Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Natalia: Let's Find Her A Family! (A Girl That Has Stolen My Heart)



Natalia. My beautiful darling. The little girl that captured my heart. The precious girl I dreamed for years would be my sister.

Yet it appears that dream must die. Instead of just sitting around feeling depressed and sad about her situation, I've decided to do something about it. I want to find Natalia a loving family.

I need your help. Do you know someone looking to adopt? Are you able to donate money to her grant fund so a family can afford to get to her...and fast? Do you have a blog and/or Facebook where you can post her picture and a link to her profile? Could she be your future daughter?

Here is the info from Reece's Rainbow:


Girl, Born March 6, 2003
Natalia is a GORGEOUS little girl with brown hair and giant blue eyes.   She is 6 years old.   She is a very smart little girl, but her medical records show cognitive delay and some epileptic issues.   Her seizures are infrequent, and she does take medication to control it.   Her cognitive delay is likely a result of the seizures though.   She also has some strabismus (crossed/lazy eye), but this can be corrected in the US.  Natalia is able to speak, and when our missionary asked her if she would tell us something , she was trying to rehearse a little poem!  Natalia is not able to walk on her own.  She is carried everywhere.   We are uncertain as to WHY this is, but can only know in our hearts that her life will be greatly improved to have therapy and a family of her own.   She is a very nice little girl, happy and friendly and beautiful.   She will truly thrive in a family environment.
From her medical records:  epilepsy and flat feet
Natalia is already living in an institution, so we need a family for her right away!  She recently lost her adoptive family, so her situation is urgent!   She is STILL living at the "not so good" place, and is unable to walk on her own yet.  We need to get her out immediately.
As with all children living in these difficult conditions,  this child's cognitive development has regressed significantly since he/she was younger.  It is of crucial importance that any family considering the adoption of an older child from the mental institution setting be well prepared for what to expect with regards to how the neglect and lack of adequate medical care and nourishment has affected this child.    These children all have TREMENDOUS potential for improvement, and deserve to have a life outside these four walls. 
These children are truly living on borrowed time, and families should be home study approved before an official commitment can be made for this child. 

 $144.00 is available towards the cost of my adoption!

The thought of my sweet girl languishing in a heartless institution is almost more than I can bear. For those who don't know about institutions in Eastern Europe...they lock these kids up, leave them to lie on beds for days and weeks and months and years with nothing to do, and wait for them to die. There is no future for them if they are not adopted. They are not loved or cared for. Even basic physical needs are often neglected. They shave their heads so lice won't spread. The conditions are much worse than I can paint in words. I hope and pray that someone will start the journey to rescue her-and the many others who wait-soon.

Will you join me in fighting for Natalia?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Book Review: The Merchant's Daughter




Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Be willing to risk for love. Your circumstances don't have to define you.


The Merchant's Daughter by Melanie Dickerson captured my imagination like no other book has in months. The author drew me into 1352. She made me care about the two main characters and she skillfully switched point of view.

Annabel is not welcome in the village of Glynval. She's not even welcome in her own lazy family. (I really don't like those people.) Yet this book shows that God can work anything for good. She must serve Lord Ranulf le Wyse as an indentured servant because of her family's debt of the past three years (they were supposed to work in the fields but didn't). This actually gives her the opportunity to read God's Word and lead a happy life.


I like that while the author introduced various conflicts, even really dangerous ones, she resolved them well. *Potential Plot Spoiler* At one point in the book, a young man defends Annabel from an evil attacker. What bothers me is that he later regrets it. I don't believe that anyone should feel guilty or fear punishment for accidently killing someone in the defense of another. The young man should feel proud for his actions. The attacker had to be stopped and if he died in the process, that is his own fault for creating the problem. Protecting the innocent from being victimized is a privilege and a duty that must be taken seriously.


Annabel's diligence and hunger for God's Word is inspiring and convicting. Her character 
reminds me of Proverbs 22:29, "Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will serve before kings; he will not serve before obscure men."

I appreciated that the novel continued for a bit after the climax so we could enjoy the happy ending instead of cutting off abruptly as many books do.


                                                     ~~~~~~~~~

Team Novel Teen is a group of bloggers dedicated to spreading the word about clean teen fiction. Check out other posts about The Merchant's Daughter by Melanie Dickerson by clicking on the links below, and check out 
www.NovelTeen.com for more information about Team Novel Teen.
 
~I received this book free through Team Novel Teen in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Blog Awards!

                                      Thanks to Rachelle for giving me these two blog awards!


The Official Blog Award Rules:
the same for both awards

1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you the award.

2. Share 7 things about yourself.

3. Give the award to 15 other bloggers.

                                                         
                                                  7 Things About Myself

1. I passionately want to see the unreached people groups of the world reached with the Gospel!

2. My desire is to eventually combine my love of kids (& especially orphans who have no one to care for them), filmmaking, and writing on the mission field (without neglecting evangelism, of course!).

3. I get motion sickness very easily. Too easily. I can no longer go to even the small local amusement park. Well, I can go...I'll just be sick at the end of my time there. I tried going two times but now that I'm older, my stomach just can't handle the rides like when I was 9. :(

4. And yes, I served on a ship. And when it was sailing I did get seasick for a few hours but the pills seemed to kick in because after that, I was fine. Sailing is fun...when you're not feeling sick. I am so thankful to God that I wasn't sick for the weeks and weeks that the ship was docked in Penang and Port Klang.

5. I don't like calling people I don't know (or don't know well). But if it's one of the few (and I mean, few) people that I'm really close to, I can talk for hours. So I don't completely dislike the phone :).

