Sunday, April 26, 2015

Financial Needs Post

I might as well get to the point. To follow the Lord through AMTC isn't free.  But I'm willing to pay the price not only in regards to time, but also monetarily.  Many of you are already supporting me in your prayers and I appreciate you all very much!  Please continue to pray for me and also, as you read the rest of my post, consider if the Lord is also leading you to support His work through me monetarily.

-How much I need to raise

The real-world value of what AMTC gives is worth over $10,000 in the industry.  AMTC offers this for only $4,995 to it's performers.  Recently though, AMTC felt led by the Lord to go out in faith and trust Him to provide for their financial needs.  They decided that they would not turn down any talent due to an inability to pay the full amount.  This program, called "Pay What You Pray", allows any performer in AMTC who is struggling financially to pray about how much the Lord would have them commit to giving to AMTC for their training and give that amount. AMTC will then accept the amount that the person prayerfully decided they would be able to give. Many times, people are not able to pay the full amount.  This is putting a financial strain on AMTC.  Their "employees" and even the president & vice-president are already receiving low wages for their work because they see it as more of a ministry than a job.  And yet, there are still bills that need to be paid.  All that being said, I will tell you how much I am trying to raise and what exactly I plan on putting that money towards.

I would like to be able to pay the full amount that AMTC has set for the professional training, organizing, publicity, photoshoots, and more that they offer with their program.
This is $4,995.

While the $4,995 covers many things in regards to helping refine my God given  talents, it doesn't cover my traveling needs as I go to attend LAUNCHs and the SHINE conference in December.  I have three LAUNCHs total which means I have three nights spent in a hotel.  Going with a basic hotel/motel/inn, the price would be around $40 each time.  A total of $120 for all three times.  Then, of course, there are tolls. To get to my first LAUNCH we spent around $30 in tolls.  Added up over the 4 times I'll be going that way for AMTC, that would come to $120.  And then of course, there is gas money.  The drive to and from the LAUNCH location uses $100 in gas.  Added up over the 4 times I'm going to NY for AMTC training (3 LAUNCHs, 1 photoshoot), that would be $400.  The SHINE conference in December that I will be attending is at the Gaylord Palms resort in Orlando FL. All performers are required to stay at the Gaylord during the duration of the conference.  The room rates are heavily discounted by the Gaylord for all AMTC guests, but to stay there for 6 nights will still add up to $1113. This includes room cost, parking cost, and tax. So for basic traveling expenses it would come to a total of $1753.

$4,995 (AMTC training package)+ $1,753 (traveling expenses)= $6,748.

That is the cost for the necessary things involving my journey with AMTC.

Any additional money I get will go towards more showcases.  You can read about all the different showcase options in an earlier post HERE.  Included in the $4995 AMTC training package are 3 showcases.  I can choose which 3 I want to do, but the more showcases you do, the more exposure and time in front of the V.I.P.'s you get.  And that is why I'm going to SHINE, after all.  To hopefully get a job opportunity so that I can SHINE for Christ in the entertainment industry.  Each additional showcase I would want to do will cost $75.  Whether or not I have enough donations to cover them, I plan on doing more showcases.  If I could, I would do 12 showcases out of the 17 they have to offer.  That would cost and additional $675.

Beyond that, because of what I said at the beginning of my post about some people not being financially able to pay the full amount, I would love to donate any extra money to AMTC.

Total amount I hope to fundraise: $7500.

Now that you know how much I'm trying to raise and what it will be going towards, I will explain how to donate and support the Lord's work through me!  Lord willing. :)

On the side of my blog, there is a donate button which will transfer any money you graciously give directly to my bank account. You can donate with credit, debit, or, if you have a Paypal account, you can transfer money directly from your bank account to mine. From there I will put your donation towards any of the things I mentioned on this post in order of greatest need.

I will be hosting other fundraising opportunities in the near future, but for now, that is the only thing I have set up.

Thank you so much for your time and consideration of my request.  Please pray and consider supporting me as I go out as a media missionary in the entertainment industry.  No amount is too small, and I am more than greatly appreciative of any and every dollar entrusted to me.

May the Lord bless you all!

~Alexis Noel

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Why I Go

My Pastor read this passage during his sermon last night and it struck home with me in regards to my AMTC journey.

"Do not think in your heart, after the LORD your God has cast them out before you, saying, Because of my righteousness the LORD has brought me in to possess this land; but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is driving them out from before you. It is not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart that you go in to possess their land, but because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD your God drives them out from before you, and that He may fulfill the word which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Therefore understand that the LORD your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a stiff-necked people." Deuteronomy 9:4-6

It is not because I think I have "talent" or that the world needs me because I am a great witness and example that I go unto the world.  I know I mess up like anyone else.  I know I've been stiff-necked.  No, I don't go for myself. I go because I know I am not enough.  Nor could I ever be. I go because the Lord has called me to, and He, being the Artist He is, will be able to paint a much more beautiful picture with me, His paintbrush, than I would ever be able to paint on my own.  So, as with a paint brush in the hand of the painter, where He directs, I will go.  I trust the colors He chooses to use in my life (analogy: the circumstances I go through) because He knows that in the end each of those colors will add something special to the painting, the finished product of my life.  Not one of those colors will be used unnecessarily or at the wrong time. I trust Jesus on that.  So I press on, I go, and He uses me.  Because, as the paintbrush, I do nothing more to make the painting beautiful than allow myself to be used.  And it's best that way.

"But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; that, as it is written, "He who glories, let him glory in the Lord." 1 Corinthians 1:27, 31

And so you see that I am weak on my own, thus, as it says in Romans 12:1, I "present my body a living sacrifice" to Christ so that He, through me, will be able to put down the sinful acts of the devil and show the way of salvation to many.

It is for Him I live.  My life is not my own, but His.  And I look forward to seeing the painting progress as He uses me to add one stroke at a time.

