Please welcome this weeks guest Ada Nicholson Brownell for The Journey. She answers the question: How have you seen God work in your writing journey?
THE FIRE STILL BURNS
When elected president of the youth group in my home church at age 15, our services weren’t the usual three songs and a speaker.
We had a service where admission to the meeting was a mirror. The words to the music were backward, so the youth had to look in a mirror to read them. The speaker spoke on our lives reflecting God’s love and the Word. We also had a backward service, beginning with the dismissal and continuing everything in that unusual order.
Both of these ideas were published in the national youth leader’s magazine for our denomination.
I sold the first piece I sent to The Pentecostal Evangel. The story was “On Death Row,” and if I remember right, I began with a true incident of a man waiting to be put to death. Then I used the similarity of human mortality, saying death is certain and we should be prepared. An organization made a gospel tract out of my article.
In those years I had helpful editors. If a story was almost what they needed, they’d write and tell me “shorten it a little,” or “it needs another illustration or anecdote.” I did exactly what they recommended; submitted again and received a check for $3 or so.
Then I wrote a story about my mother’s Sunday school teaching methods and sold it to David C. Cook’s Leader. When I received the check I thought, “That’s nice.” Then I looked at the check again and gasped. Thirty-five Dollars! I think my husband was making a little more than $14 a day working as a telegrapher for the railroad.
I sold my accordion, bought an electric typewriter, and enrolled in a writing course.
It was probably 15 years before a publisher paid that much for a piece again. Yet, writing was ministry. When we needed extra money, I got a real job. I worked as a teacher’s aide, relieved the woman in the post office for vacations and such, cleaned motel rooms, and my husband and I cleaned the school.
But I learned I could make a little as a newspaper correspondent, and I did that.
God makes everything work for good (Romans 8:28) and working as a correspondent from that little town in Utah of 100 people in the early 1960s started a career in journalism. The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel had an instruction booklet for correspondents on recognizing and writing news and I practically memorized it. In less than three years I had a staff job as reporter in a city of 100,000.
Even with taking 15 years out to raise our five children, I worked in the news business 17 years. But all through my career I kept writing for Christian publications.
My first book, Confessions of a Pentecostal, was published by the Assemblies of God in 1978. In 2011, Swallowed by Life: Mysteries of Death, Resurrection and the Eternal, was released. Joe the Dreamer: The Castle and the Catapult became available in 2012. Imagine the Future You will be released in October 2013.
Several scriptures became my motivator in times of discouragement: “He that regardeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap” (Ecclesiastes 11:4). “Be strong therefore and let not your hands be weak: for your work will be rewarded” (2 Chronicles 15:7). “And behold the man clothed with linen which had the inkhorn by his side, reported the matter saying, “I have done as thou hast commanded me” (Ezekiel 9:11KJ).
I learned I should write every day if I possibly could. I also learned: Read the magazines. Keep a file of dated illustrations along with the source. Write down my ideas when they came. I could think and outline that story while washing dishes. Most important, never quit learning and keep the fire to spread the gospel burning in me.
Enter an area where people are missing and radicals want to obliterate Christianity from the earth. After Joe Baker’s parents mysteriously disappear, he finds himself with a vicious man after him. Joe and an unusual gang team up to find his mom and dad. The gang is dedicated to preventing and solving crimes with ordinary harmless things such as noise, water, and a pet skunk instead of blades and bullets. Joe reads the Bible hoping to discover whether God will answer prayer and bring his parents home. In his dreams, Joe slips into the skin of Bible characters and what happened to them, happens to him—the peril and the victories. Yet, crying out in his sleep causes him to end up in a mental hospital’s juvenile unit. Will he escape or will he be harmed? Will he find his parents? Does God answer prayer?
The book is also available at Barnesandnoble.com, and is listed at Goodreads.com
To learn more about this author’s books: http://www.inkfromanearthenvessel.blogspot.com
Amazon Ada Brownell author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001KJ2C06