6. For the past few months, I haven't had much of a chance to read books (unless required for a review). I'm making more of an effort to get back into it. As a child, I used to read all the time and could finish lots of books in one month...maybe even a week. Now it seems to take forever :).

7. I don't tend to be a rule breaker (I don't think so, anyway :)) but I'm going to break rule #3. Anyone who wants to do the "Tell All About Yourself" blog award, feel free. And if you think you're a versatile blogger, grab that one, too! Consider yourself awarded :).

Monday, October 31, 2011

Highlights from 7 1/2 Weeks Onboard the Logos Hope!

I've recently returned from my mission trip on the Logos Hope. I was onboard while she was docked in Penang, Malaysia and Port Klang, Malaysia. It was a wonderful experience and I want to share some of my highlights with all of you! (I was too busy to regularly update my blog while serving onboard plus the internet connection was incredibly slow at uploading pictures.)

C-Days (Connect Days) when I got to connect with people on Deck 4 and work with children off the ship, etc. were definitely some of my greatest highlights. Below are summaries of some of them:

-Fixing up a YWAM school for refugees. Our team was actually featured on the GBA Ships website. You can read more here.

-Aboriginal Jungle Overnight Team. We stayed in a Christian couple's home and in the morning at 6 a.m., we drove 2 1/2 hours to remote aboriginal villages in the jungle. There were 8 of us from the Logos Hope. 4 went to 9 Mile Village (including me) and 4 went to 10 Mile Village. Yes, those were the village names. Two in each village did a children's program for those under 10; two in each village did a youth program for those 10 and up.


One of the most exciting aspects of the trip was that we were allowed to be open with the Gospel. It is not illegal to share the Gospel with the aboriginal people (as opposed to the Malay people). A Christian church has already been planted in both villages. Upon arriving, we first attended their 2 hour church service (which was in the Malay language).

Then the four of us in 9 Mile introduced ourselves to the kids (a little over 30 altogether) and had them guess what flag belonged to which crewmember (we brought our flags and then mixed them up so we were all holding the wrong flag :)). After singing a few songs, we split into the different age groups. Our location was an open air structure that only had a tin roof...no walls.

Our interpreter translating our personal testimonies.

My teammate, Simon, and I played a game to get to know their names (to be totally honest, I could only remember a couple names since they were really difficult!). This helped break the ice a bit although they remained shy throughout the morning/early afternoon. Then we took turns sharing our testimonies. Thankfully, we had an interpreter, Daniel, throughout our time in the village. He sometimes preaches there. After Simon demonstrated the proper way to put on a lifejacket, five of the youth (we had around 17) competed to see who could do it the fastest. Then he used the lifejacket as an illustration. If the ship is sailing on the open ocean far from land and we fall overboard without a lifejacket, no matter how hard we try to swim to shore (no matter how many good deeds we try to do), we won't make it (we won't get to heaven). We'll die. Jesus is our lifejacket. If we trust in Him, He will save us. Daniel closed in prayer in Malay. After the children were served food, we (the team members and some other adults) sat on the floor of the church and ate noodles.
A common word used to describe the overnight team when asked how it went? Awesome.

-Deck 4. We are often assigned to Deck 4 on our C-Days. I became discouraged by the shallowness of conversations on Deck 4 and the lack of curiosity in people. The evening before one of my Deck 4 C-Days, a friend prayed for my Deck 4 time asking that God would bring the right people into my path and that a relationship would begin that would last beyond our brief encounter onboard the ship (through exchanging contact information).

The next day, after talking with a few people, I sat down in the kids area (which is inside the i-cafe area) and talked with an older Chinese lady who had a young boy with her. It was the usual surface conversation stuff. Her niece, Wynette, sat down and we began talking. I was about to leave to go on my lunch break when the same friend who had prayed for me came down and asked Wynette if she'd bought any books from the book fair. She replied that she had really wanted to but was overwhelmed by all of the choices. Wynette is from a different part of Malaysia. She had traveled 1 1/2 hours to visit the ship and was about to leave empty handed. But God had other plans. We offered to help recommend some books. As we walked back into the book fair with her, she shared that she became a believer only a year ago at the age of 15. Her immediate family members are all non-Christians. Also, she lives in a predominantly Muslim part of Malaysia. Nevertheless, she was eager to grow in her faith but didn't know where to start. We were privileged to be able to direct her to More Than A Carpenter by Josh McDowell, a one year youth devotional by Josh McDowell, another devotional-type book, Desiring God by John Piper, and a NIV and NLT Bible (since it can sometimes help to have two different versions). She was so sweet and grateful. Her hunger to know God more touched us. She hugged us and exchanged contact information with us (sound familiar :)?) and took a picture with us as well. What she didn't know is what an encouragement this divine appointment was to us. Isn't this just a testimony to the overwhelming love of God? Not only did He draw this young lady to Himself from a Muslim part of Malaysia, but He also saw fit to use the Logos Hope to help disciple her as well.

This alone would have made my Deck 4 experience the best one yet. However, I was also able to sit with a group of 12-year-old girls who were on a school field trip. Unlike some, they were not too shy to ask questions and I was even able to share how the love that God has given me is the reason that I came to the ship, etc. My last conversation happened at a table where two girls and Noomi (my wonderful pantry shift leader) sat. I sat down as well, introduced myself, and began chatting with them a bit. I found out that the girl to my right was actually from Thailand! She is studying in Malaysia. They thought it was neat that I understood some Thai and could speak it (though limited in this area :)). She, too, exchanged contact information with me.

