Latest Posts

Missionary Perspective ~ Interview with Missionary Medical Professionals, Val & Clark Sleeth

Clark and Val Sleeth are missionaries in Kenya, who serve as medical professionals at the Tenwek Hospital. TBAP first heard of Val and Clark after reviewing the book, Reforesting Faith (read the review here), written by medical doctor, Matthew Sleeth, who is also Clark’s father. After a series of newsletter following the Sleeth clan, TBAP learned of the amazing work done by Clark and Val. Val and Clark took the time to enlighten us a bit about their work and journey at the Tenwek Hospital. Take a look!


Miranda ~ Hello! Delighted to have you visit TBAP today. Please tell us a bit about yourselves. Also, how did you both become Christians?

Clark & Val: Clark is an internal medicine and pediatrician who grew up in New England. Val is an internal medicine physician assistant who grew up in the North West. We have two kids, three-year old Hannah who was born in Kentucky and 8-month old Luke who was born in Kenya. We have been transformed by Christ.

We both grew up in non-Christian households. Val met the Lord in her mid-teens through the faithful ministry of believers after her family moved in across the street from an evangelical church in south-eastern Idaho.

Clark met the Lord after his dad stole a Gideon’s Bible from the Emergency Department at the hospital where he was working. He met the Lord and encouraged Clark to read that Bible. His whole family could see that something big had happened as his dad quit his job as a doctor and moved their family, saying he wanted to study the Bible and learn more about this Truth. Clark, as a 15-year old who had never met another Christian or opened a Bible, struggled to understand the bright orange KJV Bible his dad had “borrowed” from the ED. His dad later encouraged him to read CS Lewis’s Mere Christianity. The Lord used Lewis’s words and the Bible, particularly the Sermon on the Mount, to save Clark.

Miranda ~ When/how did the two of you meet, and when did you realize your calling as missionaries?

Clark & Val: We were drawn from our two corners of the US to Wilmore, Kentucky, where we met at a math event (yes, a math event) while studying at Asbury College. We had both felt a calling to missions before arriving at college.

About a year after Val met the Lord, she was sitting by the Snake River, reading Paul’s letters and praying. She heard the Lord asking her to, like Paul, be willing to leave her home country and commit to serving a community overseas.

Clark also started considering missions shortly after meeting the Lord. He was sitting in his school library one afternoon when his mind started to wander. He had a day-dream where he saw himself walking down a dusty road, tall grass swaying in the breeze on either side, carrying his dad’s doctor’s bag. He had been considering the example of believers in the early church and decided that day to pursue medical training in order to one day work as a missionary overseas.

Miranda ~ There are so many parts of the world that you could have gone to. How did you know your country of choice was the right one?

Clark & Val: We never heard God say, “Go to Kenya.” Or, at least, not in so few words!

We both felt a call to missions long before we felt led toward a specific country.

After we met, we began praying about where we should serve. Over the next several years we met over a dozen people who had lived or worked short-term at a little mission hospital in rural Kenya. We decided to learn more. It turns out this hospital—Tenwek hospital—had a reputation of training up Kenyans—nurses, chaplains, doctors—who wanted to serve their neighbors in Jesus’s name. When Clark was half-way through his residency, we asked the hospital what their needs were. There answer: “Our number one need is for a pediatrician.” It seemed the Lord had prepared us to help meet this need and so we decided to move to Kenya.

Miranda ~ You recently returned to the United States. Are you on furlough or is this permanent? If it is permanent, how did know it was time to leave?

Clark & Val: We returned to the US the end of January and plan to be here for 6 months before we return to Kenya. While here, we’re looking for opportunities to testify to what God is doing in Kenya and hope to encourage our friends, family and church, work at our local university hospital to keep up to speed with our medical knowledge, raise support, and rest!

Miranda ~ In your service as missionaries, what would you say is the most profound lesson you’ve learned, especially in relation to peoples, cultures, and diversity?

Clark & Val: God is God and God is good.

We’ve faced a lot of the “culture shock” challenges that face most who leave their passport country. And Clark daily faces the suffering and deaths of children and their families at the hospital.

My friend and neighbor comes over asking for help. She does not have a single shilling left and has no way to get food for her six kids. When she leaves, our three-year old daughter Hannah asks, “Why was Keturah’s mom asking for food?”

Clark sits down and prepares himself to tell a mother that her child has died. This mom has already lost two babies. This was going to be her first surviving child. It’s the fourth time that day Clark has cried with a mom as he tells her that her child is dead.

In these moments, wondering, “How do we help?” “How do I explain this to our kids?” “How do I tell this mom this news?” and, often, just “Why Lord?” we have been brought to the place where the only thing we can cling to, the only thing we have to offer, is God and the hope of the resurrection.

