Kiara and I met about five summers ago while she was in town visiting her mom. I remember the first time I met her at church, I complimented the beautiful necklace that she was wearing. She was planning on moving back to Florida by the end of the summer and when we had to say our goodbyes she held out her hand and placed something into mine, it was the necklace. Thankfully her plans fell through, she ended up staying, and I wasn't only gifted a necklace but a best friend.
Although Kiara's love language might be receiving gifts, she, herself; is a gift to everyone wherever she goes. She is creative, hilarious, THE ultimate hype-man, and life of the party. She speaks truth unashamedly, walks with such a restful grace and is always bringing bold prayers and godly-wisdom with her. I am thankful for her heart and beautiful friendship. I wish we lived in the same city but I know the Lord is doing so many great things in and through her and her husband Joe out in the Albany region.
Kiara wears many hats; she is a graphic designer, runs a photography business with her husband (@nicolettemedia), and serves in countless ways at their home church- Redeemer Albany.
1. As a graphic designer, what has been your favorite project you've worked on so far?
Definitely one of my most recent branding projects for @ecclesiacrepereie. I’ve had the honor of working with Jamie Burgess, a dreamer and entrepreneur at heart. She asked me to brand her new business a French style Creperie opening up in Downtown Utica, NY. I got to work closely with her, picking out colors, fonts, and designs; creating a timeless brand that reflects who she is and the amazing business that she has brought to downtown Utica.
2. Out of all the places you’ve traveled to, which one has been your favorite and why?
When I was 17, I was able to go Costa Rica for a Missions Trip. It was totally worth missing the first week of my senior year. The people were incredible, and they were loud, just like me! The fruit was OUT of this world too! But, the coolest thing was how powerfully the Holy Spirit moved at the church we were serving that week. It was absolutely amazing!
3. What’s your story/testimony?
Jeez! Where to begin.
So, I was raised in the church. My mom was a children’s pastor and amazing woman of God (still is), so I always considered myself “a Christian”. I was born in Puerto Rico, and when I was 11 years old I moved to Rome, NY. Through middle school and high school, I found my worth and value in what people thought of me, in dating boys, being popular, and in all the wrong places. During that time, my little sister was diagnosed with cancer, and this was a very difficult time for our family.
One day, during my freshman year of high school, I was sitting in art class and I was called to the front office. There I saw my aunt, with red eyes, and my heart dropped. I instantly knew she was there because of my little sister. On that day, March 13th, 2009, my sweet little sister passed away. It was a very difficult season as a teenager who struggled much in knowing who she was, and who trusted God very little.
That summer after my sister had passed away, my life had hit a really low point. I visited my Dad in Florida. While I was there, in a little church that had just launched in Kissimmee, FL, I sat through worship, and tears flowed out of my eyes. They wouldn’t stop, and I knew it was the Holy Spirit cleansing my heart, and calling me to Himself. My life would never be the same after that day, the Holy Spirit was so evident. Through all the searching for things to make my heart full, in all the running away, and in all the sadness and brokenness, the Lord still pursued my heart and saved me that day. It was then and there, Jesus had saved me. I didn’t earn it, and I did NOTHING to deserve it. It was a free gift given to me, and I knew then, that because of Jesus’s promises, everything would be made right. No more brokenness, no more sadness, no more tears, no more cancer, and no more death. He is so good!
4. What is one of your go-to scriptures and why?
Oh dude! Obviously Esther 4:14
“For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
⁃ Esther 4:14
I love Esther, I think she is literally the coolest!
If she didn’t listen to God, deliverance of God’s people would’ve come from somewhere else, because the Lord is in control, but she LET herself be used by God. She was willing to surrender and let go of her life, she let the Lord move through her to accomplish His good work. Like, come on somebody! How cool is that?!
5. What encouragement would you share with someone who recently lost a loved one?
We have one Hope. That Hope has a name and His name is Jesus. Jesus died so that we could live. The promise God gives us is that one day, and I love saying that “ONE DAY”, everything will be made right. We will be reconciled with Christ, and the pain, sorrow, and tears will all be washed away. That is a hope I cling to. His promises are never empty.
6. What is something God has revealed to you about himself in the past year?
Wow, well, this past year alone has been wild. I have always described God as being “faithful”. But this year, I’ve seen His faithfulness clearly, more than ever before. God is faithful through the ups and downs. He cares about the details of my life, He listens and He knows my needs, my desires, and my wants. He satisfies better than anything else in this world. This year, His faithfulness saw me through.
7. How did you find out that you were gifted creatively?
Looking back, I was always creative as a kid. I loved to do different things like dance, take cool photos, etc. As time went on, and I went to college, I was doing terrible as a business major! All I wanted to do was create graphics and manage social media for our church’s middle school ministry “Launch”. Then and there, through serving the church is where I recognized how passionate I was about creating and expressing myself freely! I realized I could use my creative gifts for my career, to help people, and to serve the Kingdom of God.
8. What advice would you give to someone who is looking to develop their gifts?
I would say, serve the church! Recognize the gifts God has given you and look where you can get plugged in. The Lord has given these gifts to you so that you would take care of them wisely and to show others how GOOD He is! Give your talents to the Lord, be diligent with them, and let Him use you!