August 13, 2018

No Gutters, No Glory.”  That was the title of the DIY Network’s First Time Flippers episode which featured Julia Rocha (Bray ’14) and her husband Jon (’15) recently after the couple decided to buy a foreclosed home in their neighborhood and flip it for a profit. The truth is, Julia and Jon have a lot more guts than most people would have, and they’re giving God all the glory.

Although Julia’s passion has always been interior design and creating dream spaces, neither she nor Jon had ever spent a day in construction in their lives.  So when the home behind them came up for sale, the idea to flip it was a complete leap of faith.  And when the DIY Network came calling, things really got crazy…

“We like to live life enthusiastically,” said Julia. “There are a lot of things we dream of doing, and so when a foreclosure came up for sale behind us, it was, ‘Sure, why not?!’”

Julia is originally from Montana and attended Faith Baptist Bible College. After a summer ministry team from Faith visited her church camp in high school, she was struck by the desire of the team to serve Christ and love others, and she wanted the same for her life.  While at Faith, Julia excelled in volleyball and basketball and met her eventual husband, Jon, through a mutual friend. They’ve been married since August 2013. Jon is currently the associate pastor for Prairie Flower Baptist Church in Washington, Iowa.

As a child, Julia loved to draw up dream homes, arrange furniture, and play with colors. Those dreams became reality when she and Jon bought their first home in 2015.  Two years later, Julia used her design talent to launch Highline Homes, a consultation business specializing in design and decorating advice for remodels, makeovers, and new construction. Julia uses her platform to share Christ’s love with others.

“I am invited into strangers’ homes on an almost-weekly basis for design consultation, and through the process I often get to share our testimony of faith with them,” said Julia. “Because the home is such a personal place, my working relationship with clients typically ends up looking more like a friendship than a business transaction, and being able to combine physical talents with missional living has truly brought the greatest joy.”

While the design aspect has always come naturally for Julia, the demolition and construction process of flipping a home was a brand new adventure for both her and Jon. When they decided to buy and flip the foreclosed home in Kalona, Iowa, they knew they’d need some extra muscle, so they enlisted the help of Julia’s brother, Josh, who also attended Faith from 2014 to 2015.

Several weeks later, through the power of social media, their first-time endeavor popped up on the radar of some national media outlets, but Julia had no interest in reality television.

“Early in the process we were contacted via social media by a couple of different production companies to see if we would be interested in filming for their house-flipping TV shows,” said Julia. “But I was staunchly against the idea of being on reality TV. I didn’t want to be one of ‘those’ people.”

Julia, the older, less-daring, of the two Bray siblings, was not aware that her brother had a completely different mindset when it comes to reality television.

Pictured from left to right: Jon Rocha, Julia Rocha, Josh Bray (Julia’s brother)

“God definitely has a way of bringing humility into our lives,” said Julia. “Fast forward a couple of weeks and we found out my brother, Josh, had applied for us all to be on First Time Flippers. A Skype interview later and we were signed. The process itself was eye-opening, pull-your-hair-out stressful, and hilarious all at the same time. To put it simply, houses aren’t built in thirty minutes. Don’t believe everything you see on TV.”

Flipping a home for the first time is, in itself, a stressful task. The added stress of a filming crew, along with their own agenda’s and timelines, made Julia lean on God even more throughout the process.

“There were multiple times where I thought the sky had actually fallen,” said Julia. “Being stretched to the max physically, financially, and mentally, certainly brought out some fun personal qualities. From having an uncomfortably slim bank account to working double and triple time for months, it was incredibly easy to get caught up in the present gloominess of various situations. But through it all, God remained FAITHFUL. There were so many times that we shouldn’t have come out ok, but God continued to faithfully love and provide, regardless of our doubt and lack of faith in Him.”

God provided a buyer for the Rochas half-way through the construction process when a local family saw the home on Instagram and fell in love with it.  All the way through to the final sale, Julia saw God’s hand at work.

Now that television crews are gone, the house is sold, and her first successful house flip is behind her, Julia is excited to see how the Lord will use her business in the future.

“I want to use the platform of interior design as a means to reach people for Jesus,” said Julia. “I would also love to branch into designing or owning a venue for gathering—whether it be an event venue, boutique, bakery, or coffee shop (or all four) giving people an inviting, inspiring and comfortable place to meet up. Investing in the lives of others is something near and dear to my heart.”