on the exploration/production. I digress.

I designed a four poster series on Sanctuary‘s directions of pursuing God in our lives, on the Christian journey—our personal relationship walking with God. Pastor Andrew used to speak about seeking God in these four directions: upward, inward, outward, and withward. My initial inclination was to make one poster that encapsulated the idea of a Christian journey in one form, but Cyrus and Tom helped me distill it into four evocative pieces. It was important for me to create religious work that could be approachable to people who were not religious. I didn’t want to use any explicit imagery or iconography that would shut people out, but rather make smart design decisions that would attract viewers and convey a sense of emotion and richness.

After I finished the poster series, I wanted to build a body of work off of the core values of Christianity.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
—1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV

I designed faith as a large poster, that spoke about scale in relation to people thinking they need a lot of it, but Jesus mentioning with faith the size of a mustard seed you can move a mountain. Hope I designed as a series of booklets, anthologies that describes hope through narratives in the Bible. I have always wanted to design a daily devotional since I revived my faith and started to seriously pursue graphic design.

And ironically, I hadn’t had thought of what the manifestation of love would be. Supplementing my degree project, I had been doing a lot of religious design/art work through an independent study with Cyrus Highsmith. One of the final projects I made with him was a scarf—telling the narrative story of how Jesus fed 5000(+) with five loaves and two fish.  I brought that in to supplement the presentation of my work for the religious lens, and ended up presenting it as a manifestation of love as it was designed as a gift for my mother.

The Sunday before my degree project presentation, I ended up receiving confirmation through Sanctuary. These past four years have been such a rollercoaster, and one of the greatest strongholds has been my relationship with Christ throughout my life. It wasn’t always the strongest, especially freshman year and the proceeding period of suffering and pain, but I have seen God move in amazing ways both in my life and the lives of people around me. This project was only a small offering, and a huge joy of mine, to give as testament of my faith during my years at RISD and beyond.

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I found making work about my faith very fulfilling and challenging. The reception of it was reassuringly positive (with many mentions of Sister Corita Kent), and I feel very blessed and fortunate to have felt comfortable enough to have pursued this as a part of my dp exploration. Though I am not sure any people declared their faith for Jesus the day of my presentation (though that would have been amazing and all praise and glory to God if so), but I am happy to have had the opportunity to have helped ‘plant the seed’ or at least sprinkle a little piece of manure on the soil. Only God can save people, and I am happy to help contribute in spreading his good news and blessings however best I can. I feel a responsibility and privilege to be able to use graphic design and visual communication as a tool for activism and spreading the good news.

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Sorry for the hiatus, posting regularly is a lot harder than I would have thought! I just finished a book and (side plot) one of the main characters writes a very successful blog(s). Living in the city has been exciting and consuming, but I am hopeful I can chunk out this DP work and start focusing on making my own work again on the side or further pursuing my interests in design outside of my professional career. Thanks for reading. Happy 4th.

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Week 13—Endings + New Beginnings

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NUA Art Party — last Friday

This weekend felt really surreal, and went by so quickly! Following the Sanctuary Cities panel discussion on Tuesday night, the week was such a rush. Kind of a blur with all that has happened/is happening so fast.

Thursday I met with Susan and showed her the new style guide and made some button designs. I emailed Brandon and Susan about my degree project presentation, and Brandon said he is interested in coming! Because the DP presentation is Thursday, I will be going to Dorcas tomorrow morning and next Tuesday, wrapping up and handing off the KYR project. I spent an hour or some finalizing the design templates and packaging all the files. Susan and I are going to go over them and a quick InDesign overview tomorrow or next week. Crazy to see how far the identity and design has come since the initial mock I came up with.

Friday was the NUA Art Party and Senior Send off. I missed some of the senior send offs because of a phone call with Pastor Andrew, but it was really sweet to see all the students one last time. Kleo gave me my mentor tribute, and it was really sweet. I couldn’t make it to the mentor bbq yesterday, but I came in earlier today to clean out my box and say good-byes. So bittersweet. NUA has been such an incredible experience for me these past two years. I feel like I have grown so much as an artist, aspiring educator, and person.

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All day Friday I was anticipating a call from Pastor Andrew and fasting, preparing my heart for baptism. Pastor Andrew ended up calling around 4pm during the Art Party, but I was relieved to speak with him and get his insight on confirmation and my desire for baptism and renewal. I am really glad I went through with it, and I do believe my hesitations were somewhat influenced by the enemy, and I am excited to align myself to what is most true and constant in my life before I graduate. And to honor the relationship I’ve had with Sanctuary as my home church these past two years.

homegroupSaturday, Jia helped me sew the scarf for my ISP critique this morning. She was and is always so patient. After 5 hours, and the assistance from Mike, we got two scarves finished! In the evening was the final Homegroup potluck. So many people showed up! It was nice to see everyone and spend time together in community.