The Lord has taught us that He is God and He is good. This transcends culture or race or geographic location.

 

THIS or THAT (The Fun Qs!) 

Val and Clark gave the EXACT answers to each question!

Coffee or Tea? Tea (preferably chai with lots of milk and sugar!)

Gym or Outdoor? Outdoor

Running or Walking?  Walking

Juice or Smoothie? Juice

Salad or Fruit? Salad

Movies or Books? BOOKS!!

Vanilla or Chocolate?  Chocolate

Summer or Spring? Spring

Rain or Snow? Snow

Blazer or Leather Jacket? Leather jacket

 

About the Sleeths


Clark and Val Sleeth moved to Kenya in 2017 to work with World Gospel Mission and the African Gospel Church at Tenwek Hospital, a 300 bed hospital in rural, western Kenya.

Clark Sleeth grew up in New England and his life was forever changed in high school when his family had a radical encounter with the Lord. He is a physician double boarded in internal medicine and pediatrics. He completed his undergraduate studies in history at Asbury College before completing medical training and working at the University of Kentucky. In 2017 he moved to Kenya with his family. Since then he has been running the pediatric department at Tenwek Hospital where he daily works with a team of Kenyan medical students, interns, residents, and medical officers to provide care for 30-60 patients in the NICU and wards, while overseeing the outpatient clinic. Since moving to Tenwek, he has initiated and overseen a much-needed renovation of Tenwek’s NICU, developed pediatric curriculum for the medical trainees, assisted with various research projects, designed and built locally-sourced, inexpensive infant incubators, and welcomed his second child, Luke. He loves board games and reading sci-fi.

Val Sleeth grew up in the North West and met the Lord in her mid-teens through the faithful ministry of believers in eastern Idaho. She is an internal medicine physician assistant who completed her undergraduate studies in math at Asbury College before completing medical training and working at the University of Kentucky where she taught in the physician assistant studies program and worked as a hospitalist. In 2017 she moved to Kenya with her family. Since then she has been taking care of her daughter Hannah and learning how to run a household in Kenya! She enjoys joining the Kenyan medical interns for weekly Bible studies and getting to know Tenwek’s many visitors over chai and meals. She was thrilled to deliver her son, Luke, at Tenwek in June, 2019. She loves playing the piano and accompanying her daughter, Hannah, on the ukulele (for any song requiring 3 chords or less).

For more information on the Sleeths and their work, find links to their blog and facebook page at: http://www.wgm.org/sleeth

Book Review ~ Shaped Notes: How Ordinary People With Extraordinary Gifts Influenced My Life and Career By Larnelle Harris

About the Book


“My dad was a bootlegger. Believe or not, bootleggers go to church. Drug dealers and cartel kingpins go to church. That doesn’t make them Christians. Mom was praying Dad into the faith…praying for a change in his life and a change in ours…”

The majestic tenor voice of Larnelle Harris has helped define a generation of contemporary Christian music. Most people know about Larnelle’s notable successes—his Grammy Awards, his Hall of Fame inductions, his #1 hit songs—but no one has heard the true story of how a little boy from the hills of Kentucky made his way to music’s most acclaimed stages and venues.

His journey—from the son of a bootlegger to being the first gospel artist inside the Kremlin after the fall of the Soviet Union—is chronicled for the first time in this heart-felt memoir. From watching his father handcuffed and taken to jail to battling racial tensions to losing his voice and not knowing if he would ever sing again, Larnelle shares the most painful and triumphant moments of his childhood and career. And behind it all, is the faith and perseverance of a boy soprano who kept singing for God in spite of his circumstances.

Category

Religious/Christian/Non-fiction

Genre

Memoir

Rating

4.5 Stars

Review


We often err in thinking our careers carry the most defining moments of our lives.

How untrue.

It is life’s experiences—small and big—from the time we’re young to the present, that ignite the special sparks which light the way. Some shift the earth under our feet, others change our minds about old beliefs, and still others inspire our hearts forever to live differently. It is these things, along with the people through whom we’ve encountered these experiences, that are the vessels through which we learn the secrets of success and true greatness that change our lives forever. This is the lesson Larnelle Harris makes known in his memoir, Shaped Notes: God used ordinary people with extraordinary gifts to influence his life and career, blessings for which he is most grateful. This is a man thankful for every experience, pleasant and unpleasant, that has taught, humbled, and given him wisdom for his path in life. His story turns on the light on many areas in life that one may have complacently ignored, causing a reader to pause and ponder beyond the normal boundaries of intellectual and spiritual reasoning in a defining and positive way.

