A Writer in Wonderland

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By Ivanova Nono Fotso, Cameroon

I know a young woman who has many grown-up responsibilities: university studies, work, chores, volunteering and church. Yet unbeknownst to the rest of the world, this young woman has a secret room in her heart. In that room, she revisits the world of a five year-old girl, filled with wonder at seeing a butterfly, running after a cat, dancing in front of the mirror and enjoying cartoons. That little girl also enjoys spending time with her invisible Father, telling Him about her day, and allowing Him to soothe her heart with His unconditional love.

This is my reality as a children’s author. It’s like sharing time between my young readers and the child in me. While translating Sunday school curriculum, the truth of a lesson, “God hears our prayers,” boosts my faith. As I write my children’s book, “Don’t Be Afraid,” I myself find peace. Even in the simple act of writing memory verses for Christmas, my heart dances in the tinsel light of truth affirmed.

Some people say to me, “You write for children? It’s a good start. Keep working, you will soon be able to write for adults.” They don’t hear the little girl in me chuckling. She knows she will always be ready to dance, skip and wonder.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19:14). Writing for children can help mold in us a loving and humble heart, an eagerness to learn, and trusting dependence on our Heavenly Father—all characteristics of little ones. Writing for children also gives us a glimpse of the greatest Wonderland, the kingdom of God.

Thank you, Heavenly Father, for giving me the privilege to write for children. Help me to seek you and to keep a trusting and humble heart.

This article was published in our unique book, Light for the Writer’s Soul: 100 Devotions by global Christian writers.

Order your copy on SALE until 12/21 for only $9.99USD with FREE shipping within the USA.  Place your order now. Email: [email protected] or call 630.260.9063.  Light_Writers_Soul_MAI_2D

Ivanova Nono Fotso has written the children’s book, Même Pas Peur, short stories and articles for Jouv’Afrique and AMINA magazines, and parts of the comic collection Eclats d’Afrique. She resides in Cameroon.

Read more about Ivanova’s work in A Comic Strip That Borders Heaven.

 

Rewriting Is Rewarding

LawrenceBy Lawrence Darmani

It took me a long time to write the devotional article I had been assigned. When I submitted it, I was sure I had done my best, but my publishers pointed out several weaknesses and asked if I would rewrite it.

In my writing life, I’ve discovered several secrets about rewriting:
(1) Never think what I’ve written is without blemish or that it is so divine it cannot be improved;
(2) After every rewrite, my manuscript gets sharper, easier to read and communicates better;
(3) The process of rewriting teaches me patience, humility and consideration for the reader who deserves the best; and
(4) Every rewritten manuscript stands a better chance of getting published.

Reminding myself of these time-tested lessons, I lost no time in looking over my devotional article and making the revisions, taking into account the editor’s suggestions. When I saw the article in print, it was indeed a stronger devotional piece with a more solid message for the reader. Grateful to the editor for pointing out the weaknesses, I toughened myself for another opportunity when rewriting may become necessary.

Of course, to be asked to rewrite a manuscript is not altogether palatable. It wasn’t easy when God told Moses, “Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke” (Exodus 34:1). Chiseling out two stone tablets must have taken days to accomplish, but Moses obeyed, knowing that unless what had been written before was rewritten, he would lose the precious Word of God for himself and for the people he had been called to lead.

The “rewriting” process for Moses gave him great privileges: “the Lord came down in the cloud and stood there with him” (v. 5); the Lord passed in front of him (v. 6); he learned great attributes of God (vs. 6-9); the Lord made a new covenant with him (v. 10) and he received great divine instructions for God’s people.

If rewriting does not appeal to you, remember God himself requires that this be done. If it is tough, remember Moses chiseled out stone tablets. Not only that: God asked him to do the rewriting himself. “Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel” (Exodus 34:22).

Those who detest rewriting risk having their manuscript rejected.

Thank you, Lord, for helping me to see the relevance of having to rewrite and hone my manuscripts. Take away every form of reluctance and laziness and help me to work hard at my manuscripts in order to better them. Amen.

Meet award-winning author Lawrence Darmani and take his workshops at 141124LittWorldPosLittWorld 2015. He is an entrepreneurial publisher, author and managing editor of Step Publishers in Ghana. Lawrence is also managing editor of Step and Surprise magazines for young people.

>Improve your rewriting. Register now for our free webinar on Tuesday, July 16, “Is Less More? The discipline of self-editing” with veteran editor Alice Crider of the US.

Stumbling Block or Helper?

Dr Mary Massoud Egypt headshotBy Dr. Mary Massoud, Egypt

My friend, Basma (her usual smile matching her name), is a fun-loving person who, alas, does not know the Lord Jesus. The other day I was so engrossed in my work, that I did not see her as she crept in, and was quite startled when she exclaimed, “Always at your desk!”

“Oh Basma,” I protested, “you’ve startled me!”

“I meant to take you by surprise,” she said. “What are you writing?”

“An article about the way of salvation,” I answered.

“Which way?!” she inquired. “Aren’t there several ways, and don’t they all lead to Heaven? All roads lead to Rome, you know.”

“Yes, to Rome; but not to God. According to the Bible, the only way to God is through commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.”

“You don’t say!” she mocked. “So according to you, I’m going to hell? You must be aware that I no longer believe in your Jesus.”

