The Burmese Challenge

BY hgoody | 13 December 2011 |

by Colin Macpherson, Langham Literature

From Langham Literature News

How do you begin to meet the Christian literature needs in one of the world’s most restricted countries?  Imagine trying to publish and sell Christian books in a context where telephones are rare, the Internet is restricted, email is too expensive for the average person, and travel from one town to another is only possible with advance permission.  It is a publisher’s nightmare.  Everything has been designed to frustrate communication. But it is a country where there are more than 4 million Christians, more than 150 Bible colleges, most with minimal libraries, and where believers are amazingly dedicated to the work of God’s kingdom.

Change

There is an air of optimism amongst Christians in Yangon.  They say we are standing at the beginning of a very different future.  The new government has made or permitted significant changes in the last few months, many of which would be very difficult to reverse.   New freedoms of travel and communication will undoubtedly transform Christian publishing.

Opportunities

From Langham Literature News

Publishing rests on everyone knowing your products and having access to them.  To date, marketing has been virtually impossible.  It is small wonder that believers in Myanmar tend to get on with their own small corners without knowing what anyone else is doing – 135 ethnic groups, using 116 languages, in 90 odd denominations doing their own thing in effective isolation.  But all that seems to be changing, and if it is, the opportunities for publishing are tremendous.  Rapidly you have freedom of travel, internet cafes springing up all over the place, email communication growing exponentially and mobile phones mushrooming.  The landscape is changing and suddenly the Christian publisher has an enormous task ahead to reach a vital audience.  Langham Literature plans to respond to the Burmese challenge with a program of support for 2 publishers, a number of authors, and focused provision of literature for pastors and seminaries.  The pictures show one of the Bible colleges we visited, and its pathetic library.  Later, we asked the author of a title on Basic Christine Doctrine what he used for his sources.  He smiled and said “I do have nearly all John Stott’s books, and his picture on my wall.  I want to write like him!” And Langham Literature would love to help him.