It’s been a while since I’ve done an interview for this blog. But when I came across The Project J, a Singapore-based brand that creates Christian journals, on Instagram, something (or Someone?) drew me to reach out to the creative force behind it.
Promise, the founder, and I spoke over the phone for over an hour while I was in Vancouver, and happily managed to also meet up here in Singapore for coffee. She’s got a big heart for God and for people, and the journals she’s created are so powerfully Spirit-led and beautifully designed.
In our chat, you’ll find out what sparked the idea to create The Project J, how journalling played a big part in her faith journey, and the exciting launches ahead.
There’s also a 20% discount code off your online order waiting for you at the end of this piece - so keep reading, and be blessed!
Hi, Promise! Could you share more about how The Project J came about?
“In August 2016, I had just left my job. My husband and I had also bought a house during that time. While praying, I had an idea to create journals to help people grow in their walks with God, but I felt afraid to start on it. So I told God I needed three things: a laptop; the opportunity to pick up graphic design skills; and help from certain people to create the journals.
The next day, my husband told me that a friend, the leader of a prayer movement in Singapore, was looking for me to discuss creating a prayer journal. That same day, I met someone for the first time who offered to give me her old laptop.
I had said nothing to anyone about my idea, but all this happened the very next day. I was so shocked! I thought, “Wow God, you’re serious about this”. So I didn’t look for another job and started designing journals. The Project J was launched on my birthday in May 2017.”
What inspired the name of your brand?
“The main idea behind The Project J is to know Jesus rightly so we can project Jesus to the world. The only way we can be a light in the dark places is when we know God rightly and say what He tells us to say.”
What makes each journal from The Project J unique?
“All my journals are different in some way. The common thread amongst them is that they require you to reflect and dialogue with God.
The Freedom Journal has 30 chapters exploring freedom with God. Its aim is to help us walk into freedom with the word of the Lord every day.
The Identity Journal focuses on we are who we are because of who God is.
The Word Journal helps people dig deeper into the Word. It encourages you not to read the Bible for the sake of reading, but realise what it is we’re reading about.
The Prayer Journals come in two versions. One encourages people to think about what prayer is, so the entire journal centres on one question: “What is God saying to you about prayer today?”. The other is like a prayer logbook – it runs through who or what you are praying for, and allows you to record what God is saying about your prayers for a country, a person or an organisation.”
All these journals sound so inspiring and useful! Are there any new ones in the pipeline?
“We have six journals now, and there are three more releasing from May onwards.
One is Dear Child: My Letters to You, which is part of a new series called #letterseries. We hope to encourage parents to take more notice of their children and spend more quality time with them. This journal contains pages for you to fill in memorable events, and blank pages where you can write a letter, paste a photo or even an art piece that your child has made. It’s so empowering and affirming for your children to receive these letters when they are older.
Another is a Worship Journal, which was created in collaboration with Awaken Generation, a worship school in Singapore. Then there’s the Dream Journal. It’s one of the first journals I wanted to create, and has blank pages where you can write or draw your dreams out and what God said about it.”
Let’s talk about running The Project J. What were some of the struggles you faced in building your business?
“Some of the biggest struggles I’ve had are in overcoming the voices of people and my own doubt and unbelief.
When I first started the business, my friends would ask me, “Are you sure you don’t want a full-time job? You need to pay CPF for your house, you know.” People at conferences or carnivals would tell me, “Everything is online nowadays, why do you print paper products? This won’t work.” Because I’m such a “words” person, all this had lasting impact.
I’ve also questioned and asked God if He has indeed called me to do this, and whether I am in the wrong place because I’ve faced so much resistance. But if you don’t ever step out in faith, you don’t have stories to tell of His goodness. And for me, His goodness has been how He has provided for me every single time.”
What are some ways God has been working in and through The Project J?
“Whenever I am discouraged, I will suddenly receive an order or someone will invite me to speak, share my testimony or run a booth. Every time this happens, I feel like God is being the best encourager, telling me that whatever I’m doing is not in vain and will impact lives.
I also have people writing to me on social media on how they used to struggle with depression or anxiety. One of the heartbeats of The Project J is to reach the broken people, and through them I hear testimonies of how our posts and products have impacted them.”
Personally, how has the practice of journalling regularly impacted your faith journey?
“I am introspective and introverted by nature. I have a lot of thoughts in my mind and I need to put them somewhere. But before I was a Christian, I didn’t know who I was writing for and whether it was useful. After becoming a Christian, I started writing in my journal as a way for me to talk to God. The way I pray is through writing.”
How would you encourage someone to start journalling and doing it regularly?
“Pick up a book, make time and start writing. It doesn’t matter if you write two sentences or a whole page. Just start writing.
Start with a question in mind, such as “How is your heart doing today?”. Sometimes when we write without an end-point or a question in mind, we are just complaining, but is doing so helpful? I think there’s a lot to learn about writing purposefully.”