We had the good fortune of connecting with Jennifer Miraval and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jennifer, what inspires you?
In order to answer this question, let me tell you a story. “Miss I’m sorry to bother you, but do you happen to have some spare change?” I looked at him. Like I really looked at him. He was around my age at the time in his mid-20s. He was very thin and his skin was dark from the sun. He was wearing a black cropped fish-net shirt, with black shorts. He had a sense of style to him, and he carried a small bag and a blanket. His voice was genuine, and he was homeless. I don’t know what my expression might have looked like, but he knew I wasn’t afraid of him. Living in Phoenix has opened my eyes and heart to the people who are suffering on the streets. That’s because I was encountering more people experiencing homelessness than I had ever had in my entire life. God sent him my way that day. I believe it’s because He knew my heart was ready to receive this man. I felt this call deep inside of me, and so I obeyed as best as I could. “I don’t have any change to give you, but would you like to have lunch with me?” His look of sorrow and embarrassment quickly changed into disbelief and pure joy. This look was a gift for me. It was beautiful. “Really? Are you sure?,” he said. “Yes!” He thanked me and we ate together. His name was Eduardo. He was from Wickenburg, and was heading to Las Vegas where his aunt lived. He noticed I said grace before we ate and told me that he believed in God. Then he shared with me his desire to write children’s books. I’m not gonna lie, this encounter made me feel uncomfortable, and scared. There’s always a risk when you put yourself out there, but it’s experiences like these that have strengthened my trust in God’s plan for my life, and I don’t ever want to miss out on those opportunities. We ended that meal with a full belly, a hug, and a wish of hope for each other. Eduardo did more for me that day two years than he’ll ever realize. My heart grew more vulnerable and sensitive to the hidden pain people suffer on the daily, but also to the gift of people’s lives. It’s helped me become more willing to give of myself to others just for the sake of helping them relieve a little of that pain they endure. I do this by simply loving them. I know you’re waiting for a big finish to this story. Maybe you’re hoping I opened up an organization to help the homeless, or you’re waiting for me to mention that I’ve dedicated my life to helping those on the streets. But no. The point of this story is to share Eduardo’s beauty. He’s a precious human being, made in the likeness and image of God, and so are you. So I honor that, I reverent that to the best of my imperfect human ability. All of this is to say that beauty inspires me. I get a dose of it when I encounter people, and when I receive them and their story. Maybe that’s why I chose a field in journalism. I thrive off of showing the world God’s beauty through his people. Showcasing how beautiful He’s made them. How beautiful He’s made you. Unrepeatable, irreplaceable you, and to show how He Himself is beauty.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I have a peculiar way of seeing things. Meaning I don’t put myself in a box, and that’s just my personality. I want to do everything and all things. There’s just so much out there that excites me, and that gives me life. I try to appreciate the little things as much as I can, especially food! Every taste I try to savor. That being said I create my art in many ways. Sometimes I express myself through playing my ukulele, singing, water coloring, cooking, dancing, laughing, or making videos. I recognize that my identity is not my profession, but it’s in being a daughter of God. So I put that first, and I try my best to use all my talents for Him and through Him. Today I am an Associate Producer for KSAZ FOX 10 News, and I am the Director and Executive Producer of my film The Choice. This documentary will tell the stories of men and women who have overcome pain and suffering after experiencing an abortion. The mission of this film is to show that healing and mercy is possible for anyone especially those who share the same experiences. Getting to this place in my career has certainly been a very difficult but fruitful journey. Throughout my seven years in journalism, I have fallen and lost my way. I questioned everything I did. I wasn’t sure what my purpose was, but after learning more about myself, and after healing from pains of the past a light began to guide my way. All of this wouldn’t have been possible without my surrender to God. It took me a while to get to the place where I can trust Him with my whole heart, but through my history with Him, He’s gently shown me who He is. He’s proven how much He loves me in many ways, and He continues to do so abundantly. This is how He’s guided me to be where I am today. I know this is not a faith-based magazine, and I don’t mean to sound preachy, but have you ever been in love? When you fall in love you want to show the whole world who’s captured your heart. You want to yell it from the mountain tops. You start talking about them everywhere you go, and share who this person is and what he/she has done in your life. That’s what it’s like being in relationship with God. You’re in love. It doesn’t just happen, but it’s gradual. He doesn’t force Himself, but He gently introduces Himself. Then you start getting to know Him. You slowly learn His ways, you start to hear His voice, you begin to see what He sees, and then you fall. You fall into a love that is indescribable. A true authentic unconditional kind of love, and the more you discover His love the more you become yourself–who He created you to be. All I can offer people is my story on how God has given me a purpose. How He has shown me how to live it out through the gifts He’s given me. Whether it’s creating a film, or giving someone a hug, I try to do everything out of love because that’s His purpose for my life. This is what I want people to know. I want you to know that God is after your heart. He wants to free you from the chains of this world, and release you to become the men and women He’s created you to be. He wants you to live out your life to the fullest, but it can only be done through Him. It’s not popular living this way I know, but this is an invitation for a life of pure freedom and love. It’s far more than what this world could ever offer you. So instead of finding yourself or your purpose through the things of this world, try to find it in the Father. You might be surprised what He’ll reveal to you. After all who else knows the desires of your heart better than the one who put them there.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
My passion is food! And what’s great about Phoenix is that there’s so many tasty foods to choose from. So if my friends were to be visiting I would take them to brunch at either Elly’s Brunch & Cafe in Uptown Plaza, The Daily Jam in Tempe, or Snooze on Camelback. From there I would honestly probably need a nap from all the food and talking, but once evening comes around I would take my friends on either a sunset hike on Camelback/Cholla Mountain or South Mountain. Taking a walk alongside Tempe Town Lake would also be nice. We would probably get dinner at Joyride in Central Phoenix or at Clever Koi. If it’s over the weekend we would probably finish the night by getting drinks with a group of my friends at Sazerac in Downtown Phoenix. One of my favorite places is the Farmers Market so at some point we would make an appearance there, and maybe take an adventure to one of the farms in the area. The Desert Botanical Garden is also a must!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Today while I’m working on achieving my dreams of becoming a Documentary Filmmaker, I cannot thank God enough for the Tepeyac Leadership Initiative Inc. TLI is a five month leadership program for Catholic Professionals. Through this program we got to learn from some of the top professionals in Phoenix. From education to government, business, and healthcare–the program goes through what it means to become a leader in more than 17 fields, but most importantly it highlights how to grow spiritually as a leader. This is the only program that combines secular professions and spirituality like this in the whole world, and I feel so fortunate that I became a part of the 2019 TLI Cohort in Phoenix. Not to mention it’s now expanded to Los Angeles, and it’s on it’s way to grow nationally. Through TLI I gained leadership skills, grew in my professional network, and gained confidence in myself as a leader in the community, and as a daughter of Christ. TLI has also given me a support system from a group of people I would have never met otherwise. These people have supported my dreams, have given me professional advice, and have prayed for me. I have also been fortunate enough to see my peers at TLI grow to become great leaders in our community. Without this program I would not be making my documentary The Choice, nor would I have my crew, or the support to create it. I have more than 200 people cheering this film on, and though it’s in the early stages of production, I know I can count on them through it all.
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Tepeyac Leadership Initiative Inc.