Until next time, I remain,
Alexis Noel

Saturday, April 18, 2015

AMTC Online

On Monday, February 16th, 2015, I got an email from AMTC with the password to access their online curriculum.  I had been anticipating it and looking forward to receiving it so that I could focus my training.  There are 7 modules in AMTC's online course, each one full of information, pictures, and videos to help train and prepare me for the SHINE conference in December.  I am getting ready to take the test for module one which contained information such as proper posture, what songs I need to be preparing for my first LAUNCH, how to act while preforming, and spiritual advice and guidance, among other things.  :)  Every day I try to practice at least 3 prompts, work on the songs I've composed, and practice the short acting scripts I wrote.  I also need to be preparing at least 2 cover songs to sing at my first LAUNCH.  Though I have not yet decided with finality, two of the songs I was considering are, "Born for This" by Mandisa, and, "When You Believe" by Mariah Carey.  If you have any thoughts on those two songs or any other recommendations as to what you think would best go with my voice/personality, please comment.  I'd be more than willing to consider your suggestions. :)  The two dates I can choose from for my first LAUNCH in NY are February 28th-March 1st, or March 21st-22nd.  I'm waiting to hear back from some contacts in NY before I decide which date I will be going.

Besides everthing that has been going on with AMTC, I'll give you a brief synopsis on my life at the moment. :)

Starting next week, I will be working Monday-Wednesday from 9am-2pm at A Thyme To Plant.  In case you aren't familiar with A Thyme to Plant and what I do there, I'm basically be in a greenhouse all day: planting, fertilizing, cleaning, and just all around working with plants.  These plants will be shipped out to major stores like Whole Foods where they are then sold.  In addition to this, I'm finishing up my senior year, occasionally baby-sitting on Saturdays, training with AMTC, doing the billing for my Dad's lawn care business (Cross Cuts Ltd.), and doing whatever needs to be done around the house.  So, if you ever wonder what I'm doing, just assume that I'm busy doing something and you're probably right. :)

Thank you for taking the time to read about Christ's doings in my life, and I hope you'll continue to keep me in your prayers!

Have a blessed week!

~Alexis Noel

Thursday, April 16, 2015

My First LAUNCH!!

So I'm sure you're all dying to hear how my first LAUNCH went, right? ;). Even if you're not, I'm still going to tell you if you're willing to read. :). 

My LAUNCH weekend was to take place in Elizabeth, NJ about 30 minutes away from NYC.  It started on Saturday, March 21st, at 10:00am and ended on Sunday, March 22nd, at 5 pm.  Of course we weren't training the entire time, they let us eat and sleep some. ;). But for the most part, I was busy practicing from 10:00am-7pm on Saturday and from 11:00am-5pm on Sunday.  If I had to use one word to describe the LAUNCH, it would be "INCREDIBLE"!!!!  I absolutely loved every moment there and am sad it was only two days!  But more on that later....let's start at the very beginning (a very good place to start !).

On Friday, dad and I drove up to my grandparent's house in Woodbridge, Va, arriving around 6pm. Since it was almost a 6 hour drive from our house, we had decided it would be nice to be an hour and a half closer to our destination (NJ) so we wouldn't have to wake up as early to leave.  Thankfully, I have wonderful grandparents who are more than happy to let dad and I stay the night and give us all kinds of delicious food. ;). While we were there, I was able to go shopping with grandma and we found some great things (thanks grandma!)! :). My Uncle Greg and cousin Stephen live really close to my grandparents, so they joined us for a delicious dinner of tortilla soup, garlic bread, and a new kind of fruit salad dessert. 

 After getting some rest, dad and I left at 4am. :)  It had snowed in NJ the day before, so the landscape was quite white when we arrived.  Making good time, we arrived at 9am, with 45 minutes to spare before the LAUNCH began! :)  
Snowy landscape

On the road :)

Pawpaw & Nanaw had gotten us a room for Saturday night at Hampton Inn.  It couldn't have been in a more perfect location!  There was a connecting gate from our hotel to the hotel where the LAUNCH was being held- They were right next door to each other! :)  Thanks Pawpaw & Nanaw!
Our "Inn" for the night! :)

Our Room Number

When we got there, we found out we wouldn't be able to check in until noon, so we went into the hotel where the LAUNCH was being held and ate a quick breakfast from the goodies mom had packed for us. :)

Our Breakfast
After our "meal", we went into the main conference room where Mr. Reel, the head coach for the NY Hub, was setting up some sound equipment.  After asking if there was anything we could do to help, dad and I settled down in some of the chairs the had set out and chatted/waited until the LAUNCH began.
At 10:00am, the LAUNCH began!  After some opening remarks by Mr. Reel explaining what all was going to occur, we separated into 4 groups of about 20. We stayed in those groups for the whole day as we went around practicing and getting trained. 
So what exactly happened, you ask?  To put it simply, we went over all the different showcases under the realms of acting, modeling, and singing.  Included in the fee we're paying for AMTC's training is 3 of these "showcases."  A showcase is a particular performance that you choose to do and preform at the SHINE conference for the V.I.P.'s.  Each additional showcase I would choose to do costs $75.00 and gives me more exposure to more V.I.P.'s. The more chances they have to see me (and hopefully see Christ in me), the better.  That is why I'm there, after all (to get seen so as to promote Christ).  I will give you an overview of the 18 different showcases they have to offer and then I will comment on my experience practicing that particular showcase.

Showcases involving acting:

-The On Camera Showcase
A short on-camera performance.  Actors may perform a monologue (dramatic or comedic) or a commercial (either real or original.) Goal: To show the actor’s ability to work on camera.

~With this one, I preformed my own script I had written.  I learned that for this showcase,  I must always focus on the camera.  And as in all other areas of acting, I have to envision WHO exactly I am talking to, WHAT the situation is, and WHY I am talking to them.

