Welcome back to another season of InSights & OutBursts with true-story-based blog posts that may give you a good laugh, or cause you to think, or stir you to constructive action.
A Story-Filled Summer.
I hope your summer was as good as mine was. My wife Josephine and I joined our families for a riverside/ocean beach camping vacation in Oregon during August. God was so good to us. We so much enjoyed the campfire evenings with the stories of what God had been doing in the life of each family member. We especially loved the ministry report stories from Ecuador, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Cambodia, the Ukraine and Orlando, FL from four of our granddaughters.
A Flashback to 1951.
In July I focused on writing sixteen years of memories—from our family’s arrival in Canada in 1950, to my little family’s departure for Brazil in 1966. I wrote about how shy I was as a teenaged immigrant, about being laughed at and bullied in school. I didn’t do well in math but excelled in reading. I learned English rapidly and went through library books the way a fire goes through kindling. When it came to writing stories in English class, I easily kept up with the rest of the students.
Once when each student had to stand up and tell a story to the class, I was the first up and got the most laughs. And the best part was, this time they weren’t laughing at me, but laughing with me. No wonder that I continued to tell stories on the playground,
The First Three Books.
Many years later, I refined my story telling through speeches, sermons, and missionary newsletters. When, in my early fifties, email and the Internet was developed, I wrote weekly story-based articles to send out by email. This was way back in 1995, long before the term “blog” was invented. Readers forwarded these missionary stories and mission insights to others and copied them to reprint in church bulletins and newsletters.
One day I got an email from Wycliffe USA:
“You know those emails you send out. People keep asking us for permission to reprint them in magazines. Please give us permission to print some of these in a book for a wider readership.”
Okay by me. So, in 2006, A Poke in the Ribs was released—fifty-two of my most popular columns. The book sold so well, Wycliffe asked for more columns to put in a second book. A Kick in the Pants was the result. After that, A Bonk on the Head came out.
My Venture into Self-Publishing.
I wanted to balance the physically abusive tone of these titles and self-published a small book, A Tickle in the Funny Bone, a book of humorous stories. The publishing process was not as difficult as I had feared, nor was it too expensive. This first success gave me the courage to publish a larger book: The Why and How of Bible Translation: What Every Christian Should Know but Few Do . . . Very Few.
The Sixth, and Most Popular Book.
Last year, while visiting our California family, our triplet twenty-one-year-old granddaughters had a question for me,
“Grandpa, remember those bed-time stories you used to tell us when we were little? You, know the ones about when you were a little boy in Holland called Hansje? If you write those stories for a book, we’ll help you edit them and draw pictures for each story; we’ll even design the cover.” Hmm, good idea!
A few months later, I finished writing thirty-seven stories and early this year the artists completed the illustrations. This spring I published the first volume of my autobiography, a book of true stories for children, The Misadventures of Hansje: the Boy Who Kept His Guardian Angel Busy.
Its popularity surprised me. It seems adults love to read these stories for themselves, even if they have no small children to read to.
The New BOOKS Page on My Blog.
I just completed a new BOOKS page online describing my six books and giving information and links to buy copies on Amazon. Please check them out on my InSights & OutBursts blog, just click the BOOKS tab and enjoy.
(Some of you who live in isolated locations and usually read my posts only as emails, next time you download your emails, type https://www.jackpopjes.com into your browser to get to my blog and the Books page.)