The purpose of Harris’ Shaped Notes is to deliver a testimony with the hope that it will set people free to embrace life’s experiences, as well as the people we encounter through them, perceiving each as a torch God uses to light the way for His children to follow, a way that He’d prepared in advance for them.

A truly inspiring memoir!

*Though I offer this review to the public, it is my opinion and simply that. A ‘thank you’ to Gina Adams at AdamsPRGroup for a free copy in exchange for my honest review.

 

About Larnelle Harris


Described by CCM Magazine has having a “larger than life stage presence with impeccable vocal prowess,” Larnelle Harris has become the epitome of talent and integrity in a career that spans over four decades. He is the only person in history to be a member of the Gospel Music Hall of Fame and the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame. Larnelle has garnered numerous accolades for his music, including five Grammy Awards, eleven Dove Awards (three of which were for Male Vocalist of the Year), and a Stellar Award, among other honors. He has garnered nineteen number #1 singles and countless top 10 hits. Songs such as How Excellent Is Thy Name, I Miss My Time With You, I’ve Just Seen Jesus, and his signature song, Amen, are now considered modern classics.

From the White House to the danger zone of the 38th Parallel, Larnelle has impacted dozens across the globe with his music and ministry. He was the first Christian artist to perform inside the Kremlin after the fall of the Soviet Union. He is one of a handful of celebrities to receive the Ad Council’s Silver Bell Award for Distinguished Public Service in recognition of his song, Mighty Spirit, as the theme music for the longest-running Public Service Announcement in television history. Larnelle was honored by his home state of Kentucky with the Governor’s Lifetime Achievements Award in the Arts, making him the first Christian artist to receive the honor.

Larnelle continues to tour worldwide, with recent dates at Carnegie Hall and in Paris, France. He not so long ago performed for the National Day of Prayer event in Washington D.C. in and sang for a gathering of Ambassadors to the United Nations.

Larnelle and his wife, Mitzy, reside in Louisville, Kentucky. Their son, Lonnie, and daughter, Teresa, have families of their own, which means the grandchildren visit often, much to their grandparents delight. Visit www.Larnelle.com for more information.

 

 

Book Review ~ She Walks In Majesty By MaryLu Tyndall

About the Book


Danger around every corner. Intrigues in everyone’s past. And a romance that’s swoon worthy. She Walks in Majesty is all that and more, with a plot that twists and turns and truths that are hard-hitting. Truly, this is author MaryLu Tyndall at her finest!
—Michelle Griep, Christy Award-winning author of Once Upon a Dickens Christmas

With only a worn document in hand and the Spear of Destiny strapped to her thigh, Seraphina de Mobray, the new Protector of the Spear, must convince the king that her friends are innocent of treason and witchcraft. Who is she to embark on such a lofty task but a lowly servant, an orphan abandoned at birth? Yet each step of the way, the Spear grants her favor and opens a path for her to enter the royal palace. What she finds there is naught but lies, greed, and a danger that threatens her very existence.
Sir Damien LaRage, knight of the elite King’s Guard would do anything to protect Seraphina and save his friends, anything except give up his quest for revenge against the person who murdered his parents. Returning to court, to a world of secrets, deceit, and power is exhilarating at first. Then things become dangerous when he must protect Seraphina from those would do her harm. Even himself. For he soon discovers that he must choose between saving her or avenging his parents’ deaths.
The king is ill, and evil takes over the throne as Seraphina must run for her life, and Damien is left to battle against forces not of this world. Meanwhile, darkness suffocates the Knights of the Eternal realm. leaving them defenseless against wicked powers that have taken over Luxley. Only Seraphina and the Spear of Destiny can save them now.

Category

Christian/Fiction/Adult

Genre

Fantasy/Romance/Medieval

Rating

4.5 Stars

Review


MaryLu Tyndall’s latest release, She Walks In Majesty, is every bit as the title suggests. Seraphina de Mobray carries herself like a queen, and it’s no surprise that the story, down the plotline, reveals something about her to match that demeanor. Caught within the web of lies spun by enemies that intend the worst harm on her and her friends, Seraphina must a make a dire decision that puts her life on the line. She takes every step of courage knowing that only God can save her and her friends from the greatest of evil to ever walk their lands. Her journey, alongside her beloved knight, Damien, teaches them both that true power resides only in God, through His Spirit. Much pain is experienced, as well as heartaches, betrayals, and uncertainties, but they survive them all to the glory of God, and a long separated family is eventually reunited.

She Walks In Majesty is a splendid display of courageous writing by Tyndall in expressing the power of God through Fantasy and Adventure storytelling. Tyndall’s boldness in exposing the true nature of spiritual welfare, salvation, faith, and love as well as the realness of human emotions, romance, and struggles shown through the unremorseful declarations and daring actions of her characters, is breathtakingly amiable, so that her books can stand alongside the very best in the mainstream fantasy genre. This is the stuff that movies are made of, and Tyndall has shown that with Christian Fantasy, she can hold her own.

