“Tell us about LittWorld!”
Maybe because I posted photos of glorious Budapest….
or of my new bestie, Philip Yancey…
or possibly because the Christian publishing conference took place so close to the Ukrainian border…
For whatever reason, many people knew I was attending LittWorld in Hungary at the end of April, and the majority have been asking me how it went, what I learned and what the highlights were for me.
Initially, when the adrenalin was still pumping through my veins, I spoke animatedly of the incredible speakers (!) and that I managed to present a workshop without getting stage fright (!) and that I got to meet the publisher who is soon releasing my book Encounters in France (!). I scribbled furiously in my journal, trying to capture every encounter I had, workshop I attended, inspirational quote I heard and connection I needed to follow up on.
Gradually I came down to earth (both literally and figuratively). Real life raised its head and demanded attention (usually with a bored bark, as when our puppy Azizi chewed through my journal containing the precious above-mentioned scribbles). The shining light of LittWorld—being with a diverse group of Christians who all love books and writing as much as I do—began to grow a little dimmer…a little more distant.
But here’s something I know to be true. LittWorld is not just another conference. It is a prayer-saturated, God-honouring, Holy-Spirit-infused event. People come from far and wide not to receive, but to give something. To encourage and mentor and discover their part, as Christian communicators, in spreading his love into the world.
So even as the memory of LittWorld grows a little dimmer, God has used the conference to spark new relationships, insights and ideas to life in me, and I’m not the only one! 165 delegates took their own small LittWorld flames with them into fifty nations.
What, you may well ask, are those insights and ideas for me?
As I’ve processed over these last two weeks, here are a couple of my ‘sparks of LittWorld’:
The Goodness of God
One of the first songs we sang at LittWorld was The Goodness of God. This became the anthem of the conference for me. I’ve listened to it over and over on iTunes and still it brings me to tears. Last week I wrote a list (partially destroyed by our beloved pup) of all that I was grateful for in the conference. Old and new friends. People who spoke into my life. The kindness and generosity displayed. The laughter, connection, prayers, support. To each item, I said, ‘Thank you, Lord – you are so, so good.’
The Beauty of the Church
Churches and Christians have been fighting lately, pulling apart on so many issues. Yet for one glorious week, I was reminded of just how beautiful the Body of Christ is when every person brings their small part to the table. Their skills and knowledge, their creativity, their laughter, their kindness…themselves. Even as I mourned slightly that LittWorld was over, God reminded me that this is what we are to be for each other in our own communities.
The Power of Story
Sometimes being a storyteller feels a little, dare I say…superfluous. LittWorld reminded me that stories touch hearts in ways that few things can. As I listened to one of our Ukrainian brothers speak about his and his church’s experience in the war, I was struck anew by the value of story, and as I listened to Barine Kirimi talk about giving a ‘Voice to the Voiceless’ I sensed the invitation to be a catalyst in bringing other people’s stories to the world.
The Value of Partnership
The theme of LittWorld 2022 was Stronger Together: Publishing Hope Beyond Crisis. As I’ve been reflecting on all the ideas and connections emerging from the conference, I’ve realised I can’t follow through on them alone. Many of the ideas for training or producing books will require teamwork. Here’s a confession: I like the control of working alone, not to mention the accolades. But God gently reminds me that this is not about me, but rather about bringing his hope and light into the world.
So if you ask, ‘Tell us about LittWorld‘, the short answer is that it was incredible and I’m grateful to God that I got to go. The long answer is, let’s see what God will bring out of this conference in the next year or two or three. I believe there will be new books and magazines, new publishing houses, new blogs and podcasts, new training partnerships, and maybe even a film or two. I believe it because I was there when 165 people left Hotel Azur with small sparks of ideas, encouragement, connections and motivation. Each of them carries a little bit of LittWorld’s light into their own circles, churches, cities, countries and continents.
Thank you, team MAI, and everybody involved in making LittWorld 2022 so beautiful.
For a little taste of LittWorld (and my weekend in Budapest) watch my Highlights Video.