When Turkish believers and seekers meet together a few hours from now, most of them will gather in groups known as “dernekler” (associations, similar to an alumni association or a chess club). It’s almost impossible to register with the government as a “church”, but in recent years there has been this alternate provision for legal recognition. The guidelines aren’t as friendly as churches in the west follow, and there’s always the risk that a local official will find (or manufacture) some infraction that results in a fine. But Turkish pastors and leaders are grateful that they now have legal and social protection. PRAY that this weekend’s gatherings will be marked by God’s anointing. PRAY that seekers will be drawn to them. And PRAY that this provision for recognition will continue. “Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her” (Ephesians 3:27)
“Büyükleri Say, Küçükleri Sev” is a saying that every Turk knows. It means “Respect Your Elders, Love Those Younger Than You.” Turks do love their children. But the concept of God as a loving Father is totally foreign—God is to be feared and appeased, but there’s no possibility of approaching Him, much less loving Him. Yet the need for God’s love is deep in every Turkish heart. Pray that today, believers and workers will be shining models of that Father-child relationship. “What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are.” (I John 3:1)
Little-known fact: Tulips are not native to the Netherlands! Ottoman Turks cultivated them and guarded their beauty jealously for several hundred years before a European diplomat managed to smuggle bulbs out of the country in the sixteenth century. Today, millions of tulip bulbs are planted in Istanbul each spring, creating gorgeous displays across the city. When Jesus says, “Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are” (Matthew 6:28-29), He wants Turks to know how priceless and lovely they are to Him. Pray that someone will be able to share this good news with a Turk today.
UPDATE: The intern teams for 2018 are now full! But the prayer journey is just beginning. In addition to the needs mentioned earlier, we must pray that God will send the teams to hearts that are hungry and searching. Pray that the seed planted will produce fruit far beyond anyone’s expectations. And when you feel God prompting you to go, leave a comment below and we’ll message you to suggest some first steps!
UPDATE: The intern teams for 2018 are now full! But the prayer journey is just beginning. In addition to the needs mentioned earlier, we must pray that God will send the teams to hearts that are hungry and searching. Pray that the seed planted will produce fruit far beyond anyone’s expectations. And for you who have felt God leading you to go, here’s how to start! http://wideopenmissions.org.s190639.gridserver.com/pipeline
Choosing to take Jesus’ name to unreached peoples around the world is a significant step that will change the course of your life. There are countless places to plug into what God is doing throughout the nations, and it can be daunting to know where you fit; however, your journey does not have to …
This summer, several teams of interns will spend extended time in Turkey, intentionally living out their faith! Will you pray that the right people will answer God’s prompting? Will you pray that He will provide the finances (and good health and a teachable heart) for each team member? Will you pray for those who will host the teams, that they will be filled with vision, cultural insights, and extra energy. And…MAYBE…God will speak to YOU about joining a team! Will you take that step? Our next post will give more details.
“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news.” (Isaiah 52:7)
We English-speakers have it easy—we just need to learn who to call “niece”, “nephew”, “grandpa”. But Turks need to know HOW they’re connected to each other—is the person across from you the host’s mother’s brother, or his father’s sister’s son? There are probably two dozen distinct titles. For non-relatives, a woman is a child’s “teyze” (maternal aunt), while a man is the child’s “amca” (pronounced “amja”)—paternal uncle. You address merchants, neighbors, waiters, or casual acquaintances as “abla” (big sister) and “abi” (older brother). It’s important to show respect by using the correct title. And it shows how important relationships are in Turkish culture. So to Turks, it should be very good news that God is all about relationships! Would you pray that many Turks will join His family this week? “Then he looked at those around him and said, ‘Look, these are my mother and brothers. Anyone who does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother’.” (Mark 3:34-35).
Sometimes we just don’t want to pray for a particular need. It seems too black. Too deeply-entrenched. Too full of pain. Too ugly. Or too hard to comprehend. Workers in Turkey battle those feelings. Believers there do too. Here are some scriptures to remember in moments like that:
* Jeremiah 32:27: I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?
* Romans 8:26: We do not know how to pray or what we should pray for, but the Holy Spirit prays to God for us with sounds that cannot be put into words.
* Ephesians 3:20: God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!
* Luke 22:42: It is not my will, but yours, that must be done.
Thank you for praying for Turkey when it doesn’t come easily.
Turkey is a major destination for refugees. Currently, it is hosting three million Syrians who have been forced out of their homeland by extremists. Iraqis, Iranians, Afghans, and a sizable number of Africans are finding at least temporary shelter there. Turkish believers across the country are serving as volunteers to relieve the plight of these desperate people, and are making opportunities to share God’s message of love. There are reports of worshiping fellowships being formed; one group held a retreat; some who had once been extremists themselves are now filled with faith and joy in spite of their situation. Who would have thought that a 99% Muslim nation—known for its disdain of foreigners—would be the place where new life springs up? Thank God for the boldness and vision of these Turkish believers! “And the one sitting on the throne said, ‘Look, I am making everything new!’” (Revelation 21:5)
One of many admirable character traits of Turks is that they’re hard-working. Employers often require that they work six (or even six and a half) days a week, and workdays can be twelve hours or more. And they keep their homes spotlessly clean—“like ice”, they say—washing their windows as often as they wash their clothes. Not surprisingly, their religion, too, is based totally on works. They need to hear this amazing message: “he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.” Pray that this week, many Turks like this hard-working lady will be able to say, “He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.” (Titus 3:5)