Today’s interview is special for more than one reason. First on all, it is with someone with a truly inspiring story! Laura is a recent convert and amazing photographer. Her story is so amazing and truly inspires me in my own personal faith walk.
The second reason why this is a special interview is because it is the last for a while. It has been so much fun for me to have the opportunity to share all these beautiful stories for the past 6-7 months and I’m truly honored. However, this will be the last one for the time being. Who knows though!
Be sure to give Laura some love over on Instagram, @lebelauved, and on YouTube! And enjoy the interview!!
Thank YOU for being a part of this project and all the stories that were included.
+ For those who aren’t familiar with you, please introduce yourself.
Hi, I’m Laura Le, Vietnamese, and 20 years old. I’m from Houston, TX and I recently joined the Catholic church this year! At this moment, my main focus is to treat my mental health and to grow spiritually within my faith.
+ How do you intentionally choose to live the Joy of Christ in your daily life?
My dear friend, who was formerly in the convent, has given me advice on how to become more appreciative of the joy that surrounds me. Through finding a home in my vulnerability through acts of kindness, to responding to invitations of love, and to be a beacon of hope for others.
+ This Easter, you were welcomed into the Church and Baptized! Congratulations! What brought you to this life-altering decision?
Thank you for welcoming me! It’s great to finally be a part of the Church! So, I didn’t really know anything about God or who he was, being born into a Buddhist family. It was only until I started to face many trials did I realize where my current faith was would never be enough. Throughout junior high and high school, my parents were going through a divorce and our family became incredibly broken. I began to develop depression and anxiety at the age 12 and I struggled with suicidal thoughts at 15. More trials came my way each year and it wasn’t until I was 17 years old, I tried to take my own life. I had ended up in the hospital the next morning, waking up to seeing my mother sit beside me crying. I still didn’t understand why my life was given back to me after trying to take it away. I had reached out for help through psychologists, therapists, and other programs for my condition. Nothing was helping and I continued to question the meaning to my life. We have one family, within our branch, who are Catholic through their grandmother’s conversion. Their only son and my cousin, Bryan Nguyen, had invited me to his church after seeing how much I was suffering. I went to adoration for the first time and was exposed to the Eucharist. I just remember kneeling before Jesus, having no knowledge that God was within my presence, and pouring my heart out to Him. That was my first to many encounters with Jesus. I was a non-believer and yet God still decided to take me into his hands. After 5 years and many revelations, I eventually started going to Mass and prayer groups and understood that Jesus truly lives within the Holy Sacrament. I was finally convinced that the Catholic Church held the truth and everything I was missing in my old life. God has repeatedly shown me great mercy despite failing him countless times. I wanted nothing more than to be close to Him. In order to do so, I had to obtain the key to Heaven, I had to be Catholic.
+ How has becoming Catholic changed your perspective and helped you grow into the person you are today?
Life has become more meaningful. I’m no longer dwelling in my despair for the Lord has shown me he will be my hope. I still struggle with my depression and anxiety but I’ve learned to embrace my cross and through my experiences, to utilize it and help those who are going through similar trials.
+ What is your favorite, biggest blessing, or most surprising part, of being Catholic?
My greatest blessing in life is having a God who loves me and knows me to my very core. I have never felt loved nearly my entire life and there are moments where I can’t wrap around my head, that I have a God who would die for a sinner like me. Everyday I am in awe of how beautiful and loving He is and just the mere thought of Him brings me immense joy.
+ Recently, you began showcasing your photography on Instagram, which is how I met you! You have such a beautiful way creative style. What drew you to begin exploring photography in this way??
I recently started a new account which is the one I’m currently using! I wanted to focus and create a Catholic based platform. I haven’t posted too much yet, but I plan to use my gifts properly through social media! I always knew God gave me a creative side and I sincerely enjoy photography, videography, music, and art! I already had a YouTube channel (LebeLauved) and I’m enjoying testing out cinematographic techniques and creating memories that I can look back on.
+ What is your creative process? What inspires you as you create?
It really depends on my mental state and what I’m doing. I could be inspired through a video, a book, a quote, or through other artists’ works. Sometimes I would make a planner or draw things out. I’m always brimming with ideas honestly, the only issue is executing them! If I’m motivated, I’ll grab my camera and go out and see what the world has to offer.
+ How have you sought to glorify God through your work?
I was always a shy person and felt insecure about what I allow people to see. After just showcasing myself in a natural manner, my gifts could easily be recognized. I now have extremely supportive friends who encourage me to share my talents to glorify God and I do plan to very soon!
+ How would you encourage other young Catholics to pursue their passions and deepen their faith?
I believe certain desires were put into our hearts for a reason. Our talents make us uniquely ourselves and aren’t meant to be hidden, but to be shared to the world and inspire others. To truly grow and become the person God intended us to be. I encourage others to continuously practice and to grow our gifts. We need more dreamers and creators to shine a light into a world that is full of darkness. To my fellow young Catholics, wherever you are in life, it is never wrong to ask of our Father for help. He longs to hear from you and knows your most deepest heart. He is patiently waiting to transform you and to use you for his glory. I know there will be moments of doubt and confusion, but a good Father will never lead his most precious child astray. We cannot see the entire picture of what God has planned out for us, but I assure you that he has nothing less than perfect for each and every one of us. Everyday the Lord gazes upon you with absolute adoration and is waiting for you with open arms and a sea of mercy. The closest way to get to Jesus is to pray to him. To take a leap of faith and to trust that He will take care of everything.