Missions March 2010

Friday, December 31, 2010

Pray for the New Years Conference in Helsinki

By the grace of God, two Turks are in Finland right now for the New Years conference! Please pray for their time. For Alp, that he would be strengthened in his faith and grow as a disciple. For Yagmur, an unbeliever, that she would see her need for a Savior and receive Christ!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Cyprus Missions Trip - another white harvest field!

We had the joy and honor of having Mat LaFlamme join us on our trip to Cyprus last week. We flew into the Northern "Turkish" side of the island (if you don't know the history/politics of the region then you can google it!) and then found our way to the border crossing which splits the city of Lefkosia (or Nicosia or Lefkosa) in half where we walked through a UN buffer zone and crossed into the Greek side of Cyprus where we somehow miraculously managed to meet P.Chris Moore.
The rest of the week was full of soulwinning, amazing Cypriot hospitality, great food, and yes, the occasional beach visit. And the most consistent thing throughout all of this was the incredible amount of laughter! Who said missions trips aren't fun?? P.Chris Moore is an amazing man of God with more spiritual vision that he can handle and we were honored to be a part of this pioneering trip with him. We traveled to at least four different cities, driving on the left hand side of the road with the steering wheel on the other side of the car, with the hand of God preserving us!
Needless to say, Cyprus needs Greater Grace. There are small evangelical congregations with beautiful believers who opened their homes and hearts to us. But the island needs a Greater Grace church and Bible School. We really believe that the grace-oriented Finished Work message can transform this island into an amazing place where great disciples and missionaries are born!
There is so much more I could say about this trip...we came back overflowing with joy and gratitude for the amazing opportunities God continues to give us.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

View from the Train to Bilecik

One of the many sacrifices we saw on the way...
The men hang up the animal (cow or sheep) to bleed it out.
Part of the ritual is that there should be not one drop of blood
left in the animal. Then they butcher it and the ladies prepare it.

Farming villages

Vineyards and farmland

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Our Church in Bilecik!

Gulshoda, wonderful wife and mother

Umid and the birthday boy, Emmanuel

The latest trend on Team Istanbul - knitting!

Emmanual - King for a day.

Liz with Lael and her big sister Deborah.

As you may of heard, last week our beatiful team members the Irgasheva's moved their family of 5 to a small town 4 hours outside of Istanbul. Yesterday the Istanbul team took the day to visit Umid and the family for the first time since they left. Umid and the family are known as great pioneers here in the church and in their past mission fields in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. This seemingly sad move is seen in all of our eyes as a great opportunity to reach futher into the heart of Turkey. Yesterday was the "Kurban Bayram" which is the scarifice holiday in the islamic calendar. All the way on our train ride to Bilecik we saw small villages, one after another making their scarifice to God with cows and sheeps. Men crowded around a bloodly field or street center, gathering the meat from these animals and making feasts and giving the meat to the poor. You could sense the very short excitement of it all but within hours as we enter the streets of Bilecik there was no joy and singing in the streets. Only a sense of dissatisfaction. A secret emptiness without any promise of change. Nothing that could be used to carry people through their lives. It was business as usually. The blinds were back on all of the eyes. And there we walked the streets buying gifts for Emmanuel because it was his birthday. Knowing full well in our hearts of the Joy of our Salvation and the Promise of eternal life through the eternal sacrifice Jesus the Son of God. We celabrated Emmanuel's birthday, prayed, fellowshipped, laughed together, and some crying and then left the same night to return to Istanbul. As we left that night we all sang Christmas songs at the train station knowing of our beautiful Savior and what He is and can do for this great country, Turkey. Keep Umid's family in prayer as they have already begun to reach out to their neighbors with the Gospel. Also for the government's acceptance of all their papers and for permission to put their kids in a Turkish school.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Umid, Gulshoda, Deborah, Emmanuel and Lael

Hello dear friends,
I am coming to you again to urgently ask you to consider donating money to help Umid and his family! Last night was their last service with us and we prayed for them with joy and sadness. In faith, they have packed up everything they can and moved to Bilecik today. They do not have any money and they are trusting God to prepare the way for them.
We have had very little response to the last request we sent out (only $50) so this is one more attempt to stir your hearts. Any amount that you can give will be a blessing. We have seen how God uses individual Body members to provide in the past and He can do it again!
Thank you so much.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Thank you, Auli and Yilmaz!

This past week we as a church have had the great blessing of having Yilmaz and Auli, an amazing couple, come and visit us from their home in Berlin. Yilmaz is from Adana, Turkey and Auli is from the east of Finland. They lives clearly show that they love people and have been a great encouragement to all the young believers in our church. Their time here has been full of evangelism, prayer, fellowship, and preaching, oh and a lot of eating!! It is so great to see how God uses a godly couple to reveal His plan for reaching, encouraging, and loving people. For Yilmaz, Turks are his people. To see a man clearly have God's burden for his country and people is quite a powerful thing. There is a great sense and understanding of the vision here that has come through his preaching and fellowship with us. Please pray for this couple and their plans for the future. We want them here! It is very clear to all of us, so we are praying for God's will in these matters.

