He was the speaker, I was the writer. The trick was getting his speaking onto paper. This was one of my objectives in my first novels — putting into story what was happening on a daily basis with the man I married.
Then our boss brought it to a whole new level.
During a conference in Kenya, he asked us to write a book that would share with future generations, my husband’s love for Muslims, his knowledge of Islam and the Qur’an, and his gift for sharing the gospel of Christ. The idea was born for A Christian Guide to the Qur’an: Building Bridges in Muslim Evangelism.
Having the idea is one thing, fleshing it out was another.
We knew from the beginning that this was going to have to be a joint effort. He was a busy evangelist and teacher, constantly on the go. I was a busy mother of two active boys. How would we find the time?
We stole it — as we could for the next three years.
Remember, Raouf was the speaker, so how would we write this book? I’d sit at the computer, he would hold the Qur’an and page by page, sura by sura, he’d go through it, speaking out his thoughts on the verses that the Lord drew his way. He shared their significance and how to use them to build a bridge in future conversations with Muslims.
Once finished with this initial stage, I went back and worked in biblical passages and formed the paragraphs into something that would make sense to the average western reader. I added references and indexes. It was hard work.
Someone in our organization had a connection with a publisher, and from that connection came the proposal, which they accepted. We met a need for the market. Nothing had been written like this before, going chapter by chapter through the Qur’an and providing ways to share Christ. It was new and different.
While Raouf’s part of the writing process was basically done, mine was not, as I spent another year in the editing process. Emails went back and forth between our editor, proofs were read and re-read.
Publishing your work is not for the faint-of-heart, as you will face criticism and rewrites galore. For me, this is the hardest part of writing — rewriting. I liked it the way it was the first time, when I had all my inspiration behind me. Now I just have circles under my eyes and caffeine to keep me going.
Yet, the process does eventually end, and like childbirth, you somehow forget the pain when you hold that first book in your hand. Unfortunately, unlike childbirth, the pain lasts a lot longer!
This book was published in 2009. Now ten years old, which is considered old in the publishing world, I’m happy to say it is still used in seminaries and Bible colleges, as the material remains relevant in missions and evangelism.
So, find your niche and persevere, but remember — no pain, no gain. To God be the glory.
Grace and Peace