This Deck 4 experience was definitely an answer to prayer. Praise God!

-Palm Oil Plantation Outreach. A Palm Oil Plantation Estate sounds fancy, doesn't it? In America, an estate normally brings to mind the image of a large, expensive house. Well, it's the complete opposite in Malaysia. A Palm Oil Plantation Estate is a government owned piece of land where those who labor in the palm oil plantations can live for free. They're too poor to live anywhere else. They make only 500 Ringgit a month ($160.88 in US dollars). The pastor we partnered with brings them food, clothes, and toys for the children. I was part of a team of five crewmembers who came to do a children's program.

We first introduced ourselves with the same fun flag guessing game as the one we did in the aboriginal jungle village. We then performed a drama for the children which taught the kids not to try to be like others but to embrace their own gifts and uniqueness. Afterwards came hand/face painting and ballooning...fun stuff :)! I helped with twisting the balloons into dogs and swords. A couple of the girls loved being held and twirled around. It was fun for Jill (a lady from Singapore) and me, too! We had kids sitting on our laps while our other three teammates reenacted a Bible story.

Other highlights:

~Ship's community. It's wonderful being surrounded by believers from over 45 different countries and having  people who are willing to stop and pray with you if you need prayer...anytime...for any reason. The ship kids were fun to hang out with. And I loved being in the Helmsdal ship family! (Everyone who comes to the ship is assigned to a ship family so you have ship parents and ship siblings...ship family night is every Tuesday...I think it's great!)

                                My amazing ship family (before the changeover). Jimmy was on break
                                                    in Thailand and I was on C-Day so we're not in the picture.

~Opportunities to use my gifts/passions. I was given the opportunity to write a couple of articles for the public relations officer/communications department (whether or not they will actually be published by local Malaysian newspapers...I don't know. But it was still wonderful to get to help out, gain experience in interviewing people, etc.), write a one minute monologue for the Teenstreet "Brand New Me" event onboard, and help operate a camera for the AV department during the Chinese Youth 4 Christ event onboard. I was hoping to be able to use my passion for writing and filmmaking on the ship and God opened doors!

~Having wonderful pantry shifts. Noomi, is, in my opinion, the nicest shift leader ever! Jay and Dawid from my original pantry shift and Esther and Wonhee from my pantry shift after the changeover (changeover is when a new group of long-term missionaries come onboard and the group that has served for 2 years goes home) were all great, hard-working coworkers!


Me, Noomi (Finland), Dawid (Poland), and Jay (S. Korea)

Esther (Switzerland), Wonhee (S. Korea), Noomi, and Me

~Hearing at Port Praise ways in which God is working in Penang, Malaysia. At the end of the ship's stay in each port, Port Praise is a time of sharing what God has done in and through us in that port. It was very encouraging to hear. For example, a lady shared about the Teenstreet "Brand New Me" event we had onboard (a 3 day Christian youth camp for teens). She said that a boy who was involved in gangs came. His mom signed him up for the camp hoping it would help him. He was so affected by the camp and especially by the lives of the crewmembers that he witnessed each day when he came onboard that he decided to give his life to Jesus and said that he wants to be a missionary!!! 

 As I previously mentioned, I was able to play a tiny part in this Teenstreet "Brand New Me" event by writing a short monologue for it. However, it's not just the organizers and participants or even an enthusiastic Stepper from America that made the event possible :). It's the men sweating in the engine room...the angels cleaning their millionth toilet...the galley/pantry team keeping everyone fed...and so on that enabled the Logos Hope to sail to Penang in the first place. This in turn opened the door to this event happening and this boy coming to know the Lord. It's a team effort. And it only succeeds according to the will of God. 

The same goes for the Chinese Youth 4 Christ event. During Port Praise, I found out that they debriefed the next day at a local church and many of the youth rededicated their lives to God and indicated their desire to get involved in mission work.

The purpose statement for the Logos Hope's stay in SE Asia is "Making friends for the Gospel and building partnerships for ministry and missions." It was so exciting to get a glimpse of what God is doing in Malaysia!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Book Review: Lost in Dreams


Instead of coming home from her missions trip to a welcoming party... Kim reenters America only to face a string of difficult, terrible circumstances.

Lost in Dreams by Roger Bruner with Kristi Rae Bruner is the sequel to Found in Translation.

To be honest, I found the beginning depressing. Which is how readers are probably supposed to feel...it means we care about Kim Hartlinger and what happens to her. The title also doesn’t seem very fitting. Lost in Nightmares would have been more relevant. I was happy; however, that Aleesha returns as a main character in this book. That was a pleasant surprise! Rob reappears as well. And we finally get to meet Betsy Jo.

While things don’t go as Kim planned (going straight to college and majoring in Spanish), God has something even greater in store for her. I won’t tell you exactly what but the aforementioned characters all get to do it together...and it’s ministry...and He uses them to touch people’s lives in a positive life-changing way...how cool is that?!?

So even though the book began as a real downer, the middle was interesting. Several different types of conflicts are introduced. I did want to shake Kim and tell her to be more open with her dad, though :).

The ending was, ah, quite different than what I had expected. The authors managed to approach Kim’s problem from an angle that hadn’t even crossed my mind. Don’t worry; it’s a satisfying resolution.

All in all, Lost in Dreams is a good, clean book and unlike so many novels for my age group, it doesn't have the distraction of teenage romance in it.

