eNews and prayer update July 2017
From very nervous to very excited…
as evangelicals prepare to contribute to the long history of written literature in Ethiopia
Langham Literature recently held a writers’ workshop at Debre Zeit outside Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. It was organized by Frew Tamrat (Langham Preaching Country Coordinator) and led by Isobel Stevenson (Senior Editor of Langham Literature). The eleven participants represented seven theological institutions. As each participant knew only a few of the others at the start of the workshop, it also became a valuable networking opportunity. Isobel explains:
As always, I adopted an interactive approach, in which I was the facilitator rather than the instructor… I began by asking the participants to introduce themselves – through writing short author biographies for the covers of the books they proposed to write…
Straightaway they were discussing the importance of their qualifications – both academic and personal – for writing on particular topics, and the importance of communicating this information to prospective readers.
In the following sessions, I continued to stress the importance of writing for particular groups rather than for a vague ‘general readership’…
They were encouraged to focus on an individual they know well who would fit in their target group, and to write and modify their writing by reading it to that person, or by imagining how that person would respond to it.
I also encouraged them to write as Ethiopians, rather than solely as members of a community of scholars…
The next day, Isobel asked the participants for Ethiopian proverbs and stories that could be used to illustrate issues of learning and leadership, two clear themes that had emerged in their writing.
It seems that this is something that needs to be done repeatedly for it to take root…
Ethiopia has a long history of Christian written literature – the beautifully illustrated manuscripts in the Ethiopian Orthodox monasteries bear witness to this. But there are not many evangelical books and little by local writers.
A reform movement that is slowly developing in the Orthodox Church means readers today may be more prepared to consider perspectives that differ from their own. Local evangelical Christians, surrounded by the Orthodox, hunger for books to help them understand their own faith. And believers in animist regions of Ethiopia need literature that relates to their circumstances.
Participants requested particular training on how to write biographies. There are many stories in Ethiopia that are being lost as those who survived the persecution during the Communist era are now aging and dying. They also expressed a deep desire for a workbook they could use as they attempted to pass on what they had learnt at the seminar to their colleagues and students…
By the end of the workshop, Isobel felt confident that several good books would come out of it. A very promising philosophical work should appear as a Langham Monograph; three others are dealing with different aspects of the educational experience of students at Ethiopian seminaries; one participant is writing on ethics and leadership, rooted in complex examples drawn from Ethiopian life.
Most of the participants were very nervous when they came to the workshop, and very excited when they left…
All were eager to attend another workshop and to share what they had learnt with others.
Is God’s time ripe for the evangelical church to start contributing to the long history of written literature in Ethiopia? (The Amharic translation of the Africa Bible Commentary is due in 2018.)
Join us in prayer
UPCOMING LANGHAM PREACHING EVENTS
Where countries are considered sensitive re: security, the region is mentioned rather than the country.
- July 16-22 Ghana (all Africa consultation)
- July 23-29 Sri Lanka, Mexico
- July 30-Aug 5 Benin, Trinidad and Tobago, Zimbabwe
- August 6-12 Zambia (3)
- August 13-19 Zambia
Thank you for your prayers!
- Stephen Williams has just visited Vanuatu, where a number of different training events have been held; pray for Ann and Toara Karie and Joel and Tiffany Atwood as they continue with the work there. Pray for Tukana Nakesu and Andy Shudall as they prepare for the first Preaching training to be held in Fiji in 2018.
- Pray for those working on the Amharic translation of the African Bible Commentary.
- Please pray for Ethiopian Scholar Anwar Berhe, studying at Melbourne School of Theology and also for Egyptian Scholar George Bishai, recently accepted as a Langham Scholar, who is studying at Moore College in Sydney.
Langham Australia CEO Gillean Smiley writes…
How exciting it is to see more and more high quality indigenous Christian literature being produced and disseminated around the world. We are very excited to see this literature going straight to those who can use it best, as we ensure each participant in a Langham Preaching program receives two resources to help in their ministry. This financial year we are also seeking to provide a Graduate Book Pack to the graduating class of our partner theological colleges (currently around 500 colleges), so they begin their ministry with a selection of essential resources. As each resource is now being produced in electronic format as well as hard copy, more people than ever before have access to good, evangelical material to assist them to understand and in turn teach and preach the Word of God. Please pray with us that this investment sees a great return in people coming to a deeper understanding of the Bible and a corresponding growth in their faith.
Thank you for your prayers and support.