We were privileged, some years ago to have a young couple at Hope Church minister to our youth. They were with us for only a year because they were in the final steps of preparing to be missionaries to Turkey. They have now been ministering for 8 years. For their safety, I can only give you their initials, J and L. In Turkey, there is strong anti-Christian sentiment and the pastor of their church along with a few members have been physically assaulted. J and others have recently begun ministering to the Kurds, the largest minority group in Turkey. Reports vary, but according to Wikipedia, there are 14 – 25 million Kurds in Turkey. The astounding thing is that there has never been a Christian church among the Kurds. This group has been praying for God to form a church here and asked those of us who support them in prayer to both pray and fast to this end for 5 days. I did not commit to a full fast, but for 5 days I fasted from coffee. And I prayed each time I craved coffee. I am a coffee lover; I would go so far as to say an addict. So, prayers for Turkey and specifically the Kurds, were lifted constantly.
I recently heard from J and he reminded us, his prayer support, that when he was ministering to the youth at Hope, a young Russian teen would meet with them. This boy used the phrase “that will be the day that there is Christmas in Turkey” in the same way we would say “when hell freezes over”. On Sunday, December 12th, 2010, weekly services began – the first Christian church ever among the Kurds. And on Sunday, December 19th, over 60 gathered to celebrate the birth of our Lord!! J said, “For the FIRST time Kurds in Turkey sang the very FIRST Christmas songs in their own language and the Turks sang Christmas songs in their language. There was Christmas in Turkey!” Deacons and elders have been appointed and a church constitution in Kurdish has been written. And they have 20 Kurmanji worship songs!
It has given me much joy to be a part of the work God is doing in Turkey. I was given a gift from Turkey by my sister-in-law and her husband a few years ago after they visited the country. It is an evil eye amulet. Many in this country believe that this charm will protect them from evil or from bad luck. I have hung this on my door and as I leave my house, I often pray for J and L and especially for Turkey, that the Holy Spirit of God will spread like a wildfire in this country. Each time I hear from them, I can see that the fire is smoldering and even spreading. Praise to Him who has called us out of darkness into his wonderful light! 1Peter 2:9