Turkey

New Zealand has a special relationship with Turkey because of the respect that was won between the Anzacs and Turks at the battle of Gallipoli in the World War I. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey called the fallen Anzacs Turkey's sons too because they are buried in Turkish soil.

In 2008 we took a school team to participate in the Anzac commemorations and explore the roots of our Christian heritage. Two-thirds of the New Testament was written to or from the land that is now known as Turkey. Yet, many Turks are unaware of the significance their land played in the formation of the early church.

Exploring the history and ruins of the beginnings of the church was interesting, but the highlight of the trip was meeting with the living church. While Turkey has a population of about 70 million people, only about 3000 of them are evangelical Christians. The Turkish church faces persecution, so for the safety of the Turkish believers we only have limited information available online.

To grow the Turkish church needs a strong foundation. As a fellowship, we are supporting and praying for a Kiwi family who are helping a fellowship in western Turkey with their administration and leadership skills.

Christmas Update from Turkey

On Sunday 22nd December at our Christmas service I proclaimed that this Christmas, more people, world-wide, would be celebrating Christmas than ever before in the history of the human race!

Well we have heard great news, over the holiday season, from several of our friends living in Turkey about Christmas events. Here are some of the reports.

 

On December 22nd hundreds of Christians in Istanbul had an outdoor Christmas celebration in the city for the first time - and with official permission. Some years ago we would not have expected this! You may watch some of it on this video:

Christmas Carol Flash Mob - in TURKEY!

The following is video and a portion of a report on the flash mob. It is really cool with a strong Turkish flavour.

Many people were really blessed. We performed in five different places in one day. (Firstly in the town centre, then on the ferry boat, on the other side of the habour, on the train and then in the newest, largest Mall in Izmir.) It was like a tour really. I must say it was wonderful to see the youth so excited to sing and be apart of this. On the ferry boat people even began singing with us and the whole boat applauded afterwards.

Praise the Lord we had absolutely no problems at all with the authorities. And lastly God was definitely honoured in our city.

Gaziantep, in Eastern Turkey

The following is news from Gaziantep, in Eastern Turkey.

Our citywide gathering on Sunday Dec. 23rd went wonderfully well and was a huge encouragement to everyone - especially the Turks present. There were approximately 120 people altogether from a variety of cultures...Iranian (there's a fellowship made up of mostly refugees in the city), African (students), Americans (a short-term team were passing through), Korean, Kiwi, Aussie, Canadian... Turks probably made up about a third of that number. The event was a real boost for the moral of local believers who've not seen a large gathering like this in the city for a very long time. We long for the day when such an occasion would see a group of this size (and much larger!) made up entirely of local folk...but in the meantime we enjoyed a great time of fellowship together. And we celebrated Him, lifting His name up over this city!

 

We rejoice with our friends and invite you to pray with us, that the Lord will continue to open doors for His Word to be declared in these and many more cities. 2015 is approaching quickly, the 100th anniversary of the invasion of Gallipoli. Pray about to doing a "tour of duty" and helping the Turkish church continue to advance His Kingdom.