4 Non-Fiction Books to Read Before a Missions Trip

Have you ever considered going on a missions trip? The opportunity to travel for missions usually presents itself to Christin youth sooner or later. Sometimes it involves a flight that crosses continents. Sometimes it’s a road trip to a location in your own country. Often there are a lot of questions you ask yourself before making a commitment to a missions trip. What can I really do? I’m not an evangelist, how am I supposed to tell strangers about God? I’ve lived a sheltered life and don’t even understand the issues a missions trip might address. Will my participation really help?

4 Missions Trips Books

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Leith: Loved by the Father

“My own father didn’t want me. What makes you think God would be any different?”

Though only eighteen, Leith has seen more of the world’s darkness than most grandfathers. When pinpricks of light begin to seep into his world, he reacts the only way he knows how–disbelief.

Loved by the Father

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Book Review: The King’s Shadow

King's Shadow, The

“You, Shadow!” the slave master shouted, as though Evyn were deaf as well as dumb. Laughter erupted behind him. “Shadow” was what they called dogs or horses. Evyn burned with shame. Uncle Morgan had even stolen his name.

Young Evyn is a Welsh serf in the 11th century. His life is turned upside down when his uncle betrays him and his father, leaving his father dead and Evyn a mute orphan. The uncle then sells Evyn into a life of slavery and pockets the money to repay a debt. Evyn becomes Shadow, a often mistreated and sometimes pitied slave boy. But his fortunes begin to change when he learns to read and write. He becomes a squire to Earl Harold and in time, the two become close friends. When Harold is crowned king, he makes Evyn his foster son. It’s a bond that will throw Evyn into the middle of two of the greatest battles of his time.

It’s funny how some books fade from your memory within a week of reading them, while some linger for years. The King’s Shadow is one that has lingered. I read it in 2008, yet I still remember feeling furious at Uncle Morgan and deeply sympathetic towards Evyn.

What’s your favorite time period to read about? Do you like any other books set in the 11th century?

Reposted from March 28, 2014

Glow Stick Gospel Project

Hello everyone! I’m still planning more Blades of Acktar posts, but I’ve been busy with a few other projects this week. My brother and I have a tradition of handing out Bible tracts before 4th of July fireworks each year. This year we discussed getting a little more creative with our firework evangelism and this is what we came up with!

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Here’s the website to go along with the postcard track shown above.

If you like the idea, feel free to print copies of the tract for your own use. (And let me know if you find any typos!)

Brandi: A Light in the Darkness

Thirteen year old Brandiline Faythe bubbles a zest for life, and–according to her older sister–is the only person capable of making drooling and snoring adorable. She’s a rare type of person in both fiction and real real life–irrepressible, compassionate, and seemingly fearless even when she’s afraid.

Light in the Dark

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Series Review: The Blades of Acktar

Last weekend I plunged into the world of Acktar and finally came up for air three books later. I’m not sure why I took so long to heed my friends’ raving reviews of this series! Since I read all three book in one week, I thought I’d do a series review instead of doing each book separately.

Acktar Series

Leith Torren knows much of the world’s darkness and little of the light. Since childhood, he’s been trained as an assassin. He’s good at his job. When a mission goes wrong because of a young teammate’s indiscretion, Leith’s life almost ends. Wounded and trapped in a blizzard, he stumbles upon Stetterly Manor and finds inexplicable compassion at the hands of girls he helped orphan. It’s his first taste of Christ’s love.

I loved so many things about the first three books in this series. In my reader’s heart, characters are king, so my first loves in these books are Leith, Brandi, Renna, Shad, and Jamie. Tricia does a great job of bringing them to life. Each character has a distinctive personality, struggles different from any of the others, and strengths that propel them to heroism. In fact, certain things about each character intrigued me enough that I’m planning a series of blog posts highlighting different members of the Blades of Acktar cast.

One word of caution. When you sit down to start this series (when, not if), choose a night you can start reading early. Otherwise you’ll stay up too late and be sleep deprived the following day!

Author Interview: Sandra Orchard

Remember I promised you a cool interview with Sandra Orchard? Here it is! Sandra was kind enough to follow through with this interview even though she was on her way to be with her grandson who had an extremely serious accident. (Check out her Facebook page to learn how to pray for little Jed.)

If you missed my review of Sandra’s novel, A Fool and His Monet, check it out now!🙂

Sandra Orchard Banner

If I was going to write a mystery, the art crime specialty division wouldn’t be the first thing I reached for! What made you aware of/interested in writing about it?

I read a newspaper article about the detective who founded Montreal’s art crime unit, which led me to research the FBI’s Art Crime Team and read the biography of its founder. I sensed immediately there was lots of fodder for potential mysteries. I’ve even read a couple of biographies and blogs of (former) art thieves.

What’s your favorite thing about museum-quality art and why?

The sense of stepping back in time and experiencing a different era or ethos.

What non-fiction (or fiction!) book(s) would you recommend to someone who wants to learn more?

Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World’s Stolen Treasures 
by Robert K Wittman.

There are many others, but that is a good place to start.

If Serena time-traveled to the civil war, what role do you think she’d play in the war?

Hmm, she’d probably be a spy or scout.

What else would you like readers to know about yourself and your Serena Jones books?

My next Serena Jones novel, Another Day, Another Dali, is dedicated to my grandson Jed who inspired a character in the book. That dedication was written long before the tragic accident that recently left him struggling for survival. Prayers for his recovery would be greatly appreciated. The novel releases in October.

A great big ‘thank you’ to Sandra for being here today. I’m going to have to check out that book she recommended! What about you? Do you enjoy art? Does the idea of being an art crime detective intrigue you?

Book Review: A Fool and His Monet

Fool and His Monet, ASpecial Agent Serena Jones is trying to calm her jittery nerves following a painting recovery when she receives a panicked call from her best friend. Two valuable paintings are missing from the storage vault at the museum her friend works for. Serena dives headfirst into the mystery. Getting the paintings back to the museum turns out to be a tall order. The trail is months cold, and Serena has big distractions–like a stalker who might be trying to take her out and a slew of guys trying to impress her.

I purchased this book on a whim. Usually I dismiss anything art related, but I recently spent a week going to museums with a friend of mine who loves art. After several days of geek outs over Degas, Monet, and Van Gogh, I couldn’t help but noticed this book at a local homeschool conference. It took me a chapter or two to orient myself when I started reading. I don’t read a ton of mysteries, and at first I wasn’t sure what to make of Serena’s quirky commentary on life. Turns out, it’s Serena’s unique perspectives that make this story delightful. She’s tough without loosing her femininity, observant, and delightfully clueless about guys.

If you enjoy lighthearted, quirky, fast-paced mysteries, this is a no-brainer for your to-read list.

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One of the galleries at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art

Stay tuned for an interview with author Sandra Orchard.

P.S. Please take time to pray for Sandra’s grandson who had a bad accident and is fighting for his life.