                                                         ******************

Team Novel Teen is a group of bloggers dedicated to spreading the word about clean teen fiction. Check out other posts about Lost in Dreams by Roger Bruner by clicking on the links below, and check out www.NovelTeen.com for more information about Team Novel Teen.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Book Review: Found in Translation

Note: Thanks to Mom for posting my review for me while I serve onboard the Logos Hope in Malaysia!


Found in Translation by Roger Bruner with Kristi Rae Bruner is a teen novel about Kim Hartlinger, a spoiled  eighteen-year-old who is going on a mission trip to Mexico where God transforms her to be more like Him. This novel was interesting to read, especially considering the fact that while I was reading it, I was preparing for my first short term mission trip! (Plus I am 18 and recently graduated from highschool...like Kim :).)

In my opinion, the characters in this book make very sudden changes in the way they behave...yes, there are reasons but it still seems way more immediate than it would be in real life.

The interaction between Kim and her newfound friend Aleesha is cute and fun to read. I like that the author(s) didn’t paint either a rosy or depressing picture of missions. They showed that there are joys and challenges. It’s hard work but it’s so worth it. And God can use you in ways you may never have imagined. This book illustrates the need to be flexible, obedient, forgiving, and to trust in God. To be willing (and want to) do things His way and not stubbornly cling to what we think is best. Even though this is fiction, it was great to see how much could be accomplished, by the grace of God, when a group of Christians worked together as a unified team.

I think that the ending is awesome!

~I received this book free from Team Novel Teen and Barbour Publishing in exchange for my honest review.
Team Novel Teen is a group of bloggers dedicated to spreading the word about clean teen fiction. Check out other posts about Found in Translation by Roger Bruner by clicking on the links below, and check out www.NovelTeen.com for more information about Team Novel Teen.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Onboard the Logos Hope!!!

After 30 hours of travel, I arrived safely on the Logos Hope. Thanks be to God! During the last few hours on the long twelve-hour flight (I had two much shorter ones as well), I was terribly motion sick. I know how awful it feels and cannot express how grateful I am to God that my body is fine onboard the ship while it is docked.


I have been assigned to the Angels department along with three other STEPers. The Angels wear red shirts (some departments have different colored shirts) and are in charge of cleaning, laundry, and accomodations.

My cabinmates are very nice. I share a cabin with 7 other Steppers. Normally, there would be 9 others but two of the other STEPer females are older women and they have their own 2 person cabin. There are also 2 boys in our STEP group and they have their own cabin (obviously :)). We share a bathroom with other women on our hall so there are about 16 of us sharing the bathroom altogether. Thankfully, there are 3 showers and 3 toilets in the bathroom! The time limit for each shower is 3 minutes!

The Logos Hope will open to the public in Penang on August 25, 2011. I'm really looking forward to being able to mingle with visitors on Deck 4. This is what part of the large book fair looks like without visitors.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Our Trip To Colorado and My Graduation/18th Birthday Party

As you can probably tell just from the title, July was a busy month! Before I leave for Malaysia, I'd like to recap some of what I've been doing here in America :).

First of all, my mom won a free trip to Colorado from Focus on the Family. So in early July, we were able to spend four great days in Colorado Springs. This trip was one of many firsts for me. It was my first time riding on an airplane. It was my first time leaving the Northwest. It was my first time feeding a giraffe. Yeah, here's a picture :).

                                         Feeding a giraffe at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.

I really enjoyed our tour of Focus on the Family headquarters. We got to go behind the scenes and learn how they make Adventures in Odyssey episodes. The filmmaker in me really liked the production side of things. We got to record our own short episodes with nice microphones and everything. It was fun!





Everyone at Focus on the Family was really nice. We got to have lunch with Mr. Jim Daly, the president of Focus on the Family. I was so glad that it was casual and everyone at the table had a great sense of humor (as opposed to being stiff and uptight :)).


              Here we are with Mr. Jim Daly and our wonderful tour guide Mrs. Suzanne Martin.


At chapel (which happens once a month), Dave & Jess Ray performed their original songs. I loved it! They have such pleasant voices and a wonderful ministry. Their CD, "Music for the Radio" is only $7.50 (including shipping) and 100% of the profits goes toward buying handheld radios that broadcast the Gospel to the people of southern Sudan in their native language! Would you like to buy one for yourself? Click here to get your own copy. I really recommend it!

                                                                ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And then, in late July, I celebrated my graduation from homeschool highschool and turning 18 at the same time!

My mom got up to do the introduction. Then dad played 3 worship songs on the piano. Mom went back up on stage to give her speech. We showed a slideshow of me growing up. Then it was my turn to give a speech. God graciously gave me the ability to do it without shaking or even getting that nervous (which is incredible! I've struggled with terrible shyness all my life and am so thankful to God for helping me overcome it!!!). After my speech, I shared two videos about the Logos Hope.Then both Mom and Dad joined me on stage. Mom had me repeat a pledge after her. Dad said a few words and prayed. And then I received my diploma!




You'd think it was finished, right? But Dad surprised me with a song that he had written that morning! He sang and played it on the piano. I am not one to cry in public and I had determined not to cry during my graduation...but I melted into tears as Dad sang the song he'd written for me. It was so brave and sweet of him to sing it in front of everyone!!!



It was now time to eat and mingle :).


Mom, Aunt Annette, and I stayed up making these little caps the night (or should I say early morning ;)?) before my graduation party. I opted not to wear a real cap and gown during the ceremony. These did nicely.



Oooh! More food!


                             Mom came up with the pretty place setting idea for the tables.

