I sighed. It was 1975. I was working for Logos Publishing, and here was another request for permission to publish one of our books in a foreign language—this time Swahili. It was a good book, the story of an American Air Force colonel whose journey led him to Christ. But was it the best book for people in Africa? Surely they have their own stories, I thought. Why aren’t they publishing those testimonies?
It would be years before I would discover the answer to that question. First came a life-changing two-week missions trip to Colombia where I sensed an urging from God to go to countries where he had called people to publish their own stories for their own people in their own languages. My job would be to provide training and resources to Christians with a vision to publish, but without the necessary experience and education.
I had worked in magazine, newspaper, and book publishing and I had taught journalism in a small college. But, I had never organized a conference in the U.S., not to mention in a foreign country. In fact, I hadn’t been in a foreign country in a decade. How on earth could I even begin to respond to that calling?
I don’t remember when I first heard the statement credited to nineteenth century missionary William Carey: “Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God.”
However, I do remember being both inspired and puzzled. What “great thing” could I expect from God? What I didn’t realize at first is that a “great thing” is simply something greater than I could achieve by relying on my own limited resources. That meant I had plenty of “great things” for which to believe God.
In the last 33 years since I started the ministry that evolved into Magazine Training International I have frequently slammed up against obstacles greater than my own resources. In the process I discovered that when God calls, he also provides.
I see this in our experience as a ministry when we must announce the date for an international conference a year or more before the funding and other resources are in place. And yet time after time God supplies the instructors and funding needed at exactly the time they are needed.
I’ve seen the principle at work in the lives and ministries of Christians in countries from Australia to Zambia as against enormous odds they dare to launch a magazine in response to the call of God.
I’ve seen Romanian Christians publishing Romanian stories for Romanian readers; Koreans publishing Korean stories for Koreans; publishers throughout the world publishing the stories of their own people for their own people. And at last, I’ve had the privilege of seeing Africans publishing the stories of Africans in Swahili and other African languages. Yes, it is as I supposed. They do indeed have their own stories. Today, more and more African leaders are gaining a vision for the power of those stories. They are launching magazines and publishing books. Like missionary William Carey, they have learned to expect great things from God and to attempt great things for God.
by Sharon Mumper, Magazine Training International