I am so excited to introduce this lady for today’s fmG Guest Feature! I’ve known her since we were just little kids and have always admired her style, gorgeous hair, and especially her love for the Lord. The Light she gleams from her passion for Christ is contagious to anyone around her and it has been so awesome seeing her grow in her walk with God. Now as a former Hillsong College student and theology major, I know this world changer will continue to do great things for the Kingdom. Meet Janeleen!
My name is Janeleen Suarez and I am 22 years old. At the age of 18 I moved from Detroit, Michigan to Sydney, Australia to pursue God and worship music at Hillsong International Leadership College. Initially thinking I would only stay for one year, I today find myself three and a half years along the journey finishing my Bachelor’s Degree in Theology. I am an extrovert by nature, so my hobbies would be doing anything with my family or close friends. I love exploring, being spontaneous and finding good food along the way. My most favourite place to be would be the beach or anywhere under the sun and by water.
fmG: How would you define your personal style?
JS: I actually have no idea how to describe my style! Haha! I think it’s maybe a mix of a lot of things… I think lately I’ve been feeling the urban style, but I also like a bit of femininity and simplicity- so maybe a mix of those? If I’m being completely honest, I love wearing something that I’ll feel comfortable in. My outfits tend to be tailored to how I feel that day, so as long as I know that I’ll be comfortable that’s what I’ll go for! When I shop I tend to look for things that I think are fashionable, things that portray who I am and things that have a big red “sale” sign on it!
fmG: Do you find Australian fashion different from American? Which do you prefer?
JS: When I first moved to Australia I didn’t think there was that much of a difference, but the longer I’ve been here I realise that it’s so different! If I were to describe Aussie style I think it’s very Pinterest-y Tumblr-y, if that makes sense? I notice that Australia is a few steps ahead when it comes to “what’s new” or “in” and America is closely behind. In the States, it’s very normal to rock up somewhere in sweats and a T-shirt, but you will rarely find that happening here. I personally prefer Aussie fashion because they’re not afraid to take risks. People love dressing up every day in something that expresses who they are.
fmG: What did a day look like for you while studying at Hillsong College?
JS: When I was at Hillsong College, we had classes four days a week. Some classes including Old Testament, church and ministry, Christian doctrine, and Prophetic literature. Our college has a few different streams (worship, pastoral, dance, songwriting, production, TV/media) in which you choose one to focus on. I chose the worship stream and did vocals. Some of my classes included workshop, theology of worship, and building creative leaders. Every day we held chapels which is basically a time where all the students gathered and had our own service. What I love about Hillsong college is that our vision is same as Hillsong Church’s – building the local and global church. Our college is very much a part of that. We are not our own separate entity that is distant and disconnected. We feel very much a part of what is happening in the church and we are never seen as “just students.”
Hat: Forever 21 • Leather jacket: Dotti • Shirt: Valleygirl • Light-wash ripped jeans: Bullhead from PacSun • Watch: Original Boyfriend from Fossil • Leather backpack: Fossil • Shoes: Nike Air Max from Foot Locker
fmG: What was your favorite memory from Hillsong College?
JS: My favourite memory from Hillsong College has just been creating a home away from home. Our college is made up of a bunch of students that collectively come from 60 countries. When moving to Australia, most of us are in the same boat when it comes to leaving home and family, so we very much had to learn how to make Sydney home and create family with the people around us. I’ve loved being able to watch and walk the journey with many friends I’ve had since day one. There hasn’t been a day where I am ungrateful to be where I am. I find myself amidst a healthy, encouraging and growing environment where people are sold out to seeing God’s kingdom flourish. It’s been an amazing journey and even better when I look around at the people I get to do life with.
fmG: How has your relationship with God been since moving to Australia?
JS: I can’t even begin to describe how much I’ve fallen in love with Jesus. When I moved here I had to grow up and become an adult which I find comes with growing in my relationship with God as well. All my life I’ve grown up in a church and considered myself a Christian, but I think one of the biggest thing for me was I had to discover who God was for myself. I grew up hearing the stories and listening to what I should believe, but never dug deep into Scripture by myself and I never asked the tough questions when it came to theology. I had to rediscover what I do believe and I learned what I don’t believe, which actually solidified what I do believe. I think that as you walk further on your journey with Him, it needs to be just you and Him, reading Scripture, hearing His voice straight from Him and not through a mediator.
He has done a lot of work in not only my life, but in my heart. He has broken me down to build me up even stronger. And I find that that cycle keeps happening, which I am totally fine with as long as He keeps revealing Himself to me (which I know He will).
I definitely don’t know everything there is to know. My prayer is that even though I am studying Theology as a profession, that it wouldn’t just stop as a profession, but that it would also be passion and that I may never lose the wonder in learning more about Jesus.
Connect with Janeleen on Instagram! @janeleensuarez