Me with two very awesome friends.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Weird Sleeping Schedule

A.K.A. My plan to defeat jet lag.

Here's the plan: Adjust my sleeping schedule (close) to Malaysian time for a little over two weeks before I leave so that by the time I get there, my body's clock will have already adjusted to their time, thereby eliminating jet lag.

This involves staying up until 4-5 a.m. and waking up in the afternoon (2-3 p.m.). I've been doing it for awhile now and have become accustomed to it. I really do hope this works and I'll be able to stay alert once I get to Malaysia and board the Logos Hope.

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Anticipation Builds...

I will board an airplane in just over 2 weeks!!! I'm nearly finished packing.

I do have an update to share. Due to a failed generator, the Logos Hope will be sailing straight to Malaysia for repairs. This means that the port of Phuket, Thailand was cancelled. I'm disappointed because my mom was born and raised in Thailand, my dad met her there on two short term missions trips, and I studied Thai as my second language in highschool...you could say that Thailand is in my blood ;). In short, I was really looking forward to visiting Thailand and I still definitely hope to someday.

For now, I look forward to seeing Malaysia and serving onboard the Logos Hope. I can hardly wait.

P.S. As I prepare to leave, I'm posting fun quizzes about OM's ship ministry on my Facebook wall. If you'd like to friend me, I'm "Alyssa Liljequist" and my avatar is of me in a tree :).

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Book Review: It's Not About Me by Max Lucado



It's not about me. It's not about you, either. What isn't? Life...and all the good things in it. It's about God.

This, in a nutshell, is what the book is all about. We were created (along with the rest of creation) to display God's glory. We were saved for the glory of God. And our purpose as believers is to bring God glory.

We're all born selfish. Wanting everything to work out our way and to please us. So it's a great reminder that life isn't about us. The world is truly not meant to revolve around us.

If we keep this in mind, I think Christian marriages would be stronger (think about how many marital problems spring up from selfishness/mecenteredness!)...Christian ministries would be more honoring to God...and our everyday lives would better reflect the glory of God.

There are two parts to It's Not About Me. Part 1: God-Pondering  Part 2: God-Promoting  The idea is that one naturally follows the other. When we take time to ponder the greatness of God, we will be more apt to declare the greatness of God. Max Lucado talks about how everything should be about God...our message, our salvation, our bodies, our struggles, and our successes.

There's a study guide in the back of the book with lots of questions if you wish to explore this subject further.

I recommend It's Not About Me by Max Lucado. The less we focus on ourselves and the more we focus on God...the better.

~I received this book free from Booksneeze/Thomas Nelson in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

My Summer Reading List

I've been wanting to post my summer reading list...and I think I should do it now before the summer is over :)!

Here it is (in the order I wrote them down in my notebook...yes, it's an actual list ;)):

Check! It's Not About Me by Max Lucado

Check! Every Single Woman's Battle by Shannon Ethridge

Check! A Kid's Guide to being a Winner by C. D. Shelton

(Those were for review so I read them first.)

Foreign to Familiar by Sarah A. Lanier (This was part of my acceptance package from OM! I'm looking foward to reading it.)

The Logos Story by Elaine Rhoton (Not part of my acceptance package but a book from OM nonetheless.)

Live Like a Jesus Freak by dc Talk

Me, Just Different by Stephanie Morrill

The Pursuit of God by A. W. Tozer

Out of the Comfort Zone by George Verwer

Five Tiny Fingers (The Story of Open Arms International)

Ten P's In A Pod by Arnold Pent III

Sowing Beside All Waters by Emma Leslie

The Skeptic's Guide to the Global AIDS Crisis by Dale Hanson Bourke

Aids Action by Dr. Patrick Dixon

Living The Cross Centered Life by C. J. Mahaney (Combines The Cross Centered Life and Christ our Mediator)

Columbine Courage by Ron Luce

Common Sense by Thomas Paine (To be totally honest, I probably won't get around to reading this. I glanced through it and it looked really slow :).)

Writing Because We Love To (Homeschoolers at Work) by Susannah Sheffer

*In Progress* If God Loves Me, Why Can't I Get My Locker Open? by Lorraine Peterson

The Hornet's Nest by Jimmy Carter

Everyday Heroes by Nancy Vittorini

I know I won't have time to read all of them (ok, probably not even half) since this month is packed (we're hosting a Chinese exchange student for 2 1/2 weeks plus my graduation/18th birthday party is later this month) and I leave for the Logos Hope next month!!! But some is better than none :).

What books are you reading/do you hope to read this summer?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Book Review: A Kid's Guide to Being a Winner



A Kid's Guide to Being a Winner by C. D. Shelton is a very easy-to-read book for 8-13 year olds about...how to be a winner! I think kids younger than 8 could benefit from this book as well. It is simple yet practical. Here is a quote I like, "They (winners) understand life is a precious gift to be honored and not trashed." It is filled with illustrations (by Greg G. Gillespie). It covers 5 ways to be a winner. #1 Being Responsible, #2 Being Thoughtful, #3 Being Respectful, #4 Having Gratitude, and #5 A Positive Mental Attitude. I agree with the first four (although in the gratitude section, it says that our "greatest gift" is our health which I don't believe to be true. The greatest gift is eternal life for those who put their trust in Jesus). As for number five, I have nothing against optimism or thinking positively, per se. I am against the New Age movement and the Word of Faith movement which are unBiblical and have led many people astray. Just because you think positively about a situation does not mean it will work out how you hope or you will automatically achieve success. Besides my concern about that, it's a nice book which may help some kids improve their character.