Amazing weekend! God is so good.

Saturday night dinner after Bible Class on the book of Romans

Sunday night after the rap with Yilmaz

Beautiful mother and daughter - real Bible students!

Birthday party at Tiina's

The birthday boy - Yilmaz, visiting from Germany with his wife Oulli

Urgent Need

Dear friends,
We are coming to you again with another urgent need. As some of you may know, Umid and Gulshoda (originally from the Greater Grace church in Samarkand, Uzbekistan) have been in the process of applying for refugee status here in Turkey. During that long process, they have been tirelessly serving in the church. Umid deals with most of the practical details of running the church as well as being an amazing translator and leader of the church whenever P.Matti is not in town. Their family, now three children, have brought nothing but joy and laughter to our lives! We were all happy to hear that the process for obtaining refugee status was progressing, but unfortunately, the downside is that they have been assigned to a less crowded city called Bilecik. The government allowed them to stay in Istanbul until after their child, Lael, was born (October 1st). Now they must move within a week. Umid and his family have been an amazing example to us of a family trusting in God for their daily needs. Although they do not have any financial support and cannot legally work here, they have made ends meet. Now they will have to start fresh in a new city.
We are praying that God will use them in this new place to be an extension of our ministry into the countryside (three hours away). While waiting for the next step in the process, they could be in Bilecik for one to five years. Umid has a vision to share the Gospel with the people of this town and we are excited to see God's hand reaching beyond Istanbul.
So, we are coming to all of you because we know your generous hearts and trust that God can use this. They need money for appliances, beds, cost of moving, etc. If, with all of your help, we could raise $2,000 for them, it would greatly ease the stress and uncertainty that lies ahead of them. Please consider helping this wonderful family that has and is serving God so selflessly in this amazing country of Turkey!
If you would like to donate to them, please let me know. You can easily donate by sending money to our account (Roger Robbins) through the GGWO Missions Office by mail or online (www.ggwo.com/cms). Please be sure to make a note that the money is for Umid so that there is no confusion.
Thank you so much for your love, prayers, and support. God is so faithful and we look forward to seeing Him do miracles once again!

Saturday, October 30, 2010


Pastor Matti's message on Wednesday night was so great and thought provoking, I thought it would be good to post some thoughts I had about it.
The world is a hard place to live, full of evil and injustice, crawling with sinners just waiting to disappoint us or betray us - and yet we are happy! How can this be? Are we naive in our worldview? Do we ignore the facts that are all around us which tell us that there is nothing to be happy about? No, far from it. We see beyond the natural to the spiritual world in which we are already victorious! We have carefully read our Bibles and come to the conclusion that God is good and loving, there can be eternity with Him and salvation is free. That is why we are happy. Not because this earthly life is full of pleasure, but because our lives are lived for Him and He is faithful to do it! It is a genuine joy that comes from within - not the temporary happiness given by external experiences or pleasures. So when we walk into a cafe, someone's home, or our workplace, there is a joy overflowing from our countenances because we know the Truth and the Truth has set us free.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

People to pray for!

Angelica (in the blue) as well as her sister and father from Syria

Karen and her aunt Irma - Armenian Turks

Levent, a young Turkish engineer

Monday, October 4, 2010

Welcome, Lael - you are loved!

Hello dear friends,
We just wanted to pass along the wonderful news that Lael was born on Friday, October 1st to very happy parents, Umid and Gulshoda. Everyone is healthy and doing great!
Thank you so much to everyone who gave and prayed for them! Because of the amazing generous Body of Christ, they were able to pay all the hospital costs. God was so faithful!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Urgent Request!

Hello dear friends,
Roger and I have been back in Istanbul for about two weeks now, but we already feel very settled and at home again. The church here is doing well but has suffered from the lack of team members present during the summer months. We are really praying for some amazing spiritual momentum in the next few months!
We are coming to you with an urgent request. It is not for us, but for our dear friends and team members from Uzbekistan, Umid and Gulshoda. They are refugees from their own country right now with very little help from the government to survive here. You may know them by pictures we have put up over the years. Umid is the longest permanent team member that Team Istanbul has had! Right now, Gulshoda is pregnant and expecting their baby girl to arrive any day. Unfortunately, although they have found a clean and safe hospital and the right doctor, they do not have the money to pay for the hospital fees. Incredibly enough, all they need is $1,500 for everything! In comparison to delivery costs in other countries, this might seem like nothing to you, but to them right now it is a huge burden that they cannot bear.
Please consider giving Umid and Gulshoda an opportunity to have their child in a safe clean hospital. If you are willing to give, please send it to the Missions Office either by mail or through the ggwo website (http://www.ggwo.org/index.php?module=main&action=supportus) and give to Istanbul and make it clear that the money should be sent to Roger Robbins. Also, if you have given, please let us know immediately so that we can be expecting it.
I cannot stress how important this is and I know that each of you will prayerfully consider what you can give. God has been so faithful to us and we have great confidence in the amazing generous hearts of the Body of Christ.
We look forward to hearing from you! God bless you,