Another lovely addition to Tyndall’s collection of fine penmanship!

*Though I offer this review to the public, it is my opinion and simply that. A ‘thank you’ to the author, MaryLu Tyndall, for a free copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

 

About MaryLu Tyndall


Bestselling author, MaryLu Tyndall, dreamed of pirates and sea-faring adventures during her childhood days on Florida’s Coast. With more than sixteen books published, she makes no excuses for the deep spiritual themes embedded within her romantic adventures. Her hope is that readers will not only be entertained, but will be brought closer to the Creator Who loves them beyond measure. In a culture that accepts occult, wizards, zombies, and vampires without batting an eye, MaryLu hopes to show the awesome present and powerful acts of God in a dying world. A Christy award nominee and Inspirational Readers Choice Award winner, MaryLu makes her home with her husband, six children, three grandchildren, and several stray cats on the California coast.

 

Movie Review ~ I Still Believe By Kingdom Story Company & Distributed By Lionsgate

 

About I Still Believe


One love can change your life. One life can change the world.

From the creators of I Can Only Imagine comes an inspiring love story for the ages. Rediscover the wonder of love in I STILL BELIEVE, based on the real-life story of chart-topping singer Jeremy Camp. Starring KJ Apa, Britt Robertson, Shania Twain, and Gary Sinise, I STILL BELIEVE is directed by Jon and Andrew Erwin, produced by Kevin Downes, with the screenplay by Jon Erwin and Jon Gunn. I STILL BELIEVE is a powerful reminder that in the midst of life’s storms, true hope can be found.

Category

Religious/Christian

Genre

Faith-based/Romance/Drama/

Release Date: IMAX

March 11, 2020.

Release Date: Theater

March 13, 2020.

Rating

4.5 Stars

Review


“The stars that shine the brightest, are the ones that live the shortest lives.”

I Still Believe, the love story of Jeremy and Melissa Camp is anything but tragic. In a paradoxical sense, it is softly poignant in pointing out the awesomeness and beauty of God’s wisdom in awarding each of His children with destinies that shine brightly, uniquely, and extraordinarily. Contrary to what is portrayed in the world today, visibility isn’t everything, and it certainly has no bearing on relevance in the grand scheme of life.

There are many tearful moments in this story, as there are joyful and humorous. Family. Friendship. Romance—are few of the amiable and applaudable values that standout, and they all come together to paint a beautiful picture that portrays God’s hand present in every detail in the lives of His children.

As much as it is dreamy to go with the words, “some stars shine brighter than others,” it is more inspiring to go with Melissa’s words, “All stars shine”—and there lies the message in I Still Believe: ‘If you’re a child of God, you’re a light in the world. So shine. It doesn’t matter if others have more visibility and appear to shine brighter than you. All Stars Shine! If your story can change one person’s life, it’s enough. You never know how God will use it, directly or indirectly to impact the world.’ For Melissa, she directly impacted Jeremy, who went on to tell their story and impact the world with beautiful songs written with heaven-inspired lyrics, songs born from a season of love and pain, a path that would later lead him to another love, Adrienne.

A wisely, thoughtfully, and beautifully put together story by the Erwin Brothers.

*Though I offer this review to the public, it’s my opinion and simply that. A ‘thank you’ to Epic Inc. and Lionsgate Distribution for a free viewing link in exchange for my honest opinion.

About Jeremy Camp


Throughout his 17-year career, Capitol CMG artist Jeremy Camp has established himself with landmark accolades including: 

Holds title for most #1s among solo artists on the Christian Airplay chart

  • Billboard’s #2 artist of the Decade in 2010
  • 40 #1 radio hits across all formats
  • 4 RIAA certified gold albums and 1 gold single
  • 1 Grammy nomination, 3 American Music Award nominations & 4 ASCAP Songwriter of the Year Awards

Jeremy has also authored an autobiography, I Still Believe (2013, Tyndale) and toured the world, sharing his music in more than 36 countries, and his organization, Speaking Louder Ministries, has allowed him to travel to Brazil, Guatemala, Ukraine, Japan and Kyrgyzstan.

Watch the Trailers

 

Artist Scoop ~ Interview with Music Artist, Rachel Zello

Rachel Zello is a fun and passionate woman whose zeal is obvious and contagious! She reaches out for life with both hands, and is not afraid to speak of her journey of faith as well as the struggles that come with, and how that journey has led her to where she is right now. She’s made bold steps borne out of her belief of what God has said to her, and her personal testimony is breathtakingly inspiring. Rachel took the time to visit with TBAP and talk about her faith walk and her journey in music. Take a look!


