Useful Apps for International Communication

By Joanne Kim, MAI InternID-100160534

With simple app downloads, it’s easy to keep in touch with anyone abroad, whether from Fiji, Peru, Kenya, Croatia, and the list goes on. These free and popular apps for international communication can help you stay connected with friends and colleagues across the globe.

Skype offers features including video, voice calls, instant messaging, and file sharing with anyone else on Skype, and paid features including calls to landlines worldwide, text messages, and group video calls with up to 10 people.

Google hangout allows live video call with up to 10 people, group conversations, sharing photos and emoji, and group video calls.

Facebook Messenger allows sharing files, photos, emoticons, instant messages, and locations to anyone connected through Facebook.

WhatsApp is a cross-platform mobile messaging app for iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Windows Phone and Nokia.

Kakaotalk is a multi-platform texting app that allows voice calls, texts, sharing photos, contact information, voice notes, animated emoticons, and your location.

Voxer allows instant voice, text, photos, and location sharing. Voxer also offers Voxer Business app for 30-day free trial and $9.95 per user/month afterwards. Voxer Business allows group chats up to 500 contacts.

BBM is an app created by Blackberry. It allows instant messages, video chat, and sharing screens.

Kik is a smartphone messenger with a built-in browser. You can browse and share websites together with a friend.

LINE allows sharing photos, videos, voice messages, contact, and locations. Line also offers other supplemental apps such as LINE Camera, LINE Card, and LINE Play to enhance your experience using the main app.

Viber allows texts, calling, photo messages and location sharing with Viber users, and it integrates with your own contact list.

Wechat offers live chat, video call, chat history backup, video call, voice chat and sharing emoticons. You could also create a QR code to invite people to the group chat.

Oovoo offers video chat and instant messaging app for desktop, mobile, tablets and Facebook. You can chat with up to 12 people.

Do you have any other favorite apps for communicating far and wide? Tell us!

<<Check out our upcoming webinar on April 15- “The Power of the Story: Getting started in writing fiction” with Jeanette Jeanette Windle HeadshotWindle, US. 8 AM Central Time. Check out our complete webinar line-up for topics that interest you.


Image above by Kromkrathog, courtesy of Freedigitalphotos

Frances Fuller: Publishing in a War Zone

Frances Fuller tells her remarkable story of leading a Christian In Borrowed houses book coverpublishing house during the Lebanese Civil War in her new book, In Borrowed Houses.  The former publisher and MAI Board member shares personal insights from that experience, and her heart for the church and Christian publishing in the post-Arab Spring Middle East, in an interview with MAI intern Joanne Kim.

Q: How has your view of publishing changed through your experience working in a war zone?
The war made me focus on human needs and see that publishing was not about building my institution but about building faith and hope, providing helps for seekers and tools for servants.

The war actually improved our marketing system.  When war broke out our only warehouse was in a war zone.  We saw that we had to decentralize and began to work with people in other countries who could stock and sell our books.  The result was expansion and efficiency.

frances fuller HiRes_4824477720121Q:  What gave you the biggest satisfaction and joy amidst the difficulties and challenges your faced during the Lebanese Civil War?
The support of the Lebanese Christian community.

After we were paralyzed by violence for a year, our international board of directors sent me on a tour of Europe and the Middle East to search for a better place for our publishing house.  I went to seven cities in five countries.  What I learned made me understand the relationship between a publishing house and its community. I came back and told my board, “I would rather be in Lebanon with shells falling.”

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Staff of Baptist Press & Frances Fuller, seated front right

And the community stood behind me. People believed in the ministry and gave time to it. They helped me make decisions, accepted training and wrote materials. They dreamed and took risks with me. Because of them and their support, I never regretted my decision to keep the publishing house in Lebanon.

Q: How would you envision the potential long-term Kingdom benefits, if there are any, of the Arab Spring, in countries like Lebanon?
I wonder. The whole Middle East is in flux, evolving. Any good result may be decades in the future. Meanwhile the church has to go on being the church.  God’s people have to want just to be God’s people, whatever happens.

It is easy to feel hopeless, but Syrians who were once an occupation army controlling Lebanon are now needy refugees in Lebanon, and Lebanese Christians have swallowed their resentment to serve them. This is God’s people growing to be more like God. It is a small light in the darkness.

Q: What would be your word of encouragement to those in Christian publishing in the Middle East or other global hot spots today?
This is your day, not an accident, not a misfortune, but the day God gave you. Hang in.

Q: How can we be praying together with you for the Middle East?
That God will preserve His church.

In all this chaos Middle Eastern Christianity is threatened. This problem needs prayer and practical support.

Baptist Publications, which Frances directed, continues today under the name Dar Manhal al Hayat, in Beirut, Lebanon. The publishing house is an active partner with MAI and Ophir Publishers of Jordan in a program to equip Arab Christian writers from across the Middle East.



Walking the Tightrope of Editing a Respected Writer

By Joanne Kim, MAI intern

Beng Alba-Jones headshotSitting across from a highly respected and older author in your office, you hesitate to begin the conversation as a younger editor. What if I offend the writer? What if the writer thinks I am being rude? Editors face multiple challenges in working with well-known writers, especially in non-Western contexts. Here, Beng Alba-Jones (right), a freelance editor and former assistant editorial manager for OMF Literature, Inc. shares her insights and experiences. Beng will be co-leading MAI’s upcoming webinar “Who? You Edit me?!” on March 19.

How might age affect the degree of respect a young editor receives from an author?
It will take a tremendous amount of faith on the part of an author to trust a young editor. A young editor needs to jump through more hoops to prove to an author that he is competent enough to help him or her churn out a great book. As for respect, a young editor needs to earn it — by showing excellent work ethics, professionalism and care for the author, among others. If you are perceived to be too young to be an expert in editing, you need to think smarter and work harder.

How would a highly admired writer or respected leader differ in his or her attitude Working Meeting by Ambrotoward a young editor?
In this case, it will be twice as hard for the beginning editor to gain the confidence of the highly admired or respected leader. He needs the kind of confidence God gave to young David who faced the giant. It will be hard, for sure, but not impossible.

Do you think editors in non-Western cultures face greater difficulty working with older writers?
While this can be a universal issue, it’s even harder for Asians because most of us, Filipinos for instance, are raised to show deference to those older than us. For instance, we have this word, “po,” which we add to the middle or the end of the sentence whenever we are talking to somebody who is significantly older. In addition, we consider it impolite to use somebody’s first name if we are younger than him or her. Maybe editors in the West have it easier where there is a more even playing field.

Did you ever encounter a writer who would not accept your editorial input because you were viewed as a young and inexperienced editor during your time at OMF Literature in the Philippines?
I have not experienced having my editorial comments rejected because of my youth and inexperience. However, there was one author who, during our first meeting, blurted when she saw 23-year-old me, “You’re just a girl.” She said it in surprise and I didn’t sense any irritation on her part. I took no offense and we just shared a good laugh over it. I worked with her on many projects and for many years until the Lord took her home almost four years ago.

Have you had any challenges in this area? Tell us.

>>Register now for our free March 19 webinar with Beng and Sabry Botros of Egypt to learn tips on working with writers who are admired and respected leaders.

Photo above by Ambro, Freedigitalphotos