Local missionaries based in Greece were used to seeing refugees mainly from Syria, Iraq, and Iran, so they were surprised when two Turkish men showed up at their offices.
The men had fled economic and security hardships in the Kurdish areas of southeastern Turkey. After helping them with their needs for food and legal orientation, the workers were even more surprised when the Kurdish Turks eyed the Bibles on the shelves and asked, “What are these?”
When workers answered that they were Bibles, one of the men asked if there were any copies in Turkish.
“We smiled, as just a few days before, Turkish Bibles were donated to us after much research we had done to learn how to obtain them,” the ministry co-director said. “We gave him a Bible, and he said, ‘I am interested to know more about God. Can you teach me?’”
As the co-director knew some Kurmanji, the dialect of Kurdish people in southeastern Turkey, they had a brief Bible study, and she promised to find a Turkish interpreter for future sessions.
The future turned out to be a few minutes later, as the Kurds returned with a Turkish friend who also couldn’t wait to learn about God. Turkey is 99 percent Muslim, as Islam is central to Turkish nationalism, but in this corner of the world they were free to explore. The co-director asked them how they had found out about the ministry, and one replied that he had learned of it from a Greek Orthodox priest.
“I went twice to this Orthodox church and asked about Christianity, but the priest told me to come to you,” he told her.
The co-director could think of only one person who could act as a Turkish interpreter for a Bible study: another refugee who knew various languages but was not a Christian. He had often received help from workers and had attended the ministry’s church services before coronavirus lockdowns. He was eager to help.
“To our first Bible study in the Turkish language, we had the three men attend,” the co-director said. “At the next one, a young man joined them, and before they left, one of them asked, ‘Can I bring my wife next time?’
“I really love to be surprised by God,” she added. “At the end of the second Bible study, the Turkish translator looked at us and said, ‘It is such a good opportunity for me. I have been struggling to read and understand the Bible, but now I can do it with you!’”
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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Kevin Zeller
CALL TO ACTION
- Pray refugees coming to Christ would find protection from persecution and the pandemic, and that they will cross paths with believers to encourage them in their faith.
- Pray new believers will find fellowship as they transit to other countries.