"Vibrant People of Elkhart County" Article by Brea Persing

I am honored and humbled to say that I was nominated and chosen to be one of Elkhart County’s Vibrant Women of Nappanee last week. On May 27, Memorial Day, an article was published about me through 365 Vibrant People of Elkhart County recognizing me, and my mom on May 23, as Vibrant Women doing good in the community. I am proud of my mother and all she has accomplished and I am proud to be following in her footsteps in being a hardworking and proud member of our community.

You can find the original article on Vibrant Communities.

Here is the article below, posted on May 27, 2019.

Brea Persing

For the past week, we have written about some of Nappanee’s Vibrant Women. We end our series with Brea Persing. Brea is a Vibrant Person who has lived in Europe and Asia. She has found herself back in Elkhart County.

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Brea Persing is home. For a while, at least. Nappanee is where she is from and where she is now, but for much of her adult life, Brea has been elsewhere.

After getting her degree in Visual Communication from the University of Indianapolis, Brea spent almost seven years based in Europe and Asia. She worked for a not-for-profit organization as a photographer and graphic designer. She would travel to places near and far to capture images that, not only told a story but made a visual impact.

Looking at Brea’s work you can see her interest in the details. Whether it is a field of lavender, a Moroccan woman in a kitchen, or the family’s Goldendoodle, Radar with a face full of snow, the images Brea produces will catch your eye and hold your attention. 

Brea also produces websites and hers is worth a visit. At breapersing.com, you will find photos and stories. Her blog is informative, often amusing and always readable. Brea is an adept storyteller. She can leave you satisfied or make you hungry to hear more.

Now that she is back in Elkhart County, Brea wants to use her talents to help other non-profit organizations tell their stories. She is offering her professional skills to help them create awareness and inspire people to support them. This August, Brea will be a featured speaker at a conference for the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

Brea has seen much of the world in her young life. There remain places to go and there are things she wants to someday do. Brea is also happy to be here, with her family, doing good work. We’re glad she is.

Volunteering by Brea Persing

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Being a photographer with a focus on nonprofits and NGOs, I have been asked multiple times if I’d be willing to photograph for free. Well, no. I am running a business and need to pay bill just like you do. But on occasion, I have been known to trade services and/or do pro bono work for something I am very passionate about. 

When it comes to pro bono work, I’ll only take on 1-2 per year and with certain requirements and restrictions of the type of work, country and duration of the project. Plus it has to be something that goes along with my convictions and such. I am not interested in unethical storytelling and using people, so I am very careful as to the type of assignments I will take. 

Since moving back from overseas, I have been trying to figure out where I was going to settle when it came to churches. There was the church I grew up in, but I wasn’t sure if that is where I wanted to hang my hat. I started seeking out other churches to see where I wanted to land. There was one I really liked, but it was a 45 minute drive. I didn’t want to do that. But as I was doing that, I started to appreciate the church I grew up in and not feel like I had to go there because of growing up there and my family still going there, but wanted to.

With that, I wanted to wait some time before I dug in and got involved with ministry things at the church. But then I saw it…the church was looking to expand its photography team and add new people. It was time and so I jumped in with both feet. This is the one place where I will volunteer my time without many conditions. It’s been exhausting, but also very rewarding. I wasn’t sure if they were going to like my style of photography, but they did. And at this point, I wasn’t as good in low light situations, but it’s given me the opportunity to work on that to the point that I feel more comfortable in low light situations now. I also didn’t want to be in front of people, or be intrusive (one of the reason’s I haven’t been as eager to capture weddings), but I have learned to get over it…wearing back really helps with that! It’s been a time of stretching and learning, which is always great. One should always aspire to be a continual learner in every area of life.

I am glad I decided to take the step and get involved and use my talent to help those who stood with me while I was overseas, prayed for and encouraged me for so many years.

Here are some of my favorite shots to date:

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A group of visiting Kenyan pastors took over worship

A group of visiting Kenyan pastors took over worship

A group of visiting Kenyan pastors took over worship

A group of visiting Kenyan pastors took over worship

Baby Dedication

Baby Dedication

Baby Dedication

Baby Dedication

Flying by Brea Persing

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I love flying! I always have.

I remember when I was little my dad got his private pilots license and bought a small airplane. He would use it for business and we got to fly in it to go on vacation. It was the best. 

But before then, my first ever flight, that I was old enough to remember, was a commercial one. I had never flown and I didn’t know what to expect. We were headed on a family vacation to Disney World in Orlando, Florida and we had a direct flight from either Chicago or Indianapolis. I had my little backpack with me, a pillow and my mom gave me chewing gum to help my ears. My mom also gave me the window seat, but sat in the middle seat right beside me. I had no problems. It was great! After looking out the window, I fell right asleep for the duration of the flight. I could sleep anywhere at that time.

After my dad got his private pilot license though, we would go up in his plane more often than commercial flights. It was so much fun. It was very different than the commercial flights as you felt much more, could see the ground all the time and you had a headset on. My dad even let me fly the plane once! I still remember it. From that moment on, I had wanted to learn how to fly and get my own pilot license. Actually, while in college, I started looking into being a pilot in the military, but I wasn’t quite tall enough. I have since heard that they have changed the requirements a bit, but that’s ok.

I’ve been on MANY commercial flights since then and still enjoy flying. I have friends that are pilots and I am secretly jealous of them! But this past weekend I had the opportunity to go flying in a private plane again. It had been over 15 years since flown in a small plane like that. When I was asked if I wanted to go flying I immediately said “YES!!!”. And I had been giddy the two weeks leading up to it. It had been so long and a part of my life that I missed. I flew in a small Cessna 150 around the area close to sunset. It was beautiful. The sky was clear, the sun was reflecting off the lake and the wind was still. I can’t wait to go again!

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