Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Earthquake Relief Efforts

Here is a letter from some of the Christians who have helped in the earthquake relief effort. Continue to pray for the needs in this area.

It was decided that they would focus efforts in Van and the nearby villages that have not seem significant help. 
A group of local believers, Iranian UN refugees, and others from Ankara and Istanbul have been providing food service every day for up to 700 people since October 29th. Money from gifts has been used to partially fund that(amount N/A currently).
A team of 6 from the Diyarbakir Church made repairs to the Van church and some houses, provided more tents to some needy and served wholeheartedly where needed.
Over the last week 3 doctors from Antalya(Dr. K.), Ankara and Duzce(Dr. K.) and other medically trained persons were in Van distributing medicines, and seeing patients--350 people received medical treatment.
One group from India is planning to partner with in-country workers/locals to put together up to 100 winterized living shelters.  Additional funds for this project will be needed.
Even though the main purpose of these relief efforts has not been evangelism, six people came to faith in Christ in the last 10 days

Beside those;
50 Tents were set up for homeless
70 sleeping bags were given out,
100 people received warm blankets,
250 people received clothing help.
4 believers who have served non-stop since the first earthquake have been given 800TL each to help with their needs.
A van has been purchased with relief funds(approx $10,000) for use in food and supply delivery.
2 insulated container-type living units(3mt x 7mt) have been purchased since the second earthquake(Nov.9th) left the houses of believers in Van unlivable. Their price was 14,250 TL(about $9000) including shipment and they are expected to arrive on Wednesday, Nov. 16th.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Meeting with a College Student

About a month ago I mentioned a college age girl that had contacted us and wanted to meet. Below is what my teammate wrote about the meeting. Please pray for this young girl.

My family and I traveled to a nearby city to meet with a university student there who wanted to learn more about Christianity. She said that she has been interested in Christianity for several years. When I asked her about what she believed, she told me that she was believing in Jesus Christ as her Savior. However, she was a little confused about doctrinal beliefs because her first contact with Christianity was through the Catholic Church. Since that time, she has done her own research on the internet. I explained the difference between salvation by faith and salvation by works and also talked about how Baptists and Catholics have important differences in belief concerning the Lord’s Supper and Baptism. She had brought her roommate with her to the meeting, and her roommate listened closely to what we talked about, especially the fact that Christians do good works because they are saved not to become saved. I gave the girl I met with a Bible, the New Testament on MP3, and a few Turkish hymns on MP3. She later said that she was very encouraged by the meeting.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Back in the States

Just over a week ago we made it make safely back to the states. It was a little crazy once we got to Chicago. We went through Customs and for the second year in a row I was randomly chosen to be questioned. I have no problem with this, but it caused us to miss our flight. I waited 40 minutes so I could be asked 5 questions. The whole time my wife was stuck with our three kids. One was yelling, "My stomach hurts!" for a solid 30 minutes. The other didn't want to walk and the baby was crying. It was not good for my wife. When I finally came out she cried. Thankfully there was a flight 1:30 minutes later. So we finally made it home at about 9:00 p.m. We'll be keeping you up to date on our time in the states. Right now, we are visiting a church that we feel God is leading us to. We would appreciate your continued prayers.

I'll be talking in some public schools next week in Mississippi. Pray that God would give me some creativity to think of how to weave the Gospel in to my time in the classes.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Update On College Student

Well we were not able to meet with the college student I mentioned in the previous blog. She said it seemed like her mom knew something was up so her mother made her go to another city where they had some things to do. We have chatted over the internet with her. She is definitely different from the others that we are working with. She said she believes that Jesus died for her sins. She said that she had a fear of Hell. I asked if she still had one. She said no because Jesus suffered for our sins on the cross and when we believe in Him we don't have to fear Hell. It is hard to know someone's heart without meeting them but from the way she talks she has a testimony of belief. She has a lot of questions but they don't come from a skeptical heart. I did ask her about how she fell in love with a Catholic priest without meeting him. She said since she was 12 she has been researching Christianity. It sounds like most of the information she has is from Catholic sources. She wrote to this priest for years not sure if this was before or after she ran away from home. Thankfully this priest was not in love with her. Trust me I was getting scared as she was writing me her story. I thought, "Oh no what kind of crazy mess is this." It appears that we will wait to meet with her until she goes to school, which is next week. We pray that we can discern what her relationship with God is and how to best help her.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Interesting Contact

