The following two short reports are from HeartCry missionaries Petrus K. in western Turkey and Dr. Andrew among the Arabs in the Middle East.
Petrus K. - Western Turkey
My wife and I are very thankful to the Lord for His great help and provision during my wife’s pregnancy. Although the weather here is getting hotter every day, my wife and our baby girl’s health are good. We went to the doctor the other day and learned that the baby is growing so well that she may be born a week earlier, which is the 23rd of August. It is wonderful to hear that our baby is growing healthy, and we are excited to see her. Please continue praying for my wife, our baby, and myself.
Our church’s Bible studies are going well. God is still teaching our church and changing us by His Word. We are studying the book of Genesis and learning a lot about God’s character and the fallen nature of humans by looking at lives of the patriarchs. Our church’s mentoring ministry is also going well, even though some of the students had to return to their hometowns for the summer break. The students seem to be growing in their faith and are living their lives in a manner worthy of the Gospel. Please pray for these young people and the new believers whom we mentor that God might conform them to Christ and use them for His Kingdom. Please also pray for me and the other mentors so that we might also grow in maturity, faith, and Christian character. Especially pray for me in my endeavors to find, train, and disciple leaders in our church. I want to minister according to God’s will. We are still a church plant and want to grow spiritually and numerically so that God might use us to plant other churches in our country. We know that we can do this only according to the will and power of God. Please pray that we might have the wisdom, endurance, and love required for these goals.
Our church’s evangelism is going well. We are still in touch with the seekers with whom we have made contact. One lady, who contacted us via our church’s website, keeps sending us her questions about Christianity. She still does not feel secure to visit our church because of the pressure that might come from her family and friends. This is a typical situation for many non-believers in our country. For this reason, using media such as books, videos, audio files, web pages, and the internet is very helpful in reaching out to seekers. Our student outreach program is also going well.
Although it is summer time and there are so few students on campus, our church and other sister churches are diligent to go on campus to share the gospel with the students, the majority of whom are either Muslims or atheists. Please pray for us that we might evangelize patiently and wisely. We desire to be fully dependent upon God and not on our own talents, knowledge, strength, or strategies. Please also pray for the young brother who came to Christ through our university outreach program last year and is now attending our church’s baptism class. He seems very enthusiastic in learning more about Christ and wants to be baptized soon. He is a quick learner and a good evangelist. He shares the gospel with his co-workers and everyone in his family. Praise the Lord for drawing His people to Him and sending them to find the lost.
God has been helping us in our church’s spiritual growth. God shows His greatness, grace, love, faithfulness, protection, and provision even in the midst of our trials. Praise the Lord! One member of our church, who began attending our church several years ago, was caught stealing other people’s money and belongings. He had done this before and was disciplined by the church. After each discipline, he would tell us that he was sorry and asked for our help. Each time we forgave him, yet he kept abusing the good intentions of our church. This last time, he stole one of our brother’s money, camera, and cell phone during our summer camp. We caught him red-handed and got the items back from him. Last Sunday, we excommunicated him and informed other churches in town about the situation. We are sorry for this man, but he needs God’s discipline. We are so thankful to the Lord for helping us to grow in maturity as His local Body by letting us pass through these trials.
Please also pray with us for our goals and visions and for the future of Christianity in Turkey. Our church and other like-minded churches in town want to organize either a Christmas or Easter celebration together next year. We plan to rent a place which will hold a couple hundred people. It will be a great time for worshiping our Lord altogether, praising Him for what He has done for us, and reaching out to the lost as much as possible through the gospel. Please pray for us in this vision. We want to do it according to God’s will.
Another goal of our local church is to train and disciple people to be leaders for the church in Turkey. Please pray for the right people to be raised up and equipped for His mighty works in our country. Please also pray for me and other pastors who must be careful in choosing and training people for the ministry. We do not want to rush and make mistakes, but we want to obey our Lord and try to lay a sound foundation with His direction. Related to this vision, we also have a vision of having the first Turkish Seminary in our country. We want to be able to train and equip leaders for God’s Kingdom and help our brothers and sisters to grow in the Word and sanctification. We know that we have a lot of work ahead of us. We also know that no man can do this without God’s help. Nevertheless, we believe that it will happen if it is in accordance with God’s will. So, my brothers and sisters, please pray for God’s wisdom, peace, discernment, direction, and provision in terms of these visions and dreams. May God bless you! You have been a blessing to us!