- The Cold Read Showcase
Highlights an actor’s ability to perform from a hand-held script.  A monologue will be given to the performer a shot time before he or she enters the stage.  The actor stands before the microphone and performs in front of VIPs and a live audience.  The actor’s goal is to engage the audience with a strong interpretation of the scene, while briefly referring to the script when needed.

~For this showcase, I was handed a pre-made script a few minutes before going up to perform it.  In my script, I was explaining to my teacher that I did indeed do my homework....but my ferret made a nest out of it. ;) 

-The Scene Read Showcase
Allows the actor to perform from a partially memorized script with another actor before a live audience.  This showcase is most closely reflective of a play or stage audition.  The purpose of this event is to highlight and actor’s ability to engage another actor, as well as an audience, while using a script.

~This was different, as I was performing with another person.  We each had our own lines, but we were having a conversation.  From this, I discovered I need to figure out what to do while the other person is reading their lines.  How do I usually look, what do I usually do, when I'm in a conversation with someone and they are the one talking?  I should look natural.

-The Improv Showcase
Reveals an actor’s ability to think on his or her feet. Performers will be given a topic, title, or product, and be instructed to create a commercial, scene, or song.  Performers will begin speaking immediately (without pause for planning ahead) and continue to speak until they hear a warning bell.

~Honestly, I was a little nervous about this one.  I knew I hadn't been working on improv very much, so I wasn't sure how well I would do.  It went better than I expected, thankfully. :)  I did it twice.  Once, I was directed to make a song using the word, "crush," and the other time I made a commercial from the prompt, "fit flops."  

-The Stand Up Comedy Showcase
Stand Up Comedy is a specialized showcase designed for the unique gift of comedy.  Performers entertain VIPs and an audience with their wit, stories, impressions, and characters.

~I opted out of this one, as I don't feel any particular inclination to be a comedian. ;) It was still informational and entertaining, though, to watch the other people try it out. :)

-The Redirection Showcase
Gives a performer the opportunity to show casting directors and agents their ability to take direction, performing the same script following instruction from 5-6 casting agents live onstage.

~I enjoyed this as much as the other acting showcases. :)  I originally performed a pre-made script that had been handed to me a few minutes before I performed.  After I finished that performance, though, I was directed (as was everyone else) to write my own script and be ready to perform it in a few minutes.  So I wrote this script: "Did I wear this outfit yesterday?  I can't remember.  Mom, did I wear this outfit recently?  I've been wearing it all week."  The first time I performed it, I was talking to myself for the first two lines, yelling to my mom in the other room for the third line, and saying the last line as a question and acclamation of shock to myself and my mom.  Then came my redirection.  This time, he said, I was a crazy person in an insane asylum.  My mom was no where near where I was; I was alone in a room.  Haha....believe it or not, that fits my personality quite well.  ;)  It was fun, but looking back, I realized there were a few more things I could have done to make my "crazy" performance better. :)

-The Reaction Showcase
In this showcase, the performer will be on-camera. An actor on AMTC staff will read 15-20 seconds of a script off-camera. The performer will be on-camera, and will react appropriately as they speak, and reading their lines too. The performer's facial expressions and possibly movements, depending on their script, should evolve as the second script does.The scripts may be dramatic, comedic, and the commercials may showcase different products (skincare, athletic, food or beverage, etc.). The performer will be assigned their script based on their age, look and character type.

~This showcase was added after my LAUNCH, so we didn't go over it.

-The On-Set Showcase
The On-Set Showcase is an acting showcase where a performer gets to move around an actual set while they are acting out their lines with 2 other performers.  The scripts the performers receive will be around 40 seconds long. The lines will be simple and ambiguous, so that they can put your own spin on them, and you will be given a genre too (comedy, drama, action, historical). Two groups might have the same lines, but one will be a comedy and one will be an action movie. The lines are also simple so that the interest can be in the timing and how the performer and his or her group decide to move around their set.

~This showcase was added after my LAUNCH, so we didn't go over it.

Showcases involving modeling:

-The Fashion Runway Showcase
Intended for children, teens, and adults who fit into standard fashion sizes by New York industry specs.  This even showcases the model’s face, figure, movement, style, and personality.

~I;m not particularly interested in this showcase. 1. I don't think I fit into their sizing.  2. The standard of modesty in this particular industry is lower than I'd be willing to stoop.  I still practiced along with everyone else, though.  Experience is priceless so even if I never use it, at least I know how. :). We practiced "walking the runway" and got tips such as "never lose your smile," or a big one for me, "work on your posture!"

-The Lifestyle Runway Showcase
Intended for children, teens, and adults who will be marketed as lifestyle models in print ads, commercials, and lifestyle fashion. Many actors, singers, and dancers become lifestyle models too, as appearance and style are essential to their success. This event showcases the model’s face, figure, movement, style, and personality.

~I'm more interested in this form of modeling because your selling a product more than your selling yourself.  Plus, knowing how to model is important for whatever field I go into in the industry.  

-The Swimsuit Showcase
Intended for children, teens, and adults who are exceptionally fit by fasion and fitness industry standards.  Not only do modeling and lifestyle agents scout this showcase, but also agents looking for sports and fitness models.  Swimsuits for females are one-piece and all are conservative.

~We didn't practice this in particular.  I think it's the same as fashion runway in terms of what you do on stage.  Once again, I'm not really interested in this mainly due to my modesty standards being different from what they would require.
-The Family Runway Showcase
A heart-warming event for any fashion or lifestyle model who also wants to showcase a family member.  Family Runway gives the agents a chance to see where the AMTC talent gets his or her looks or personality!  As a real career opportunity, clients often want to book families.  Moms, dads, brothers, and sisters, have gotten placed from SHINE.

