Saturday, November 21, 2015

Prayers For Justin

What were your first thoughts when you saw the title of this post? Did you really want to click on the link and read this? I wouldn't have blamed you too much if you'd ignored it. But since you clicked on it, please hear me out.

I've been a fan of JB (or as we like to say - a "Belieber") since 8th grade. My friend first introduced me to his music by making me listen to One Time and Baby. From then on, I couldn't get enough of his music, his hair and his adorableness.

After a few years of obsession (you know - posters on my walls, his songs on replay, tears shed over me being in Africa while he was touring in the States . . ) I began to lose interest. I never hated him or his music but I no longer played his songs or kept up with him on Twitter.

Then, as I began to grow closer to God, I realized the importance of praying for people with so much influence. So, I started to pray for Justin. I asked God to keep him safe and healthy, to use him for his glory, to keep his motives and actions pure and occasionally, I would pray for the opportunity to meet him in person. I began listening to his music again. When you pray for someone, you learn to love them in a Christ-like way. I was no longer obsessed but I did find myself caring for him and for his well being. But I shouldn't be talking about the past. Even now, I pray for Justin.

The reason why I'm blogging about this is because, for a while, I honestly felt like the only person on the
planet who prayed for him. I'd never come across someone else who realized the great influence that he has over his fans can and should be used for good. Justin grew up in a Christian home and has a foundation built on Christ but somewhere along, he lost his way and found another path.

However, even though I thought that I was the only one who was praying for Justin, I decided to keep it up but also keep it to myself.

About a year ago I came across a page on Facebook  called Just Pray For Justin Bieber. When I found their page, I told them that they were an answer to prayer. You mean I'm not the only one praying for JUSTIN BIEBER?!?!

Now, I KNOW that Justin has made lots of terrible choices and he's far from being a perfect person. Especially after his "bad year." But just because he's made lots of mistakes does not give us the right to judge him or degrade him. Don't forget that God created him and wants to continue to bless him and his career.

Especially now that it looks like he's turning his life around (just google "Justin Bieber Christianity" and you'll get a bunch of interviews about him talking about his faith. I mean, he even invited a reporter to church. And you can click HERE to see a video of him praying for the recent Paris attacks during one of his shows), it's not the time to beat him down. I do think it's ok to be reluctant about whether or not he's serious (even though I truly believe he is) but stop and think for a second.

As Christians, we know that we have been saved by grace. We know that we're nowhere near perfect and mess up every.single.day. I mean, our sins don't end up on national TV but in God's eyes, they're just as bad as what Justin has done. I honestly know that I have sins that could compare to what he's done. But again, Jesus died for my sins as he did for Justin's.

That's part of the reason why I've been praying for him and follow pages that do as well. And the "Just Pray for Justin Bieber" page has influenced me to create my own page where I can openly share prayers and praises about him too.


The tagline on the Facebook  and the Twitter  pages says: "A page for dedicated believers and Beliebers to come together to pray and support Justin Bieber" because that's what I want to be about.

So yeah, I made the page because I'm still a pretty big fan. I'm obsessed with his new album and I love seeing him on Ellen or Jimmy Fallon. But I also made it because I truly want to pray for him and care about him because I believe that it's one of the ways that God's using me. Honestly. Because when you've got someone who has so much influence over his fans and what they listen to and believe, it's important that they stay rooted in God. And when you have someone so young surrounded by wealth, money, and probably doesn't have many people to trust, it can definitely get depressing. Depression is scary and it's dangerous. So, I've learned to look past the whole "celebrity image" thing and just see people.

And yes, I've already gotten some hate for making this page and for sharing that I pray for Justin. But that's ok because I believe in the power of prayers and I believe that God can do anything. So, who knows what will happen as of a result of these prayers?

Therefore . . .

I would like to ask you guys to please "Like" my page and "Follow" me on Twitter. Please help me get the word out. Maybe other Bieber fans can start to pray for him too. Or maybe people will keep asking me why I pray for Justin and I can share the Gospel with them! I also hope that you will start to pray for him too - even if it's only once a month or even once a year.


#PrayersForJustin


Saturday, October 17, 2015

Meeting Spencer Kane

I'm finally getting around to writing about that day that I went to Benton to help out at Spencer Kane at a concert.