~I received this book free from The Cadence Group in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Book Review: Every Single Woman's Battle by Shannon Ethridge


Disclaimer: This book contains mature subject matter.

Every Single Woman's Battle by Shannon Ethridge is a book about remaining pure mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. It asks questions and has spaces for you to fill in the answers; this allows you to personalize the book. It is a study guide for individuals and small groups. It explains how to start a study group of your own.

I like that Shannon encourages us to find our fulfillment in Christ. I also appreciate the part (though rather small) about modesty.

As for the rest, I don't know how much I can say on what's supposed to be a family friendly blog :). It's not that s*x is somehow inherently bad to talk about...it's just not something kids need to be thinking about yet. It's supposed to be beautiful and wonderful inside marriage...after all, God created it! Unfortunately, in our society, it's treated cheap as something to be given away casually before marriage...hence the fact Every Single Woman's Battle was written. The subtitle is "Guarding Your Heart and Mind Against S*xual and Emotional Compromise".

Purity is very important. May we all guard our hearts, bodies, and minds, by the grace of God!

~I received this book free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

My Support Letter

Since I was young, God has graciously given me a passion for reaching the unreached. At the age of 16, I began to have a strong desire to not only pray and give, but also to go and personally tell people about Jesus who had never before heard of Him. I asked the Lord for direction. There were so many unanswered questions. Where? When? With what organization?

These questions were answered in a totally unexpected way. I was looking through CD-roms from different mission organizations that we’d received through the Mission Connexion Northwest Conference. I came across the interactive CD from Operation Mobilization (OM) regarding their ship ministry. My family was familiar with the ministry of OM but I researched the ship ministry in particular. In the end, I realized that the Logos Hope was the answer to my prayers.

It's been wonderful to see how God has worked things out. The ship will be in Phuket, Thailand in August of this year! My mom was born and raised in Thailand and I’ve studied Thai as my second language in high school so this is perfect. The rest of my time onboard the Logos Hope will be in Malaysia.

I don't know if you're familiar with the Logos Hope or not. OM has a video series of the Logos Hope online: http://www.omships.org/shipshots/. In a nutshell, its mission is to bring knowledge, help and hope to the nations of the world. The Gospel is central to this. It is the most important knowledge, the greatest help, and the only true source of hope. Yet practical service is a huge part of the Logos Hope ministry as well. One of its main attractions that draws crowds of people is its book fair which contains over 7,000 different book titles. The Logos Hope is a unique ministry and I eagerly look forward to partnering with you to serve the Lord and others in this way.

I must raise $985 for the trip costs (required by OM for room & board on the ship) before July 3rd. Otherwise, I will not be able to go. However, that is not all. I also need approx. $1700 for airfare there and back. Including misc. expenses, I have to raise a total of around $3000.

Please consider a tax-deductible gift of $25, $50, $100, $200, or some other amount. You can donate online by clicking the following link and completing the online donation form (indicating me "Alyssa Melody Liljequist" as the OM Missionary and including my account number): https://usa.om.org/GiveOnline/. My account number is 8-11025054. Note: If you don't mind, please let me know if you decide to give and if so, how much, in order that I can keep track of how much more money I need to raise.

I also ask that you pray for me. Please pray for protection and provision for me. And please pray that I would honor Christ in everything I do and that I would act with wisdom, boldness, and love.

Soli Deo Gloria,
Alyssa Liljequist

Friday, June 24, 2011

Wrapping My Brain Around It

                                              Me, holding my acceptance letter

It's hard to believe. After 3 long months of waiting and waiting to hear, I was accepted by OM to serve onboard the Logos Hope!!! I had a lot of time before officially being accepted to consider what my first reaction might be. Dancing around the room? Screams of joy? Hopping up and down? Telling everyone as fast as I could?

No. My eyes watered with tears of joy and thankfulness. All I could think or say at first was Thank You, Lord! 

After a couple minutes soaking it in by myself, I went to tell my mom. She was so excited for me. I was so excited, too :)...I still am.

It was unreal. This is what I had been praying and hoping and dreaming would happen for months. And now it had happened! I'd clung to a belief that it would (hopefully) happen. But now it was real. I couldn't focus on anything else for the entire day.

Since then, I've had to stay in touch with the real world. Wrapping up school. Exercising. Planning my graduation/18th birthday party. Writing. And much more.

Of course, there's a lot of stuff to prepare before I can leave in August. (Can you believe it's less than 2 months away?!? I know. It's crazy. Crazy-good, that is.) Today I am going to get my two required innoculations. I am continuing to raise support. I also need to brush up on my Thai (and learn more!).

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I Have Been Accepted to Serve Onboard the Logos Hope!

video


Approximately 400 people serving from over 40 different countries working to bring knowledge, help, and hope to the world.  I can't put my enthusiasm and excitement into words right now :).

Book Review: God Gave Us Two

God Gave Us Two - Lisa Tawn Bergren

God Gave Us Two by Lisa Tawn Bergren is a cute picture book. It was a pleasant break from thicker books I'd been reading. It helps children understand the blessing of a new baby. Throughout the book, Little Cub is told, "God gave us you. Now He's given us two!" They let her know how much fun she can have with her new sibling...normal things like snowball fights...and unique things like iceberg hoppin' and puffin pouncin' :). The book shows how a mommy's tummy gets bigger and bigger. When the baby is about to be born, Little Cub goes to stay with her grandparents. There's a surprise at the end. *Spoiler* During the book, Little Cub wonders if she'll get a baby brother or a baby sister. In the end, she gets both! Two adorable tiny polar bear cubs.