~This was fun. :).  Since the only family member I had with me was dad it was only the two of us.  The maximum number of family members that could do this with a performer is 3 (so a total of 4 counting the performer).  Basically, you "walk the runway" together as a family and do a pose at the center point that shows a bit of your personality.
-The Photography Showcase
A major SHINE showcase.  It highlights the models and talent to visiting VIPs in three ways: by voice, by live appearance, and by photographs.  With the benefits of amazing AMTC photos shown on giant screens during their performance, the new talent will walk the runway and introduce themselves on a microphone.

~This is a highly recommend showcase for performers.  Smiling is extremely important and "introducing" yourself means saying your slate.  Your slate is your name, age, height, and one interesting fact.  The VIPs already have your name, age, and height, so it is mainly for them to see how you handle yourself onstage. How confident you are, what your personality is like, etc.

Showcases involving singing:

-The Singers Showcase
A launching pad for every type of singer, from clean Rap to Opera, including Pop, Contemporary Christian, Gospel, R & B, Jazz, Country, Broadway, and everything in between.  Singer Songwriters are also a highly acclaimed feature of SHINE and often accompany themselves on guitar, piano, or even harmonica.  Groups and Duos are welcome.
~I was one-on-one with Mr. Reel for this.  I went over three cover songs and three of my original songs (accompanying myself on piano for my original songs).  My cover songs were When You Believe by Whitney Houston & Mariah Carey, Because of You by Kelly Clarkson, and my favorite, Fly by Maddie & Tae.  My original songs were Creative Love, Why We Worship, and Thanksgiving To You.

-The SHINE Sing Off
Groups of 5-6 performers will be organized on site at the beginning of SHINE and assigned a song (including lyrics) to sing a cappella, a singing coach, a choreographer, and a stylist.  Groups will plan their own rehearsals and harmonies for the showcase, which will be on Friday at SHINE.  The majority of the performance will depend on the group's creativity, harmonies, and showmanship.

~Not everyone can do this showcase.  I have to audition for it with another interested person at an upcoming LAUNCH to show that we can harmonize. Originally, I thought we had to audition at the LAUNCH we were at so I practiced "It is well with my soul" with a young man named Angel.  Then Mr. Reel told us that we should wait until after AMTC's summer SHINE to audition so that his lists wouldn't get confused.  And since Angel is going to the summer SHINE, I needed to find another person going to the same SHINE as me to practice/audition with.  On Sunday evening I was able to organize with a young man named Adonis (who is also going to winter SHINE), that we would audition together. He lives in New Jersey but is planning on coming down in the next month or so to practice with me.  We're looking forward to it! 

-The Collaboration Showcase
The collaboration Showcase is a groundbreaking concept where songwriters and instrumentalists are combined (at the SHINE conference) and given 4 days to write and arrange a song as a group. Each Hub nominates their top vocalist, songwriter, rapper, and instrumentalist. 10 groups of 3-4 performers will be formed and will collaborate to write a song, which will be performed during the showcase.

~This was not rehearsed at the LAUNCH.

Showcases involving dancing:

-The Dancers Showcase
This showcase has launched many stars, springing onto music videos, Broadway, So You Think You Can Dance, the Oscars, and stages everywhere. Every form of dance is seen, from classical ballet to hip hop.  

~Since I'm not a dancer, no practice was required of me for this showcase.

-The SHINE Dance Off
Up to 6 performers will be grouped on site at the beginning of SHINE.  Each group will be given a song, and assigned a dance coach and stylist.  Each group will plan its own rehersals and choreography for the showcase, which will be on Friday at SHINE.  The majority of the performance will depend on the group's creativity, style, and showmanship

~Since I'm not a dancer, no practice was required of me for this showcase.


So there you have a sonopsis of all the different showcases available to do at the SHINE conference! As I mentioned, I went over the majority of those at my LAUNCH.

In addition to practicing the showcases, we also practiced "flash interviews." At the end of the SHINE conference they have time set aside for you to meet all the VIPs who attended.  There are 50-100 VIPs there, but many more performers.  In other words, there's a long line to talk to these VIPs. :). To practice, they stimulated flash interviews by setting up 6 different places in one room and giving us a certain amount of time to meet/talk to as many VIPs as we could.  A few of the VIPs for this stimulation were the actual agents who had been training us through the weekend and a few (like my dad) were volunteers.  :)  Once the flash interviews were over, the different VIPs came up and shared tips on things they saw us doing that were either good, or things we could work on.  I learned that I need to know exactly what/where I want to be going with the talents the Lord has given me, and I need to be ready to explain who I am in a quick yet thorough way.

After the LAUNCH ended on Saturday night, dad and i settled into our hotel room and then headed back over to the hotel Renessiance (where the LAUNCH was held) for dinner.  They had a mini resurant in the hotel and we ended up ordering truffle scented kettle chips with blue cheese dip and a small Italian sasauge pizza.  :)

Half of our pizza :)

The kettle chips and blue cheese dip

Over dinner we got to call back home and give the family a quick update. :)

After dinner, we went back to our hotel where we got to talk with a guy named Eric.
While in line for the flash interviews I was able to talk with a few people, which is always nice. One of those people was Eric.  Daddy had pointed him out to me when we were rehearsing the photography showcase and had said he looked like a nice guy.  He's in his early thirties and has been in the military for multiple years.  Dad and I had a chance to get to know him much more that night as he stayed in the same hotel as us and joined us for the hotel's free continental breakfast in the morning. He's a singer/songwriter as well and it was neat being able to hear some of his songs.

Dad and Eric at breakfast
What could be better than free waffles for breakfast?! ;)
On Sunday morning, they had a time of praise and worship as well as various scripture readings by Mrs. Reel.

Then we were back to practicing. :). At the end of the day, all the singers came up and performed a piece of music they had been working on. It was neat being able to witness all the variety of talents the Lord has given people in singing as well as get some personal experience with stage presence. ;). I need to work on being more comfortable and confident on stage and learn how to "walk the stage" while I'm singing.

