My Family

Ruth O'NeilIn the 25-plus years I’ve been writing, social media went from non-existent to a way of life for many. Yes, I have jumped on this bandwagon, too. At first it was all about promoting myself and selling my books, but then it became something else. Those fellow authors who are more than willing to Tweet and Retweet for me are also more than willing to pray for me, and I am more than willing to pray for them. We may never have met in person, only through the pages of books and online screens, but we are a family. We pray for each other when there is a new book launch. We pray for each other when there are difficult times in our personal lives.

I love that I have been able to connect on some level with writing friends from all over the world. It’s a wonderful feeling to know that people of all nationalities are lifting you up to the Savior. We may write different genres; we may not worship exactly the same; we may look a little different; we may sleep at different times, but there is something we all have in common that brings us together. We are all children of the King. We are brothers and sisters in Christ. We are family.

I love 2 Thessalonians 1:11. “With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith.”

First of all, we do need to pray for each other constantly. Writing is a calling for many of us. For those who have been writing for any length of time, I’m sure you have stories of one hurdle after another to jump over when trying to put out something that you knew would make a difference in many lives. Satan does not want those articles/stories to make it to publication.

Remember to pray for your writing friends today. We all go through difficult times. Even if you don’t know what’s going on in our lives specifically, God does, and He will hear your prayers.

Lord, Help me to constantly lift up before You my fellow writers who are trying to spread Your Gospel. They need You; I need You. Amen.

Ruth O’Neil has been a US freelance writer for 20-plus years. She sees everything as a writing opportunity in disguise, whether it is an interesting character, setting or situation. When she’s not writing or homeschooling her kids, Ruth spends her time quilting, reading, scrapbooking, camping and hiking with her family.

This article was an entry in our LittWorld 2015 Devotional Writing Contest.

Reaching Youth: Interview with bestselling author Ronald Molmisa

When Pastor Ronald Molmisa began ministering to university students a decadeRonald Molmisa ago, he was struck by the dearth of locally-written materials dealing with relationship issues of Filipino youth. A political scientist, he applied research and surveyed students to discern their needs. Today he is the author of the bestselling Lovestruck series (OMF Literature) on love, courtship and marriage. More than 100,000 youth have participated in his Lovestruck seminars.

What are key principles in effectively writing for and communicating with youth?
Adolescence is a period of transition—physically, intellectually, emotionally, spiritually and socially. Writing for this readership should be guided by clear understanding of these transitions.

To be relevant, you must first comprehend their identity, predilections, needs, language and culture—what they watch and listen to. You need to spend more time with them to witness first-hand what they experience. Casual talks with students are a rich source of information. Recent academic studies are also key for understanding teen realities.

Youth ask serious questions and they need wise counselors to guide them. With the breakdown of Filipino families due to the phenomenon of parents working abroad, young people are searching for answers and care. They are not satisfied with ambivalent answers that can engender more moral confusion. They need straightforward responses that are practical and attainable.

How have you incorporated biblical principles in your books without alienating a youth culture that’s inundated by extra-marital sex in the media?
LovestruckIn a marketplace of ideas, I present biblical principles in my books as “tried and tested” responses worthy of utmost consideration. The majority of Filipino youth still cling to traditional values and are receptive to Christian teachings. They can find solace in the idea that despite their weaknesses and misgivings, there is a God who can understand them and heal their emotional wounds.

As a matter of writing principle, I cannot dilute the Gospel message in my work. As Paul said, we should never be ashamed of the gospel of Christ because it is the power of God unto salvation to those who believe (Rom. 1:16). Young people deserve to know the best answer to their predicament, in addition to other social and economic interventions.

How do you keep in touch with youth culture and trends?
Cognizant of the need to be always in the loop vis-à-vis latest youth trends, I maintain a strong online presence by having a Facebook page, a Twitter account and a FB group where I interact with thousands of young “netizens.” On average, I receive at least 20 online counseling requests daily—from mundane to sombre concerns.

I also regularly interact with young people in my offline ministries—discipling local church leaders, organizing events and seminars, producing an online radio program, among others. With God’s grace, I aim to publish one to two books per year.

You need to be immersed in the culture of the younger generation. As I teach them, I also learn from them. Simply put, you cannot give what you do not have.

Register online now for our webinar with Ronald Molmisa, “Writing for the Younger Generation,” on Tuesday, March 17.