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Sunday—was the baptism/confirmation. I was surprised to see so many familiar and warm faces after. I got baptized with Joanna, and it has been such a blessing to be on this journey together with her. Joseph, David, Christine, and JinWa came from Harvard to visit for the baptism, and we got lunch, boba and played some games at Dave and Busters. It felt so surreal—made me want to be in the Bay Area after graduation with them.

And TOdAy was my final ISP Showcase. It is all ending so fast.

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DP-wise, there is still so much todo. Wrapping up the work for Dorcas alone is taking longer than I had expected. But I printed and bound all the Hope booklets, and got some good feedback on my ISP and religious work for DP through the critique today. There’s a lot todo. The video was due today, and I am glad to have it done with. But the process book still needs to be done, final files organized, the presentation needs to be rehearsed, the room set-up. There’s much todo! But it’s exciting. It’s all ending. Still don’t know what’s next or what God has in store for me. But I am confident he has a plan.

 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.
—James 3:17–18

God I trust and know You have a plan for me, I pray that I may be patient and learn to learn and trust in You. To not anticipate and look forward to the future too much, but to enjoy the slowness of the present and to live out each day as a gift and a privilege.

Sanctuary Cities™

SanctuaryCities2Yesterday was the Sanctuary Cities panel discussion in the evening; I volunteered (or was looped into volunteering) in the set-up and tear-down. The three KYR pamphlets (English, Spanish, and Portuguese) were printed and made available at the table in the entrance.

The discussion was good, I have it recorded, but I felt too sleepy and out of it from staying up making the translations and branding the night before. Brandon and Susan mentioned that there weren’t many people of color who came, and were surprised the audience weren’t outwardly upset with the Mayor. I am not in-tune enough to the nuances of the discussion, but overall the discussion made me feel better and worse about the situation. It has made me realize how glad I am organizations like Dorcas exist, but they are largely understated. As much terror and anxiety the current presidential administration has instilled in the nation and the American society/politics at large, it has been encouraging to see people step up and local governments and grassroots organizations step-up. I was happy to see the three pamphlets available in a number of languages.

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Ruth and I also were able to finish up the collaboration for the most part (though there are still some nuances such as the legend that need to be made, and the pins that need to be glued). Here are some process photos:

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I have also been working on the branding for KYR. I want to have some final deliverables to give to Brandon and Susan. This could potentially be my last meeting with DIIRI this week. Unless I volunteer to work more during the next two weeks. I just can’t do Thursday’s anymore. Susan sent me another email asking for World Refugee Day button designs. I suppose they would want to get the most out of me before I graduate. It all feels like a lot. I understand nonprofit organizations would be like to use their active volunteers as much as possible. Feels like I am running dry.

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I wonder how far I could have taken the campaign if I had done my DP solely about KYR, but I am glad overall that I did the complete exploration.

Tom was very encouraging the last meeting, and I made some fine-tuning to the Hope booklet (hopefully one last time), and also the religious study works. I “only” need to finish up the video, start and finish the process book, make the presentation, finish up the collaborations… and set up the final critique presentation.

He has planted eternity in the human heart.
—Ecclesiastes 3:11

This week has been pretty intense. And I’ve been feeling sick again. After the Monday/Tuesday rush I am breaking down again. I told Pastor Sarah I am interested in baptism this coming week, and Pastor Andrew reached out today. But then hasn’t responded. Huge is offering the visual design internship again. A lot of loose ends.

God I pray You’d be with me and guide me this coming week and into final critiques next week. I cannot believe how fast things are happening. I know You have a plan, and I trust You will be with me. I pray Your will be done.

 

Week 12—RIP, now in 3 languages!

Ruth_progress1Ruth_progress2It’s really crunch time now. Tom sent an email to us earlier today (Sunday, Mother’s Day, May 14th currently) assigning us our time slots/rooms. I requested to go first, and fortunately, there didn’t seem to be much contention for that spot. I will be presenting at 10:00am on May 25th in Room 210. Tom also sent us an attachment with all the things we will need to have that day—the presentation, abstract, reflection document, evaluation, one minute video, etc. etc. It’s all happening so fast!

Ruth and I sat down together for some time to work on the collaboration. It took us an hour or two alone to set the grid of the postcards, but we are finally at the stage of putting the pins and the strings together and connecting the concepts/ideas. It looks really great so far (in my opinion!). But of course, things take longer than expected. We arranged to have another working session on Tuesday.

