Dear Friends and Family,
If you are receiving this, it is either because you asked to be kept in the loop, or because I thought that this could be something by which you may be touched and encouraged.
I’ll try to keep it short, but I can’t make any promises… thank you in advance for taking the time to read and consider this with us!
Most of you know that I travelled to South Korea this past February, and had an amazing time with our friends and church family there. I also had the honor of visiting a very special place called The Babybox. After my visit, in an effort to make sure I didn’t forget a single detail, I started to jot down my adventure on our blog.
As I began writing, it was clear that this would be much more than an outline of events… the words and thoughts were so healing and reached so deeply that as I was writing, I saw and experienced things that God used to restore my soul.
I wrote 5 long blog entries and wrapped it up. I emailed a link to the people at The Babybox, and they asked if they could use it in their upcoming newsletters. My friend Wendy in Korea agreed to translate it for this purpose, so we began the translation process (thank you, Google docs). There was also a thought in my heart that maybe I could print it out and bring it to Pastor Lee someday… how special it would be to have it in his own language.
Along the way, several friends and family members suggested that I consider making these entries into a book. I was very reluctant, and maybe even opposed to the thought.
The writing was so personal, so raw, so much of my heart and soul. I felt that opening it up to others’ opinions, etc, would be making myself too vulnerable. I couldn’t imagine laying my heart bare in this way.
One morning I went out to coffee with an amazing faith-filled friend of mine. We got talking about my trip and the blog, and she just pulled it all out of me. Unravelled right there over my quiche. She helped me unpack all my stuff and pointed out some serious blind spots. She challenged me in this gift of writing. I’ll never forget the way she spoke or what she said. This was a turning point.
The next day I sent an email to the parents of some students that I tutored this year. They are a beautiful Hungarian couple who are both published authors. I decided to knock lightly on the door and ask if they could meet with me for an hour to talk about maybe printing some books. They wrote back quickly and said they would be happy to. We made an appointment for the following week.
In the meantime, I sat down with the 5 entries from my blog, and wondered if they would be able to be turned into a book. I started editing, writing, re-writing. It flowed. In that week, I remember feeling so inspired with ideas and words… Riding on a bus to school I pulled out my phone and poured out an Introduction. Between classes, I added paragraphs and ideas and descriptions. It was really, clearly, God moving.
I reached out to Wendy again and asked if she’d be on board to help edit and continue translating for me if this turned into a book. Her reply was so encouraging. She was blessed to be a part of this project, and the writing was a source of encouragement and strength for her personally. I’m not sure when or where the idea came to make the book bilingual, but this is something that we were (and are!) both really excited about.
I met on a Thursday morning with my student and her mom, and brought what I had written so far, as well as the translation and some pictures of my trip. We had a very special meeting that morning… we laughed and cried together as we spoke about the project. She said she was honored to help. She mentioned many big ideas that were so beyond what I was imagining, and I was really taken back by her confidence in the book. We talked about printing and publishing and what those things look like and the many, many logistics.
She encouraged me as a first step to meet with a Typographer and get the book into print-ready format. Then I could save the bigger decisions for down the road. (self publication vs. commercial publication? USA? Hungary? S. Korea? Agent vs. no agent? Printing… how many copies?... etc)
She said she knew a gentleman that she has worked with for years, and had spoken to the day before about my project. He was looking forward to meeting me.
So we arranged a time to meet with Zoltan, a 4th generation book maker/graphic designer, at his shop outside of Budapest. He does not speak English, but his sons do, and they work with him, so they feel confident in handling this work.
I don’t have too many words to describe that meeting. I just kept looking around me and thinking, “What am I doing here?”
I felt like such a fish out of water. In this exquisite old building with these incredible people who are long-time, professional craftsmen… but for some reason they are carrying me, a complete newbie, graciously through every step. They were so kind and cared so much about my heart for the project. They showed me work they had done. We spoke for a long time about details, and they asked me to send the files in specific formats so that they could give me prices. I left feeling full of joy and wonder and excitement.
Because of language and layout, we decided that some illustrations would be an important addition to the book. I contacted a couple of very special Korean students from the school where I teach and sat and laid out the project with them. They were so excited and so supportive, and offered to illustrate the inside of the book gladly!
So, this brings us up to date. I’m writing to share this vision with you because I think you will find joy and wonder in it, as all of us who have been a part of it so far have found. I have no idea how it’s all going to happen. But I trust that it will continue as it has begun...One step at a time, by faith. Through lots and lots of prayer, encouragement, and support.
The title of the book is No Fear in Love: My Reflections from The Babybox.
In a nutshell, here’s the vision...
I believe that this book will be used by God to speak into people’s lives… to reach into hearts and go beyond culture and superficiality. To soften hearts and plant seeds and offer a shoulder to cry on. I believe that it can touch young Koreans. It is unique in many ways, offering Western insight bi-lingually, which is really not done so much. Koreans love learning English, and I’ve been told will sometimes carry an English book under their arm, even if they can’t read it. I believe this book can take them by surprise and show them God’s great Love... something higher than they have been offered or known. If one person finds hope, if one mom hears her value, if one young person sees truth, then it is all worth it for me.
I hope that you will consider supporting this either in prayer or with a financial gift. Every gift is important, no matter how big or small. I definitely do not enjoy asking for financial support, but I have learned in the last 5 years of being on the foreign mission field that sometimes giving is just as much of a blessing to the giver as it is to the receiver. We have decided that for the next several months, all donations made into our missions account will be set aside for this project. So please know that 100% of your gift will be utilized in this way. www.ggwo.org/donate and look for missions donations, and then Mike and Nikki Colby in Budapest.
Lastly, I’d like you to know that my share of any profits made from this book will be donated to The Babybox ministry (Jusarang Community Church). I invite you to check out their website and soak up all the love in those faces… you won’t be sorry. www.godslove.or.kr
Thank you for your love and prayers, and I am honored to colabor with you in this great work. Please feel free to share this with others however you’d like.
I look forward to any feedback, questions, or words of encouragement you have in your heart to share in this process. We’ll keep you updated as we continue on this journey!
With Much Love,
PS- If you’d like to read the original blog entries, scroll down to find Chapter 1. This is the super simple framework for the book, but you will feel the heart of its Source.
PPS- Although this dream is ever changing and growing, God seems to be directing it in a certain path. For your prayers, here is a timeline of what we’re thinking:
- Illustrations and Cover Art completed
- Final edits to First Draft in both English and Korean completed
- Licensing to use Crowder lyrics ($40)
- (A big one) Permission from Brian Ivie, director of The Drop Box, to use the title and themes from his film. (unsure of cost, if any.)
- Permission from The Babybox for the same
- Return to Typographer and complete print-ready copy (anywhere from $400-1,000)
- Self-publish and make book available on (US) Amazon
- Print (cost depends on number of copies)
- Bring printed copies to Seoul for Pastor Lee and church (plane ticket and accommodation cost)
- Contact publishers in Seoul about future possibilities