Merhaba to Hope

by - February 08, 2015

Rain just gives me joy. And today we got to walk in it, from Asia to Europe and back to Asia again. Part of that on a ferry. Istanbul is the only major world city to be located in two continents. So it's not as far as it sounds, but it's just fun in my head to say it.  "From Asia to Europe." A lot different than my normal "from Kay to Osage." I love to cross the prairie. And today I loved to cross these continents. Only God.

When we landed here a few days ago, as I was reaching for my coat from the overhead bin, the buckle on my super grown up black trench coat fell on my face cutting me a giving me a fat lip.  Then I had a pretty good cold or allergy, something or other, settle in my eyes that kept them oozing (tmi?) for most of two days. I had to get up during the night to treat them because they were stuck shut.  I was not feeling my best to say the least.  I had a weird lip wound and oozy eyes as our first evening of training began. Will I ever get tired of helping people find hope in The Lord? Freedom in his Word? I cannot imagine. Oozy eyes or not, I love what we have been called to do. And, with that, I commit to not typing the word ooze in any form for the remainder of this blog. 

Here are the 2 Turkish words I have learned...
Merhaba: Turkish word used for "welcome" MARE-ha-bah
Tamam: Turkish word for "ok" sounds like "tell mom" 

At first I was welcoming our Turkish friends to their own country, and their own churches as I shouted "Merhaba!" when they entered.  I'm pretty smooth you guys.  And I just now found out there is no L in their word for ok. I've literally been saying "tellmom."  I should have taken Turkish in high school, because my fluency in Ponca City Spanish doesn't come in handy here. "Frutas y legumbres por favor?"  "Donde el bano?"  "Marianella. Porque tu feo?" Saddest movie I've ever seen in my life.

The trainings have gone really well so far. One of my co-workers/friend is here with me on this trip and we have shared the training time. This is her first ministry trip with our organization and I find myself sharing the ropes as I have come to understand them. My first trip here was exactly a year ago this week.  Things are moving forward in the Lord's timing here and it is such a wonderful thing to see. Today we visited a church with our friends, and then visited a second church where our newest Hope Center will be located and I had the opportunity to share a message with their afternoon service members. We talked about the call to counsel in Scripture, and the context of the resources we have had published inTurkish to help them counsel and disciple their members. There were some great questions that I have had experience discussing through Hope For The Heart, and I get so excited when it is just so clear that God is meeting their needs and helping answer their questions about their everyday struggles through this ministry. Merhaba to Hope.  I have many moments (on every trip) that I think "that was worth the trip." If just for her, if just for him.  How will God use that grace in their heart, their family, their community, their ministry...maybe their country?  I explain to them how our Founder began and grew the library of topics, and how her heart was to not give advice, but to know what God's word says, and help people take practical steps in faith toward change.  There is always such an eagerness in people to know more. I know that feeling. When something truly speaks to my heart and I know it is an answer, or a confirmation, or guidance I've been waiting for. A Hope or help I've been praying for. I've had that happen a lot since starting work with this ministry, as it continually points me back to God's Word.  Understanding God is so far out of comprehension, but as we seek him, he opens our understanding a little more, a little more, and a little more again. Always, it begins with a first step. A first prayer...and God is already there. In his word, through his spirit to help us. 

Today was a big day of protests here. The US State Department sent us a warning as they often do, to be careful and aware. The loud music and mobile PA systems began early this morning, and thankfully ended peacefully. At our first church service we attended with our friends we got to be part of a young woman confessing with her mouth what she believes in her heart...that Jesus is Lord. The pastor was preparing us for communion. He was explaining, in Turkish, translated to us by a Romanian, that communion was for Believers, and that if you had not made that decision yet then you should wait. A young woman two rows behind me with a hat on like my niece Jordan wears a lot,  stood up in her pew and said she had been reading and studying about Jesus and she wanted to follow him and be saved. The Pastor called her to the front read scripture with her right then, she prayed, they prayed over her, and she took her first communion. Merhaba, sister. I don't know if everyone cried, but us two girls from Texas and Oklahoma had to dig out some Kleenex. What a moment. What a boldness. I turned around and waived to her two rows back. It would have been too disruptive for me to climb over the pews and hug her like I wanted to.

Tomorrow we will have a few hours to look around before doing topic training with youth at one of the churches. On Tuesday we will have a meeting with pastors first and then do an introductory meeting with their church that evening. Talking with them about Hope. I can't imagine ever getting tired of helping people find Hope through The Lord. Wait...did I already say that?

Here are a few of my favorite pictures from our walks and moments so far...


Rain today.  Snow forecast for tomorrow.  Hopefully sleep for tonight.

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  1. Once again, you have me completely undone by your heart for sharing hope and your willingness to go where He calls you even when it's hard. Especially when it's hard. Praying for you both as you discover what Jesus is up to in Istanbul. Love you. Susan