C O N T E N T S :
< Mongolian Writers Strengthen Nation's Young Church
< Sri Lanka Workshops Draw "Creamy Layers of Christendom"
< Winning Story: Rampage to Reconciliation
< African Stories Yet To Be Told
< Help Create Life-changing Literature for Africa
< LittWorld 2009
From deserts, to mountains, and island shores, MAI is helping Christian writers ramp up their skills to help strengthen the Church. In places like Mongolia and Sri Lanka, read how they're discovering the joy of fellowship and forming writing groups for mutual encouragement. And, enjoy an excerpt from a winning entry in the LittWorld writing competition by an Indonesian missionary.
Dawn Herzog Jewell, Editor
Mongolian Writers Strengthen Nation's Young Church
Barely 20 years old, the Church in Mongolia is booming. Since 1990 the Christian population has spiraled from a handful to about 20,000. In a church this young, locally authored books and articles are essential to deepen its roots.
Timothy Byambatogtokh, manager of a local Christian radio station, told MAI, “There are very few writers and publishers in Mongolia—almost none.” Most of the Christian books are Western translations, which don’t address the nation’s largely agricultural, post-Communist society.
Timothy, along with the Mongolian Evangelical Association, hosted MAI’s first training there in June. Trainers Luis Gatmaitan and Ramon Rocha III of the Philippines led tracks in writing and publishing for a total of 23 men and women.
Workshop participants wrote feature articles about such issues as the problem of complacent citizens in a new democracy, benefits and threats of globalization, women in leadership, and preserving traditional ‘ger’ houses.
Writing for children, a specialty of trainer and children’s author Gatmaitan, resonated with many. “They saw the crucial need of shaping the bendable hearts and minds of Mongolian children to help build a healthy Church in the future,” wrote Rocha, chair of MAI-Asia.
A country of deserts and mountains landlocked between China and Russia, Mongolia has battled economic difficulties since Soviet support ended in 1990. In the last two decades, family life has deteriorated while alcoholism, promiscuity and the numbers of street children have increased.
Many writers left the workshop eager to tackle new projects to benefit Church and society. Three radio broadcasters from the group hoped to compile a book on parenting and youth issues. Gatmaitan encouraged pastors to publish their sermons.
During the workshop, participants formed the Mongolian Christian Writer Fellowship, aiming to meet quarterly for mutual encouragement.
The June workshop marked the first in a three-year training program as MAI assists local leaders exploring the possibility of launching a new Christian publishing house in Mongolia.
—MAI intern Christine Kindberg
Sri Lanka Workshop Draws "Creamy Layers of Christendom"
“Almost all were from the creamy layers of Christendom in Sri Lanka,” said MAI trainer George Koshy, describing participants at MAI’s May writing and translation workshops. More than 65 Christian leaders and writers participated in workshops led respectively by Babu Verghese and George Koshy of India, and Jophen Baui of the Philippines.
The National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka and Lanka Bible College hosted these workshops in the cities of Colombo and Kandy.
Outcomes include a new periodical called Ink-spiration and the formation of the Sri Lankan Christian Writer Forum.
Winning Story: Rampage to Reconciliation
Excerpted from the complete article by Ria Zebua, translated from Indonesian by Leatha Humes
At the Upper Langilan Ministry Center that morning, Annabelle was giving a Bible lesson to 63 women. I was in my house with the team, trying to hear Annabelle while we practiced a drama for a devotional. Hearing Annabelle’s voice no more, I wondered what had happened, so I went outside.
“I’ll kill you!” A man was yelling as if possessed. “Doming, Bernard! All you missionaries! I’ll kill you all!” His voice boomed with ear-splitting volume.
I went to the classroom. Annabelle and all the women were huddled together facing the left.
Tarar-r-a-a-a-k! Ta-ak! Kra-a-a-a-k! George Subla, bare-chested and wielding a short sword, was slashing my bamboo fence and stomping it down!
“I’ll kill you!” he screamed, pointing his sword at me.
“Rampage to Reconcilation” by Ria Zebua of Indonesia won first-place in the English division of MAI’s LittWorld writing competition. Read the rest of her story and other winning articles online.
MAI thanks Moody Publishers for helping sponsor the 2009 writing competition.
African Stories Yet To Be Told
Five times men went to Simon’s house in Congo to kill him. Each time the Baptist pastor and publisher evaded them. Finally he took temporary refuge in the U.S, leaving behind his wife and children, congregation and Christian youth magazine.
During a recent visit to MAI, Simon (not his real name) told me he’d become a target because of his willingness to testify in court against corrupt police.
They had allegedly murdered his brother, a doctor highly respected for his good works.
As he waits to return home, Simon is writing a book about God and suffering—a kind of Philip Yancey Where Is God When It Hurts? from a distinctly African context.
He’ll also pen more tracts like his popular “Cain, Where Is Your Brother?” a look at jealousy and violence from a biblical perspective. A rebel soldier once called him from the battlefield, asking Simon for more leaflets like that one.
At the coming LittWorld conference in Kenya, African leaders like Simon will receive training and encouragement. Roughly half of the 180 international publishers, editors andwriters will be African.
Some of the world’s most compelling dramas are unfolding in Africa: the chaos of Congo, mind-boggling corruption in Zimbabwe, and political meltdown in Somalia, to name a few. Yet, the continent also holds great promise, potential and opportunities.
The Church in Africa increases annually by 2.4 percent, faster than anywhere else. More African-authored books and articles are needed to help the Church mature and engage with society. Stories of light and life, like Simon’s, are waiting to be published for the blessing of African readers and the worldwide Christian community.
“God has revealed to me great things about suffering and pain,” Simon said. “Most of the time we focus our attention so much on the suffering that we forget how God delivers. I’m drawing lessons from my life experience, and by God’s grace my book will help someone else.”
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