One little girl in particular that I enjoyed watching perform was Avery.  She is 5 years old and absolutely adorable! :). She's trying her best and is doing well.  I can't wait to see where the Lord leads her!
My little sister, Avery, and I at lunch together. :)

Before leaving on Sunday night, quite a few people were going around getting contact info from the various people they met.  I got 4 numbers from people and am glad to be able to keep in touch with my AMTC family as we journey together!

The sunset on the way home

All in all, I had a wonderful time!  I'm already eagerly anticipating my next LAUNCH! :)

Thanks for reading!  Have a blessed weekend!

~Alexis Noel

Sunday, April 12, 2015

My Utmost For His Highest

Yesterday, I read the entry in "My Utmost For His Highest" by Oswald Chambers that corresponds to yesterday's date.  I wanted to share it with you all because it stood out to me with where I am in life right now.

The Way Of Abraham In Faith

"He went out, not knowing whither he went."
Hebrews 11:8

In the Old Testament, personal relationship with God showed itself in operation, and this is symbolized in the life of Abraham by his operation from his country and from his kith and kin.  Today the separation is more of a mental and moral separation from the way that those who are dearest to us look at things, that is, if they have not a personal relationship with God.  Jesus Christ emphasized this (see Luke 14:26). Faith never knows where it is being led, but it loves and knows the One Who is leading.  It is a life of faith, not of intellect and reason, but a life of knowing Who makes us "go."  The root of faith is the knowledge of a Person, and one of the biggest snares is the idea that God is sure to lead us to success.  The final stage in the life of faith is attainment of character.  There are many passing transfigurations of character; when we pray we feel the blessing of God enwrapping us and for the time being we are changed, then we get back to the ordinary days and ways and the glory vanishes.  The life of faith is not a life of mounting up with wings, but a life of walking and not fainting.  It is not a question of sanctification; but of something infinitely further on than sanctification, of faith that has been tried and proved and has stood the test.  Abraham is not a type of sanctification, but a type of the life of faith, a tried faith built on a real God. "Abraham believed God."

From this devotional I gathered many things. 

First, I noticed how Mr. Chambers pointed out the difference between separation from the world in the Old Testament and separation from the world now.  For Abraham, to be separate meant he literally separated himself from his old life, his old friends, and his old home.  He followed the Lord to a place where he lived away from the distractions and sins of his old life.  But now, in this day and age, the Lord has called us to be bold, to be separate, yes, but also to go into the fray.  We are to "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." Mark 16:15 As Mr. Chambers said, "Today the separation is more of a mental and moral separation from the way that those who are dearest to us look at things."  Today we are living in the world but not being OF it.  So we might look like the world we live in (to a certain extent) but we should never act like the world. Our separation might be partially outward (as far as how we dress), but more so inward.  And thus our witness for Christ shines through our actions.  For often times, "Actions speak louder than words."

Secondly, I liked how Mr. Chambers said, "Faith never knows where it is being led, but it loves and knows the One Who is leading.  It is a life of faith, not of intellect and reason, but a life of knowing Who makes us "go." The root of faith is the knowledge of a Person, and one of the biggest snares is the idea that God is sure to lead us to success.  The final stage in the life of faith is attainment of character."  So it is in faith that I am following the Lord on this journey with AMTC.  I might not know what is going to happen at the end, but I know Who it is that is leading me.  I might not have "success" as the world views it, but I will have success in that I will have accomplished all the Lord wills me to accomplish. :)  And hopefully with that will come an improvement and strengthening of my character.

Third, and lastly, I loved this statement by Mr. Chambers, "The life of faith is not a life of mounting up with wings, but a life of walking and not fainting." Sure, there are times where we fly on wings like eagles and walk without growing faint, but the Christian life is not a continuous life of ease by any means.  We are constantly fighting our flesh and going back to Christ for a refill on our spiritual ammo.  All of this takes work.  The same way in which I am working and training with AMTC.  Yes, it is hard and a bit overwhelming at times, "Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." Romans 8:37  

And so, at the end of the day, "..none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God." Acts 20:24

Have a blessed weekend!  I look forward to updating you all next week on how my LAUNCH goes!

~Alexis Noel

My Upcoming LAUNCH

Psalm 45:1 "My heart is overflowing with a good theme; I recite my composition concerning the King; My tongue is the pen of a ready writer."

The above verse is my "songwriting verse". :) For it is when my heart is overflowing that my tongue becomes the pen of a ready writer and I compose music.  It just seems like such a fitting verse for a composer. :)

Moving on....this Saturday-Sunday is my first LAUNCH!  I will be traveling to a place about 30 minutes from NYC and receiving personal training in the areas of acting and singing (among other things, probably).  I'm looking forward to getting trained so that I can improve and strengthen the talents the Lord has given me to use for Him.  I'll be sure to post and let you know how it goes! 

Please remember to keep me in your prayers as I prepare for the LAUNCH.  In particular, pray that I'll be able to quickly finalize the three cover songs I will be singing at the LAUNCH and that I'll be able to find background tracks for them.  At my LAUNCH I will go over the three cover songs I selected, and also three of my own songs, with my singing coach, Mr. Bob Reel.

To give you an idea of how I'm doing, I'll tell you honestly that I have been rather overwhelmed recently with school, work three days a week, AMTC, and keeping up with normal household duties.  I feel like I only have a 4 day week since I work Monday-Wednesday.  And of those 4 days, I really have only 3 days to get things done since I happily attend church on Sundays and try to keep that day low-key so as to have a day of rest.  Yeah, so everything is kind of crazy in my life.  I feel like a waitress trying to balance 5 different platters at once with only two hands. Thankfully, I can go to Christ and have a nice long chat with Him about life, and that usually helps. ;)

I would love to be able to post once a week with updates, but if I don't, just realize it's because I'm incredibly busy balancing the different things the Lord has in my life right now.  :).

