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Words for the World

Words for the World

- 05/01/08   Words for the World

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Words for the World | MAI

May-August 2008 


< Ready to Fly

<  Setting the Pace
< You Are Not the Expert

< Chinese Writer Pens First Novel
<  Team of Allies

< You Are Not the Expert

Hi, !

From a closed Asian country to other hard places of the world, in this issue you'll glimpse how we nurture the potential of locals in creating quality literature. You'll meet a few MAI trainersfrom Australia, Ghana and Singaporewho are setting the pace and investing their talents to raise up new authors, editors and publishers. Lean back and enjoy your vicarious travels with us!

Dawn Herzog Jewell, Editor

Ready to Fly

"For almost 30 years, we seemed happy with translating books from English, but now we know that in order to be balanced and benefit the whole church, we must have local writers," Ruth* said. After an initial publishing workshop in Ruth's country, the ground was fertile for MAI's first writer training in this closed nation of Southeast Asia.

Enthusiasm ran high at the recent writer workshop. "The ladies were ready to fly from the moment I touched down," said B*, MAI's trainer.

Fifteen women, mostly pastors' wives, attended the five-day workshop. B, an experienced writer and editor from Singapore, helped develop trust and vulnerability among the group. Initially shy, the women became increasingly comfortable sharing their writings. They developed plans for the first three issues of a women's magazine with the working title, "A Grain of Salt."

The women voluntarily spent after-workshop hours keying articles into the computer, aiming to create a souvenir "newspaper" by the workshop's end. One woman also decided to try to publish a book of women's testimonies in the future.

The workshop produced "a renewed zeal in these ladies to want to write and publish for their own communities," B said. They also hope to attend MAI's Asian Christian Writers Conference in Thailand this October.

Please pray that potential obstacles will not diminish the passion and excitement of these writing women.

--Catherine Benton, MAI Intern

*A pseudonym

Setting the Pace

Author and publisher Lawrence Darmani, MAI's Africa regional trainer, was recently awarded the distinguished Pacesetter Award at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference in California. The award is presented annually to a writer, editor or publisher who has set an example for others in the industry.

"Many at the conference were touched by how much Lawrence has accomplished in such a short time and in spite of many obstacles," said author Robin Gunn, an MAI Board member. She is a past recipient of the award.

Lawrence will be teaching at MAI's workshop this May in Bamako, Mali, for 55 writers and booksellers from various countries of francophone Africa.

--Catherine Benton, MAI intern

You Are Not the Expert


Back in 1991, a publisher in Indonesia took Owen Salter aside before he was to lead a day-long seminar and said, "The first thing you need to understand is that you are not the expert." That moment helped define Owen's training philosophy.

Owen first sensed God's call to train Christians in publishing two decades ago. Since then, he's used his experience as a magazine journalist, book editor and writer to equip others in his native Australia and in Indonesia, and for MAI in Nepal and Pakistan. "Walking alongside others is humbling and inspirational," Owen said, citing the biblical training models of Barnabas, Paul and Jesus. 

After leading a writing workshop last autumn in Pakistan, Owen corresponded with participants for months via email. "A trainer can do a lot to reinforce the commitment of local publishers by encouraging people from a distance. Brief emails are ideal. Just by staying interested you send the message, 'I believe in you.'" His emails helped propel writers to meet the publisher's deadline, and as a result, a digest of their stories will soon be published.

MAI's ministry is built on a network of publishing professionals like Owen who volunteer to lead on-site training around the world. They agree that training is strategic. The church is exploding, particularly "where Christian publishing is just getting on its feet," Owen said.  Education and literacy levels are rising steadily (as in China and India), so readers will be ready and waiting for new material.

"Encouraging visionaries who have a dream to write, edit or publish for their own people is helping build for the future," he said.

Team of Allies

America's President Abraham Lincoln, when newly elected, surprised everyone by inviting his fiercest political rivals to join his cabinet. Somehow Lincoln got this dysfunctional group to work together, and he preserved the union through a devastating Civil War. (Read this compelling story in Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals).


Fast forward about 150 years to a different kind of "cabinet": MAI's international leadership team. Lincoln would have envied this group. No puffy egos, past differences or political rivalries here.

During a recent planning meeting of our international leadership, I found myself looking around the table, thinking, "What a remarkable team! What a quality group the Lord has brought to MAI ministry!" Everyone just enjoyed being and working together --evidenced by the frequent laughter, the brainstorming, the times of prayer. 

As we shared reports, we saw how MAI ministry has grown through the development of regional offices and our grassroots international trainer network.

We also asked God for wisdom in responding to the many needs and opportunities for Christian publisher and writer training around the world.  

"May every mile that we cover, every word we speak to trainees, culminate in helping people discover the depths of their talents and use those talents in the Lord's vineyard," said our Africa regional trainer, Lawrence Darmani. "That is the real joy of being in this ministry."

I'm also glad for MAI's leadership team of allies, not rivals...and that you are part of this team through your prayers, gifts and interest.  

J O H N   M A U S T

M A I   P R E S I D E N T

Chinese Writer Pens First Novel

Susan* was a high school student in mainland China when she first learned about Jesus through a Christian radio broadcast from Hong Kong. Years later, she got her first Bible and later committed her life to Christ.

Since 2001, Susan has been writing at night after her day job. Due to limitations on Christian publications in mainland China, her pieces have been published in Taiwan and the US, but she longs to reach readers in her homeland. "More and more Chinese are becoming believers and they need their own literature and writers," Susan told MAI.

Toward that end, MAI recently awarded Susan a grant from the David Alexander International Author Fund. The award will help enable her to complete her novel, From Death to Abundant Life, the spiritual journey of a young Chinese woman. Pray for Susan as she finishes this work.


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