Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Rare and Precious Gift

When I came to Turkey in April of 2001 with my husband and two children, I thought God was bringing us here so that we could reach Turks with the good news of Jesus Christ and teach them to follow Him. I didn’t realize that more than anything He brought us to Turkey in order to transform us. I trust that God has used us in some small way to shine His light here and to encourage Turkish believers to pursue Jesus with passion, but He’s done a far greater work IN us than THROUGH us.

In eight years here we have known many joys and experienced many gut wrenching disappointments. We learned that our joy cannot rest on the “success” of our ministry. We learned to keep going even when we were disappointed by little response to the gospel. We learned to be content to be faithful to what God is calling us to do, and to leave the rest to Him. We learned to keep going when depressed, choosing to believe that joy is just around the corner. We suffered the heartache of leaving family and friends behind in our homeland. Amazingly, the joy we’ve experienced has been much greater than the heartache, probably a special grace from God to enable us to persevere here.

For me living in Turkey is a rare and precious gift. I love Turkey’s sights and sounds, her culture, ancient and modern, her cities, her villages, her mountains, craggy, rocky shorelines and beaches. Above all I love Turkey’s people, and I count it a privilege to serve the Lord Jesus among them. I have been touched by the kindness and generosity of Muslim friends. I have been filled with joy and faith at the example of my Christian brothers and sisters, who dare to swim against the monolithic tide of Islam, making a choice to stand out and follow Jesus instead of the crowd. They are bold and courageous to live for the Lord Jesus when everything around them appears to deny Him. I believe I have learned far more from them than I could ever hope to impart to them, and for that I am grateful to God.

This blog is an attempt to share my stories of Turkey and the way God has spoken to me and changed me through daily life here.

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