Thank you so much for reading!  I appreciate your support and prayers in this journey!

~Alexis Noel

Ps-  Please prayerfully consider giving to AMTC* as they try to help those enrolled in their program that cannot pay the full price by taking the financial burden upon themselves. You can find out more or give financial support here:

*These funds will go to AMTC, a non-profit organization.  Your financial gift will not be given to me, but it will help the company that is supporting and training me.

The Results

It was February 8th, 2015, and Sunday morning dawned bright and early, as most days have a way of dawning. ;)  Mom ended up having to stay home with Lydia, Judah, and Cassilyn since they were recovering from colds or something. But the rest of us got ready for church and left the house earlier than normal, due to the fact that Seth was serving at church. :)  I much prefer being early over late.  In case you didn't know, I'm quite social, so if I have a chance to be out and about, I'll make the most of it.  :)  Thus, as soon as we got to church I headed in with Eden and Seth in tow.  Dad, Kimber, and Caleb were hanging out in the van.  I kept checking my phone to see if someone had called (with the hope that I had passed the auditions ;), but didn't see anything.  By the time dad, Kimber, and Caleb came into church the service was about to start, so we walked right in without any exchange of words. The sermon was on 2 Timothy.  It seemed to correlate well to my circumstances at the moment.  Some of my notes were, "Romans 11:24-25- Forget not who you serve; Give glory to He Whom it is due;  I am not my own; the opposite of self-esteem is not self-hate but esteeming GOD; Colossians 2:8-9- My God is sufficient for me- I need nothing else than a chance to praise Him."  After the sermon was over, and we were exiting our pew, dad says to me, "I got a call."  And I'm sorta thinking, "Look, if it's AMTC, just tell me already.  Don't drag it out and make it dramatic." ;)  And he continues, "Yeah, I thought I kind of recognized the number."  So at this point I blurt out, "So did you answer it?!"  And he said, "Yeah, I picked it up and the person on the other end said, 'Hi Mr. Wassenberg, this is Nat, from AMTC.'  I told him that, yes, I knew who he was and that we were hoping that we would hear from him, and so he continued, 'I just wanted to let you know that your daughter passed the auditions.' "  That's all y'all need to know about that phone conversation. ;)  Daddy then proceeded to tell me how, during the worship at the beginning of the service, he was tearing up and just giving me up to the Lord to use me in whatever way He sees fit.  As daddy is telling me this, he starts crying, and of course, I just found out I passed the auditions but I'm in the sanctuary so I'm trying not to jump up and down and freak out.  And I just start crying too and letting out little squeaks. ;)  Nothing too noticeable. ;) Daddy and I then shared a big hug as we cried together with Caleb and Kimber looking on. :)  I couldn't believe it.  I had actually passed the auditions!! Wow, this was huge.  The biggest event in my life to date, that's for sure.  And you'll find out just why I was so elated if you keep reading. ;)  So I walk out of the sanctuary and into the 242 (the fellowship room at our church).  Trying not to look like I've been crying or anything. ;)  I immediately go tell Paw-paw and Na-naw and they are both very excited and happy for me. :)  Then, a friend asks if I'm alright and I tell her "yes, well, kind of, well, I'm just freaking out because..." as she looks at me with concern and confusion. ;P  Eventually I get the story out and she's happy for me as well. :)  Next I went outside and called mom with the news.  I think it goes without saying that she was also happy for me. ;) When I went back inside was casually chatting with another friend (and trying not to say anything about my audition).  And while we're talking Na-naw walks by exclaiming something about how she's so happy for me but I can't go off and leave her, and my friend is standing there like, "Ok, what's going on?"  So then I explain it all over again. :)  I wasn't tired of sharing my news, and I'm still not. ;)  He was, of course, very happy for me as well.  He told me if I made an album he'd be sure to buy it. ;)  So there I have my first prospective customer. ;)  Nice to know. :)  When we got home, I organized and condensed all my lyrics using Microsoft Word and then printed them out.  This took quite some time, and by the time I looked at the clock it was 2:59pm.  Realizing we needed to head back up to MD for the IGNITE session, and remembering dad had said something about leaving at 3pm, I went outside and told dad what time it was.  He quickly got the truck pulled up and ready as I grabbed some last-minute things.  I hopped in the truck, and we were on our way.  We were supposed to be there at 5pm but ended up getting there around 5:20.  Not too bad. :)  Ms. Lewis had already started explaining what the next steps for us would be.  Now that I've passed auditions, I will be training and preparing for the SHINE conference.  They have one in July, but we decided to go to the one in December of this year.  That way, it's during daddy's "dead" season and he'll be able to attend the conference with me.  The SHINE conference is a 6 day event held at the Gaylord resort in Orlando, FL.  They have speakers there and, most importantly, 50-100 professionals in the media industry who have come to watch us preform.  