Recently, we received an email from a college age girl. It said, "I want to be a Christian. Can you help me?" So we told her that we could help her and that we would like to talk more. It appears that her family is religious or very possessive, because she said once she goes to university she would be available to meet. Well a couple nights ago we get a message on our cell phone. It was the same girl. She wanted to know how to become a Christian. If you are a text message guru then you do know it still takes quite a bit of time to text long messages. Anyway I typed 1. Corinthians 15 where Paul tells us what the Gospel is. Then I typed out John 3:16. We messaged back and forth for an hour and a half. Anyway long story short she worked it out where she will be able to meet with us sooner than later. Please pray that nothing will hinder this meeting. Pray that she is being honest in her desire to know more. She said she will come secretly. She wants us to bring a N.T. Pray that she would be protected and that she would clearly understand how she can be saved. She said at the age of 12 she ran away from home and went to a Catholic church in the south of our country. She went here because she said she was interested in Christianity. She has been researching Christianity for some years. What's great is that she is from our city and studies in a university in a city near us. A city that we've been praying for opportunities to minister in.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Singing Away

The end of this week we had a couple different meetings. One meeting was the study that we're doing through the book The Stranger on the Emmaus Road and the other with some friends of mine. I took my guitar because the one group of guys wanted me to play the song Man of Constant Sorrow. Go figure! What are the chances that Turkish guys want to hear blue grass? They love it, though. I still have to learn it. We played hymns instead, English and Turkish. It was a great opportunity for them to see the songs we sing in worship. I also did the same at my other friends who are teaching me the baglama. It is such a privilege just to be able to do this with people. In America people would be like, "Big deal!" Here, they are like, "You sing in your worship." They want to hear it. We had the opportunity to sing songs talking about our redemption, God's love, Jesus being our Savior, etc... Sometimes when they won't listen to you talk they might listen to you sing.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

An Understanding Heart

And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in. 8. And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude. 9.Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people? 1 Kings 3:7-9

These days I'm really thinking about Solomon's desire for wisdom so that he could make the right decisions. His main purpose was of course he was the leader of God's people. My main purpose is because of the people that God has given us to work with. They have so many questions. There are so many rocks to move and so much dirt to remove while laying a foundation. "Why is the male pronoun used for God? Is it a contradiction to God's mercy when God says he will judge the father's iniquity on the children to the fourth generation?" (Exodus 34:7) God blessed Solomon with wisdom and He has also sent us a Comforter and Guide. May the Holy Spirit guide us all in the relationships that God has given us.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Living the Gospel

Today I had a good conversation with a friend of mine here. He is teaching me the ba─člama. It is a Turkish instrument used to play traditional Turkish music. He is a materialist. He asked me some good questions. He asked, "Why am I so joyful?" He also asked why I didn't take a pastorate in the states. It was a great opportunity to explain to him what God has done for me and the honor I have to live overseas and tell people about the Gospel. I must say I was convicted to really stop and ask God to help me live the Gospel. We discussed in depth what made him believe in materialism. There were a lot of things. One of the major things was all the injustice in the world. He doesn't understand if there is a God, why does he allow all these injustices? I thought about many times how I don't think about the poor in my city. I don't pray like I should for those starving to death in Somalia. So many areas that if I stop and think, I notice I'm missing some of the things in my life that Jesus regularly touched on. The early N.T. church was instructed to make provision for the poor and take care of the widows. It is so important that we shine as the lights we are supposed to be. Everywhere I go and everyone I meet has their own view of the Bible and Christianity. Only when they meet us and talk with us, do they realize most of what they know is wrong.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Prayer

Today we'll be praying especially for more laborers. John 4:35 says, "Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest." Luke writes, "Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest." (Luke 10:2) Turkey like other nations needs more laborers or maybe more of a certain kind of laborer. Jesus said this, "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:26) Be it Turkey, Peru, China, India, or America; we need biblical disciples. I assure you that there is nothing harder than moving to a new country and learning their culture and language. There is also nothing greater than being able to share the Gospel with those who have never heard. I mean never. They don't even have a foundation to build on. In this work, you'll recognize how insignificant you are and how great God is. Pray with us that God would send more laborers into His harvest fields.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

God's Timing

If you were waiting on God's deliverance or guidance in a certain situation and what seemed to be a wide open door appeared not once but twice; you would probably walk through that door. I would. David didn't.

David was fleeing for his life from Saul. On two opportunities (1Samuel 24 & 26) he could have killed Saul and taken his rightful place as king. The men by his side actually said that this was God delivering Saul into David's hand. I would have said the same thing. "Kill him! This is your chance." Well David obviously had such a close relationship with God that he knew this is not what God wanted. This is another good point for why God gives us spiritual leaders. He didn't want to hurt the anointed man of God even though this man was trying to kill him. After these incidents, David would wait even longer to see God's will take place in his life.