I've been a fan of Spencer Kane for about two years ago (you can read about when I interviewed him for a bully awareness assembly HERE) and back in April/May I joined his street team (click HERE to read about what that all entails).

Part of my responsibilities as a member of Spencer's team (which is made up of about 15-20 teens/young adults around the world) is to help work the merchandise table at concerts if the venues are close to where you live. Obviously, I wasn't able to do that overseas but now that I'm back in the States, I jumped at the opportunity to help out. Siloam Springs is maybe a 4 1/2 hour drive from Benton so I am VERY thankful that my parents were able to drive me. Plus they got to watch the concerts!

So, on August 29th (just a few days after starting my classes at college), I drove with my parents all the way to Benton. Fortunately, I was in contact with Spencer's dad/manager the whole way there so we easily located him when we got to the venue.


By the way, the concert that Spencer was performing at is called Amplify Fest and it's an annual Christian event which I highly recommend. It's also free!!






A couple minutes after I started working the table, Spencer came by to say hi to me and to the fans who were buying CDs and posters. So I got to finally meet him in person (we had corresponded a bit through twitter, Facebook, and Skype)! He's just as sweet, friendly, and funny as he is online and he was also much taller than I thought he was!

Did I also mention that this was my very first concert? I told Papa Kane (what we call Spencer's dad) out of excitement and you know what happened later on right before Spencer performed? I was invited backstage to WATCH THE SHOW!!!!!











It was absolutely incredible. I got to stand backstage by Papa Kane as he managed the show. I knew every word to every song that he sang (Heart Like You, Runway, Speak Love..) and it was really heartwarming watching all the fans react to hearing him sing. 

Spencer was also performing with Abigail Duhon, another talented singer. Her father is also the co-producer of God's Not Dead. It was really nice to meet Abigail and watch her perform as well as meet her dad.

Check my Facebook Page and you can watch some of the videos of Spencer and Abigail performing live. 

After watching Abigail and Spencer, I went back to the merchandise table because after everyone had heard him perform, there was a LOOOONG line of people either wanting to buy his stuff or to get a picture and autograph. 


Spencer and Abigail came over to autograph and to take pictures so I kind of got to work alongside them.

When all the pictures had been taken and every poster and T-shirt had been signed, it was time to all of us to leave. For my work at the merchandise table, Papa Kane gave me one of Spencer's T-shirts (see the gray one on the right?). I also had him autograph it and then got a few pictures with him:






What an awesome day!! It was such a blessing to meet Spencer and his dad and be there to help them out. AND I got to experience my very first concert backstage!


You can check check out Spencer Kane by clicking on the links below:

Be sure to check out Spencer in "God's Not Dead 2" which will be out in theaters April 2016!!





Saturday, August 15, 2015

Sponsorship Saturday: Prayer

So,  a few weeks ago I posted the first two pre-written letters that I have created for my sponsored
kids. I'm starting college soon and knew that I wouldn't have as much time to write 5 letters to my kids each month. So, I've been writing some in advance that I can send when I'm pressed for time.

Dear ____,

Greetings to you and to your family! I hope you are all healthy and safe.

This month, I would like to talk to you about one of my favorite things to do. I LOVE to pray! I love spending time telling God about my day, my problems, and my desires. I also love praising him for all that he has done for me. He is always there to listen and to talk back. DO YOU LIKE TO PRAY?

Prayer isn’t just something that we do before we start activities or eat a meal. We pray to build a relationship with God and to also change our hearts. Just like spending time with our friends we need to spend time with our Savior. Sometimes people tell us that we can only pray for certain things but God wants us to come to him about EVERYTHING! I pray when I’m having a bad day, when I’m really happy, when I’m scared, when I’m feeling silly, and when I’m thankful. WHEN DO YOU PRAY?

Did you know that God also answers prayers? Sometimes it’s hard for us to hear his answers because we expect him to answer in a voice that we can hear with our ears. But he answers us through the Bible, through other people, and even through situations. When I’m worried, sometimes I read a special Bible verse that makes me feel better. I know that God was speaking to me. Another time, I was having a problem and didn’t know what to do and then God sent one of my friends to help me out. Colossians 4:2 says “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” Always listen for God’s voice and he will be there to answer you. I will especially be praying for your heart to always be ready to hear God’s voice so that he may speak to you. It’s sometimes hard to hear him.

