Merhaba from Turkey!
We landed in Turkey, and hit the ground running (quite literally, as we thought we might miss our connecting flight from Istanbul to Adana!) but thankfully we arrived safe and sound.
On our first night, we met the rest of our outreach team who come from the US, UK, Singapore and Korea. Most of them are committed to long term work in Turkey so it was a blessing for us to be able to join with them and to hear their heart and passion for this country and its people.
Despite our lack of language, we have been involved in street evangelism everyday, in several parts of Adana, including the university campus, shopping malls and the city centre. The men in our team also went out to some of the neighbouring towns surrounding Adana, where the gospel has not previously reached. On our final day in Adana, we were blessed to be involved in an open air evangelism, where one of our team members used 'sketch board', to preach the gospel, on a crowded street corner in the city centre. It was a first for Adana and a first for us. Quite a crowd gathered, so many people heard the gospel in Turkish and many great conversations resulted.
Another of our highlights from Adana was partnering with the local Turkish churches in their weekend services, (there are only 3 protestant churches in a city of 2 million people). We helped by handing out invitations in the streets, and by performing a drama and singing (in Turkish) at both services. We were really encouraged by the passion and courage of the local believers.
We have spent the last few days in Izmir, we are still getting to know the city but are really enjoying what we have seen so far. It is double the size of Adana and has many more tourists and foreigners, so we do not draw so much attention.
Our outreach here will take similar form to that in Adana. On our first morning here we went up to Kadifoykale (translated- 'the Velvet Castle') which overlooks the entire city. We prayed and sang and got rained on, but the downpour was followed by a glorious rainbow which reminded us of God's promises and His faithfulness to His people! Before church yesterday, we went on a prayer walk along the water, committing the city and our time here to God. We ended the walk with some impromptu Turkish dancing with the locals! We took a while to catch on but had lots of fun and laughs.
The Turkish people have proven to be very friendly and hospitable but we have also faced our share of opposition. Thankfully we know that God is on our side, and we are thankful for his constant provision and many blessings in times of challenge and discouragement.
We would appreciate prayer for health of our team (especially for Jen, Milly, Esther & Yeon Sook), for wisdom and discernment in recognising the leading of the Spirit, for boldness and strength, for continued unity and deepening relationships within our team, and for the words to say when the opportunity arises.
We are so thankful to be here and are looking forward with anticipation to the coming days in Izmir, the upcoming kids program at the staff retreat and the rest of our time exploring this beautiful country.
With lots of love from Esther, Maria, Helga, Jen and Rachel
Soon are five girls leaving the deep woods of Hurdal, heading towards an Turkish adventure.
Here we come!
Turkey here we come!
Around 4 weeks until Turkey! We are all very excited to be able to share God's word with the people there! We are looking forward to the culture, the food and meeting our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ!
Watch this space!