Simple visit opens door for training in Italy

MAI’s John Maust reflects on the surprises that come along at work.

Gray and BenevelliWe don’t get many international visitors at our office near Chicago.  So, I was surprised and pleased when Italian publishing manager Daniela Benevelli stopped by.

As Daniela shared about the work of the Bible House/Geneva Bible Society in Turin, it became apparent that our two organisations shared a similar vision for training. 

Only 6% of Christian books in Italy are written by Italians, Daniela said, and The Bible House wants to equip local authors and editors.  I responded that MAI exists for the very purpose of seeing more “homegrown” Christian publishing.
We agreed to keep in touch, and I encouraged Daniela to contact MAI-Europe Chair Rodney Shepherd.  She did, and ultimately MAI-Europe and The Bible House formed a partnership to provide Christian publisher training in Italy, nation of 62 million with about 40 mostly small Protestant publishing houses.

A first training conference took place in April at the Bible House.  Some 27 staff from 12 publishing houses received training from Martin Manser of MAI-Europe (editing), Bible House director Giancarlo Farina (marketing), and Antonio Calò (finance).

The Italian Publishers Forum featured “excellent training with high quality speakers and visually strong presentations,” said MAI-Europe Vice Chair Nicholas Gray, who helped organise the programme. 

Participants were “happy and impressed to see how much MAI is investing in them,” added Daniela, a gifted linguist who sings American gospel with a group.

Going forward, the Bible House plans to hold six one-day training events in three different cities, plus a possible writer/editor workshop in 2018.

“Our partnership with The Bible House is strong, and they have the vision to extend our unique training ministry in Italy and beyond,” Nicholas Gray said. 

I’m amazed by what God has done in the two short years since Daniela’s visit, and by His plans to prepare the Italian publishers for greater impact in their nation of 62 million. 

This article by John Maust, President of Media Associates International (MAI)  is used by permission.

Last modified: Tuesday, 11 July 2017, 10:13 AM