Tuesday, July 28, 2009

20 Years of Writing Ministry

Last Sunday, I was carefully listening to the Adult Sunday school teacher as she shared about John Maxwell’s Law of Process when I was prompted to recall the year I started writing professionally. It was 1989 when I became one of the original staff of Aglow Christian Magazine, the first Christian lifestyle magazine in the Philippines sold in secular newsstands. Quickly, I calculated that it’s been 20 years ago, and that means this year is my 20th anniversary as a Christian writer.

A colleague was wowed when I told her about this realization. I was also caught by surprise. Until last Sunday, I wasn’t counting the years; I was just writing and writing, following God’s leading. Others may be amazed at such staying power, but others in the know are probably wondering how I’ve survived. Writers, like artists, don’t get rich (unless they’re a Stephen King or a local history textbook writer whose textbooks have been used for decades in most public and private schools in the country).

But I’d like to believe that God is using me to leave behind a “rich” legacy to my present and future readers. A college friend told me that to leave a legacy you have to plant a tree, bear children, and write a book. I am grateful that God has opened the doors for me and enabled me to write a short fiction book (on the theme of finding and receiving love through forgiveness); a Bible-based Values textbook for Grade 3 published by Glad Tidings Publishing (http://www.gtpicomm.com/) used in several private schools for the past 10 years; and another Bible-based Values curriculum for Voice Philippines (http://www.voice-phils.com/) which uses the material in partnership with churches in 115 public schools. The opportunity to shape young minds is an awesome privilege and a serious responsibility. I give all the glory to God for using me as His instrument to write all these and many other devotionals, articles, radio scripts, and translations.

But on the other side of the writer’s legacy is the writer’s process. God led me through many difficult, challenging phases of writing. From a staff writer, I moved on to freelance for both Christian and secular market, for both local and a few international publications. In my earlier days, I would write for free or for a measly honorarium. I would write and rewrite articles. I would imaginatively and diligently craft book proposals that would later be rejected and cause me to doubt my worth as a writer. I’ve battled with pride (especially when a peer was praised and my byline was erased) and impatience (often with the release of a payment). I’ve drunk cups of coffee and stayed up until dawn to beat deadlines. I’ve cried too many times asking for more rewarding projects and prayed almost all the time for wisdom and strength to write every assignment.

Yet, I continue. The words of God have been my comfort, hope, and direction. The God who called me to the ministry of writing reminds me of my calling. As the writer of 1 John says, “We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete” (1 John 1:3-4).

Through my writings, I want others to know more about God and His grace through Jesus Christ. I want to encourage them to keep trusting God in their daily lives. I am still in the process of becoming a writer useful to God. So I keep on learning. I scavenge for books on writing from book sales; I browse websites on writing; I network with other writers; I attend seminars and workshops on writing and publishing; and yes, I am still hoping I could attend this year’s LittWorld, a Christian publishing conference to be held in Nairobi, Kenya from November 1-6.
Writers or not, we all are called to serve God in the ministry He has entrusted to us. May we all cooperate with God’s process and become a powerful tool in the hands of a mighty God. And at the end of each day and that final day, may we all say, it’s been a pleasure serving you, Lord.

1 comment:

menchie said...

Glory to God for being a blessing of your life through your writings and testimonies. May you continue serving the Lord by the gift that He entrusted to you...
God bless ate yah!