Back in the spring, as we planned for our family's Taiwan trip, I also planned to teach some English there. A friend and some room mothers arranged a writing and vocabulary class for me at the school where I used to teach. About 10 days before we were to leave, I tried to order the books. I could order the vocabulary books fine, but the writing book I wanted to use was out of stock!
This was about midnight on a Saturday, and I was mad at myself: "Why do I procrastinate? Why did I put this off till so late?"
I went to bed, racking my brains: "What to do? Order another book? If so, which one?" I thought and thought, and then, about 1:00 in the morning, a revelation came to me, which I believe was from God: "Write the book yourself."
"OK," I thought. "I've wanted to write a book for some time now, and I do have some materials to draw on." I said a short prayer and fell into a peaceful sleep.
So, a few days later I dug around and found some worksheets and materials I had created or taught with before, and set to work.
I went to the basement, closed the door, and asked the kids to give me some space. I also began with prayer, committing the whole endeavor to God. I worked over two days, and came up with about 29 pages...quite a surprise! The cover page has a Bible verse from John 1:1, "In the beginning was the Word," and at the end of the book I wrote "Sola Deo gloria," which in Latin means "May all the Glory go to God." (The composer Bach, a devout Christian, wrote this on all his music. I'm no Bach, but I did want to commit the book to God and His kingdom.)
Well, I printed off the book at Kinko's in Roanoke, took two backup files along, and off to Taiwan we went! A copy shop there on the Kuang Fu Road made 20 copies, bound, with plastic covers, and they looked sharp!
On the first day of class, I gave the books out, and we went to work.
Ah, but on Day 2, the big surprise!
The room mother who had helped arrange the class happenes to be married to a professor of English and Linguistics at National Taipei University, and after class she gave me the good news.
"My husband likes your book a lot and think it has the potential to be made into a full book. Would you like to talk to him about it?"
"Absolutely!" I responded.
In sum, the professor, Dr. Liao, and I spoke, and next thing you know, we met with the publisher, Mr. Huang, at a coffee shop in Chu-bei, and then, on our last day in Taiwan, Mr. Huang and Dr. and Mrs. Liao came to the cottage where we were staying, and we signed a six-year contract! Dr. Liao will translate the book so it will be bilingual, Mandarin and English, and, with God's help, we hope to have it published and distributed, next summer, in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia!
This story is not about me, it is all about the LORD, who put this all together! When we left for Taiwan in July, we had no idea that, five weeks later, I would be signing a contract to have my work translated and distributed in East Asia! But we serve a God who LOVES to give us these surprises!
This brings us to the Parable of the Talents, in Matthew 25. Use what God has given you! Use it, and the Lord will give you more! You see, dear reader, what if, when I did not get that first writing book, I decided, "Oh well, I can just get anything online, or at Barnes and Noble. I can just wing it."
Or, "writing a book is too much work. I'll just xerox some worksheets, to get by."
Or, "I've worked for two days, and all I have is 29 pages. That's not much! I can't take this to Taiwan."
If I had done any of these, the book could never be published.
So, use what God has given you, even if it seems small to you. Commit it to God and His glory, and stand back and see what happens!