Miranda ~ Hello Rachel! Lovely to have you visit TBAP today. Could you please tell us a bit about yourself?

Rachel: I love cats, coffee, Jesus, worship, and my family. I’m happily married to a marine and we have one cat. My hobbies include long bubble baths and fostering bottle baby kittens through our local SPCA. I have one younger brother and I’ve lived in Virginia for the majority of my life. However, I grew up as a missionary kid and have traveled to over 25 countries. My favorite colors are turquoise, burgundy, and black. I love nature documentaries and basically anything but horror. Unlike most, I actually love cold weather and love rainy days.

Miranda ~ How did you come to know Jesus?

Rachel: I asked Jesus to come into my heart when I was a little girl, but to be honest, I don’t really remember it. That being said, at kid’s camp, church, etc., I would always “re-ask” to be in a relationship with Jesus, not realizing I didn’t have to do it over and over again. It wasn’t until I went through a traumatic situation when I was 14 that I experienced God’s love on a level I never had before. I began to read the Bible all of the time, fell in love with God’s character and began to discover my identity in Him. He met me in my brokenness and I had a hope I could cling to until I eventually found myself totally healed. Jesus was the only one who understood what I was going through because He never once left me. He has continued to be reliable and faithful throughout the years and I couldn’t live my life without including Him in every part of it.

Miranda ~ What led you to music, and, when did you know it was time to go professional?

Rachel: I’ve always enjoyed singing and was involved in worship teams for years, and led in music overseas on mission trips. I enjoyed karaoke and playing gigs at local establishments. It was actually never my goal or even a dream of mine to pursue music as a profession. It was more of a hobby and something I knew I was gifted in. After high school, I studied hard to go into the medical field. I got accepted with a full ride to nursing school, and two weeks before my classes started, a ministry opportunity opened up and I began to not have the same peace about pursuing nursing for that time in my life. I took a step of faith and can honestly say that I haven’t regretted that decision once. It wasn’t until about a year after that doors opened to pursue my music ministry professionally.

Miranda ~ In light of faith, how would you describe the journey of God delivering His promises in your life, even as you wait for other promises?

Rachel: My faith has definitely strengthened throughout the journey of God fulfilling His promises in my life. I had to learn to wait well and trust Him. I believe God’s promises are true, but I definitely don’t think they always come to fruition overnight. However, there is a good reason for that. All throughout Scripture there are waiting periods where faith is tested before He fulfills His promise. God wants to know that you trust Him fully with the outcome even if you may not understand it. He created time and is not confined by it. His timing is perfect, and personally, that makes it easier for me to trust Him in my waiting. I have control of how I wait. I’ve learned that waiting is active: Actively spending time with God by reading Scripture, seeking, surrendering, praying, serving, and worshipping. He has proven Himself to be faithful in my life. I’ve waited many times on knowing what step to take next, on healing, on instruction and guidance, on prayers to be answered. God has never failed me. It’s been very hard at times, but I have to go against what my flesh wants: to doubt, feel discouraged, unseen, uncared for and unheard. Instead, I have to remember to actively wait and trust God. Trust that His timing is always perfect and His intentions are always pure, and that He is never against me.

Miranda ~ Your love for fashion is obvious! When did you embrace this part of yourself, and, when did your journey with personal fashion begin?

Rachel: As a kid, I was such a tomboy. I remember when my mom would garden, I’d ask her to find worms for me to play with. You’d always find me outside making forts and getting dirty. I hated pink and purple, and style was never something I personally practiced. However, I’ve always been very creative and appreciated when something looked put together. For example, instead of playing with the barbies, I would dress them all up, set up the entire scene and decorate the house, but would never actually play with them. It wasn’t until I got a little older that I began to find more interest in fashion. Pinks, purples and dresses became a bit more acceptable in my mind, and not just for Sunday morning church. When I was 11, my dad took me on a father-daughter date to NYC to see my favorite musical, “Phantom of the Opera”on Broadway. It was there that I received my first professional manicure and pedicure, and got my first professional haircut and style. I loved it. As I got older, I began to dabble in makeup and found that it allowed me to use my creativity. Now, I love fashion and dressing up, but I also have no shame in showing up at Walmart in PJs and no makeup.

Miranda ~ Tell us a bit about your personal love story. We’d love to hear it!