Do Yun still hasn’t replied to my messages requesting the images of process documentation… I’ve similarly procrastinated working on our collaboration. Anina and I are set to meet Wednesday?

I ordered some lighter text-weight Mohawk super fine paper from Alex at Paperworks and will pick that up tomorrow after my ISP meeting and test the Hope booklet. I’m feeling a lot better about it.

I want to make some graphic standards and branding boards for the KYR campaign—hopefully in time to present to Tom on Tuesday (that’s what I’ll work on tomorrow, Monday).

Besides that…I made some edits to the abstract (making it more concise). I will need to start working on the pecha kucha and the video.. I’ve been procrastinating it because I’d like to have more finished projects to use images from. But that shouldn’t be stopping me. I need to start that reflection document and the evaluation also. The latte will be straight-forward, but the former will require some time/thinking. I cannot believe the weekend is over already. Time is flying.

At church today, Pastor Andrew mentioned that next week they will be doing baptisms. Although Homegroup is under the impression that I am not, and I haven’t told anyone otherwise (I don’t know why I don’t), I told Pastor Sarah that I want to be baptized (or confirmed? confirmation?). I feel convicted. Everything has been so challenging and draining lately. So up in the air. And the only constant that I’ve ever had, though I haven’t always been consistent in my relationship with Him, is God. It’s exciting to think. Sunday will be the baptism, Monday will be the ISP crit, Thursday the DP review.

From this point forward, 2:11am Tuesday morning. Monday was a long, good day. The last day of NUA mentoring, which makes me sad. I am glad I got to see Lia and Aly though, and to meet Carla (who will be studying graphic design at RW University next year!) and to work with some other students on block printing. Cannot believe how fast these two years at NUA have gone.

Earlier in the day, Susan (from DIIRI) emailed me the Portuguese and Spanish translations of KYR and after NUA (and Olivia’s show), I got to work on translating the designs. In theory, (and most of the application itself) it’s easy, but there are always little hiccups. Spanish and Portuguese are much longer in word length than English. And I of course do not know how to make proper line breaks or anything. I think, visually, they look good? Or OK at least. I just emailed them to Brandon and Susan (at 2 am LOL). I also worked on the branding of the campaign itself to present to Tom tomorrow. I want to have graphic standards and final deliverables I can hand off to Brandon and Susan that would be helpful for them to continue the system and build off the identity when I am gone (soon). Tomorrow is the Sanctuary Cities discussion panel which I and the KYR pamphlets will be present for.

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For DP—I am also hoping to print the Hope booklet tomorrow morning (got the paper from Paperworks this morning), and to show a new abstract. I had this idea for the video (in the shower) to use the illustrations of the houses from the Dwelling zine and to make the promotional 1 minute video more abstract and less literally what I will be showing in critique. I think it’s a good/valid idea.

I was flipping through my old work, I have so many iterations of KYR, and I found the first version. And, my goodness. It is so bad. Compared to the current version. I cringe. I cannot believe I showed the early iteration to companies in interviews…

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Before on left, After on right

I am definitely feeling the final push and fatigue.

 You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.
—Psalm 139:16

God, I know you have a plan for me. And I know You will and can carry me through this week. I pray You’d be with me and keep me healthy and strong, and aligned to You. Trusting You, and knowing that You are God.

Week 11—Crunch Time

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Anina’s definition of home (left): static, vs. my definition of home (right) dynamic. Sketch by Anina.

Time is going by so fast! There are so many things to do, and so little time.

This past week, I made some edits to KYR and also to the Hope booklet, and have spent most of my DP mindspace working on the final deliverables and documenting projects. The final deliverables for DP are as follows:
— 1 minute video promoting your DP
— written abstract to be handed-out during your DP presentation
— DP presentation (for day of the critique)
— process book

KYR is chugging along, and (in my exhausted opinion) the design is almost done! We are having it translated in other languages right now through DIIRI. The only thing still up for contention, is the cover (I believe). Hopefully Tom and Conrad’s feedback will be insightful. I know Brandon, Susan and Jessica are wanted for it to be done soon. Spanish copy is due next Monday I believe? During the Sanctuary City panel discussion

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This weekend, I documented all of the postcards Ruth and I have collaborated on thus far, edited the photos from Do Yun and my collaboration, and documented/edited Anina’s spoons. I have arranged to meet with Ruth on Wednesday in the afternoon to discuss our collaboration and final deliverable, and Anina and I will be meeting next week (after this week). I was able to catch Anina just as I was wrapping up the documentation in her studio. We shared a nice chat and she’s willing to sit down for another discussion and a-go at the book design now that the photos are taken and edited. I still need to document the Our America show, though. I’ll do that tomorrow morning.