Included in the cost for what I'll be doing with AMTC, are three "showcases" at the SHINE conference.  This means I have three opportunities to preform in front of all these professionals.  This gives them the chance to see what I have to offer, and, if they are interested, to meet with me at the end of the week and discuss potential opportunities to work for/with them.  :D  There is nothing like this anywhere else, and people come to this from all over the world.  The SHINE conference is by invitation only (which is why I auditioned ;).  So from now until the SHINE conference in December, I will be training and getting trained by professionals so that I am at my best when I get to SHINE.  I have a 20 module online course that I will be taking.  It is packed full of pictures, videos, and information to help me progress in my singing, acting, and modeling skills.  I also get daily devotionals from AMTC because keeping my foundation in Christ strong and growing is the most important of all.  I will have three "LAUNCH" meetings at my "hub" in NYC.  At a LAUNCH, I will be working with my professional coaches, Bob & Faith Reel, as they train me in person and work on the things I'll be preforming at SHINE.  One of these "LAUNCH's" will be before June of this year. The others will be later in the year.  Then, a few months before the SHINE conference, I will have a professional photo-shoot done in NYC.  I will bring my entire wardrobe and they select, not only my clothes for the photo-shoot, but also the outfits I will be wearing every day at the SHINE conference- on and off stage.  Then they'll probably spend 2 hours doing my hair and make-up, and an additional 2-3 hours doing my two styled photo-shoots.  This is, as you probably could have guessed, all done by professionals that travel internationally (read: are very good at what they do). :)  From this I'll probably get around 200 pictures.  They will pick out their favorites and create my portfolio.  This will be handed to each of the V.I.P.'s at the SHINE conference so that they each have a professionally done portfolio of me to peruse.  AMTC will also make for me all the marketing tools I need from these pictures (business-card king of things, I guess ;).  I think that covers most of what will be going on.  After Ms. Lewis finished explaining all of this she gave us some "Modeling 101". :) Telling us the basic stances we will need to know for our photo shoot in NYC.  She also told us how we should greet/shake the hand of a V.I.P. when we meet one, and how to sit and such if we are in a meeting with one. :)  Then, we headed to a different room where we did all our paper work.  After that was done, we went to our first acting class.  Mr. Chu was our instructor.  He taught us about prompts and gave us an assignment.  He told us to write 200 prompts when we got home and to practice 3-5 every day. Thankfully, I'm done writing my prompts now. ;)  With help from my family members as well as a friend, I was done in two days. ;)  After we finished working on prompts, we got to act our cold scripts.  Basically, we were handed a piece of paper with maybe 10 scripts to choose from.  We had to pick one and act it out to the best of our abilities.  I didn't go until the end so I could hear the tips Mr. Chu gave as each person went up and acted out their script.  Mine ended up being about a vegetarian whose order got messed up.  She got a greasy burger....not top on a vegetarian's list of foods to eat. :/  You should've seen her attitude, man.  It was a bad day to mess with this vegetarian lady. ;)  The poor teenage cashier didn't know what he was getting in to. ;)  After our class with Mr. Chu was over, me and another girl, Melissa (the only other singer/songwriter in the group), went over to Mr. Nat's room.  There he gave us some tips on what to do and what not to do when we got on stage at SHINE.  He told us to eat healthy and exercise.  Now, those of you who know me well know that I practically despise exercise.  At least I despise running.  But when your coach tells you to work-out: YOU DO IT.  And you not only do it, but you do it happily.  Anything for coach. ;)  So, believe it or not, I actually work-out now. ;)  And it's not that terrible.  As long as I don't have to jog. ;)  But moving on.  He also told us the things we would need to prepare to bring to our first LAUNCH and things we would need to figure out for the SHINE conference.  After the session with Mr. Nat was over, dad and I left and headed to grandpa & grandma's house. :)  We got there around 10:30pm and ate some salad and a delicious noodle soup grandma had made.  Oh, and don't forget her delicious garlic bread.  To top it all off, we ate some of the left-over Carvel ice-cream cake from the night before. :)  I enjoyed sharing with grandpa and grandma how the day went and what all was going on in my life.  Dad and I got home and in the bed by 2am.  Gracious, these crazy schedules have me so confused.  I'm having a hard time keeping my days straight. ;)  Now that I'm back home, I'm awaiting an email from AMTC that will give me access to my online course.  I can't wait to get started!  Hopefully this experience will grow me in Christ and in my maturity as well.  To Jesus be the glory!  What an incredible opportunity He has given me!  Please keep me in your prayers as I go out into this world as a media missionary.  I would appreciate it greatly! :) 

