Supporting Work in Turkey
Below is an article by the missionary in Turkey.
Life and Death
In the last few months there has been the opportunity for A to do some ministerial counseling. The first opportunity came when A was called by a family at the church with some tragic news. There was a family who had lost a loved one and being a foreigner and a non-Muslim she going to be buried in the plot on the outskirts of town for “gavur” or pagans. Knowing only that there was a Russian connection and they needed a minister to oversee the funeral they called me to go out the next day. Having no experience in Russian funerals and very little experience in funerals in general I called up Elijah and Misha from the Russian church and asked them to come along.
When we arrived we discovered that the woman who was being buried had committed suicide after a few months of visiting her daughter. Her daughter had married a Turkish man and after a few months of staying in Turkey with her daughter this sixty to seventy year old woman lost hope and ended her life. Learning this we realized how sensitive a time this was and as a team consoled and shared the gospel with the family letting them know how much God loves and grieves for his creation and lovingly calls them through Christ to return to Him.
As the funeral proceeded, it began to rain and as we watched as the men covered over the wood coffin first with cement blocks and then with dirt there was a snake that came out of the earth that was being moved. This led the family members to ask if rain and a snake were bad omens. We assured them that these were not some sign of judgment on their family. In the end we were able to give a Bible and some materials on the life of Christ to this family and invite them to come to the church if they ever had any questions or needed comforting.
The second opportunity came a few weeks ago when we received a call regarding a woman whose daughter was in the hospital after an accidental drowning at one of the hotels here in the area. The woman was in Turkey on vacation with her eight year old daughter from Ukraine. In the few minutes it took for this woman to change into her bathing suite at the pool the daughter fell into the deep end of the pool and went unnoticed long enough to sink to the bottom of the pool.
We were called to pray over the daughter a few days into her time in the ICU at the same hospital where K underwent surgery a year and a half ago. Again I invited Misha and Elijah to come and as I went in to the ICU they ministered to the uncle of the girl Andrei, who was with them on this vacation. The woman was grief stricken for obvious reasons and we prayed together for her daughter’s healing. The first day of prayer was encouraging as the daughter seemed to flex her foot. The doctors assured us that this was very common even for patients who might already be brain dead and told us not to get our hopes up.
After several more days of testing and monitoring the doctors had lost all hope and the woman was the last one holding on to the hope that her only daughter would be miraculously brought back from death. We prayed and talked much together over these days and K brought some other members of the church here to minister and pray to the girl when the family was away. This event came right on the front end of us needing to leave the country to renew our visas and so we left eight days into this trial. When we were saying goodbye to Nina, the mother, she thanked us for praying and hoping with her and told us that she felt alone when the event first happened but that she didn’t feel alone anymore. We told her this was the hope that we have in Jesus that we are never alone.
We wait eagerly to see how God will work for good in the midst of these tragic events.