I enjoyed attending the 19th annual Expolit trade show in Miami, Fla., last weekend. Miami is a world of its own—or, as the joke goes, one of the few places in the United States where a passport is required. Miami is certainly one of the most international cities in the country and is perfect for distributors from around Latin America. It makes sense, then, that the premier trade show for the Spanish Christian book and music industry is held there.
Luis Fernández, an industry veteran of more than 20 years, described Expolit to Dr. Don Colbert, our bestselling health author who spoke at Expolit, as “partly like NRB [National Religious Broadcasters], partly like the International Christian Retail Show and part bazaar.” I know that to be true because I’ve been attending Expolit for 18 years. I’ve seen the growth of the Spanish publishing market, and I have come to appreciate Expolits’s cultural aspects: the trade show closing for afternoon siesta, then staying open until midnight; the crowded aisles in the exhibit hall; or the music blasting from nearly every booth, each one louder than the one next door. I especially enjoy drinking sweet Cuban coffee!
Many of our English-speaking readers barely know Charisma Media publishes in Spanish. Yet when the Lord spoke to us about expanding internationally in the early 1990s, we started Carisma, a Spanish version of Charisma. (We did it after the Lord closed the door to our publishing Charisma in Russia.) At the time the Lord also sent us Tessie Güell (now DeVore), a talented young Cuban-Puerto Rican woman who started in our editorial department and worked her way up the ranks, and who had the vision to start the magazine and later publish books under the name Casa Creacion (Creation House). Instead of just translating best-selling English books into Spanish, she had a vision to publish original books in Spanish—many of which have become best-sellers and won awards. (To read the Charisma News story about this year’s winners, click here.
Today Casa Creación is the fastest-growing part of our company; Tessie has been promoted to executive vice-president of our entire book group; and our magazine, now called Vida Cristiana (“Christian Life”) has a circulation of 37,000 and is distributed through churches in partnership with the National Hispanic Chrisitian Leadership Conference, the Spanish National Association of Evangelicals.
At Expolit, Casa Creación sponsored a breakfast on Sunday to present its new titles and authors. The gathering started with some anointed music, followed by a powerful message by Ron Phillips, pastor of Abba’s House in Chattanooga, Tenn. Several of his books have been translated into Spanish.
Phillips told a powerful testimony of how as a Baptist minister he received the baptism of the Holy Spirit in 1989. Following his message he ministered to scores who crowded the front of the ballroom for ministry. Many overcome by the Holy Spirit fell to the floor, something I’ve never seen before at a book trade show.
The Latin America revival has gone on for many years, and in some ways the Spanish publishing industry is responding to the growth of that revival. But Ron Phillips gave us a word at Expolit: There is still a lot to be done in Latin America. And as Tessie DeVore told me later: “I believe we are a part of that. Everything I can think of comes back full circle to the fact that I believe we [Charisma Media] have a unique calling to the Spanish-speaking world. And because of that calling we have God’s favor, grace and anointing.”