~Alexis Noel

The Audition

Saturday, January 7th, 2015, was here before I knew it.  After getting some hugs and well-wishes from my family, I packed my keyboard in my dad's Chevy dooly and we were off!  Good thing my dad grabbed my audition sheet for me.....I think I was a little out of it. ;)  Since we were making good time, dad and I stopped in at my grandparents and chatted with them for a few minutes.  My dad's brother, who also lives in northern VA, was getting his house ready to put on the market.  He had a bunch of stuff he was trying to get rid of, and since we love free goodies from friends and family, my dad brought along his 16ft. trailer for my uncle to fill up. :)  I followed dad to my uncle's house in my Grandpa's cube so that we could leave the truck and trailer there for my uncle to fill up while we were gone.  Plus, grandpa's cube is better on gas. ;)  Once the truck and trailer were dropped off we headed towards the Double Tree by Hilton, where the audition was being held.  We arrived early, at 12:30pm (my audition was scheduled for 1pm).  As we were walking in there was a girl about my age walking out with her parents and she wished me luck.  Apparently the auditions had been going on all morning. When we got in, there were about 20 people in line in front of me.  The line led to the registration table.  After asking a few questions, dad decided to go back out and get my keyboard for me (we hadn't been sure when to bring it in or where to put it).  While he was retrieving my keyboard, I struck up a conversation with the girl in line behind me.  She was a little shorter than me, with dark hair and eyes she was very pretty, and looked to be in her early 20's. Her name was Gabriella, and I found out that she was from Bulgaria.  She lives in the states now, and was trying out for acting, modeling, and dancing. :)  We joked about my dad being my bellhop and she asked if I slipped him tips every once in a while. I said no, but he'd probably prefer food anyway.  She agreed and we started naming foods we thought a guy would like: beef jerkey, Reeses peanut butter cups, and actually, we decided, a guy would probably eat anything. ;) Dad was back in with my keyboard by now and she told him she thought it was very sweet of him to come as my escort/bellhop. ;)  We were probably in line for about 10 minutes before we got to the table and I received my number: 210.  Then they took a picture of me real quick and we got into another line where we waited for maybe another 10-20 minutes.  At this point, there were about 800 of us (auditioners and supporters).  They directed all of us to a conference room where we sat down in number order.  At this time, one of AMTC's scout's, Mr. Nat, came in and led us in prayer.  Then we all stood and sang a hymn together. As I stated in my last post, one of my main concerns about AMTC was that they would be Christian's in name only.  But as this meeting progressed, it became very evident that the people with AMTC were not just professing Christians, but sold-out, on fire for Christ, Bible-believing, God-honoring Christians.  And I was thrilled, to say the least.  I was surrounded by my family in Christ, all of us seeking to heed God's call on our lives and bring glory to Him; what more could I want?  After we watched a video clip on AMTC, Ms. Carey Lewis, the founder, came up and spoke to us.  One of the first things she said was that they were not "normal" Christians, they were not carnal Christians, they were not just "Christians", but that they were Bible-believing Christians who believed in the infallible word of God.  Amen to that one!  She proceeded to tell us how she when she started AMTC she wasn't a Christian and how for 20+ years, as AMTC grew, she stayed that way. But then, at the age of 51, she was burned out and at the end of her line. That's when she found and accepted Christ.  And it flipped her life and her business around.  At the time, AMTC stood for "Actors, Models, and Talent Competition" but after she accepted Christ, the Lord told her (while she was on the treadmill, actually ;), to change the "C" to Christ.  So now, AMTC stands for "Actors, Models, and Talent for Christ."  Crazy, huh?  And despite her family and even Christian friends telling her not to change the name (or she'd lose her non-Christian business partners), she followed the Lord and went through with it.  And out of the 155 some odd number of professionals who help her business be what it is today, only ONE left.  Talk about the Lord's hand of protection. So now, they not only prepare and professionally train people for the media according to the world's standards, they also train and prepare them spiritually so that they can go out as missionaries in one of the most influential places on earth: our media.  You can read about their history here:  She also quoted lots of scriptures and used the parable of the talents as an analogy of us using our talents to profit the Lord.  Needless to say, after the 1 1/2 hour session, I no longer doubted where they stood in regards to Christ. :)  And I was excited.  After the session ended we separated into 4 different groups depending on what we were auditioning for, I think.  My "scout" was Mr. Nat.  He was the man who had opened the session in prayer and worship.  We were each going in one at a time.  It was once again by number order, and I ended up being last in our group. :)  We waited in line for probably 45 minutes before it was my turn to go in.  Eek! :D  I'm so thankful to the Lord that I wasn't nervous.  I figured since I was doing this to bring glory to God that if it was where He wanted me, it would work out that way.  And if not, if I failed, He must have a better purpose in mind for me.  So no need to be nervous- it was all in His hands. :)  I walked in and as daddy set up my keyboard for me, I handed Mr. Nat my registration paper.  Then I stood on the tape and read a prepared script.  Now, I had signed up only for singing/songwriting mostly because that was where I had the most experience.  But according to AMTC, acting is the basis for all fields of media.  No matter if you are a dancer, singer, actor, model, or anything else, you need to know how to act.  How to show, not only in the words of your song (in my case), but in your physical actions, what you are feeling.  So Mr. Nat told me he was going to put me down for acting as well.  I told him I was totally cool with that.  I'll go wherever the Lord leads, even if it's not what I first planned on auditioning for. :)  Going off of the top of my head, this was my script: "It's not like my dog cares if his food is organic.  Jake's ideal day is digging through the garbage and drinking out of the toilet.  But I care.  That's why I buy him solid gold dog food.  I tried it myself.  Pretty good."  Now, you could read this like it's written; without expression.  But that's not what an actor is supposed to do.  An actor or actress envisions the situation in his or her head and places themselves in the speaker's shoes.  Basically, I had to become the person with the dog.  And so I gave it my best shot. :)  It was fun. :)  Then I went over to my keyboard and played most of my song, "Why We Worship".  Due to time restraints, I was unable to do the whole song.  I messed up once or twice on the piano part, and maybe once in my voice.  Overall, I was happy with my performance, though. :)  You see, I had a slight cold, so I was very happy that the Lord kept my nose from being all stuffy and my throat from being sore or dried out. :)  After my song was done, dad and I walked up to the table where Mr. Nat was sitting and he handed us a pamphlet with some information concerning the SHINE conference (the end goal if you pass the auditions).  He told us that if I passed the audition, I would get a call the next day between 8am-3pm.  Of course, they hoped we'd be in church (as it would be Sunday), but that we'd call them back as soon as we could. :)  If we got a call-back, we'd need to come back to the place of the audition for my first training session (called an IGNITE).  If I didn't pass the auditions, I would get one of two emails.  The first email is a, "Thank you for auditioning.  While you didn't pass the preliminary auditions, we think you could make it if you had some training.  Here are some classes hosted by AMTC that you can attend to add some "polish" to your talent."  Something like that. :)  The second email would be more like a, "Thank you for auditioning.  Unfortunately you were unable to pass the auditions," sort of thing.  They said you would receive the latter email for one of two reasons (or both).  Those reasons being 1) You didn't have talent in your chosen area, or 2) You were prideful.  You cannot properly serve and bring glory to Christ with either of those things.  So after receiving those words of advice/information from Mr. Nat, we left and headed straight to Sakura (a Japanese steakhouse), which was the restaurant my cousin, Diana, had chosen for her 19th birthday.  It was delicious, to say the least. :D  Thanks to Uncle Greg for the delicious dinner! :) My Uncle Greg's fiance', Tonya, and her parents came as well. :) It was the first time I had met Tonya's parents and I liked them almost immediately. :)  After dinner, we all went back to my grandparents house for cake. :)  After the festivities were over, dad and I headed home, making it home and in bed by around 2am. The excitement of the day didn't keep me from falling right to sleep, though- I was tired and was only too glad to be back in bed! ;)  Tomorrow I would find out my results!

~Alexis Noel