While I am obviously not the target audience for this book, it was still fun to read. The illustrations by Laura J. Bryant are sweet and playful. I would recommend God Gave Us Two to anyone who is expecting a new baby and already has children...or as just another nice picture book for your kids to read!

~I was given this book free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Book Review: Keeping Secrets (Journals of the Big Mouth Bass)




Keeping Secrets is the first book in the Journals of the Big Mouth Bass series by Debbie Sue Bass Williamson. It’s a fiction book for 8-12 year olds. It is written in diary format. That is a tough style of writing to pull off but the author manages to make it interesting. 9-year-old Debbie Bass writes in her journal to God sharing her thoughts and feelings and adventures. She wants to learn to keep secrets and no longer be called by her nickname, “Big Mouth Bass”. The book moves along at a nice, fast pace.

I did not like the chapter on “magic” since real magic has always been bad and tied to satan. There’s no such thing as good “magic”. There was frequent misuse of God’s name as well in the forms of “j-e-e-z” and “b-e-j-e-s-u-s”. One final negative note: I found the ending to be devastatingly sad.  In my opinion, it was entirely unnecessary and I can’t imagine how tragic it might be for a younger kid. On the good side, the fact that I found the ending to be sad means that the author successfully made me care for the main characters.

In the end, it's great to have had the chance to read a book whose target audience is the same as the age range I want to write for.

~I received this book free from Cadence Marketing Group in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Book Review: The Amusings of a Missionary


Title: The Amusings of a Missionary
Author: Ken Board
ISBN: 9781935265313
Publisher: Citadel, A Division of Deep River Books
Publishing Date: 2010
Price: $14.99

Ken Board has served as a missionary in Japan for the past 42 years. Wow. That’s a long time.

The Amusings of a Missionary is a collection of some of the short messages he has written for his church bulletin over the years. He has certainly been in some strange, interesting, and funny situations. From his experiences as the father of four children to his tales of different animals to dropping his camera into a bowl of ramen noodles, the author shares about his life in Japan. There he ties it in to a Biblical principle and how it applies to our lives. Pastor Board seems down-to-earth; he has the ability to laugh at himself J.

I personally didn’t find the book as funny as I expected (considering that the title says "amusing") but I did learn things about Japan that I didn’t know. It’s interesting how with some creativity, practically any situation can be coupled with a Bible verse and illustrate something in the Christian life.  There are around 200 anecdotes in The Amusings of a Missionary.  While this book did not tickle my funny bone, there is nothing wrong with it so I feel safe recommending it.


~I received this book free from Bring It On Communications in exchange for my honest review.

To read more reviews like this one, go to Tell Us The Truth Reviews.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!


                                              *Mom and I at Grandma's house yesterday


Here are just five things that I'm thankful for that you have done/do, Mom:

Thank you...for home educating me.  (I'll be graduating this summer...your first graduate...can you believe it ;)?)

Thank you...for being there to talk over my concerns, frustrations, excitements, observations, etc., etc.  I love talking with you!

Thank you...for cooking for me (and all of us).  My stomach is eagerly anticipating the dumplings you are cooking right now...

Thank you...for your forgiveness when I mess up...your prayers for my well-being...and your love no matter what. (Okay, that was more than one thing :).  I might as well add that I like your sense of humor!)

Thank you...for raising me up to fear God.

I would not be who I am today without you!  I love you, Mom! 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Radical Together


Radical Together - David Platt
Radical Together: Unleashing the People of God for the Purpose of God. This book spurs the body of Christ to work together to reach the unreached people groups of the world with the Gospel. Did you know that there are over 6,000 unreached people groups? The author, David Platt, talks about the importance of reaching the unreached almost as much as I do. I love that!




"How can we in the church best unleash the people of God in the Spirit of God with the Word of God for the glory of God in the world?" (p. 136) That's a great question and this book will help you start to answer it for yourself. So will the Radical Experiment which was in the first Radical book and was mentioned in the Conclusion of this one. Information and resources to help you do the year long experiment are here: http://www.radicalexperiment.org/home.html.

Radical Together was a very encouraging read. The zeal for God and His Word and His glory is unmistakable. The passion for fulfilling the Great Commission and alleviating the suffering of millions is so refreshing. The stories of real people making a real difference because of their love for God is inspiring. I recommend this book for everyone!

May we pray, read God's Word, give sacrificially, and go so that those who have never heard the name of Jesus may hear a clear Gospel presentation and so that the needs of the impoverished will be met.

Let's live radically...together.

To read the first chapter of Radical Together, click here.  To purchase the book, go here or here.


~I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for my honest review.
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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Waiting



Waiting.  It's not fun.  "Hope deferred makes the heart sick." Proverbs 13:12a
Carrie guessed right.  I applied for a mission trip.  And I've been preparing ever since.

The thing is...I don't know if I'm accepted or not.  And there's no way to know when I'll know.  Too many girls have applied for this trip and so it looks like some won't make it. 

I know God has planted the burning desire to do overseas mission work in my heart.  Whether I'm meant to go on this particular trip or not remains to be seen.  I want to do God's will.  And it's gotten to the point where I just want to know one way or the other so I can know whether to pursue other options or not.

I've been trying to have faith and patience.  But to be honest, it's tough.  This constant uncertainty.  The unablity to form conrete plans for after graduation.  Not knowing if there will be enough time to raise funds even if I am accepted. 

