Dear Silk Road Lovers,
Greetings in these dark days; we need Jesus, Light of the World more than ever!
The Izmir coast was hit by an earthquake and a sea surge of 6.6
magnitude a few days ago, Oct. 30. Reports have come flooding in. Many old construction buildings have collapsed with a rising death toll. However as far as we know, believers have been spared! A 90 year old Turkish lady rolled herself out of her home into the fresh air only to be swept away by the tsunami surge. Churches stand ready to help provide shelter and food.
are being distributed by national churches to families left destitute by the pandemic. This is a great testimony to the Kingdom of God in a country whose currency is in free-fall and has no social net.
EXILES & LATINOS
Over 60 pioneer Christian workers have been banned from Turkey.
We continue to pray they will find God’s will in new places of service. Many are struggling. Last month we highlighted such a Brazilian and a Mexican family who are settling into Turkish ministry in Bulgaria. Thanks to those of you who gave financial help. They are already being a great blessing to the Turkish speaking people.
keep taking place in Turkey! God has provided three seas to choose from: The Black Sea, Mediterranean and Aegean. Pray for the many new believers to be established in their faith. ZOOM has become a household word as over a hundred national churches use this and other internet platforms to evangelise, hold services, run virtual kids camps, etc.
The Bulgarian Bible Society in Sofia has just published our easy-to-read Gospel of Luke in a very attractive format. It is now being posted to many new Turkish house churches (over 100!) across Europe. Our first production, the Gospel of John has already gone out in Bulgaria, N. Macedonia and Kosovo. Pray for fruit that remains.We now have an agreement with the newly established Turkish Bible correspondence course office in Brussels and these details appear in the Luke’s Gospel as it goes out. This is a wide net designed to catch many fish!
This is a snapshot of last Sunday’s worship service in a small Turkish speaking village in NE Bulgaria near the Danube River. Similar meetings were taking place in over a hundred small towns and cities in Bulgaria. Notice their unheated meeting room. This church has lost over half its young members who’ve gone to seek work in West Europe Sadly, many will not return. But these young workers have started more than a hundred house churches in West Europe.
PATHS THEY HAVE NOT KNOWN. . . (Isaiah 42:16)
This week we have taken a new step that is challenging us to look to the Lord for more guidance as to our future involvement in Turkish work and the Silk Road. That is all we can say at this point.
Please pray with us in the light of the above verse.
This letter is being sent to you via a new website that has been built for us. Feel free to browse and pray!
With our love and greetings,
George and Alison
An old Story with a wonderful Update
In October, 1987 our team established the Istanbul International Fellowship on the European side of Istanbul. In 1991 some of our church members living on the Asian side persuaded us to open a 2nd church for them, greatly reducing their travel time. This congregation was small but had high hopes for expansion. Thus we actively sought out Bible correspondence students, visiting addresses as they came up. On one of these evening visits we met M., a civil servant who seemed quite keen about Jesus and what the INJIL (New Testament) claimed about him. We invited him to our Sunday meetings. He came bringing along his illiterate wife, E. After several weeks of attendance some of the sisters volunteered to visit E. and read the scriptures to her; she enjoyed this.
Finally the moment came for a ‘stepping out of darkness’ decision. Both M. & E.
chose life in Jesus, renouncing all the works of the evil one as they went down in the waters of baptism. But there was a problem. One of our leading brothers thought this was all too ‘story book’. M. was a civil servant and therefore by definition more loyal to the state than Jesus. He could not be trusted because he more than likely was a mole.
The rest of us did not believe this, but the brother could not be dissuaded and refused to visit M.& E. ever in their home.
As time moved on this Asian side fellowship lost more and more of its foreign members until the day came when a local leader had to be chosen to carry on. M. stepped forward and humbly served as pastor for 23 years!
Just yesterday I received a personal letter from M. He had moved with E. to the Mediterranean coast to assume leadership of a small house fellowship. A young foreigner had been doing his best to hold things together while praying, “Lord, a local brother needs to be found for this group”. Then his home church sent him a message, ‘God will send a Turk to lead this summer’. 15 days later M. Appeared on the scene.
M. then explained, “When I came there was only one local believer; now we are 20 strong”. He enclosed photos of a recent baptism, which for security reasons can’t be shared. Can you rejoice with us for M.&E.? God never gives up, even in doubting times and takes his children from strength to strength.