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Words for the World

Writing is like planting a tree

- 06/01/11  

Words for the World | MAI

May/June 2011
C O N T E N T S : 
< Stories Take Root in Bulgarian Soil 
< Asia: Magazine spurs Christian publishing
< MAI: How do we spell success?
< Register Now for the MAI-Asia Publishing Forum
< LittWorld 2012: Save the dates!
< MAI in 2011

Hi, Friend! 

I still have dirt under my fingernails. Last week-end I finished planting my backyard vegetable garden. It amazes me that in a few months these tiny seeds and seedlings might grow into cucumbers, squash, tomatoes and more. 
In this issue, MAI trainers continue tilling the soil alongside local writers in Bulgaria and southeast Asia. Pray with us that one day their words bear fruit for generations.  
-Dawn Herzog Jewell, Editor

Stories Take Root in Bulgarian Soil
"Writing is like planting a tree; it bears fruit for generations," said Maria Pileva, a regular contributor to Leah magazine in Bulgaria. She and 24 other writers gleaned and sharpened storytelling skills at an MAI fiction-writing workshop hosted by Mission Possible (MP) Bulgaria, April 7 to 9.

Back in 2002, MP launched a writer club. Today editor Svetlana Karoleva helps nurture some 20 member writers at the club’s monthly meetings.
The MAI workshop’s 25 participants included club members who are newspaper journalists, book authors and magazine contributors. Several are leading writers in Leah, one of MP’s publishing projects and the only Christian women’s magazine in Bulgaria.

During two-hour daily devotions and teaching, participants were challenged by British author Marion Stroud. They learned fiction techniques from her, American author Robin Gunn, and Bulgarian pastor and author Daniel Nalbantski.

Nalbantski also invited his publisher, Rumen Papratilov of New Man Publishers. Rumen brought Daniel’s newly released book, The Prodigal Son, and explained the publishing process to participants.
"Our horizons were broadened, and our dreams rekindled," said Tania Stoyanova, who plans to write a novel about family dynamics. She has already
authored two books, one about a gypsy girl who scours the garbage for food instead of attending school. "I learned many practical things about how to build characters and write character-based stories, weaving
in the Bible message."

Journalist Ivaylo Yabulkaro writes regularly for Evangelski Vestnik, an evangelical newspaper. He plans to write a novel about a pregnant girl considering an abortion.

Many more stories are sprouting in Bulgarian soil.
Leah magazine launched a short story competition,
urging participants to complete the stories they began
by June 30. The first-prize winner will be published in the magazine, and second prize wins a week-end personal writing retreat.

"I will keep writing and let the Lord expand my borders," Maria Pileva said. 
Photo above by Nadia Ianakieva: Writers lit each other's candles in a closing ceremony that celebrated shining Christ's light. 

Asia: Magazine spurs Christian publish-
"People tell us our magazine is a healing tool in a chaotic society," said Mary*. In 2008, she launched a Christian women’s magazine in a closed country of Southeast Asia. The authorities continue to withhold legal permission to publish, although today sales reach nearly 8,000 copies per issue.

Mary and her editorial team organized MAI’s three-day writing and design workshop April 5 to 7 for 20 participants. Trainers included Bernice Lee, Kun Gim Peh and Dawn Jewell.

Tracy*, 35, recently published an article in the magazine. She has also discipled recovering drug addicts and hopes to write a book of their testimonies. "God keeps giving me ideas and opportunities to write, but I rejected them, thinking my training ministry was more important. Now I know writing is my calling too," she said.

Ken* hopes to launch an online Christian publication for youth. He dreamed of being part of a writer club. On the last day, workshop participants decided to form a writer club and create a blog.

Local Christian book publishing is in its infancy here, but Mary and her team are tackling that next, starting with a book of women’s testimonies compiled from the magazine.

*All local names changed for security. 

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MAI: How do we spell success?
"What has been MAI’s greatest
success?" someone asked me at Lion
Hudson publishers
in England. The
question made me stop and think.

MAI combats the famine of locally created Christian books and articles
in hard places of the world. Every
time a local author gets published,
that’s one measure of success.

The book, Miknia’s Doll, for example, grew from an MAI writer workshop in Cambodia. It became the publisher’s first children’s book and first by a Khmer author.

Perhaps an even greater success is when God uses a writer’s words to transform lives. An entire family
came to Christian faith through a magazine published by an MAI partner in Southeast Asia.

But at Lion Hudson, I found myself answering,"MAI’s greatest success has been forming a grassroots
international network of Christian publishers, editors and writers."
Since 1985, hundreds of men and women have benefited from MAI trainings and stay connected within our global network. Some of the "trainees" are now equipping others.

"When I was fearful, looking for the best way to serve the Lord, I was introduced to MAI and then LittWorld. This contributed to transforming my vision and equipping me to work for the Lord’s Kingdom," Joanna Ilboudo of Burkina Faso told us.
"You gave me confidence when I did not think I could do something good."

In a short time, Joanna went from launching a magazine to publishing books and developing a Christian development ministry to widows and orphans.
I thank God for MAI’s growing global network of Christian communicators. In a world of 7 billion, it will take all of us to get the Word out.

J O H N  M A U S T

Register Now for the
MAI-Asia Publishing Forum
November 7 to 11, 2011
Hong Kong, China

LittWorld 2012:
Save the dates!  
Save the dates for MAI’s unique international publishing conference, LittWorld 2012.
October 28-November 2, 2012
Nairobi, Kenya

MAI in 2011
Mongolia- September, publisher consultations

Middle East- November, second training for Arab Christian writers
Hong Kong, China- November, MAI-Asia Publishing Forum