“You don’t believe because you haven’t had a proper chance to know Him,” I answered.

“We studied the Bible in school,” she protested. “Religion was a compulsory subject, and I always passed with flying colors. But you haven’t answered my question,” she objected. “Do you think I’m going to hell?”

“Only God can answer this question,” I explained, as I secretly prayed for guidance. Aloud, I said, “What about reading my finished article later?”

Bible-Genesis-Freedigtal-ph“I’m tired of all that rot,” she said. “Now that I’m no longer a school girl, I can see that it doesn’t work. Look at all those hypocrites in Church…” Then abruptly she asked, “But you actually think you have the power to change an atheist like me through that article of yours?!”

To my amazement, she snatched my draft and began to read. I continued to pray for guidance, and as I prayed, I was reminded of Zechariah 4:6 (NIV): “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord Almighty.” After a while, she looked up and said, “I expected to read an account of the Gospel story, but you’ve started with the Old Testament!”

“Yes,” I explained, “and if you read on, you’ll be amazed at the innumerable and devious plots of Satan to thwart God’s plan of salvation.”

After reading some more, she returned the draft to me, saying, “Be sure to give me the finished article. Those Old Testament citations are quite intriguing!”

Thank you, dear Lord, for giving yourself to save us, and for offering your Spirit to guide us. Forgive us when we’ve been a stumbling block to others, and help us to live what we profess, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Dr Mary M.F. Massoud (Egyptian, single) is a professor in the English Department of Ain Shams University, Cairo. Her published critiques of English, Irish and American literary works are written from a Christian perspective. She has also translated theological works. Her chief hobby is writing and producing Christian plays (one, Our Father, has been translated into ten languages).

>>Read this article in our new book, Light for the Writer’s Light_Writers_Soul_MAI_2DSoul: 100 devotions by global Christian writers.
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Africa: Watch out for trained trainers

By Lekan Otufodunrin, Nigeria

Before attending the Train-the-Trainer workshop held in Nairobi, Kenya, from November 13-15, Marcelin Vounda Etoa of Editions CLE publishing house in Cameroon was planning africansto hold a workshop in partnership with the Protestant University to train pastors on writing scholarly theological papers.

Having participated in the three-day workshop organized by Media Associates International (MAI), he feels better equipped to organize the workshop.

“I found the MAI Africa workshop very inspiring. It provided me practical ideas for the planned workshop.”

DSCN5984Joan Campbell, an author from South Africa, notes that the training, led by Richard Crespo, was practical and empowering.

“It instilled the confidence in me to plan and execute a writer’s training workshop in my country.”

“The MAI Training was a real blessing. I met inspirational people from across Africa and came away not only with many new friends, but also with a deep longing to be involved in bringing about MAI’s vision,” Campbell stated.

 The training focused on How Adults Learn, Teaching Skills and Organizing Workshops. According to Crespo, the basic principles of adult learning should cover the whole person, perception, experience and community.

DSCN5964“Learning and change happen when people’s whole being is engaged in reflection and decision-making.” Crespo said.

During the very interactive sessions, Crespo shared practical ideas on how to become better custodians of their publishing skills through understanding of various learning styles, use of codes, and teaching strategies.

According to Tesfahun Hatia, Principal of Pentecostal Theological College, Ethiopia, participating in the training was like sitting in front of the mirror.

“Each of us was able to see a crystal clear image of our own experiences.”

DSCN5999For Viola Mukasa of Uganda Faith Writers group, the training was like “a bell tolling – calling us to step up our game. It was a critical first step in the right direction.”

From the training, Rose Birenge, Director of Publishing and Outreach at Biblica Africa, learned the need to appreciate the differences between how adults learn and how children learn.

“I also learnt the need to be flexible in training – make space for changes, for longer discussions…and plan on how the training will run so that my thoughts are [in] place.”

Other participants at the training were Pusonnam Yiri, Nigeria; MAI Africa Chair Wambura Kimunyu, Kenya; Nelson Clemens, Sierra Leone; Buma Kor, Cameroon; Christian Matthew, Nigeria; Lekan Otufodunrin, Nigeria; and MAI President John Maust, US.

Lekan Otufodunrin is online and special publications editor at The Nation Newspapers in Nigeria. d3_315 Lekan writingHe is a trustee of MAI-Africa and president of Journalists for Christ International Outreach.

A Writer’s Prayer

Pusonnam Yiri of Nigeria

Pusonnam Yiri

By Pusonnam Yiri of Nigeria

Lord, I thank you for creating me with potential to write. Help me to discover a problem disturbing humanity that needs to be addressed. Give me the wisdom to have the right motive and state of mind to develop the idea and structure to write. Lord, I know that I am too busy doing other things; help me to be focused, overcome distractions and have perseverance to finish writing the book.

I am aware that I cannot write the book alone. I ask for your leadership to send the right people that will help me.

Help the people that desperately need my attention for other things to understand my reason for having some time to write. When I finally finish, I plead that You will guide the right publisher to discover great values in the manuscript and publish it gladly so that our lives will be transformed as a result of reading it, in this generation and future generations for your glory. In Jesus’ name I pray.

Amen!

Do you have a prayer for your publishing work that might encourage others? Tell us.