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Collaboration with Ruth
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Collaboration with Anina

This evening, after meeting with Cyrus for my ISP in the morning and the second to last NUA session, I worked on writing my abstract and an outline of what I want to present for DP. It’s a lot. I think I will need to condense and edit the information down, or just speak quickly. It is a testament to the work I’ve done this semester, the conceptual thinking, but I can only hope the deliverables can live up to the theory, and that I am able to articulate and communicate the richness of the exploration in the presentation itself.

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I spent two hours typing the outline and abstract.

With two showcases/presentations coming so soon, it’s a bit overwhelming. ISP showcase (May 22nd) and DP presentation (May 25th). The postcards for the ISP showcase came in the mail today, and I purchased the envelopes from Paperworks this morning. Alex will be giving me a deal on the Mohawk paper for the Hope booklet (thank you, Alex!). And I am trying to wrap up most of the production-y side of things for both so I can focus on the presentation and visual design of the room, etc.

I was watching the DP presentation videos just now, and I was… (not to be offensive) but unimpressed? I don’t know. The videos seem very vague and abstract. Minimal. Maybe it’s because I’m taking type in motion right now, I’m extra critical? Or maybe because I assume a lot of effort needs to be put in it (not that the videos I watched didn’t have a lot of effort!). But it helps alleviate some of the pressure I suppose. Thankfully, type in motion ends this week and I can use that time in my schedule to work on the 1 minute video (1 minute is long!). Cyrus liked the animation I made of prensa, he said he was touched and his mother would be too. Sometimes he is overly kind in his critique.

We will be meeting with Tom in one-on-one meetings tomorrow. Because I missed last week, I hope he is not overly expectant for an abundance of new work. I do believe I have put in a lot of thinking and effort, but I am always unsure when ‘enough is enough.’

Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything.
—2 Corinthians 6:10

Pastor Sarah gave a really great sermon on friendship on Sunday; and it really spoke to a lot of things that have been on my mind. Mike struggled with it a lot during service, and it was a challenge for me to be a good friend (ironically) to him, but God pulled through for me. He always does. She also spoke about how our culture, both religious and not, has a lack of imagination for intimacy that is not sexual. And I found that really profound. I suppose one could argue we have “platonic relationships” but even then…

Writing the outline and abstract made me realize how much more seriously I take my faith now, and the impact centering myself on Christ in all areas of my life, especially my work through my DP and my ISP, have had on my life. Maybe Joanna is right in encouraging me to pursue baptism. I pray God that you would reveal the answer and that your will would be done.

I continue to search for the right opportunity for future employment; and am expectant that God has a plan. I interviewed again today but am still holding out for an email I was expecting last week. More and more people ask the proverbial question, I am not offended or anxious to answer. But it would be nice to know.

Week 10—What.

Time is moving really fast and my brain can’t keep up. This past week was a blur. We had a guest critic, one of Tom’s previous students–Conrad, who gave a lot of insightful feedback on our works. We met in pairs, but my partner was absent. I even followed up with Conrad via email and he has been very supportive and great with responding with lots of insightful criticism and feedback. Especially on the KYR pamphlet. Some of the feedback I got last week:

–KYR edits (see below)
–”design an experience for the viewer” — not just passive
–bring people in, make it interactive
–relationship of time and visuals — play with time
–design for experience
–make the reading experience of the hope pamphlet more accessible and poetic
–conditioned experiences
–design the stimuli
–what does it become? exercise that leads into something (collab with DoYun)
–temporal in visual design
–dialogue with the patterns
–shift the experience of the conditions

It was a long and constructive critique with Tom and Conrad last week, and to be honest, I was exhausted after it. I took the next day off and went to Boston. I spent some time working, sending emails, and I attended the Future History AIGA talk with Doug Scott and Scott Stowell. Scott Stowell actually came and gave the same lecture at RISD this evening (May 1st), without Doug. I feel like the lecture in Boston was more insightful, (maybe because I was seeing it for the first time), and I enjoyed the Q&A with Doug and Scott. They spoke a lot about their perspectives on design and what it means for design to be a social activity. Especially after seeing Scott present again this evening, it has made me realize how much my experience at Open last summer has shaped my perspective on design and who I am, as a designer, today.