Rachel: Jordan and I had both just gone through breakups and started attending the same Bible study group, having absolutely no clue that we would be married a couple years later. I definitely wouldn’t say it was love at first sight, but man did I think he was cute. We chatted for a bit and life went on without much communication. I actually messaged him on Facebook a while after, inviting him to church and slipped my number to him then. Now, I think it’s quite funny and say that I technically “made the first move.” He is definitely introverted and the quiet type, and if anyone knows me, it’s clear as day that I am the opposite. Toward the beginning of our friendship, I definitely forced him into being my friend. For example, one of the first times we hung out, it was late at night and my girlfriend and I showed up at his house (with his permission of course) and told him we were taking him to Cook Out, a local restaurant. It was probably 2am by the time we drove him back home (now I think, “oh man…poor guy), but we talked for hours about everything in life…okay, I talked mostly and he listened (again, poor guy). Oh, how I love that so much about him.
We continued to hang out in groups together until eventually the group got smaller and smaller and we began to become better friends. We call this stage our 4 months of “flirtationship.”
We have very different love languages, so it took a few months for us to know each other well. Eventually, we were both totally healed from our previous relationships and in spending more time together, we truly became best friends and fell in love with each other’s character. In time, I began to see more of his selflessness and integrity through his actions and word, in how he treated me, my family, his own family, friends, and anyone he encountered. People who knew him only had wonderful things to say, and as the onion continued to peel back, I began loving every layer more and more.
The most difficult time for me in our relationship was when he got deployed overseas for a part of the summer with the Marine Corps and we couldn’t communicate. However, it was then I realized just how deeply in love with him I was, and how I didn’t ever want to live without him. Little did I know, shortly after he got home (by surprising me in coming home a week early), that he bought a ring.
Over the past 6 years, my family and I have spent Christmas (which is also my birthday) and New Years in a home that rescues children from human trafficking. I have relationships with these kids because we go back every year, and they are very close to my heart. In 2018, after dating for about a year and a half, Jordan came with us to India for the first time. The first day there with all of the children around, he proposed. I was in total shock, but I had peace and excitement in my heart. The kids also fell in love with him instantly. Five months later we said, “I do.” With every day that passes, I’m so much more in love with him and grateful to learn and grow by his side.

Miranda ~ What more should we expect from you after the Within The Mystery project? And, do you have other interests besides music that you plan on venturing into professionally—dance, film, cuisine, cosmetics etc.?

Rachel: I plan to continue progressively releasing songs from the album digitally. Every month or two, I like to put out a song. This helps give focus to each specific song from the album, because, I truly think that each one has a unique sound and specific message. I will be in North and South Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin on tour for two weeks at the end of February into the beginning of March. I have other events lined up as well and hope to continue booking more. I’ll also continue being present and active in building relationships via social media. I have no idea what God has planned for the future, so I just will continue saying “yes” to the next step He puts in front of me. I love the medical field and actually enjoy studying (I know, I’m such a nerd). If I were to pursue any other field, it would most likely be medical. I also love hair and makeup as well, so I’ve considered cosmetology school. In reality, my vision for the future is to grow our family and see what life holds when that happens.

Miranda ~ What advice would you offer someone waiting on the promises of God, and by your experience, when do they know it’s time to venture into one?

Rachel: It’s super important to keep your heart in the right place while waiting on God to fulfill His promises in your life. My biggest advice to someone waiting on God’s promises would be to stay in the Word of God. How do you know what God’s promises are? Through reading His Word. It’s easy and natural to base your faith on your feelings, but feelings will always leave you unsure, confused, unstable, and questioning, because feelings change all of the time and are very situational-based. Truth is truth despite how you feel. Base your faith on truth so that even when your feelings don’t line up, you know who you are, Whose you are, and what to do, even while you’re waiting. God’s timing is perfect. So, when you actively seek Him, surrender, and listen in your waiting, you’ll have peace no matter the outcome and strength in God’s provision and guidance.

“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This the way; walk in it.’”- Isaiah 30:21

“The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.”- Psalm 37:23

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:5

This or That (The Fun Qs!)

Coffee, Tea or Mocha? Coffee
Dresses or Pants? Pants
Boots or Heels? Heels
Vegetables or Fruit? Fruit
Books or Movies? Movies
Juice or Smoothie? Juice
Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate
Cooking or Cleaning? Cooking

About Rachel Zello


Rachel Zello is a contemporary Christian music singer and songwriter from Fredericksburg, Virginia.  She has performed across America, in India, Uzbekistan, Israel, Guatemala, and  toured with Aaron Boyd (formerly BlueTree), Dove nominated writer of the hit worship song, “God of This City” in 2018.  In 2018 she caught the attention of the Recording Academy and was placed on the ballot for two Grammy considerations (2019). Zello’s debut single, “Set Me Free,” released on August 10, 2018, is inspired by her personal story and Psalms 34:18. Working with multi Grammy and Dove Award winning producer Glenn Tabor III (Elevation Worship, Matt Redman, and dozens of other notable clients) Zello has crafted an exceptional debut that showcases her heartfelt vocals and meaningful songwriting. She completed her full length 10 song album in 2019, “Within the Mystery” with songs being released progressively.

