“I Felt Locked In…”

By Mark Carpenter, Brazilmark_carpenter

As a young teenager growing up in a small town in Brazil, I had little access to the outside world. Only two TV channels were available, and the city newspaper carried only local news. I felt locked in.

Then the son of a Japanese immigrant opened a news kiosk downtown, featuring periodicals from all over the country. I was enthralled. It became my favorite haunt, and there I began to discover news about the dictatorship in our country, the war in Vietnam, the counterculture movement, and much more. I couldn’t afford to buy more than one or two newspapers a month, but Massao, the owner, would allow me to flip through the books and magazines. I was exposed to great journalism and news about economics, politics, art and culture. And my world was never the same. These writers, photographers, designers and editors opened up new channels of understanding. From a young age I had wished to serve Christ with my life, and now I began to imagine the world and dream about my own future.

Photo courtesy Chai25182518, Freedigitalphotos.com

Photo courtesy Chai25182518, Freedigitalphotos.com

I ended up dedicating my life to expressing truth through writing and publishing. Every week at our publishing house in São Paulo we receive letters from readers who live in remote areas, or who are locked up in prison, or who feel imprisoned in difficult churches, families or marriages. As we respond to them, I remember my teenage years, and I am reminded that our own writers, photographers, designers and editors can be the channels of truth and insight that will encourage, broaden perspectives, introduce biblical reality and point the way to new solutions.

Massao opened my mind to the world. As writers, we too hold the power to unlock imagination, inspire action and provide encouragement to those who feel excluded or unimportant, or who can’t see a way out of hopelessness, or who feel trapped by the circumstances of life.

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”1 Thessalonians 5:11

Lord, thank you for the education I’ve received and for the access you’ve given me to your Word, to good books and to your wisdom as expressed by those who are close to you. As a writer, I need your help in deciding what and how to write in order to become a source of instruction, encouragement and inspiration to my readers. Give me humility and perfect my gifts. Amen.

This article by Mark Carpenter is published as “The News Kiosk”  in our book, LighLight_Writers_Soul_MAI_2Dt for the Writer’s Soul: 100 devotions by global Christian writers. Order your copy of this inspiring and unique devotional book, available in print or ebook formats.

Mark Carpenter is chairman and CEO of Mundo Cristão, one of Brazil’s largest publishers of Christian books, and an MAI board member.

 

 

The Best Kind of Good News

By John D. Maust, MAI President John 2015 headshot

What is the best good news that you have ever received?

I recently asked some friends to describe a time when they received some really good news.

Some, with great emotion, shared dramatic news:
*A scary medical test that came back negative
*A family member had survived a serious accident or catastrophe
*An unexpected financial gift in a time of hardship
*The offer of a new job

Strikingly, each case involved a hard situation that was entirely beyond the person’s power to control or change.  A happy resolution depended on someone, or something else—regardless of the person’s skills, contacts or maneuvering.  That’s what made the news so good.

We Christians know about another kind of Good News. But the phrase can become a kind of spiritual cliché. Maybe it’s time we reflect on what makes this news so good.

People try in vain to earn God’s forgiveness or approval through good works. But the Good News is that our salvation is entirely a gift through faith in Jesus Christ. What a relief. What amazing grace. What good news!

MAI is privileged to equip Christian publishers and writers who are sharing Good News around the world, often at personal risk or sacrifice.

Kornel (left) with ChinKar Tan of Singapore, LittWorld 2015. Photo by Karen Crespo.

Kornel (left) with ChinKar Tan of Singapore, LittWorld 2015. Photo by Karen Crespo.

“Publishing is not about making books and selling them, but about fulfilling a larger calling: to spread the Good News to our hopeless world with the help of the Holy Spirit,” said Hungarian publisher Kornel Herjecki.
Each book and article published as a result of MAI training has the potential to transform a reader’s life, to strengthen the Church and to influence society with Christian values.

Thank you for helping global publishers and writers share the Good News through your prayers and gifts.  And, take a moment to reflect on just how good this news really is.

Chinese Publishers Refreshed by LittWorld2015

141124LittWorldPosChina’s key Christian publishers were represented at a day-long meeting immediately following LittWorld 2015 in Singapore. Many were impacted by the challenges shared by publishers from Egypt, Lebanon and Nigeria.


“They enjoyed meeting new friends from other countries and came away so encouraged and enriched,” said MAI’s Ramon Rocha, who participated in the gathering. “I sensed LitWorld gave them a chance to know each other better and opened the way for future talks, fellowship and even possible joint projects.”

