Alumni Spotlight: Jave Bjorkman

September 20, 2017

This Q&A is part of a series of interviews featuring RUF Alumni. Today's post features Jave Bjorkman , a freelance cinematographer and photographer. 

Who are you and what do you do?

Hi, my name is Jave Bjorkman and I am a freelance cinematographer and photographer. I started freelancing my junior year in college but God has led me to keep pursuing my passion and craft even after I graduated. I create cinematic promotional videos for agencies, brands, and businesses. I also shoot weddings because I’m a hopeless romantic.

What college did you graduate from?

I graduated from Mercer University with a degree in Marketing. I incorporate a lot of that knowledge with the content I create to help engage my clients’ intended audience.

Who was your campus minister when you attended RUF?

My campus minister was Elliott Everitt. He was unafraid to preach doctrine in front of hundreds of students who did not necessarily share Reformed beliefs. While his preaching connected perfectly to college-specific issues, his effectiveness was found in preaching grace upon grace upon grace upon grace, and ensuring that we weren’t shamed into following Christ. He was unafraid to say the controversial things, unafraid to be awkward and vulnerable, and unafraid to name our problems and deal with them. There have been a few times that I’ve left large group ready to burst into tears. It’s very rare to find someone so eloquent and masterful in his words yet be so raw in his delivery. I could go on forever about how Elliott has influenced my life, but I’ll just end with saying that Mississippi State is very blessed to have him. 

What is your favorite memory from RUF?

During my second year, I grabbed a quick lunch with a Mercer alum (he had pursued my friendship the year before, his senior year). Our friendship started after meeting at an RUF function, was solidified by crying in front of people at the university food court talking about how broken we were, and carried on by the Holy Spirit’s incredible influence in bringing us together despite his moving away. After that, I had made it my goal on my second year to initiate friendships rather than wait around for someone to do that with me. As we were catching up at lunch, I expressed to him my struggle in creating friendships and pursuing relationships that seemed one-sided. I had been feeling inadequate and unsatisfied with how my relationships were unfolding. He asked me why it all felt one-sided; I said that I felt that no one cared about me as much as I did about them. Then he had me list all the nice things that people had done for me that week—it was a long list. He said that it’s one thing to love on people, it’s another thing to allow people to love you. It was at that moment that I realized that I had been rejecting the love from my friends and my family, that’s why I felt like I was getting nothing in return. The realization was so profound I started crying. When the waitress asked if I was okay, I blamed it on the spicy beef burritos on my plate.

How has RUF impacted how you approach your career? 

When I started college, I felt the need to belong, to be a part of something that mattered. For the first time in my life, I had to face this thing called loneliness. Loneliness can be incredibly influential on how you decide to go about your day, your week, even your year. It can make you feel inadequate, unloved, unimportant. With that in mind, I was afraid that once I left home, I would go astray and turn away from Jesus. My friends at RUF fostered a community that created acceptance, love and meaning that I had been craving. I learned that I was loved by the God of the universe and that my labor and my story were not futile. As someone who works with businesses in discovering their unique value, understanding their special circumstances and telling why their stories matter, I needed a solid foundation upon which to plant my livelihood. You can’t convince someone that their work matters if you don’t have a reason for it to matter. I learned in RUF, and from people whom God sent my way in college, that Jesus’ life, death and resurrection are why you matter.  

What would you say to an incoming freshman?

Find a community of Bible-believing people who don’t compromise doctrine for fads and attractions. You can find it in RUF, but I urge you to join a local church. It is where you get to serve the local community with other Christians, and how you become a part of the life of the city in which you live. Whether you stay in that city or not, you will gain the skills to engage people who aren’t your age, find life and community outside your college friends and help you transition into the next phase of your life.