As We Dwell founder and visionary Sarah Jung’s life took a dramatic turn nearly three years ago when she went on a mini road trip to shoot photos at Salvation Mountain in Niland, California.
Editor’s Note: This article is the second of a 3-part series on As We Dwell. To read part one, click here: DTLA Arts District Space: Dwellers Work, Create and Do Life Together.
Jung and her photographer friend, Esther Lee, were deep in conversation about God and how amazing He is when, unexpectedly, Jung’s three-month-old Prius was t-boned by a big rig going 63 mph.
The driver’s side was completely demolished. “The first memory Esther had was of me covered in blood,” Jung shared. While her friend was rushed to the ER, Jung had to be taken out of her car with the Jaws of Life and airlifted to the nearest trauma center.
The doctor told Jung it would take 3 to 6 months to fully recover from her broken clavicle, punctured lung, and shattered nose, but she was back on her feet in six weeks. She and Lee are walking miracles, and it was upon this Thanksgiving miracle that Faithful Artisans was found.
An artisan since she was a child, Jung loved to make things with her hands, pull them apart, and put everything back together again. Jung’s childhood dream was to take all the art classes in the world.
Jung considered her November miracle not only a second birthday but also a second chance to pursue her dream to be freely creative and also give others opportunities to do the same. So whether it be making jewelry or planning creative workshops, Jung began to invest her time into what is now Faithful Artisans.
Nine months after the accident, in August 2015, Faithful Artisans officially launched its first workshop at Lee’s photography studio. These workshops gave Jung a glimpse into the purpose behind Faithful Artisan’s existence, not just as a business but as a group of creatives gathering to share their God-given gifts and empower one another to uncover hidden talents.
After a successful first workshop, the next Faithful Artisans-led workshops took place at The Boxcar, a coworking space in Arts District LA where Jung had a desk for about seven months.
“Being in that space, I saw so much fruit. I saw how being inspired by other people makes you so much more effective and efficient,” she explained.
While working at The Boxcar and establishing the foundation of Faithful Artisans at that space, Jung was still teaching. Inevitably, “teaching became a side hustle,” Jung said about her twelfth and final year as a teacher.
In May 2016, her dear friend and business partner Lee decided to focus solely on photography and gave full ownership of Faithful Artisans to Jung. After months of juggling the stresses of maintaining her fledgling business and wanting to transition well out of her long-loved teaching career, Jung decided to run full force for Faithful Artisans.
Her first agenda was not organizing more workshops or coming up with a business plan. Instead, Jung was drawn by God to go on a mission trip to Mozambique, Africa, for three months.
“It was in those three months that I learned how to be intimate with Jesus and sit in the presence of God,” Jung shared.
These months were formative to the faith that Jung would need for the journey that awaited her in LA. It was in Mozambique that Jung realized that she wanted to wholeheartedly pursue the life of a missionary and that LA was her mission field.
“Even though Los Angeles seems like the most unlikely place for a missionary, my heart burns deeply for this city of angels,” Jung said.
Jung had specifically been praying about the future of Faithful Artisans during her three months in Mozambique.
“One day, God was like, ‘Get a space,’” Jung shared. Years prior, Jung had been dreaming about a space, an abandoned house, where makers and creatives can just come and make things.
“Maybe this isn’t really God,” she thought.
But that same day, two other missionaries shared their testimonies of how God gave them land. They were both female missionaries, one of them being Heidi Baker.
“I just took that as confirmation that God was saying, ‘Get a space,’” Jung said.
Trusting in God’s provision of a space, Jung came back from Africa in August 2016. It was near the end of September 2016 that Sarah started to actively search for houses, starting in Pasadena.
She stumbled upon a beautiful home that the first owner had converted into a dance studio. The second owner added a wall and transformed the space into an art gallery. It was the house and creative space that Jung had imagined. This house almost became hers, but the owners went with another buyer last minute. Jung continued her search for another house that also almost went through, but doors kept closing last minute.
“I started to listen to all these lies of the enemy–that I don’t really hear God’s voice. I make it into what I want it to be. It’s not really Him. It’s just I create it into something that I want it to be,” Jung shared.
Jung began to feel doubt and discouragement.
“I was having a hard time getting out of bed,” she shared. “I had to peel myself out of bed to motivate myself to do something.”
During Thanksgiving week last year, Jung got an email from a friend about the Arts District Co-Op, an urban market where various retailers come together and sell their products.
Jung thought, “If I can’t get this big space I told all my friends about, maybe I’ll just get a table and start there. I just need to get the name Faithful Artisans out there.”
She then visited the marketplace to speak with the manager about being a vendor. Jung clicked with the manager very well and shared her story about searching for a space that was at least 3,500 square feet.
“You know what? We might have something for you,” shared the manager, who turned out to manage the entire building, not just Arts District Co-Op. The manager walked Jung to a warehouse full of storage.
“I just knew when I walked in that this was the right spot,” Jung shared. The space turned out to be 3,750 square feet. The following week, on Dec. 2, Jung signed the lease.
“As I signed the lease, I felt like God was telling me to open this space by Jan. 2, 2017,” Jung said.
This gave her three weeks to prepare for the opening of As We Dwell.