“I don’t want others to just be entertained and observe when I sing,” Zello said about her performances. “I also want them to participate and encounter a personal, loving God who identifies with them in every way, and who cares about every detail of their lives.”

Scoop ~ Interview with Bestselling Author, Karen Kingsbury, & Music Artist/Screenwriter, Tyler Russell

Tyler Russell is no stranger on TBAP (read his 2018 exclusive interview here) and he and his mom, bestselling author of Christian Fiction, Karen Kingsbury, are no strangers to the Christian literary/entertainment audience either. They recently co-authored a book, Finding Home, a new addition to the dearly loved Baxter Family series, coming out this February 25th. Karen and Tyler graciously talked with TBAP and granted us a peek into the writing journey of this latest addition. Take a look!


Miranda ~ Hello! Delighted to have you both visit TBAP today. Please tell us a bit about this latest book.

Karen & Tyler: Thanks for having us! Our collection for 8-12 year olds, The Baxter Family Children follows the adventures, trials, and triumphs of the five young Baxter Siblings, Brooke, Kari, Ashley, Erin, and Luke. Finding Home is a companion to our book Best Family Ever, which finds the family relocating from Michigan to Bloomington. But a new move means new struggles. And through it all one question remains, will a new house ever become a home?

Miranda ~ When did you both decide it would be a great idea to add this story to the collection— what led to it?

Karen: We always viewed these stories as more than one book.

Tyler: There are so many lessons to be learned in childhood, and so many stories to tell about growing up.

Karen: With the Baxter family having become so beloved through my other novels, starting with the Redemption series and beyond, I have seen how so many readers have been impacted by those books and that family. So, we wanted to be able to reach a new generation of readers and inspire them, challenge them, entertain them, and hopefully teach them some life lessons along the way.

Tyler: Hopefully the collection can continue as long as people resonate with the characters and themes in the book. And there’s always young people eager to read! So it’s a blessing for sure.

Miranda ~ What inspired the idea that Tyler should be a part of the writing (which is fun and intriguing, by the way!)?

Karen: Tyler has read so much of my work and throughout his adult life has helped me with my company and we have had the chance to collaborate on various projects over the years. So, when the opportunity came to work on a series for middle-grade readers, I knew that working with Tyler made the most sense. And we work well together!

Tyler: It’s so fun to have grown up watching Mom write and work, and I learned a lot in that sense. But now, to work alongside her and see how things are really done, it is like immersing myself in the best masterclass. And I really enjoy working with her. It’s fun to write a book about family as family members.

Karen: It’s been reminiscing about earlier years, when the kids were younger.

Tyler: And…we’ve even borrowed some stories from when me and my siblings were growing up. So that’s been cool for sure.

Miranda ~ Karen, your books have always had the aim of leading broken people (especially the adult audience) back to the arms of a loving Savior—a place of hope. Who’s the audience this time, and what do you both hope they’ll walk away with?

Karen: Thank you. That’s the most important thing. I always say that God may put a story on my heart to write, but He has other people’s hearts in mind. He knows what stories people need so they can find healing and hope. While Finding Home was written with 8-12 year old’s in mind, we have had people of all ages enjoy it. For the student reader, we hope they leave feeling like they can relate in some way to a character of scenario in the story. It’s been fun for me and Tyler to visit schools and talk about the book. Because you really get to see who this book is impacting.

Tyler: It’s such an honor to write stories for a younger generation.

Karen: And then, for the adult reader, I hope they can relive childhood memories and look back on a simpler time in life. It’s also a great book to read out loud to a student that you may know. It makes for great conversation. Everyone has responded positively and we are both grateful.

Tyler: I second what she said. And… this book deals so much with change, starting over, and being brave, so I hope that people can take away the notion that change is inevitable and that, while it may not be easy, it doesn’t have to be scary. God is with us in those seasons of change. The most unlikely of people can become friends, and the most unlikely of places can become home.

Miranda ~ What can we expect from you both in the future?

Karen: We have another book in this Baxter Family Children collection coming out next year! And I have a new book coming out May 5th called Someone Like You. I am also loving being a Grammy to my three grandsons (Karen’s daughter Kelsey is married to Kyle Kupecky and they have three boys). My husband (Donald) and I are treasuring this sweet time with them.

Tyler: I am working on a few different screenplay projects, and recording some music as well. I’m really excited about a new musical I’ve started working on. It’s a musical modernization of a biblical story. So… Hopefully, God willing, something with that will happen this year. We will see.