One thing to remember is that God doesn’t always answer our prayers with a “Yes”. Sometimes he says “I have something even better for you!” Continue to trust him no matter what.

I have been praying for you ever since you entered my life. I thank God for you and your family, I thank God for your heart and then I ask him to take care of you. I also ask for him to provide for your future and always keep you close to his heart. HOW DO YOU PRAY?

Tonight, I will be especially praying for you to always talk to God about everything in your life. He is always listening and always caring. Please pray the same for me!


Your sister: Alicia

If you'd like to read the first two letters please click on the links below:

A Knight's Story - How I'm planning to introduce purity and manhood to my 10 year old male sponsored child

A Princess' Story - How I'm planning to introduce purity and being a godly woman to my 4 female sponsored children


Have any ideas on how I can make this letter better? Comment below!

**Picture belongs to Compassion International


Saturday, August 1, 2015

Sponsorship Saturday: A Princess' Story

Last week, I wrote this letter from the Knight's point of view and now I would like to share with you the princess'. I wrote this so that it could be sent to my 4 girl sponsored children.

Now, once again, I want my 5 sponsored children to grow in their walks with Christ. My kids aren't even teenagers yet so it may be hard thinking that they'll be able to grasp certain spiritual themes (and to also be challenged). But I know wholeheartedly that they are mature enough and I don't think that you can ever be too young to be challenged in your faith.

Feel free to use the letter below with your own sponsored child and please let me know if you have any ways that I can make this letter even better.

Dear _____,

I hope that you and your family are healthy. This is a special letter that I have written just for you! I would like to tell you a story. A lot of times, we like to tell stories (called “fairytales”) about brave knights and beautiful princesses. The stories usually start with a beautiful princess being locked up in a high tower that is being guarded by an angry dragon. Only the bravest and strongest men with good hearts can save her. The knight defeats dragons, fights through thorns and fires and almost loses his life – all to save this princess. And when he does, she is grateful and they fall in love with each other. Remember this - she is not a weak princess even though she was locked up. After being saved, she helps the knight escape even scarier dangers until they are safe at the castle. And then they are married and live happy together.

It is important to know that even though the story is not real, it has a real meaning. In real life, Jesus Christ is like the knight because he is brave, strong and has a good heart. And we are like the princess because we need to be saved. And when we are found by Jesus and he has rescued us, together we are powerful and live happy in heaven forever.

Why are we like the princess? Maybe we haven’t been locked up in a tower but sometimes sad or scary things happen to us that make us feel alone. But even though we may feel alone, we are not alone just like the princess wasn’t. The knight risked his life to save her just like Jesus gave his life to save us. We are brave and helpful like the princess too. Remember how she helped the knight? We can help Jesus by fighting for him in different ways. We can be brave and talk about our belief in God even when it’s scary. We can be strong and do the right thing even when no one else will. And one day, we may choose to marry and use the beauty of our hearts to raise a family and support our husband. But no matter what, God has a plan for you and he is excited to be in your life. Right now, you can become brave and powerful like the princess by memorizing Bible verses, praying and being loving to the girls and boys around you. And then, you are a princess – a daughter of the King! Isn’t that cool?

Tonight, I will be praying for you as you learn to fight for Jesus. You are brave, beautiful and have been given such a powerful heart, ___. I love you!


Your sister: Alicia

What do you think? Please comment below or on my Facebook page.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Project #TakeYourStand

Hey guys! I just wanted to talk about a new feature and page that I have added to my blog.

If you look above this post at the different pages listed you will see that there is a new one called #TakeYourStand.

While the page is quite new, the idea and issues mentioned have been featured on Desert Violet for a few years now. Every October (during Bullying Prevention Month) when I write about bullying, I've been bringing up this project that I have sort of been involved in.

I won't share what's on the page but I will say that I'd really encourage you to check it out and to really think about joining me. The idea of speaking up and out about bullying and suicide is something that I'm very passionate about, especially with me referring to myself as a "voice for the voiceless."

Now, I call this a project but it's not one that I hope will have an end date. This is something that I would like to be involved in for the rest of my life.

Proverbs 31:8-9 (NIV) says

"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy."

ANYONE can be involved in this. It requires you taking the time to search for people who are desperately in need of help (literally in a life or death situation) and to share what's on your heart with them. 

