The next three weeks will be a bit unusual for this blog, though you may not notice much difference.
YIB (Your Intrepid Blogger) leaves the day after Memorial Day for nearly three weeks in sub-Sahara Africa, where we’ll be teaching and training young African journalists.
If all goes well, we’ll spend a few days in Cameroon, and then fly by small plane to the Central African Republic, where we’ll be working with a group that is starting up a new African youth periodical.
Organized and under the direction of Greg Burgess, who works with GBIM and Editions Cle’ (French publisher) in France, the trip is part of an outgrowth of a group which informally calls itself TAG or “The American Table Group,” named for the restaurant in Warsaw, Indiana, where the group first convened several years ago. (see blogpost of August 1, 2006)
Comprised of individuals who have a special interest in the literature ministry in Africa, it includes Mike Taylor and Ted Rondeau of the GBIM staff, missionary appointee Jim Momeyer, ICDI founder Jim Hocking, Greg Burgess of Editions Cle’, Terry White of the Brethren Missionary Herald Co., and occasional others, including a representative from the mission agency SIM.
Part of the group’s mission is to help Dounia Marc and other Central Africans whose literature ministry, supplies and equipment were destroyed in the civil strife, get back “on track” with printing and publishing in the CAR. BMH has been contributing $500 a month for this purpose since January of this year. All BMH corporation membership contributions ($25/year or more) are going toward the Africa literature ministry this year.
In addition, we desire to help train and encourage journalists and writers not only in the CAR, but also in other countries where there is a Grace Brethren heritage, with Brazil and Argentina likely next.
In Africa, several of us will be teaching from a curriculum we have used in other countries which was developed by the Colorado Springs-based Magazine Training Institute.
Session topics include “The Christian Writer,” “Understanding How to Communicate,” “Finding and Refining Ideas,” “Gathering Information,” “Organizing Your Material,” “Article Types,” “Writing the Lead,” “Keys to Powerful Writing,” “Writing the Conclusion,” and more.
On the advice of missionaries and seasoned travelers to Africa, I have given up hope of staying in constant contact with the blog and e-mail while I’m gone. So Liz Cutler Gates, the editorial director for BMH, will be posting to the blog in my absence. She has already begun—and I’ll bet you haven’t noticed the difference! News items may be e-mailed to her at email@example.com
I expect to return June 16 and should be back in the office June 18. Obviously, your prayer support for this effort will be greatly appreciated. Our dear brothers and sisters in sub-Sahara Africa are working under the most dismal of conditions—and yet the ministry of the printed word is so powerful over time and over distance.
God, after all, chose the printed word as His way to reveal Himself to us. Join us in praying that many Africans—who can effectively communicate in their own language, own thought patterns, and in the ways God has uniquely taught them through the Scriptures—will develop into effective communicators and writers in the years ahead.
You’ll get a report when I’m back.