C O N T E N T S :
< Lebanon: Hope for the Middle East
< Watering the Arab World
< Give the Gift of Training
< Different Kind of Big
< Pray for Upcoming Trainings
Where the Nile River flows in Egypt, life has flourished for centuries instead of withering under
scorching desert sun. Likewise, Christian publishers in the Arab world are strategically located to offering life-giving literature in
countries where people thirst for hope.
In this issue, read about one woman's journey in Lebanon and a unique
gathering of publishers in Egypt. Christian publishers are watering the Arab world, and we can help equip them to do so even more
Dawn Herzog Jewell, Editor
Lebanon: Hope for the Middle
hosts writer workshop
Like nearly everyone in
Lebanon, Colette Ghassan (left in photo) has endured loss and pain from 15 years of
civil war (1975-1990), plus periodic outbreaks of fighting since. Her husband was killed when Colette was a 22-year-old mother of three small
children; other relatives and friends have suffered in the violence. Yet today, Colette is a testimony of God’s grace.
In 1993, Colette attended an MAI writer workshop in Cypress. The
trainers, Pat Alexander and Francis Fuller, affirmed Colette’s talent and exhorted her to use it for God’s glory. That seed took
root in Colette’s heart alongside a dream to equip writers.
Last year before flashing media cameras, Colette announced the launch of Fresh
Minds, her unique cultural magazine published in Arabic. Topics include health, fashion and beauty, relationships, technology, fine arts, movies
and more. Articles aim to reach mothers, fathers and their teenage children, avoiding celebrity gossip, indecent ads or photos, and
Colette realized her next dream this March when she hosted MAI’s writer workshop
in Beirut, Lebanon. Sixteen men and women gathered to learn from MAI President John Maust and author Anne de Graaf (right in photo).
Participants included a television announcer, a former MTV interviewer, a women’s radio program host, two Baptist publishing staff and an
Armenian poet, among others.
One participant declined to write a personal experience article saying, “it is
too painful to think about the past.” But one woman, Roula, decided to start writing her experiences of living along the Green Line during the war in order to process the past.
The Green Line, an uninhabited space, once separated Muslim factions from the Christian Lebanese Forces in Beirut. Julie, another participant, hopes
to write the story of a former child soldier in Beirut.
To deepen their friendships, many participants scheduled a reunion
meal in Colette’s home. They have requested more specialized workshops in the future. A local Baptist publisher is committed to helping
coordinate these trainings.
“If Lebanon works, it provides hope for the entire
Middle East: a homegrown democracy with a strong economy and multicultural tolerance,” Anne writes.
Read Anne's blog post on
Watering the Arab
World:Egyptian publishers strengthen
Egypt’s population of 76 million accounts for one-third of the entire Arab
world. Given the nation’s ties to both the West and East, its Christian population is strategically located. Stronger relationships among
Egypt’s Christian publishers will contribute to a more vibrant Church in the Middle East.
Leaders of 10 Egyptian publishing houses gathered in Cairo for a unique conference in
March. With MAI trainer Tony Wales serving as facilitator, the 20 participants discussed opportunities for collaboration, including staff training,
seminars for writers and distribution efforts.
Conference host Dar El Thaqafa (House of Culture) is one of the largest Christian publishers in the Middle East. It is currently developing an
Arabic Bible commentary, along the lines of the Africa Bible Commentary.
Following the publisher meeting, more than 25 pastors and church leaders from
throughout Egypt participated in a two-day writer workshop, also led by Tony Wales. In addition, Tony provided a day of training and consulting for
the Dar El Thaqafa staff.
“Egypt is perhaps the most strategic
country in the Arab world. We have an entree and a platform of potential writers and Christian publishers who are looking for further support and
help,” Tony said.
Photo above: The Nile River waters surrounding desert. Photo source: Wikipedia.
| Give the Gift of Training
“Hate, revenge and resentment” characterize the history of Congo,” Etienne
Mbusa says. “Moreover, corruption, embezzlement, looting and rape are still a part of life in our community.”
To fight darkness with light, this Anglican minister recently formed a literature
ministry to spread the Gospel in Congo. He wants to receive training at LittWorld 2009 in Kenya, but
needs scholarship help to get there.
Your scholarship gift for LittWorld will help Etienne and others spiritually impact
their nations through the ministry of the written word. As little as $150/£100 covers half the accomodation costs for a scholarship participant;
a full scholarship plus limited travel aid is roughly $750/£500.
If you’re a first-time donor to MAI, your scholarship gift will be doubled
through a matching grant from a generous foundation.
Double your first-time gift to MAI, thanks to a generous foundation that will match your donation.
Or, double your gift each month by signing up for direct giving via any Visa or
Mastercard or U.S. checking account.
Different Kind of Big
In the past year, more than 220 people from 30 countries received training
from MAI. These trainings ranged from one-on-one publisher mentoring in Serbia, Egypt and Hungary, to group workshops for writers and editors in
We’ve become increasingly involved in the Middle East
so-called closed countries of Southeast Asia. Plus, we’re about to hold our first LittWorld conference in Africa to help equip and encourage
publishing colleagues there.
With all that’s happening, people sometimes think
“big.” In fact, we have only three headquarters staff and a smaller budget than many local churches'.
But MAI is big in a different sort of way. God has blessed us with a growing
number of men and women with immense hearts for publishing ministry. They volunteer as trainers, pray faithfully and give generously.
Take Marlene Legaspi-Munar of the Philippines (photo below) and her recent
gift for LittWorld conference scholarships.
“Attending LittWorld in 2006 was such an encouragement to me that I
want other Christian writers to be able to attend as well,” Marlene explained. “So, I donated a portion from the funds I have been
raising for the trip. I also believe that as I sow, I will also reap in due time.”
Marlene is praying for God to provide for her and others to attend LittWorld
2009, fanning interest through the LittWorld 2009 group on Facebook and her blog.
She recently finished writing a Bible-based values curriculum, and a
publisher wants her new book for teens about friendship.
I was touched by Marlene’s generous gift from her own limited travel
fund, and want to thank all of you who support MAI ministry. God is using your gifts and prayers to bring help and hope to talented Christian
communicators around the world.
You are certainly “big” in our book.
J O H N M A U S T
I P R E S I D E N T
Pray for Upcoming Trainings
- Sri Lanka, May
writing and translating
- Mongolia, June
publishing and writing
- Indonesia, August
publishing and editing
- Kenya, November