Distinguished Trainer Award

MAI President John Maust presented the "Distinguished Trainer Award" to author and publisher Lawrence Darmani of Ghana, MAI's Africa regional trainer, at Littworld 2012 in Nairobi, Kenya, on November 1. 

Before 190-plus Christians publishing professionals from 50 nations, John read aloud a commemorative plaque, "For three decades, you have poured passion and energy into training Christian writers in Africa and beyond. Your work has inspired  hundreds of writers to create articles and books that impact readers for Christ. In recognition, Media Associates International is proud to present you with this Distinguished Trainer Award."

John then quoted Lawrence's written response to this question: "How and for what do you pray as you prepare to lead training?"

"Facing every training session, whether locally or abroad, I'm always aware of that weight of responsibility. I feel like the sower in the Lord Jesus' parable going out to sow the seed.  Will some fall by the roadside and be forgotten?  Will some fall among rocky grounds so that despite the principles of writing imparted, understanding fails and the seed does not germinate? 

"What about the many cares and concerns that plague writers?  Things such as, making time to write in the midst of busyness, writing and not finding an editor or publisher, rejection slips, and financial challenges. How will I communicate my thoughts in such a way that the writers will be properly equipped?  So I pray a lot for the participants and their writing life. 

"Then, I pray over the materials I'm preparing. Even accent (in the case of traveling abroad) can be a barrier to effective communication, so I ask the Lord for the grace to be effective in my communication
I'm aware of going to meet people I've never met before, so I pray to be humble enough to listen and befriend participants, to respect and appreciate those who spent time and energy and other resources to come to the workshop. 

"What you don't want to do is enter into an argument with a participant over a disagreeable statement or differences in opinion, and humility is one antidote to such a dismal situation. Moreover, some of the participants may be highly knowledgeable and much experienced.  At a South Africa writing workshop in Pietermaritzburg, a couple of the participants were college professors, and one of them had written many books! I try to remember always that as a trainer, I'm only a facilitator, never a Mr. Know-All.

"Then I pray for safety and protection. One time, a co-trainer and I on a West-African training assignment narrowly missed a coup d'état and riots that erupted and threw the whole country into chaos. Every time I enter a country, I pray for that country's well-being and progress.

"I dedicate every writer training session to the Lord. It is His ministry, and we are only servants. One may sow and another may water, but God gives the growth."

<<Download the complete written interview with Lawrence Darmani, "The Call to Train Writers."

Photos above by Eric Gitonga