Issue 334 – May 10, 2016
Some Really Good News
It was in the summer of 1976 when I met Don DeWelt for the first and only time. That was when we both attended the North American Christian Convention, held that year in Denver, Colorado. I had known of Don for many years, thanks to his long preaching ministry and to his extensive ministry of the printed word. He had established College Press in Jopin, Missouri as a means of publishing Christian-oriented books and other materials and was having great success in that field.
I assumed he knew of me only by my own writings. I wrote frequently for such Christian magazines as The Christian Standard, The Lookout, The Firm Foundation, and others such as Christianity Today. Plus by that time I had two published books books to my credit: The Day Jesus Died (in 1970 by Reuel Lemmons and the Firm Foundation Publishing House in Austin, Texas) and Thoughts on Unity (in 1971 by W. Carl Ketcherside and his Mission Messenger publishing label in St. Louis, Missouri).
Anyway, Don and I met as we were each walking down the sidewalk on our way to the convention center. We struck up a casual conversation. He soon explained that he needed for someone to write a book on “The Gospel of John” that would be used as a workbook for use with a larger textbook at Ozark Bible College (Joplin, MO.) and other campuses . . . and that the workbook would be suitable as a stand alone book for churches to use in Bible classes. And then he looked me in the eye and said, “Brother Stan, would you write that book?”
When I was a junior at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn., my journalism instructor warned us: “Once you get printer’s ink in your blood, you’ll never get it out.” A few weeks after he said those words my first article appeared in the Gospel Light magazine published in Delight, Arkansas. I found out my professor was absolutely correct. Since then, my first love has always been the printed word. And, in a Christian context, I have always been excited and thrilled at the idea of a book or an article of mine having a very long shelf life and access to people and places I could never personally go.
So I didn’t have to sleep on Don DeWelt’s idea or consult a lawyer. I said to him, “I’ll be glad and honored to write that book for you.” We shook hands, again, and that sealed the deal. I never saw him again. But we corresponded regularly and a few months later I turned in a manuscript over which I had labored intensively. Given the same amount of hours, I could have made more money flipping burgers at McDonalds. I was pleased with it when it came out in 1977 as a paperback titled 26 Lessons on the Gospel of John. It still reads pretty well today, some 39 years later.
Here is what that 1977 paperback (200 pages) looked like:
My little book was successful enough that College Press reprinted it in 1984 with a new cover, and here is what that looked like:
Well, Don DeWelt died in 1991. And I got involved doing other things, including writing a series of my own eBooks (now totaling 15 of them). And I gave only periodic, fleeting thought about maybe revising and reviving that book some day.
Now here comes the really good news.
That book has been out-of-print for at least 25 years. But on August 12, 2015, I received a letter from J. Philip Casey. Turns out he is the Executive Director of another organization founded by the late Don DeWelt, and that is a non-profit named Literature and Teaching Ministries located in Joplin, Missouri. He explained that Don made a trip to India many years ago and came into contact with a Dr. V. Gnanasikhamani in the city of Chennai (formerly Madras). He and his brother, Dr. V. Benni, translated many of College Press’s books into the Tamil dialect and published them in India under the “Christian Ministry of South India” brand. Dr. V. Gnanasikhamani died a few years back, but Dr. V. Bennie was continuing the work. And, . . . lo and behold . . . , he wanted my permission to translate my book into the Tamil language and to allow them to print it and distribute it all over India.
Wow, I was amazed at the prospect. I quickly accepted the proposal and then went on about my own business. In fact, I lost track of the project as I had three different surgeries and traveled a bunch and had other health issues. Then, late in April of this year, I wrote to Philip Casey to see what the status of the project was.
On Monday, May 9, 2016 a package arrived for me. It was a letter from Phil and a copy of my newest book–in a totally unintelligible language to me, but in an oh so beautiful format. It was my book, now a 238 paperback and being distributed in the huge nation of India. I thank Phil Casey and Don DeWelt’s son, Chris DeWelt, and Dr. V. Bennie and his staff in India for all the planning and work they did on this project. And I praise the Lord for uniting so many people behind the endeavor to resurrect my long-dormant book and for letting me live long enough to see this little miracle with my own eyes.
Here is what my book looks like in the Tamil language of India as it was published on Oct. 2, 2015:
I am having trouble putting into words how amazed and grateful and happy I am about how the book I wrote in 1977, 26 Lessons on the Gospel of John, was translated into the Tamil language and published on Oct. 2, 2015 in India by the folks at Christian Mission of South India.
That distribution program will go on as long as funds are available, and I hope and pray that will be a very long time. Scenes run through my mind of maybe a teenage boy in a remote village one day being led to acept the Lord Jesus Christ because someone unknown to me gave him a copy of my book. Or a situation in which a middle-aged computer engineer in New Delhi is searching for a real spiritual awakening in her life, finds a copy of my book somewhere and has her life dramatically changed beause of it. Or maybe it will inspire a generation of young people in India to openly profess their love for and devotion to the Christ who saved them. The possibilities are mind boggling.
Of course, no one knows where all those books will finally find a home. But I believe God will bless any person who wants to follow him more closely. My prayer is that my little book will simply lead the readers to a deeper study of the Bible–God’s truth and Good News for the world–and to an acceptance of salvation through the Grace of God and the redeeming sacrifice of Jesus the Christ.
This unexpected resurrection of my 1977 book has inspired me to do what I wish I had done many years ago. That is to make this commitment to our Heavenly Father and to you, my friends, that I will completely revise and update that book for English readers. Furthermore, I will seek to have it published where copies will be available around the world as both an eBook and as a print-on-demand paperback (if I cannot find a regular publisher). Following that total revision, my long-range dream would be to have it translated and published in the Spanish, Chinese and Russian languages.shed as such.
Hey, don’t tell me it can’t happen. It just did, at least in one language in India. And, praise God, that will be a precious inspiration for the rest of my life.
P.S. This story, above, certainly illustrates how God works in marvelous and totally unpredictable ways to gather people and resources together to bless other people. So I’m asking my Christian friends to please pray for my new project and for the discovery of publishers, translators and resources to accomplish it. Thank you.