~Roger & Liz Robbins

Friday, September 17, 2010

Home and Joyful - Thoughts on Eternity

Hello dear friends!
Roger and I arrived safely back in Istanbul earlier this week. We were overjoyed to walk into our apartment and unpack our things and get settled in.
The day after we arrived, a group of young Finns arrived for a week-long visit. We are having a great time with them and they have been a great blessing to us and the church!
Please continue to pray for us and for the church here in Istanbul. We will be faced with some difficult decisions in the coming months and we are asking for clear guidance from God. We are so thankful to be in God's call for our lives and we are calmly resting in His plan, trusting Him for all the small details that loom so large in front of us.
Pastor Matti's message in our first church service back was about suffering in the will of God. It was an amazing message and surprisingly full of joy! He was encouraging us that suffering can be a part of the will of God and if it is from God, suffering is actually the most beautiful and precious expression of His love for us. I Peter 4:12-16 describes our suffering as a glorious thing that has eternal value. We could go through life without any pain or suffering for the sake of Christ and God would still welcome us into heaven with open arms...but from what we read in the Bible, its very clear that this "suffering that worketh patience" is of great value to God in eternity. That cannot be denied. P.Matti also pointed out that in comparison to the eternity we will spend with God, our earthly lives are like a tiny drop in a huge ocean of time. So we can either choose to run away from all pain - which would mean to keep every relationship distant and never allow God's love to make us vulnerable to betrayal, disappointment, manipulation, etc... Or we can choose to glorify God in His will for our lives - which we are promised will most certainly involve pain and suffering. God will love us matter what we...So which will it be?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Almost Home...

We are getting excited about heading back to Turkey soon. We have a couple more weeks to work hard, enjoy our families and savor the amazing Body of Christ in Baltimore - and then its back to reality! There is so much to look forward to and we are so thankful for our lives and the amazing God who holds us in every situation.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Pray for Kubra's upcoming brain surgery!


Follow the link above to watch the piece that a local Baltimore news station did about Kemal and Kubra and KEEP PRAYING!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Middle East Events Mailing List

Pastor Matti has asked me to start to compile the names and email addresses of people who are interested in Middle East Missions and any upcoming events (e.g. the Leadership Conference in October, the trip to Jordan and Lebanon in December, etc.).
If you are one of those people, please email me so that I can start to make this list.
Thank you!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Quick Update

Hello friends!
Its been a long time since we've posted anything on here. I apologize to all of you who faithfully check our blog! While we are in America, we do not post as often. But please continue to check in on us and we promised to be more consistent once we're back in Istanbul.
About that, our plan is to continue working full time and saving up money here in Baltimore until the first or second week in September. Please keep our finances in prayer - that is the only thing keeping us from going back right now! We miss our home, our church, our friends, and our pastor!

For all of you who know and love Kubra (and Kemal), please keep praying for her. She has already had the heart surgery, and it went well. She is recovering now and will have the main brain surgery in early August if all goes well. Pray for miraculous recovery of damaged cells and organs in Kurba's body, for Kemal's strength and endurance, and for Kubra's mother and siblings who are back home in Istanbul waiting anxiously for their safe return.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Barış & Suna

Roger befriended a young guy named Baris (means peace) after he delivered food to us at the church several times. He was very sweet and completely baffled that the place we were in was a church. He was intrigued for sure! He came to church the next night and really enjoyed P.Matti's message. He invited us to his house for dinner right away. He took us to their small apartment that he shares with his older brother's family of 4 and his sister. The children were asleep and his brother and sister-in-law work nights, so we had a great time with just Baris and his sister, Suna. They are from a large Kurdish family (nine children) that moved to Istanbul from an far eastern city in Turkey for work and more opportunity. They told us all about themselves, their lives, their hopes, their troubles. They were both so sweet and open. Suna made all the food and spread a tablecloth on the floor of the small living room where they both also sleep at night. So we ate soup, salad, fish, and rice while sitting on the floor and talking (only in Turkish, of course!). Please pray for these two wonderful people and their family! God has such an amazing plan for them and it is so far beyond what any of us can imagine.