May 19, 2006
I am in the middle of two weeks of intensive travel. Monday-Wednesday I was in Madison, WI to speak at a Pastors’ Summit. Today I flew to Miami for my first-ever visit to Expolit, the annual Hispanic Christian booksellers convention. I am told that upwards of 30,000 people will attend one of the Expolit events this weekend. They come from all across Latin America, the Caribbean, Spain and the United States. Thousands of young people gathered tonight for a concert by Marcos Witt, a hugely popular musician, songwriter, speaker and worship leader. Check out the list of guest artists and musicians and see how many you recognize. I have never had much exposure to the Hispanic side of Christian publishing, but I am told that it is huge and continues to grow in numbers and influence.
So how did I end up here? Last November I was contacted by Vern Peterson, the head of a publishing house called Editorial Patmos. It turns out that the company had decided to publish a Spanish edition of my book Discovering God’s Will for Your Life. That was news to me. I can’t speak for other authors, but I generally don’t know that my books are being translated into other languages until I receive a copy of the finished product in the mail. That happened just a couple of weeks ago when I got a copy of one of my books that has just been translated into Dutch. I learned about the the Spanish translation of my book when I read Vern Peterson’s note. I had never heard of Editorial Patmos or Expolit, but when he invited me to come, I immediately said yes. I finally met him tonight over supper at the hotel restaurant.
It turns out that Editorial Patmos is actually the Spanish publishing arm of the Assemblies of God. When I heard that, I told Vern that it proves God has a sense of humor since I was raised Southern Baptist and attended Dallas Seminary. He smiled and said that he liked the book and that’s why they wanted to publish it in Spanish, and besides, they don’t stress the Assemblies of God angle. Later I discovered that they also publish books by James Montgomery Boice, Eugene Peterson, Kent Hughes, Philip Graham Ryken, James Emery White, Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, and they even publish a book on church history by my friend Jeff Bingham, a professor at Dallas Seminary.
We do live in amazing times. This probably wasn’t possible 30 years ago, but I’m happy that some of the old walls that have divided us have fallen down. It’s a good thing when Christians from differing backgrounds can come together for the sake of the gospel.
I had a wonderful time and felt right at home tonight, even though I am definitely in the minority in terms of the primary language. After supper I had a chance to briefly visit the exhibit hall. Things are bright and cheerful and bustling with energy. I saw a lot of young people tonight, many more than I usually see at other Christian publishing events. I think that speaks well for the growth and future of the Hispanic wing of the evangelical movement.
Tomorrow afternoon I lead a seminar (with a translator) based on my book. Later I will give a brief message at a reception for invited guests of Editorial Patmos.
I am afraid I won’t get to see any more of Miami than I did of Madison. Outside my fifth-floor window the lights of the city spread in all directions. Maybe I can make another trip someday and do some exploring on my own.