I have done much to hone the teaching gift the Lord has given me. I went into the National Institute of Education and had homiletical training in seminary, attended seminars on preaching, and read and practised what I gleaned from scores of books on preaching. Most importantly I preached and taught hundreds of times.
When it came to writing, it was different. I never quite saw it as a gift I had to responsibly develop. I was not aware of the call. When I became aware of the call recently, I jumped to attend this workshop my colleague alerted me to. “The beginner writer and all who feel a call to write but have no idea as to where to start should attend this workshop.” This was the inaugural Armour Publishing Writers Workshop’s plug in the advertisement. The theme was: “Christian Writing: Hearing the Call and Honing Your Craft”. It was three days of instructing, actual writing, and sharing among participants under the eye of John Maust, President of Media Associates International. I was surprised that over 30 apiring writers showed up. Like most of them, this was my first experience. I felt inspired and empowered. I learned what it meant to be serious about your call to write. I picked up ideas and skills of writing well. I learned how to write a personal experience article, a devotional article and even a book. I saw possibilities as John and Christina Lim the facilitator demystified the path to being a published author. One thing I deduced and was confirmed was that most writers of Christian books here do not get much in royalties. Still I was challenged by the personal anecdotes and stories of ordinary writers who persevered and the impact they have had on others. It was also wonderful to network with other aspiring Christian writers as this is a lonely path and having fellow-travellers to share with is a burden halved. Furthermore, I enjoyed the company of Raphael Samuel, friend and fellow blogger, Bolivian Beat. Here is a pic of the whole group.
I have written out of necessity to pass my theological exams and in the course of pastoral work. I have also steadily kept journals since I was in National Service, after I became a Christian. These were mainly my devotional jottings, prayers, feelings, and sermon ideas. However in recent years, I have experienced an unrelenting consuming desire to express myself through blogging. I now recognize it as a call to write, though at that time I merely viewed it as an act of faith and obedience to God’s prompting to enter blogosphere.
I wished I had started writing more seriously when I was younger but God knew better. I needed to live and serve and reflect. I needed to fumble and experience and grow. Furthermore, the writing passion in me could only be released and expressed through Web 2.0, a platform that is just five years old, and that makes publishing online so easily accessible to computer illiterates like me. So it wasn’t too late, but actually in good time, in His time.
Moses was a senior citizen when the Lord told him, “Write down these words…..”(Exodus 34:27). It was not in the most ideal of times when the call to write came to Moses. He was under great stress. He was pastoring about two million grumbling Israelites in the desert. He had no time to spare. He was eighty years old.
My heart leapt when I saw that John of Patmos received the call to write at the tail end of a ripe old age. While he was in enforced silence and solitude in the island of Patmos, the Lord appeared to him and said, “Write on a scroll what you have seen…” (Revelations 1:11).
Its not too late to write. And write I will.
His name was Peter Loke and I forgot his name. He greeted me by name as we stood in the Suntec covention hall elevator together with the guest workshop speaker on a wheel-chair. I was impressed he remembered my name, and I felt I had mattered to him. I was embarassed and perturbed that I knew his name but my mental secretary could not retrieve the folder with his name in it. Granted he was an acquaintance I got to know in merely a few meetings a decade ago when he explained to me some of the Eagles ministry programs. He was gentle, friendly, warm and clear in communication. I liked him and wondered why this nice guy wasn’t married then. I remembered having pulled his leg about this until one day he happily informed me he had tied the knot, and I went, Praise the Lord, that’s wonderful! So I kicked myself for not remembering his name and later during the leadership conference when I found out his name I was looking for an opportunity to say, Hey Peter Loke, so that he knows he is somebody to me, but it was not to be. Now its really too late. This morning I saw three obituaries for Peter Loke and my heart dropped like a breakfast plate. Lord, he’s just about my age. Another one just after Anthony Yeo is one too much. I wish I had remembered his name. I wish I had time to say, Hey Peter Loke! I wish I had coffee with him. Now he has gone home.