What looks like an opportunity might not be God's perfect timing. These incidents in David's life reminded me of this.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Ramadan

Well the Muslim Holy month of Ramadan has begun. This means drummers coming down the street at 3:30 in the morning banging their drums. It is an annoying tradition. They definitely do their job. I don't know how anyone can sleep while they're banging their drums. I would like to point out for the record that these days we do have things called alarm clocks.
Along with the drummers comes moody people. As their bodies get used to fasting, naturally, people get moody. I went to the store yesterday and was waiting to check out. A man and his children came up behind me and put all their groceries in the checkout lane. I thought, "Ah, no big deal. I'm sure they see me." Well when the man in front of me was finished, I told the cashier that I was here first and gave her my stuff. The man was shocked. As is the Turkish style, he did not talk directly to me. He talked to the cashier and his young daughter about what I did. I simply looked at him and told him that I was there first and that was the truth. I thought there was going to be an incident.
I felt like I needed justify myself even though I was in the right. I was reminded how many times Jesus was falsely accused. I was just at the grocery store. Jesus was healing the sick and setting the captives free. Still, people continually accused him of being a liar, of being crazy, or filled with demons. It was just my pride that wanted to prove that I was right.

Ramadan article

Asking Questions

Asking questions can sometimes get you in trouble. In Turkey, when talking about religion you don't ask questions. If you do ask questions then people start to wonder why you don't just accept what the teacher at the mosque is telling you. In some ways that sounds a lot like churches in the U.S. You ask, "Why do we believe this way? What is our church doing for the world?" Questions like this can begin to make some people feel uncomfortable. David asked a question in 1. Samuel 17 that made people uncomfortable. He simply wanted to know what would be done to the man that killed the giant. The giant was disgracing the Israelites and defying God. David only had to hear the giants challenge once to say, "Enough is enough!"
His brother and the other soldiers didn't like his question. His brother belittled him and basically told him he was proud and seeking glory. The cowards in the Israeli army didn't appreciate David's question because it made them feel guilty and showed them up. Although, that wasn't David's intention.

I asked the following questions 6 years ago, "Why should I stay and minister in America, when there are so many that have not heard the Gospel? Why shouldn't people in another country have the same opportunity to hear the Gospel as I did?" After I answered these and more of my own questions, I and my wife moved to Turkey. My decision wasn't a hit with everyone.

You also have to remember that when you ask a question and you receive an answer.You are responsible for what you have heard? Nehemiah asked questions about his hometown Jerusalem and about the remaining Jews that lived there. He asked because he cared. When he got the answers to his questions he was so burdened to do something, that he himself left the comfort of a secure job and went to repair the walls of Jerusalem.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Some emails we have received

I wanted to share some emails that our website has received. We have been getting regular requests for N.T., these are just some people who wanted to give us their opinions. This is my dynamic equivalent translation.

Hello. Do you believe in the last book? Do you believe in the last prophet? Do you know the contents of the Koran? We believe in Jesus and the last prophet (peace be upon him). We also believe that everyone will raise again. Why don't you talk about the Koran?


Why do you always talk about the N.T.? Aren't there more things to discuss than this?
Why are you doing this in this city?

Look brother, I don't know what you're advertising but the only valid religion is Islam. The other religions were annulled. Also Jesus (peace be upon him) will descend on the last day and be a Muslim. Know this! This is how it is. Salvation is in the Koran.

I'm glad that we are able to discuss things with people who have these types of opinions and questions. How shall they here without a preacher?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Stages in Moses' Life

I was reading through the life of Moses and I saw some stages in Moses' life that unless I'm abnormal, (no comment please) I think most full-time Christian workers go through. Especially those overseas. First let's look at what happened in Moses' life.

1. Moses kills and Egyptian who is treating one of his fellow countrymen very wrongly. In Acts it tell us that Moses thought the Hebrews would understand that God wanted him to be their leader.
2. God calls him at the burning bush. He makes excuses why he can't be the one God wants.
3. Moses trusts God and follows His leadership. It is said in the Bible that there was not a meeker man on the earth than Moses.

Let me tell you how this applies to me. Maybe it applies this way to you also.

1. We come into a country naively believing that some people will appreciate what we're doing. After all we coming to rescue them from their false religion. We have done many types of ministry in the states. Many times we haven't been out of our comfort zone while serving God so we don't see our superficial ministering to the Lord. It transfers over to the new country your in and you realize what Moses did in stage 2. You become fearful that you're not cut-out for the job.
2. You know God called you, but now you feel ineffective. As Moses made excuses you do too. "I can't speak. Even if I learn this language I'll still have this foreign accent. So I know the language, but the people won't change. They won't listen to me. What's the use? I'm an ineffective servant." we say.
Now in the first stage there was pride and a lack of waiting for God's timing.(This means we need to trust God)
In stage 2, we have the right opinion of ourselves. We are unimportant and ineffective...If you take God out of the equation. In this stage we have forgotten who it is that made the tongue and the mighty works He's done in our lives. We have forgotten the power of the Gospel. We are questioning why God wants to use us?
3. In stage three, we are praising God for his mercy and we don't want to go anywhere without him. We want to get to know Him more and more. We are standing up for and begging God to save the very people that hate us. This is the work of God. This is where God brought Moses. These are some of the things that I've been through. Maybe they'll be a help to you. I'd love your comments.