This is one of my favorite places, despite how hectic it can be. Its a tourist trap, but I gladly fall into it! I love all the smells and beautiful colors...not to mention all the great deals you can find! Here you can barter with the shop owners to get a low price on all kinds of things like spices, turkish delight, beautiful scarves, hand made pottery and jewelry... Its magical. =)
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
What can I do for you, Lord? I think that could be such a difficult question to answer, if I were to attempt to answer it without the Bible. But I have seen that throughout the Bible, the greatest men are the ones that are most available. This concept is so simple that sometimes it hurts! I guess the Cross hurts, but this life of availability goes beyond what my mind has measured life to be. Isaiah said, "Here am I, send me." - that is the greatest thing we could ever do for God. If we put our life in God's hands, what are the limits?
With a structured, mechanical Christian walk, it seems the fire dies and faith can get lost. We must not limit our availability to a schedule or to what we think we are capable of in our natural strength.
Lord, Help me to be available to you. There are no limits to what You can do through me. Take me places I would never go, and show me people I would never meet. I want to have Your burden for the lost of Turkey. Let this be the only thing that moves me.
Pastor Matti said that a person who is available to God is: 1. not afraid of people, 2. not afraid of failure, and 3. not afraid of success. This is the best quality to have in ministry. It is when we allow our availability to go beyond what we have in our natural capacity that God works miraculously and is glorified the most!
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Hi everyone. Liz just asked me to make a post, so here we go. Its so great to be here and its amazing how we can take what we have in baltimore and bring it to a country where there are alot of hungry people. Its always seems like this country just toys around with its identity. So many people know they're not muslim but from there they don't know where to go with any certainty. Thats why its so great to meet turks here because they can see your identity written all over your face. We often forget how much purpose we have in Christ. We really don't live with any fear or doubt about tomorrow or where our faith is taking us.
Turks are so interested in this idea of possession, security, having a place, a heritage or a family. For them life is as good as they can make it w/ their own sweat and tears; and so is their faith, it all falls on them. As believers we know we're bought, seated above, hidden, heirs, brothers, children, and sealed with Christ. One lady we met today said, "I like you guys and I'm going to come and visit because everyone here wants to go to America but you guys left your country to come here. I like people who can against the flow." It was really cool to hear that, but it wouldn't be possible without identity and possession. 2 Tim. 1:9-12, Ezk. 36:26
Monday, January 19, 2009
We have been in Istanbul for not quite a week, but it feels as though we have already settled in. We got an apartment two days after arriving and already feels like home. Our days here are pretty relaxed, with gatherings of some kind almost every day of the week. We have church services three times a week (twice on Sundays, once on wednesdays), english lessons twice a week (tuesday and friday), team meeting on mondays and outreach on saturdays and bible school class on saturday nights.
When we arrived at the airport on tuesday night, Pastor Julian (from Moldova) met us there and he had a new friend with him, whose name is Alp. He had just met him and Alp was immediately helpful and interested, especially because he wanted to learn english more! Alp pretty much spent all of his free time with us, came to church on wednesday night, wanted to hang out afterwards. We got to learn more about him slowly. He is actually of Jewish background although he is Turkish. As we continued to spend time with him, meeting during the afternoons at a cafe in Taksim (the walking street right near our apartment), we slowly presented him with the Gospel. Roger showed him John 3:16, reading it very slowly to make sure he understoof. He was very interested but at first was not willing to leave behind his love for judaism and islam. He said he loved to go to the synagogue and the mosque and now also the church, that he "loved them all." But gradually he began to realize that if he accepted this message we were giving him, he could not go back to those. We did not say that to him, it was a conclusion he came to all on his own. And of course, we told him that becoming a Christian did not mean he had to abandon his heritage and culture, but that becoming a believer meant that he was a new man, born again, a child of God! Yesterday night, at the evening church service, he prayed to receive Christ as his own personal Savior. It was a really special night, and the message of so sweet and clear. Afterwards, Alp was so happy, he didn't want to go home! He kept saying that this was he new birthday! Pastor Matti gave him a turkish Bible and it was so cool to see him read verses like II Corinthians 5:17 about being a new creation!