Greetings in Christ from Istanbul.
I (David) recently returned from a prayer conference in Cappadocia with 500+ believers from various countries. It was thrilling to see young (and old!) Turkish believers, full of zeal and passion to spread the good news of Jesus far and wide.
We heard testimonies also from Iranian believers working among Iranians in Turkey, and seeing amazing fruit, here and around the world (300 baptized last week, 200 planned for this coming Monday). We heard from two of their church leaders, both spent time in prison in Iran; one (a young lady) has helped start a church of 300 (!) in eastern Turkey (using the building of the church there that was started through the BCC).
Earlier this morning I had tea with one of the leaders of the emerging Kurdish church in Turkey. He also has spent 6 months in jail, and led several people to Christ while there. But neither he or the Iranian church leaders talked about the hardships there; they’re too excited about what God did and is doing there.
I sat for breakfast yesterday with the Kurdish believer in charge of the sound and media team here. He introduces me to one of his workers sitting next to him. “This is Mehmet; he’s still an atheist but hopefully not for long” (what a way to be introduced!). This afternoon Solomon, a Nigerian believer also working with the sound/media team (and who’s a roommate of Mehmet) came running up to me. “David, David, you have to pray with Mehmet. He wants to become a believer and get baptized!”
Many, many people have come up to me and told me that they and others in their churches were praying for me while in jail. One person said several churches in her home country of Argentina were praying fervently for me. Even though what I went through was nothing compared to jails in Iran or North Korea or Sudan, it is unquestionably a great honor to be counted worthy of such a thing for Christ’s sake (Acts 5:41).
I could tell you about how 50 people requested NTs from us that same week in ONE day as a result of our new ad on secular web sites in Turkey, or the family of Afghan believers who arrived in Turkey just six weeks ago to minister to Afghans (and who are at this conference here with me), and just “happened” to be assigned by the UN to the same little town that my friend from jail Ahmat has just been assigned to (and are meeting with him already), or the believer from the new church in Polatli (started through BCC contacts) here who’s overjoyed with what God has done in his life, and is eager to go wherever he can in Turkey to spread the Gospel and start similar churches, or the Turkish brother in Ankara who now wants to go out preaching on the streets in Ankara regularly (but lacks people to join him–pray!),
or the Turkish church leaders weeping as fellow church leaders come and wash their fee
t at this conference,
or the news of small house churches springing up around the country through a Christian TV’s ministry, or the Filipino lady in Dubai, or the Spanish couple in Izmir, or the group of foreign workers, coming and asking for prayer for boldness in proclaiming the gospel where they are, but there’s not enough space.
I’ve heard of compassion fatigue, but is there such a thing as encouragement fatigue? No, there can’t be. This is all just too wonderful; praise to our God, the living and risen Lord, the Savior and hope of the world, Jesus!
Family News & Travel Plans
It’s been a busy season of exams (GCSEs for Rebecca, SAT and others for Johannes, music tests before a panel of judges for Daniel); thankfully they all are doing quite well. Johannes hopes to visit a university or two this summer, as he plans to graduate June 2017. The older kids want to earn some money and experience working this summer, and touring around Istanbul with their friends. All the younger ones are thrilled that Ulrike and I are caving in to their requests for a cat (don’t have one yet, but probably soon :)).
Ulrike is busy with various things at the kids’ schools (she’s a board member at the older kids’ private MK school), meets
regular with various ladies, and is working on completing her master’s in theology, and in recent months this has meant learning biblical Greek.
Because of my ongoing court cases we think it’s best if I don’t leave Turkey (as I might not be able to get back in because of the entry ban) for the time being. Below is their tentative travel plans. Feel free to contact Ulrike or me about meeting up or to arrange speaking opportunities when in you area.
Sat, June 18-July 6 Ulrike and kids in Sumas, WA
Fri, June 24 Ulrike, Johannes & Rebecca fly to Chicago
Wed, June 29 Ulrike flies back to Seattle, Johannes & Rebecca fly back to Istanbul
July 6-Aug 4 Whole family back in Turkey
Aug 4-7 Ulrike and kids in Linz, Austria
Aug 7-17 Ulrike and kids in Oeschelbronn, Germany (Girls at MTO camp last week)
Wed, Aug 10 Johannes flies back to Istanbul