Dr. Andrew - Mission to Arabs
The following is a series of updates from Dr. Andrew regarding two distinct situations he has dealt with over the past six months. The first situation concerns a couple, O______ and R_______ (names withheld), who came to Christ from a Muslim background. The second concerns a man, H_________, who also comes from a Muslim background, but through Dr. Andrew, has seen the truth of the gospel. Both situations are illustrative of what missionaries and Christians living in Muslim majority areas deal with on a frequent basis. Let these accounts move us to prayer.
My friend O____________ and his wife R____________, both of whom are believers from a Muslim background, have been facing severe persecution from their families and the secret police because of their new faith. In the office of the secret police, the police beat them up and threatened to take their two daughters from them! Two death threats have been made against them from the wife’s family and a secret police officer. O_________ and R__________ have refused to deny Christ and have stood up for their faith. We need your prayers that they might have more courage and boldness to witness about their Savior. O___________ is the first person I won to Christ in 1999. Because of this situation, we have had to stop the underground Bible study group. Pray that God will show us what to do.
One month ago, I sat with a Muslim man called H_____________. He was searching for the truth, and one of my friends referred him to me. I sat with H___________ and talked about Islam and Christianity. He had many questions about the Christian faith, the crucifixion of Jesus, the Song of Solomon, the Trinity, and many other things. Yesterday, he called me and was very upset, disappointed, and confused. He said: “I am so confused because I cannot make up my mind about my religion! I am not Muslim anymore because Islam has totally collapsed in my eyes; and I am not a Christian because if I convert, my Muslim friends and family will kill me!” I would appreciate it if you would join me in praying that God might give H___________ wisdom and courage so that he can take this step of faith and follow the one true God.
Regarding O_________ and his wife R__________: Since my last e-mail, they have heard nothing from the secret police, but their families have threatened to kill both of them and take their two daughters away from them if they do not reject their belief in Christ! After much prayer, this bold couple decided to stand firm in their faith in Christ and have not betrayed Him. So, they went to their family and told them that they will not betray the Lord who saved them, but that they would leave their country! Now O_________ and R__________ are leaving for another Middle Eastern country to start their lives as a Christian couple! What they have been through leaves them with scars and bitter memories, but they do believe that the Lord is faithful and that He is going to guide them in their future steps. PLEASE keep them in your prayers as they are moving to another country. Pray that our Lord might open a wide door for them to share the love of Jesus with Arabs there.
What happened with O_________ and R_________ raises a very important question about Christians from a Muslim background: How should we deal with them when they decide to follow Christ? Who will protect them? And what about their children? Are they going to be raised as Christians or Muslims? The parents want them to be raised as Christians, but the community deals with them as Muslims! This causes a great identity crisis!
Regarding H__________, I met with him, and we talked for over an hour. He explained to me the struggles that he has in his mind. He no longer struggles with doubt, because he has reached the point where he does know that Jesus is the ONLY way. Mostly, he struggles with the idea of rejecting the faith that he has been practicing for the last 35 years, and he worries that his family will discover the truth and persecute him! His main issue is the fact that he realizes that Islam is fake, but he is still afraid to get out of it! Please keep him in your prayers … I believe that one day we will baptize him!
It has now been two months since O_______ and R________ moved to the U.A.E. Now O_______ is working as a part-time masseur and R________ works as a part-time nurse and part-time translator in a Christian hospital. Unfortunately, up to this point, neither of them has been able to adapt to their new culture. While talking with them over the phone the other day, O________ told me that he hopes that this relocation will be a new beginning for them to live their lives as a Christian couple. He longs to witness to others about how faithful the Lord has been to them. O______ and R________’s story teaches us that while we are living our lives as Christian people and worshiping the Lord in our churches, many of our brothers and sisters are living their faith in secret, and still others are worshiping the Lord in prison.
I contacted H_________ to meet with him while I was in the South and to see where he is in his new understanding of Christianity. His work schedule is really tough, and we were not able to meet, but over the phone he told me that his dilemma is getting bigger. Day after day, he is realizing his deep need for the redemptive work of Jesus; but on the other hand, his respect for his tribe is so big that he does not want to offend them by converting from Islam! H_________ is a living example that following Jesus is not merely a decision that is made out of one’s own understanding, but it is the outcome of the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit in the heart of a fallen person. Please keep praying for H_________ and his ongoing battle.