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Don't Cop Out!

- 05/13/09  

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May-June 2009


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< Croatian Publisher Looks Beyond Church Market

< Forgiveness: When your husband is your enemy

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Hi, ! 

Do the words, "I forgive you," ever get tangled on your tongue? In this issue, take a sneak peak at one of our LittWorld writing contest submissions. Christ's power to reconcile can heal even the deepest wounds between husband and wife.


Also, you'll read how a new title in Indonesia aims to beat voter apathy and help Christians understand their role as responsible citizens. And learn how a Croatian publisher has been thinking outside church walls, producing Christian books for the general market. 


Don't Cop Out!

In the world’s third most populous democracy—237 million people strong—Indonesian voters wield significant power. But many people, including Christians, continue to view government as corrupt and abstain from voting. Since the nation’s democratic transition from three decades of dictatorship in 1998, this July’s presidential elections are only the third in which citizens can vote.

Don’t Cop Out! Let’s participate—speak out and vote was released in February by Bina Kasih Press to urge Indonesia’s Christians to participate in national issues. “A new political awareness is replacing public apathy and people are being encouraged to vote. But it is not clear they know why they should vote,” says general manager Yunita Harahap.

Authors John Stott and Yonky Karman offer insights on how Christians can and should shoulder responsibility as citizens. Stott’s chapters, reprinted from his book, Issues Facing Christians Today, offer a biblical framework for responding to difficult moral and social problems, including religious pluralism. Yonky Karman, a seminary professor and former columnist for the country’s leading newspaper, urges Indonesians to exercise their political rights.


One bookstore called Don’t Cop Out! the only title that has helped prepare people to vote intelligently in this year’s elections.

Croatian Publisher Looks Beyond Church Market

Bruna Terešak and her husband, Davor, founded STEPress in their native Croatia in 1997. Challenged by the nation’s tiny Protestant market—less than one percent of the population—they’ve also been reaching secular and Catholic readers.

How do you reach a variety of markets?
We mostly produce Christian books for the general market, nearly all of Croatia’s 4 million people. We always strive to publish books that are culturally relevant and packaged for both general and church market, not a simple task. We consider the general market as readers in whom our books can awaken their spiritual need.

STEPress became the first Christian publishing house in Croatia to sell books in secular bookstores. Since then other Christian publishers have started to do so.

What about the Protestant market?
In the 1990s, most people did not even think of buying a Christian book. They were used to getting books for free from foreign mission organizations and considered it outrageous if you charged them. Moreover, they did not read much. In the last decade, churchgoers have started to read—and buy—Christian books. We like to think that STEPress has contributed, at least a bit.

What topics do you focus on?
We've published books about parenting, learning, time management, self-help books, fiction for adults and teenagers, children's books and picture books. We've also published theology.

Tell us about a recent title.
No local author has written a book with a Gospel message specifically for cancer patients in Croatia. So, we translated British author [and MAI-Europe Trustee] Marion Stroud's book, Face to Face with Cancer. The book includes tons of useful advice for patients, but also focuses on the emotional side of illness, which is overlooked in other cancer books here. And it talks about life in Christ. We added relevant information for Croatians at the end about health insurance, useful websites, cancer clinics, hospice and more.

What’s in store for STEPress’s future?
Our new project is an Internet bookstore, where we'll be selling titles from STEPress as well as other Christian publishers. This will be the first Internet bookstore in Croatia for readers to select from all the quality Christian titles in one place. This will also give us a new source of revenue.
We still need space for storing other publishers' books and face a number of other unresolved issues. So please pray for this future online bookshop.

Forgiveness: When your husband is your enemy   


In this year’s LittWorld writing contest, participants were asked to send a true story showing the power of Christ to achieve forgiveness and reconciliation. 


I got a “sneak preview” of the contest submissions from around the world before we sent them to the contest judges. In graphic detail, some articles described offenses that, humanly speaking, seemed impossible to forgive. 


One article recounted a wife’s vicious beatings by an alcoholic, rod-wielding husband.  The woman became a Christian, and later even her tormenting husband gave his life to Christ. The husband’s life radically changed, and he apologized for his abusive behavior. But his wife could not forgive him.


She confessed her bitterness toward her husband at a Christian retreat. “Yes, you are right,” the speaker said. “It is impossible for you to forgive your husband. But God’s Word says love your enemies. You must not only forgive him but love him. Praise the Lord, you do this not with your own strength but with God’s strength. We will pray for you to receive that strength.”


As friends gathered around her to pray, the woman felt an indescribable peace fill her being, and the hate vanished. That night she took her husband’s hand and forgave him. A tear trickled down his speechless face.


Our experiences with forgiveness may not be as dramatic (and I pray they won’t need to be!).  But we do know forgiveness is never easy—even for the most “saintly” among us.


Forgiveness is not something one can muster up through special effort or momentary resolve.  Heart-changing forgiveness—the kind that keeps no record of wrongs—is God’s work, through and through.


So, I hope the articles in the LittWorld writing contest will encourage readers struggling to forgive a hurtful offense. In a world filled with victims of cruelty and injustice, published stories of forgiveness and reconciliation make a powerful witness.


J O H N   M A U S T

M A I   P R E S I D E N T 

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