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A Chinese Atheist's Journey

- 01/15/09  

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January-February 2009


<  A Chinese Atheist’s Journey into American Culture
< From France to French-speaking Africa
<  Find Your MAI Friends on Facebook
<  Impossible Prayers
<  Register for LittWorld 2009

Hi, !

In this age of globalization, let's rejoice that our God specializes in impossbilities that span the nations. In this issue, we introduce a book by a former Chinese atheist and a French publisher's vision for Africa. We hope you'll be inspired to pray and act BIG this year, in accordance with the limitless possibilities of a God to whom even hardened terrorists yield their hearts. 

A Chinese Atheist's Journey into American Culture

Living in the USA (ZDL Books) is an account of a Chinese atheist's move to the United States. In China, author Xue De Fan was a Communist party member with a masters’ degree in Marxist Philosophy.

“When mainland China became Communist, slandering America and especially Christianity became a keynote of Chinese official ideology. I was influenced deeply by this propaganda,” he says.


Fan and his wife moved to the US in the early 1990s, where she persuaded him to attend church and Bible studies. Although he tried to disprove Christianity for three years, he was compelled by the peace and joy he found among believers. In January 1995, he welcomed Christ as his Savior.


Living in the USA contains stories from Fan's experiences. It illustrates how Christian values have permeated American life and culture, particularly law, religion and education. Fan describes American Christian life positively, making the book one of the first published in mainland China to do so since the Communist Revolution.

ZDL is targeting the book at both Christian and general readers in China. One reader wrote, “This book offers a lot of insight and inspiration to those who long for freedom and dignity.”

From France to French-speaking Africa 

Greg Burgess is publisher of Editions Clé in Lyon, France. He participated in MAI training for African writers and publishers in Mali and Ghana last year. Here he describes his vision for equipping the Church in Francophone Africa.

Q: What is the focus of Editions Clé? 
With many young churches in France, training leaders is a necessity, so we are producing Bible commentaries and other study tools written at the pastoral and lay levels. Our most effective and far-reaching work has been Bible software. We were the first evangelical publisher to introduce Bible software to the French market, so we have developed more than 25,000 estimated users. We also provide free Bible study materials online.

Q: How does this relate to your vision for French-speaking Africa?
I’m excited about our project called FEEL to provide an electronic Bible study tool for African leaders and pastors. Our aim is to offer Bible study software with content from African authors for use by seminaries, schools and leaders in French-speaking Africa. We’ll include the French edition of the Africa Bible Commentary in this resource. We hope to release a first edition in 12 to 18 months.

Q: Tell us about the magazine you’re developing.  
The idea for a pan-African youth magazine resulted from my conversations with African Christians on recent trips to French-speaking Africa. Two-thirds of this population is 25 years old or younger, and the overwhelming majority of French-speaking Christians are in Africa (more than 20 million). Access to Christian books is limited and cost is often prohibitive. Many books are French translations of books written for an American audience, making them two steps removed!

The magazine, Jouv Afrique (African Youth), strives to: edify young Christians, evangelize non-Christians, publish African authors, provide culturally relevant articles that address African societal questions and give a voice to African youth.

Sample articles include “Unwanted pregnancies”, “Immigration: Is the grass really greener on the other side of the fence?” and “At War with God,” an evangelistic piece.

Q: What is the status of the magazine? 
We’ve done two test issues which have been well received. We hope to start our publishing cycle in the first quarter of 2009.

I have a network of potential authors and illustrators from 14 French-speaking African nations. Two African publishers are partnering with us to distribute the magazine, Centre de Publications Evangéliques in Ivory Coast and Livr’Afrique. They enable us to have a presence in the majority of the biggest urban centers across the region.

Find Your MAI Friends on Facebook

>>Join the MAI Fan Club and the LittWorld 2009 group.
Connect with your friends in global publishing there.

What is Facebook? Millions of people use Facebook every day to keep up with friends, upload an unlimited number of photos, share links and videos, and learn more about the people they meet.

Impossible Prayers 


During Peru’s dark period of violence in the 1980s, I was editing a newsletter for the evangelical relief group Peace and Hope.


Every issue carried prayer requests, and once we listed, “Pray for the spiritual conversion of terrorist leaders.”  I remember sitting in the Lima office one day when a visitor spotted that prayer request.


“Ojala!” she said, frowning.

Usually the phrase in Spanish means, “I hope so.” But, judging from the sarcasm in the woman’s voice, I guessed her meaning was closer to “That will be the day.” Or, “You wish…”  Or, “What planet do you people live on?”


You had to admit it sounded impossible—hardened Maoist terrorists yielding to Christ. But that’s precisely why we listed the request:  We Christians often neglect praying for the most important things just because they seem so humanly impossible. 


Focus on Africa
In coming issues of Inside MAI, you will read about the upcoming LittWorld 2009 conference in Nairobi, Kenya.  We will ask prayer for speakers and workshops, safe travels for participants, and sufficient scholarship funds. But as you pray for this first LittWorld conference in Africa, why not take the next step and bring to God some seemingly “impossible requests” for Africa?


*An end to killings and violence in Congo, Somalia and the Darfur region of Sudan


*Success in the fight against malaria and HIV AIDS on the continent


*Spiritual revival in North Africa and protection for Christians in Muslim-controlled areas


*A strong, self-sufficient Christian publishing house for every country of Africa


God hears our prayers for good health, safe travel and the like. But His ears must especially prick up when we seek His intervention in the complex problems of a hurting world—taking Him at His word that “with God all things are possible.” 


J O H N   M A U S T

M A I   P R E S I D E N T 

LittWorld 2009
Nairobi, Kenya

>>Download a brochure pdf or

>>Learn more online


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