Six years in India had a profound effect on me. From 2005 to 2011, I lived in New Delhi with my wife and children. It was during those years that my literary interests expanded significantly. I especially became more interested in travel writing, fiction and poetry. Alongside my work responsibilities, I was able to keep active with writing. In addition to articles, poems, and reflections, I began work on my first novel, a story about a young American traveling in India, which was released as an e-book in 2014.
In January 2008, mostly inspired by our experiences in India, I started a blog (mjhk.blogspot.com). For three and a half years, I posted original writing on roughly a weekly basis until we returned to Canada in July 2011. Please visit the blog to read a sampling of articles, reflections, poetry, and even a video about my brief foray into the Bollywood film industry.
I took full advantage of the lively literary scene in India. I was able to attend various writing seminars, festivals and conferences, not to mention a host of readings, book discussions and launches. In Delhi, I was active with the EM Forster Literary Society that a close friend of mine started in the city. I also took the chance to visit the Jaipur Literature Festival and the Mussoorie Writers Festival. In April 2009, I attended a Travel Writing Workshop in Delhi sponsored by one of India's top travel magazines called “India Today Travel Plus.” After the workshop, I was awarded the “Best Overall Writer” among the twenty-five participants.
During those years, I also became actively involved with a city-wide movement called Delhi Poetree, an amazing network of more than 500 poets. Not only did my involvement with this movement challenge me to keep writing my own poems, but it also gave me the opportunity to publicly perform my poetry in a wide variety of venues, including local coffee shops, clubs, malls, the American Center and the Indian headquarters of the World Wildlife Fund.
In 2015, on a visit to Delhi, I was able to re-connect with Delhi Poetree, specifically with their leader, Amit Dahiyabadshah. At that time, Amit asked me to contribute twenty of my poems for their new anthology called Word Wine.
Did I study writing? The answer is, Yes and No. My two university degrees are in Biblical Studies, and within that discipline, I focused a lot of my attention on the literary and linguistic aspects of the Bible – though not at the expense of its practical theology! I still affirm that no other book has influenced or inspired my own writing and my love of literature more than the Bible.
Along the way, however, I also studied other literature, and philosophy, and communication. Like most people who had the opportunity to do a formal education, I wrote a plethora of papers during those years, especially during graduate school. Unlike some students, I really enjoyed those writing assignments, most of the time. There were, of course, the late nights when it seemed like drudgery, but the discipline I learned as I worked under the pressure of deadlines was well worth it in the end.
My Master's thesis was the pinnacle of my academic studies: “A Reading of the Rahab Narrative Based On A Text-Linguistic and Narrative Analysis (Joshua 2:1-24).” It also refined my research skills. Upon completion of the thesis in early 1998, I was awarded a Master's degree from Regent College, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.
Over the years, I have written and delivered hundreds of speeches, presentations, and lectures in schools and churches all over the Pacific and Asia, including my home country of Canada but also in the US, New Zealand, Hong Kong and India. I have never claimed speaking to be my strongest gift, but I have often claimed that my experience with it has greatly improved my writing.