‘I loved the interaction at the conference’

As we looked back at last years first ever Christian publisher’s conference for Romanians, we were thrilled to see double the participants and another speaker, Doug Ross, the former president of ECPA, being involved. With two of our prayers already answered we came with much excitement in our hearts to see what God was going to do through the “Dare to Build” conference in Oradea – Romania during February this year

Rick Iles from Operation Mobilisation, opened the time by reminding us that the first conference was ‘Dare to Connect’, as we needed to establish relationships and begin through working together. Because of those connections we were ready to now ‘Build’ on those relationships, and that was done beyond our expectation and of course was God’s intention all along. We were reminded of how we are a body and how much we need one another especially as Romania develops. God continued to bless beyond what we asked for. Before the first break we were all amazed to hear that through 152 workers in around 27 different publishing houses in Romania, there were 1118 books produced in Romanian language since opening. We all gave thanks for what has been accomplished over the years.

Doug Ross’s seminars were packed full of great ideas and methods, but seasoned with a reminder to use what they could and what was culturally adaptable, and throw out the rest. ‘I liked the fact that the emphasis was on communication, a much needed tool in every area of our lives not only in the business one’ ‘It was so helpful to understand how American publishers work with international rights and this helps me know how to work in a better way with these things’ ‘The personality, credibility and experience shown, including his kindness and humor, meant so much to me’, were but a few comments.

Bob Clark, the European representative for Cook Communication Ministries International, brought a new experience for many as he broke participants into work groups and gave them a case study to work on and present back to the group during his seminars. ‘What a great help in a country with dictator background’. People enjoyed it a lot and the discussion and presenting back gave the group so many new ideas. ‘I found Bob’s teaching was very good for personal evaluation of us, as leadership in our workplace, making this session for me, the most helpful’

Rick Iles addressed topics requested from last year and others that needed discussing in an environment which was safe. ‘Topic’s like pricing policies and copy writes are very sensitive issues and if we were to discuss these things without directive help we could easily offend one another’. It was good to have time to talk over the Association, and then for question and answers, but this was often too short. He did a great job of keeping all these things as focused and flowing as possible.

Rouman Papratilov from New Man Publishing in Bulgaria joined us to share from his experience, as an established publisher in the East European area. ‘It was helpful to hear how the Association began in Bulgaria, as we have similarities to our neighbouring countries, and then to hear of his experiences in “New Man Publishing” for the past 15 years. This both encouraged me and gave me a desire to press on even when things are difficult’ said one participant. ‘The charts of New Man Publishing we very useful for me’ said another.

Adrian Pastor from ‘Logos’ shared how thrilled he was to see these men wanting to encourage the work of publishing in Romania. ‘Often we need an outside presence to get us together, to kick start things. This is what Rick Iles from OM and Bob Clark from CCMI have done through building relationships with publishers across the country and in iniciating such conferences. At times we need a bit of a push but I was thrilled to hear their vision of wanting to hand it over to nationals so we can walk alone. We can see they believe in us, but we are thankful they are there to help where needed, until the time comes for us to walk fully alone’.

The first steps were taken, last year for beginning a Publishers Association, but were only ideas. This year with scheduled time in the programme and the experience of Doug, who has lead the American Association for the past 17 years, many questions were addressed, and the nationals began to dream. The realisation of the fact that it will look completely different in Romania came quickly. A Steering committee was elected for the Association to be formed, and Jeni Rosian was made the chairperson to see words put into action before the next conference. This was a major step forward for publishing in Romania. ‘Seeing the steps taken to form the publishers association in Romania was the most helpful and encouraging for me’ commented one participant.

The impression spoken of the most and rated as ‘invaluable,’ was having time to build on relationships. Many people have been in contact with email, phone or post, but meeting face to face was so incredibly important and it was suggested to allow more time for this. ‘We need to know each other as brothers and sisters before we begin to talk about business, as this makes for better working relationship and the only way to do this is through conference like this’.

Ideas of having a day following next year’s conference to hold a bookfair, which they open to the public was welcomed by all. Having tracts during the conference where people can choose what they want to attend gives opportunity to address issues for more established publishers and more topics to be covered. A known author to give an inspirational message and insight into what publishing is like from their perspective. Having a session for the students at the University to build relationships with publishers, opening the possibility for translators, editors and new employee’s, would be helpful. These are but a few of the ideas that we were in-an-dated with at the end of the conference and will be useful to shape the next conference.

There are so many possibilities and so much to work toward. One of the most exciting things was to see how willing Romanians are to learn, how much they want to do things correctly and they do desire help in order to get them to a position of standing alone. Both speakers and participants left the conference looking forward to all that God might do next year and wondering who else could be involved and blessed by it.