Today, Nikole speaks to us about her work as a storyteller and advocate, some great books, and her memoir which will be released soon.
Tell us a bit about how you grew up and your childhood: Avocados, kitenge, sassiness and listening are my love languages. I’m a Chinese-American born and raised by children of immigrants in Northern California and educated by Jesuits in Los Angeles. I am a reluctant writer but gratefully speak and teach on leveraging stories of beauty in the midst of brokenness.
Inspiring biblical passage of the moment: Isaiah 61:1-4
Spiritual growth focus at the moment: Gratitude.
Profession: International Director.
If you wrote a memoir, what would the title be? Liberation is Here is my very first memoir set to release this year! It’s a book about women uncovering hope in a broken world, my own healing journey, and the unexpected survivors who liberated me.
When did you first encounter God and how did you encounter Him? It wasn’t until my mother was diagnosed with cancer that I began to recognize my worth as a 14 year old. In my darkest hour, I heard the voice of Jesus saying, “Because I first loved you, learn to love yourself and to love others.” In this journey of learning to love, I found my own voice in the process.
How has your relationship with Him changed you? God has channeled my anger and bitterness into something good.
“God has channeled my anger and bitterness into something good.”
What has helped you grow spiritually in this season? Mentors and friends who keep me accountable to my intentions.
Just read/currently reading (and what has it taught you?):
Know My Name, Chanel Miller
The Gift of Anger, Arun Ghandhi
Bird By Bird, Anne Lamott
Top three essentials: Bella Balm
Hobby: Kickboxing and rock climbing.
Top three practical tips for staying spiritually strong:
– Strengthen relationships that keep you accountable;
– Practice listening to the voice of God through practices of silence, solitude, and stillness;
– Find ways to remind yourself of God’s faithfulness. Practice gratitude.
Favorite person in scripture? Moses.
What do you want people to learn about God when they look at you? Relentless love that responds through justice.
How do you engage with your community? In places of destruction, I’ve been a witness to life—birth and rebirth, dreams fulfilled and freedom attained. I’ve seen physical chains broken for the innocent and emotional chains broken for the guilty. I’ve seen people in oppression realize that they are no longer victims but survivors as they recognize that dignity is an inherent gift from God. These are the stories that give me life.
As the co-founder and international director of a faith-based organization, Freely in Hope, we believe that pursuing justice, advocating security and leveraging dignity for people who are living in poor and vulnerable circumstances is most effective when administered through the power of the Holy Spirit.
From providing scholarships for survivors of trauma in Zambia, to filming stories on leprosy in the jungles of Vietnam, furthering social justice through education and the arts has been a vital part of my ministry around the globe. As a creative, filmmaker and photographer, my hope is to transform lives by bridging people together through the power of story. Stories bring me joy and the privilege of sharing stories bring life. As I have been deeply affected by the stories of my community abroad, I hope to teach others not to be a voice for the so-called “voiceless,” but to provide the opportunities for their voices to be heard. Rather than exploiting people, film and photography can be used as a medium to empower both the storyteller and the listener.
“As I have been deeply affected by the stories of my community abroad, I hope to teach others not to be a voice for the so-called ‘voiceless,’ but to provide the opportunities for their voices to be heard.”
Favorite holiday? Easter.
A goal you have? Climb Mount Kenya.
A special tradition you and your family engage in or keep: Celebrating Christmas over a period of 5 days up until the New Year.
Thing you want to raise awareness about: Ending sexual violence
What does your morning routine consist of? Coffee, yoga, meditation.
What is on your nightstand? Know My Name, Chanel Miller
Define Christianity in a sentence: Embodying love.
For more Nikole:
Until next time, keep witnessing!
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