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Sudden Change Is Here to Stay

- 01/01/08  

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January-February 2008

C O N T E N T S

< Sudden Change

< Philippines: Hope Away from Home

< Online Magazines Target Hispanic Women

< Christian Internet Ministries Collaborate


Hi, ! 

In today’s globalized world, books and articles flow fluidly across multiple borders. Men and women around the globe are benefiting from creative Christian publishers. In this issue, read how Spanish-speaking women in the general market access online articles infused with biblical principles. And, learn about the millions of people who comprise the ongoing diaspora from the Philippines. Published words are traveling the world!

 


Philippines: Hope Away
from Home


Evelyn Miranda-Feliciano writes to an audience of 8.5 million readers across more than 170 countries. Hope Away from Home (OMF Literature) targets 10 percent of the population of the Philippines – contract workers called Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) – who, according to The New York Times, send home $15 billion a year, a seventh of the country's gross domestic product.

Every day some 3,000 Filipinos move abroad for work. Nearly three quarters of those newly hired workers are women taking jobs as maids, nurses and entertainers in the Middle East and other parts of Asia. Saudi Arabia attracts the most OFWs with 1 million workers, followed by Japan, Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates and Taiwan. Filipinos also make up the third largest ethnic group in the US.

The OFW program has sustained the Filipino economy since Ferdinand Marcos conceived the program in 1975 as a stop-gap measure to alleviate unemployment and poverty while helping the country raise foreign exchange for its import requirements. That year the Philippines deployed 35,000 workers; 1 million left in 2006.


The social cost is high for families who are divided across countries. Evelyn uses the biblical account of Ruth and Naomi as a metaphor for today’s OFWs who are strangers in foreign lands. Her book offers help and encouragement to transplanted workers and their families, and includes firsthand accounts of OFWs and Filipino expatriates.   

“I see the Filipino diaspora continuing for a long time,” Evelyn writes. “The only contribution I can make as a writer is to present the timeless truth of Scripture to the present reality. That we may root ourselves to what is true and eternal, wherever the OFWs are.”


Online Magazines Target Hispanic Women





Elizabeth Clark Wickham is director of
CristianaDeHoy.com and MujerDeHoy.org, web magazines that reach Spanish-speaking women around the globe.

Q: What led you to start these online publications?

I was impacted by page after page dedicated to spiritual and psychological content in Spain’s major secular women’s magazines, showing that Latin women are asking questions and hungry for something deeper. I noticed a void in secular cyberspace regarding Spanish Christian articles for women. Most of the Christian web sites seemed to target only Christian women, neglecting the general market.

 

Rather than putting our publications in print, I decided that establishing a solid web presence was our best option. Today we are reaching many women that we otherwise could not. Most of our readers today span Mexico, Spain and the USA.

 

Q: Why have you created two separate websites? 

MujerDeHoy is for Hispanic women in the general market. We have articles on relationships, beauty, work, home, etc. Our most important section is spirituality, where we share an alternative to popular New Age spirituality by communicating the Gospel. While presenting biblical principles, we eliminate most references to Christian publications and usually quote the Bible indirectly to remove prejudices.

We launched CristianaDeHoy because we realized that some of our content would be understood only by Christian women and could be unintelligible or offensive to the general market. We decided to create a separate website that assumes reader familiarity with Christianity and the Bible.

 

Q: What feedback have you received from readers?

We regularly receive article suggestions, criticism, encouragement, questions and comments. Topics that have generated dialog on CristianaDeHoy include dating non-Christians, unemployment and faith, and widowhood. On MujerDeHoy, saving sex for marriage, anorexia, and dating at work have been popular. 

Q: What is your vision for the future of your sites?

MujerDeHoy is a secular platform for presenting the gospel, our ultimate goal. Through both sites, we hope to encourage Hispanic Christian women to write intelligibly for their generation, to improve our counseling network to answer readers’ questions, and eventually to support valuable Christian ministries among Hispanic women.

Q: What are your greatest challenges?
Learning to create the right type of articles for MujerDeHoy and making Christian concepts relevant and understandable for the general market. Another challenge is using the appropriate type of Spanish that does not turn away potential readers.  

 



Sudden Change


My high school’s football coach taught his players to meet adversity head-on. Whenever the team committed a miscue or turned the ball over to the other team, the coach ordered the players to yell, “Sudden change!” Unexpected bad fortune can paralyze a team, so he trained his players to turn immediately from the problem and confront the new circumstances head-on—thereby regaining positive momentum.

 

Sudden change faces MAI’s colleagues in many countries. In early December, I met with Christian publishing colleagues in calm, pre-election Kenya. Just four weeks later, this long-stable African democracy plunged into a period of inter-tribal bloodletting over the disputed outcome of the December 27 presidential election. (See the NY Times article.) 

At this writing, the Kenyan situation is beginning to stabilize. But the message is clear: sudden change can occur at any time, any place.

 


Another example is Pakistan. Several months after MAI’s author workshop there, radicals murdered opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, and a wave of retaliatory violence swept the nation of 160 million. And soon after our writer workshop last spring in Myanmar/Burma, the totalitarian government launched a wave of violent repression, grinding normal life to a halt.

How would you and I respond if “normal life” evaporated in an instant, or once-stable structures came crashing down?

Much like my old football coach, an effective publisher can help us respond to sudden, debilitating change—publishing books and articles that offer a needed biblical perspective on the situation, that provide creative models and ways to reach out, and that give us new strength in the Rock, our Savior.

As you read about strife in various parts of the world, please pray for the Christian publishers in those countries.  “Sudden change!” is here to stay.

 
 

J O H N   M A U S T

M A I   P R E S I D E N T



Christian Internet Ministries Collaborate

The Global Christian Internet Alliance (GCIA)  is devoted to making Christian internet resources available worldwide. Started in 2001 by Christianity Today International (CTI), it has grown to include 22 publishing and broadcasting ministries in 14 major languages including French, Chinese, Spanish and English.

At the GCIA annual conference held in Berlin last July, a new internet ministry was launched, GUIDENetwork (Global Use of Internet and Digital Evangelism). “GUIDE and GCIA will serve as a catalyst for connecting people in the [internet evangelism] ministry,” says Keith Stonehocker of CTI.

GCIA is part of the Internet Evangelism Coalition headquartered in Wheaton, Illinois, USA. GCIA and GUIDENetwork will continue to hold conferences together over the next few years.

 

 

 

 

 

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