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Doug Scott (center) and Scott Stowell (right) — FutureHistory AIGA Boston lecture

After DP on Tuesday, I had a phone call with Epsilon and was offered a full-time art director position. I will be touring the office tomorrow (and missing this week’s DP meeting, fortunately Tom is supportive and willing to meet with me later in the week). I also ran to attend Andrea’s thesis presentation at Brown. Her talk was really inspiring, and if she is able to condense months of research into one, 15-minute slide-show presentation so eloquently (and well-designed!) presentation, it gives me confidence and encouragement that everything will be okay for DP.

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Andrea’s thesis presentation at Brown University

After Tuesday and Boston, I rushed back to PVD to get work done for Thursday’s DIIRI meeting. I presented the latest version of the KYR pamphlet and the branding to Brandon, Jessica, and Susan. They were all very encouraging and excited! Their feedback is always a lot more congratulatory than Tom or Cyrus’ (and sometimes I need that). Though I do feel their impending sense of need/immediacy that I feel like is being prolonged in the design process. Jessica mentioned that the tone should be “affirmative” and not stress or anxiety inducing. Which is helpful.

I have been shifting the design so much recently. I sent a new email to Conrad and then met with Cyrus this morning for my ISP and got his feedback on it too. I hope to shoot an email to Tom tomorrow. It’s hard because each person will see a different iteration that isn’t the same that I presented to someone the day before. I.e. Cyrus will see version A on Monday, then Tom will see version B, and then DIIRI will see version C, etc. But I am very fortunate and grateful to have people who are so invested in the project with me. The design has shifted a ton and it looks leaps and bounds better. And is changing every day. Here’s a sense of how many versions I’ve designed thus far (and this only abbreviates how many files there actually are!):

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Besides that, I’ve been making edits to the ‘hope‘ booklet. Despite the conversation I had with Alex (at Paperworks), Conrad and Tom both fell for the Mohawk paper. My fault for showing it. It’s expensive, but as Conrad and Tom both mentioned: more of an entry point and more evocative than the speckled paper. I am hoping to finish it up on the Amtrak tomorrow.

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On Friday, I had dinner with the Career Center staff and breakfast with Grace and Deborah. Time is flying so fast! I am needing to make time with the people I care about seeing/catching up with one last time. Saturday and Sunday were blurs of work and allergies. It’s officially spring! This past weekend I invested a lot of work in my ISP with Cyrus, but not as much work into DP. Though there is some overlap.

I spent a lot Thursday and the weekend organizing for my ISP showcase, which will be happening the same week as DP presentations. It will be on Monday, May 22nd (DP will be on the 25th). I am fortunate to have Emily Rye and Jane Androski from the Design Agency come as guest critics, along with Cyrus (and Lucy said she is interested and wants to make time to see it!). I am excited but overwhelmed.

I still need to edit DoYun’s photos and figure out how to synthesize that information, I sent another postcard to Ruth but am still awaiting her reply. I was very late in sending it to her last week. We soon need to document and figure out how to present the project for the final critique. Anina: I still need to go in and document the spoons. Hopefully I can arrange a time this week.

I am slightly bothered (and relieved) that I will be missing DP this week. Tom is meeting with the entire section briefly to discuss final wrap up in the coming weeks, and Paul sent an email sending the specifics for the video we need to create for the final showcase. It’s all happening so fast! I need to figure out how to synthesize and present all the work I’ve been doing.

Susan (DIIRI) sent an email requesting some button designs for World Refugee Day, I wonder if that means they went with my postcard design? And for the copy of the KYR pamphlet which keeps changing. I told her I’d hope to have it this Thursday.

Many things culminating at once! Time flying by. I can’t believe its May. We have our final NUA artist mentor meeting this Wednesday, and the semester is quickly coming to a close. I don’t know how it’s all going to get done. God be with me. Joanna and I met earlier this evening (9pm) to discuss pursuing baptism at the end of this month. She is feeling very convicted, and I hope to have encouraged her. She has such a heart for God and it is really inspiring to share our walks and friendship together. I am less convinced, but am hopeful. I know God has a plan, and I hope to pay close attention to it and to be attuned. I am excited and hopeful for the future He has in store.

At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.
—Job 1:20–22

I finished Luke and John, and have decided to go back to reread the book of Job. Joanna really encouraged me saying she sees/hears the Holy Spirit speak through me whenever we meet and share about our walks to one-another. I am honored and touched to be able to share some of God’s love onto her, as she is such a beacon of light and hope in my life.

Pursuing work about my faith both for my ISP and my DP has been really challenging but exciting. The final showcase(s) will be testament as I have to publicly speak about how its influenced my work and how its integral to it and to my identity as a Christian.