Before ending, the publishers stood huddled in a circle and took turns sharing prayer requests. They laid hands on each other to pray aloud for one person at a time.

<<Subscribe to LittWorldOnline for free resources and inspiration for writing, editing, publishing and training. You’ll also find videos of practical tips from world-class authors, editors and publishers

LittWorld2015 Inspires Participants from Fifty Nations

141124LittWorldPosSharper vision and skills were among the key takeaways of 277 talented men and women who attended our global publishing conference, LittWorld 2015, in Singapore, November 1 to 6.

gokhan-talas-center-michael-collie-by-kcrespo-low-res

Gökhan Talas (center) enjoys meeting publishers and writers from around the world, including Michael Collie (right) and Kelly Norman of Sparklit in Australia. Photo courtesy of Karen Crespo.

Gökhan: A visionary publisher
“In situations of persecution, books, magazines and other publishing ministries can reach people,” said Gökhan Talas (center in photo),  co-founder of Turkey’s first and only Christian magazine. He was inspired at LittWorld to create a simple digital version of Miras magazine to connect with more readers. Miras aims to build bridges between Turkey’s estimated 6,000 believers, their churches and denominations.

Before launching the magazine in 2012, Gökhan and his wife were planting a church until Muslim terrorists killed three of their teammates. “But we live the risk in Turkey every day,” he says. This year MAI is planning a writer workshop with Gökhan’s team. (Watch a 2-minute video of Gökhan at LittWorld)

daniela-ortiz-front-red-top-with-group-by-jeam-wong-lowres

Daniela, front left, enjoys a workshop discussion. Photo courtesy of Jeam Wong, Singapore.

Daniela: A strengthened leader
“I love encouraging young Argentines to read. When they do, they ask for more. Books can give them a new perspective on the Bible and their lives,” says Daniela Ortiz (front left). She manages Christian publisher and bookseller Certeza in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where Certeza faces increasingly difficult political and economic challenges.

At LittWorld Daniela gained strategic leadership and marketing skills. “I returned with renewed strength,” she said. (Watch a 2-minute video of Daniela at LittWorld)

Josil: A dedicated writer 
Filipino Josil Gonzales serves the persecuted church as country manager for two josil-gonzales-cropSouth Asian nations. “I have decided to embrace my calling as a Christian writer,” Josil said, inspired by best-selling author Davis Bunn’s writing track.

After LittWorld, Josil and another writer became accountability partners, to “prod us to more writing.” He even named his new laptop “MAI,” for “pointing me in the WRITE direction.”

Pray
Pray that our author and publishing friends go forward in creating excellent books and articles for readers in challenging contexts.

<<Subscribe to LittWorldOnline for free resources and inspiration for writing, editing, publishing and training. You’ll also find videos of practical tips from world-class authors, editors and publishers.

Mexico: Publisher gains new vision and strategy

January 10-11, 2013     

“I had been asking God what else I needed to do to turn the publishing house around,” said Ruth Mozo, general director of Ediciones Las Américas (ELA), a firm located among the cobblestone streets and colorful shops of Puebla, Mexico. Her prayers were answered during a two-day consulting visit in January with Ramon Rocha III, our director of publisher development.

Mozo (middle in photo), a 33-year employee of ELA, began leading the companyimg_1666 two years ago. She and her five managers met with Rocha (left in photo) to articulate a mission, a vision and dreams for ELA.

“I was impressed with the commitment and dedication of Ruth and her staff,” Ramon said, “but they all agreed they needed to up their skills and be more open to change.”

In their discussions with Ramon, the team also focused on strategies for developing local and national writers. Only 20 of the 300 titles in ELA’s catalog were written by Latin authors; however, the team has identified several Mexican writers to challenge, nurture and develop. According to Ramon, ELA has raw materials that can be maximized: three particularly enthusiastic female authors and some titles with bestseller potential, such as a series of colorful activity books for kids.

Ramon and the ELA staff also discussed marketing, distribution and finance img_1597issues, including action steps to implement immediately. ELA will concentrate on rebuilding their ties with other Latin American countries and using the resources of Letra Viva, a network of evangelical publishers in Latin America.

“My team and I have worked hard to overcome some very difficult situations,” Mozo said. “At times we have felt very discouraged, because it seems like no matter how hard we work, things don’t get any better. But during the meetings with Brother Ramon, he shared his experiences, new ideas, and, particularly, words of encouragement that truly refreshed us.”

For more information about ELA, visit www.edicioneslasamericas.com.

By Meaghan Zang, MAI intern