Open hearts in Turkey

18 Aug, 2017 | Turkey
Megan R.
The famous Byzantine basilica turned mosque turned museum, the Hagia Sophia sits in the heart of Istanbul. In the morning hours a man prepares his cart to sell warm simit, a bread covered in sesame seeds.

Sharing Jesus with taxi drivers

Long-term OMer Eileen* was at the airport recently and missed the last train home. Although slightly annoyed that she had to take an expensive taxi, she started sharing the gospel with her taxi driver like she always does.

Usually, she explained, the drivers’ response is something like: “That’s nice,” and then they change the subject to a more casual topic. This time, the driver was drinking in every word she said.

“If I tried to change the subject, he said, No, no! Tell me more about Jesus!’,” she shared.

When they arrived at her house, she asked him to wait while she ran up to get a New Testament and a copy of the Jesus film. She also gave him the name of a website where he could live chat with Turkish believers, and a YouTube channel to watch Turks share their testimonies.

“About 20 minutes later I was getting ready for bed and realised I could still hear a motor running on the street,” said Eileen. “It was the taxi driver and he was listening to the videos, checking the website. I was blown away. I haven’t seen that kind of interest in...I can’t even remember the last time!”

Prayers quickly answered

As long-term worker Jonathan* got ready to do local outreach with a friend, he was praying that they would be able to get people’s contact information for follow up.

They tentatively approached a group of drivers at the taxi stand, not sure how they would be received. However, the drivers were very receptive and happy to hear them share about Jesus, even serving the two men tea while more men gathered to listen.

Long before Jonathan even asked for their contact info, the head of the taxi stand said, “I’d like to come and visit your place” (meaning the church). He gave Jonathan his first and last name and phone number.

A 17-year wish

OMer Phillip* recently met a teacher and they began talking about religion. The man shared that 17 years ago he was in a touristic part of Istanbul eating a simit (round Turkish bread covered in sesame seeds), when a foreigner sat next down next to him.

The teacher offered the man some of his simit, and the foreigner told him about Jesus and invited him to visit his church. Something prevented the teacher from going, and for 17 years it had been haunting him.

Then he asked Phillip, “You wouldn’t happen to have a Bible with you?” Phillip gave him a Bible and they exchanged contact information.

A few weeks later, the teacher called and told Phillip he was in town and wanted to know if they could go to church together.

Phillip brought him to church, and at the end the teacher noticed there was a table full of free books. He had brought a bag with him, and he happily filled it on his way out.

Who will show us a better way?

Three days after her encounter with the taxi driver, Eileen was in another city having dinner. She had just realised it was getting late when she overheard two men who had just entered the restaurant.

The man facing her took his ID card out and exclaimed, “Who wrote Muslim on here? I never asked anybody to write this. I don’t want to follow this, there has to be other ways. Who will show us a better way?”

She couldn’t believe what she was hearing, but the man sounded sincere. She took her placemat and wrote out the websites where he could learn about Jesus.

Then she walked up and said, “I’m sorry for eavesdropping, but let me tell you, there is a better way. I discovered it when I was 23. Here’s a website you can visit to learn more.” The man clutched it and said, ‘Thank you, thank you!’

“I hid around the corner,” she confessed, “and sure enough he whipped out his phone and started looking. These are the kind of things that we have not seen happening in this country, especially not two in one week.”

Pray for the Lord to continue to lead workers to those who are seeking answers. As openness to the gospel grows, pray for Him to raise up more workers for the harvest in Turkey.

*Names changed for security purposes

Credit: Megan R. · © 2017 OM International This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


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