Additional information received from David Byles regarding the Christmas event in Izmit.
Just hours after the big billboard picture announcing this coming Friday’s Christmas Gospel Concert was put up someone came and ripped a big hole in it (thankfully the advertising agency arranged to have a new one put up the following day). Earlier this week the District Education Ministry called in Emre, that pastor of the Izmit church, intimating that they wanted to cancel the planned event (which is being held in a venue belonging to the Education Ministry in the city center). Emre held his ground though, waiting for hours to finally get an audience with the minister, who finally relented and sent the necessary information to the Governor’s office (as they will be providing security). Emre had arranged to have the concert advertised on a big lighted video screen in the city center also, but after having it up for a few days the owner of the billboard changed his mind and had it stopped (but thankfully refunded the money). We also have lots of ads running on the internet, and in local newspapers (two of which have additionally written news articles about the upcoming event).
As you can see there are plenty of challenges and opposition, but God has given us grace so far, and we’re hoping for a wonderful response. The building we’ve rented can host about 400 people I’m told, and since the church hosting it has only about 20 members, we’re hoping to see lots of non-believers come! Last year we had over 200 non-believers come.
I’m just about to head out the door to join about 15 other believers who will be pounding the pavement of Izmit today, tomorrow and Friday, giving out 10,000 invitations and spreading the good news of our Savior’s birth. Please pray for us as the Lord brings us to mind. This is by far the best time of year in Turkey to invite non-believers to church buildings. Our BCC’s association chairman’s church is also having a big event this coming weekend and needs help with inviting people; pray that many come, and that some will get saved and added to their church. They have plans to start a new church in the new year.
Thanks for your prayers!
David & Ulrike