So I'm waiting.  Because there's nothing I can do but wait.  However, there are things I can do while waiting.

"While I'm Waiting" by John Waller is such an encouraging, wonderful song! I found this video on YouTube:



I will move ahead bold and confident...taking every step in obedience.  While I'm waiting...I will serve You.  While I'm waiting...I will worship.  While I'm waiting, I will not faint.  I'll be running the race...even while I wait.  This song displays what it is like to actively wait upon the Lord.  It's not sitting around waiting for life to happen.  It is living for the Lord this day.  And the next day.  And the next.  It is running the race and serving and worshipping as a way of life...whether we particularly feel like it or not. Today is the day the Lord has made...let us rejoice and be glad in it!

I want to praise God for the blessings He has given me now...while I am waiting.  I want to be faithful in my studying and writing now...while I am waiting.  I want to persevere in learning Thai...while I am waiting.

What about you?  What are you waiting for?  What can you do while you wait?

To visit other Spiritual Sundays' participants, visit here.

Friday, April 15, 2011

First Friday's Fave Five



Friday's Fave Five is hosted by Susanne at Living to Tell the Story.

My Fave Five for this week:

1. Receiving the Keys for Kids Devotional Booklet/Magazine (May/June Issue) with my devotional, "Mixed Up" published in it! :) 

2. My new prescription glasses with transition lenses.  They darken to become sunglasses when I'm out in the sun and lighten when I'm inside...it's like having two pairs of glasses in one!

3. My awesome aunt coming down today!  We all love her visits (and love her!).

4. Winning a $25 Amazon Gift Card from the Ultimate Blog Party.

5. Getting to review Radical Together by David Platt.  I'm not finished reading it yet but it's very good so far!

Friday, April 1, 2011

My First Blog Party Here + Ten Random Facts

Ultimate Blog Party 2011

Hi, my name is Alyssa Liljequist.  I'm not trying to be redundant...since I did post an introductory post not long ago.

However, my mom told me about the Ultimate Blog Party 2011 so I thought I'd join in. 

In a nutshell, this blog is me chronicling my adventure as I try to live out my God-given mission and share what I learn along the way.

To keep things fun and exciting, I'll share ten random facts about myself.
1. This video is my heartcry.
2. I can't stand peppermint or celery.
3. I like to work hard.
4. I've never flown on an airplane before. (But this may be the last time I'll be able to say that...)
5. I don't like loud music at all. Why hurt your eardrums?
6. I love people from all different cultures and it's cool that I get to be multi-ethnic.
7. I've learned (and am continuing to learn) Thai as my second language.
8. I hardly ever wear jewelry.  To me, it gets in the way of doing practical work.
9. I love filmmaking. You can view my videos here.
10. I've started an e-book business which (at this time) offers two e-books, Thanksgiving Stories for Children and Discovering Grace.

I enjoy meeting new people!  Please leave a comment so we can get to know each other :).

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Excercise Is Good For You (but it isn't easy)

Another title came to mind: No Pain No Gain.

On Friday afternoon (the 11th...yes, the day I applied for my passport), I decided to go outside and exercise by running/jogging (with some walking thrown in).  That shouldn't be anything out of the ordinary.  But it was.  For me.  I haven't done that...since...um, who's keeping track?  I tend to be an indoors girl.  The work I do is done at a keyboard and computer and my schoolwork is also done inside.  I'm often busy and if the thought even occurs to me to go outside, it doesn't seem worth the effort.  However, people tell me it's not healthy to stay inside all the time.  They're probably right.  So I went outside with my mp3 player.  This is my new strategy.  Normally, I would've been surprised if I lasted 15 minutes.  I thought music would help.  It did.  I stayed out for around an hour.  After approx. 45 minutes, my knee started hurting.  But I wanted to be tough so I continued.  By the time I came inside, I was babying it :).  I thought my knee was totally healed from the sledding incident.  No, I didn't mention my knee in the post.  It has to do with me throwing myself repeatedly onto the sled, hitting my knee hard (more than once), and bruising it.  The days after that my knee was very sore.

Back to Friday.  My knee wasn't as sore as before and I was eating lunch when my youngest brother asked me to go biking with him.  At first, I tried to resist (I haven't biked in months) but he was so sweet that I couldn't help it.  I agreed.  I was worried that it'd make my knee worse but after my brother ate lunch and I did a school subject, it didn't hurt anymore.  We had fun biking.  Then we did nature scavenger hunts (including a cool twist I made up :))...this included a lot of running around.  Before I knew it, it was dark outside.  I can't remember a time in the recent past that I've spent that many hours outdoors. (Sad, I know.)We went grocery shopping that evening which included--you guessed it--a lot of walking. Suffice it to say, I overdid it.

My dad said I should wait a couple days before exercising anymore.  I did.  Then I exercised a little on Monday (the 14th).  The next morning I wasn't that sore (in comparison to Saturday morning...).  By the way, my knee is fine now (as far as I know). 

I'm hoping this exercise stuff will pay off in me being able to do hard physical work without being totally sore the next day.  I also need to strengthen my cardiovascular system.  In other words, after a few minutes of running, my breathing should not sound like a locomotive and my heart should not be beating like an out-of-control drum on wheels (I don't know why on wheels...it just sounded interesting...besides I had to make up for the earlier cliche). 

Enough about me.  What about you?  Do you exercise?  How often?  What type of exercise?  Running? Soccer?  Hiking?  Badminton?  I want to hear all about it!  Any tips on exercise?  I could really use 'em!