Wednesday, November 26, 2008

New Link at Right:

Here's an easy way to help EFM. Click on the GoodSearch link at the right, which will take you to their site. It's supposed to automatically choose EFM as the target charity, but you may have to start entering Evangelistic Faith Missions in the little window under "Who do you GoodSearch for?"

Enter your search words and look for stuff like you would normally do. Every person earns us about a penny for each separate search. If enough people do it, EFM can benefit well.

And EFM can receive even more if people shop through their website. Click on the GoodSearch logo, and at their website click on the GoodShop banner near the bottom of the screen. This will take you to a site where you can choose from among hundreds of stores, each of which will donate a small percentage of your purchase price to EFM.

Check the "Categories" of stores in the navigation bar at the left. Each category will give you a list of stores selling that sort of item.

I've done some of my Christmas shopping through GoodShop. EFM is ordering office supplies through one store that participates with GoodShop.

If we're searching and shopping anyway, why not benefit a good cause -- Evangelistic Faith Missions!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Indianapolis Writers' Conference

Did I think I might be a writer? After all, I write monthly for the Missionary Herald, every other month for my associational paper, The Eleventh Hour Messenger, and two or three times a year for Opening the Word, a quarterly devotional published by the Herald and Banner Press.

I went to the 8th annual Indianapolis Writers' Conference this past weekend to find out where I stood. I gulped really big and submitted a published manuscript (an article from a recent issue of the Herald) to the "Thick-Skinned Critiques" workshop session. What would a professional editor have to say about my work?

Andy Scheer, editor and writing professor with the Christian Writers Guild put a copy of the first page of my manuscript on the overhead projector so that everyone could scan it. And then he (pictured here) started in.

He put a marked copy of that same page on the overhead projector, and suddenly my eyes were filled with circles, arrows, deletions, and carats, all blotching up my page with green. Whew! Of course, as Andy told us, this is how he would edit the article, based on a set of guidelines that he had handed out earlier. But at least he had reasons for all he said.

I was able to claim the edited version after the workshop session, so I plan to re-do the article according to his standards. I'm sure it will end up being shorter and punchier. I wonder how well I'll like it.

The conference was en eye-opener in a number of ways. Perhaps the biggest: I have a long way to go to be a writer. And its corollary: All of our conservative holiness publications need to send their writers and editors (at least their editors) to workshops like this, or else have them study with something like the Writers Guild.

If we want people to read us and take us seriously, we all need to to a better job.

P.S. -- At least I didn't fare as badly as another would-be writer who submitted a manuscript. On that one, Andy deleted one or two paragraphs on the first page and more than half of the second page. Whew! Maybe there's hope for me after all!

P.P.S. -- When I did the rewrite, it reduced the word count from 898 to 614. And I'd have to admit that, even though I'd be tempted to add back one or two things for clarity, the shorter version does say what I wanted to say. I wonder what Andy would do with a second pass at the article.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Back to that Gutemala trip . . . .

Before we left Jalapa I got this picture of Kristin Duncan telling a story in the bilingual academy. She's telling the students that they don't want to be bad apples!

A couple of famous Guatemalan volcanoes as the clouds uncovered them one morning. Seen from Antigua, the old capital city of Guatemala. I can never remember which of these is which, but I think Agua (water) is the large one near the center with a sort of dip at the top, and Fuego (Fire) is the one to the left. That's a cloud behind it, by the way. These are not now active volcanoes, as far as I know.

The arch in Antigua. Note the cobblestone streets.

These little taxis are called "Tuc Tucs" (took tooks) and are at once the bane of the transportation system (there are lots of them and they crowd each other and the cars to claim space) and the blessing of many people (providing transportation where buses don't go and jobs for people who can't afford to buy and operate taxis or buses). I saw one that had a sign on the back: "When I grow up I want to be a bus."

Juan Lemus, an old friend and former student. Now with the Nazarenes, he's been told by fellow pastors and professors, "You still have an Emanuel heart." Our church in Guatemala goes by the Emanuel name.

Ronald and Anna Smith in a chapel service where I spoke during the revival services in Guatemala city.

Their granddaughter, Heidi, an MK from Mexico, played the keyboard for that service.

One afternoon I was downtown (with some others) and heard the national marimba band playing. They were in a bandshell to one side of the central park in Guatemala City. Nice music! Just PLEASE, don't tell anyone I was at a dance!!

Sadly, crime has gotten to the point where many neighborhoods have placed barriers like these at some intersections. A car BARELY fits between any two of them, so thieves, if they are present, either have to leave on foot or drive out very slowly. Of course, it also impedes the rest of the people (bad) and heavy traffic that might otherwise pass through (good).

And in other neighborhoods they've even put up gates.

The church where I preached the revival services has a nice youth choir, directed by one of the pastor's married sons.
Returning to that Guatemala trip . . . .

This is Dr. Simi, who is the star attraction for advertising a chain of pharmacies in Guatemala. I caught his act in Antigua. You'll have to wait a few seconds for the action to start. He thought I was just taking his picture and posed. Too bad you can't hear the music!