Don't exactly know what I'm talking about? Click on the link above and let me know what you think in the comments below.

#TakeYourStand

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Sponsorship Saturday: A Knight's Story

Here's is one of the pre-written letters that I would like to send to Ali sometime in the future. 

I got the idea for this post after reading on another sponsor's blog about how sex and manhood is looked at in Honduras. Click HERE to read the original post. Now, if you read the other post, you'll see that it focuses solely on how it is common for boys in Honduras to become men when they have sex for the first time. 

My sponsored child is only 10 right now and I didn't want to jump right into sexual purity with him so I thought that starting with what it means to be a man would be a better way to do it. 

One thing that is very important to me as I write to my 5 sponsored children is that they will grow in their walks with Christ. My kids aren't even teenagers yet so it may be hard thinking that they'll be able to grasp certain spiritual themes (and to also be challenged). But I know wholeheartedly that they are mature enough and I don't think that you can ever be too young to be challenged in your faith.

Feel free to use the letter below with your own sponsored child and please let me know if you have any ways that I can make this letter even better. 


Dear Ali,

I hope that you and your family are healthy. This is a special letter that I have written just for you! I would like to tell you a story. A lot of times, we like to tell stories (called “fairytales”) about brave knights and beautiful princesses. Knights are special soldiers. Many times, a knight starts out as a normal boy who learns to face a great challenges when he goes to rescue a princess. The princess is locked up in a high tower where only the bravest and strongest man with a good heart can save her. The knight defeats dragons, fights through thorns and fires and may almost loses his life to save this princess. And when he does, she is grateful and they fall in love. She is not a weak princess even though she was locked up. After being saved, she helps the knight escape even scarier dangers until they are safe at the castle. And then they are married and live happy together.

It is important to know that even though the story is not real, it has a real meaning. For example, in real life, Jesus Christ is like the knight because he is brave, strong and has a good heart. And we are sort of like the “princess” because we need to be saved. And when we are found by Jesus and he has rescued us, together we are powerful and live happy in heaven forever.

But Ali, you are also like the knight in the story. You can fight for Jesus in different ways. You can be brave and talk about your belief in God even when it’s scary. You can be strong and do the right thing even when no one else will. And one day, you may choose to be married and use your good heart to be a hero to a girl just like the princess in the story. But no matter what, God has a plan for you and he is excited to be in your life. Right now, you can become brave and powerful by memorizing Bible verses, praying and showing God's love to the boys and girls at school and at the Compassion center. And then, you can be a knight just like Jesus! Isn’t that cool?

Tonight, I will be praying for you as you learn to fight for Jesus. You are brave, strong and have a good heart, Ali. I love you!


Your sister: Alicia

Ok, I know that not all fairytales sound like this but you get the idea. He'll understand that Jesus wants him to follow in his example by being brave, strong, and loving. I thought that by comparing him (even though he's a boy) to the princess, he will later understand how God compares us to being his "bride". It's not necessarily a girly thing.

Next week, I'll be posting the "Princess Story" that I have written for my 4 girls. It's basically the same idea but it focuses more on the princess aspect of the "fairytale".  

What do you think? Please comment below or on my Facebook page .

**Picture belongs to Compassion International 
  

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Sponsorship Saturday: Trying Something New

Just so you all know, I will continue to write about my Honduras trip but am going to take a little break and focus on something else for now.

A few months ago while I was thinking about college, I realized that I probably won't have as much time to write personalized letters to each of my 5 kids. So, I began to craft some pre-written letters that I can just send directly to my kids and I would like to share them with you. So, for the next few Saturdays, I will be posting them here on my blog! They range from a variety of topics like The Armor of God, Purity (not just sexual purity, by the way), and self worth.

Next week, I'll be posting the first letter. Feel free to use it with your own sponsored kids!

And if any of you have any ideas on topics that I can use, PLEASE post them below or on my Facebook page.


But for now, if you haven't already please read about my recent trip to Honduras! You can click HERE to read the 5 posts.

HOWEVER, if you don't want to read the posts (I promise that I won't cry TOO much. haha kidding), you can watch the video that I made of my 5 days in San Pedro Sula. It's full of beautiful pictures and even has segments from the videos of Fady and Ali opening their gifts. I may post the whole videos sometime but for now, enjoy the 10 second clips!



I hope you all have a great weekend!