THIS or THAT (The Fun Qs!)

Coffee or Tea?
Karen and Tyler: COFFEE!

Gym or Outdoor?
Tyler: Gym
Karen: Outdoor… with my husband and our dog!

Running or Walking?
Tyler: Running
Karen: Walking

Juice or Smoothie?
Karen: Neither
Tyler: Juice. Any green juice all the way.

Salad or Fruit?
Karen and Tyler: Salad

Movies or Books?
Karen: Books
Tyler: Movies

Vanilla or Chocolate?
Karen and Tyler: Chocolate

Summer or Spring?
Karen and Tyler: Summer

Rain or Snow?
Karen: First impulse… Rain. It sets the perfect mood for a writing day. But snow is prettier to look at.
Tyler: Rain. But I do love the snow for a few days.

Blazer or Leather Jacket?
Karen: Blazer
Tyler: Leather Jacket

About Karen Kingsbury & Tyler Russell


Karen Kingsbury, #1 New York Times bestselling novelist, is America’s favorite inspirational storyteller, with more than twenty-five million copies of her award-winning books in print. Her last dozen titles have topped bestseller lists and many of her novels are under development with Hallmark Films and as major motion pictures. Her Baxter Family books are being developed into a TV series slated for major network viewing sometime in the next year. Karen is also an adjunct professor of writing at Liberty University. In 2001 she and her husband, Don, adopted three boys from Haiti, doubling their family in a matter of months. Today the couple has joined the ranks of empty nesters, living in Tennessee near five of their adult children.

Tyler Russell has spent most of his life performing, writing, and singing. He grew up doing theater and acting and began songwriting in high school. He went on to study worship at Liberty University where he toured in a gospel choir. He then moved to Nashville to pursue music and finish his degree, earning his BFA in theater from Lipscomb University. He debuted his single Now or Never in 2018, and has toured the country singing and leading worship, sharing the stage with artists like Jeremy CampMandisaTremaine Hawkins, and Michael W. Smith. Along with music, Tyler is also a screenwriter and novelist. He is currently working on recording and releasing original music and you can visit Tyler on Twitter at @TyRuss107! Ephesians 3:20

Book Review ~ Come As You Are By Anne Marie Bennett

About the Book


This relevant, adventurous young adult Christian novel explores faith, community, and family relationships within the setting of a church youth group’s theatre production of the musical Godspell. 

Fifteen-year-old Casey Donovan wants nothing more than to live wildly. In her town of Woodfield, Connecticut, she is more than content to toe the line of danger while trying to put away memories of a painful past.

But then she and her boyfriend are arrested for drug possession. To have the charges dropped, and keep peace as her mother goes through a bitter divorce, Casey reluctantly joins her local church’s Youth Group.

She expects a boring summer as she helps with the church’s summer theatre production of the musical Godspell. Though she longs to return to her old life, Casey soon finds herself bonding with the other teens in the group who have their own struggles. Slowly, this once lonely teen realizes that she is not alone in the challenges she has been afraid to face.

Part of Casey’s journey involves letting go of two people who have harmed her in the past, even though at first she doesn’t want to admit that they hurt her. Watching Casey grow in faith and become stronger and more confident as the novel progresses is a testament to the author’s own experiences with growing up, letting go, and finding strength and faith in community.

As opening night of the musical nears, Casey will soon have to confront her own faith and connection to God.

Category

Christian/Fiction/Young Adult

Genre

General

Rating

4 Stars

Review


Come As You Are is the story of fifteen-year old Casey Donovan who, after watching her father constantly abuse her mother and facing the final collapse of her family, believes she can only find happiness and self-worth in the arms of her nineteen-year old boyfriend who’s criminally inclined. Events unfold where God intervenes and sets her on a path where she discovers what real joy, peace and fellowship mean even in the midst of life’s troubles. She sees life in new light, and gains faith, love, hope, and a new sense of worth in the God that she never knew truly loves her and is bigger than all her troubles.

Bennett’s tone is sweet, soft, and elegantly paced. Her writing is comfortably visual in a way that easily carries a reader along. Much wisdom is nicely tucked into the plot in a way that it blends well with the overall theme.

A nicely done book!

*Though I offer this review to the public, it is my opinion and simply that. A ‘thank you’ to the author, Anne Marie Bennett, for a free copy in exchange for an honest opinion.

About the Author


Anne Marie Bennett began writing stories with multi-colored pens on lined notebook paper at the age of six and hasn’t stopped since. She lives, writes, creates art, sings, and prays in eastern Massachussetts with her husband, Jeff, and two beloved felin friends named Louis and Seymour.