From May 10th to 14th, 2023, around 90 delegates and guests from 23 nations came together for the mission council in the Baptist congregation in Izmir under the theme "Everyone has something to share - let us be salt and light for the world". Four years ago, the local Baptist Church Federation, led by Pastor Ertan Çevik, invited to hold the Mission Council in Turkey. The meeting was characterized by the great warmth of the hosts and the desire for more intensive international cooperation.
Mission Council at historic site
The Baptist congregation in the Buca district uses a 19th-century Anglican church. The congregation received the international delegates with great friendliness, delicious food and Turkish tea. Through the hospitality and personal encounters, the guests were able to experience how local Christians live their faith. In addition to the young, lively city of Izmir (the biblical Smyrna), the participants also visited historical sites such as Pergamon and Ephesus. The Turkish Christians in the community in Izmir maintain good contact with the local authorities and, in cooperation with the Turkish Crescent, recently got involved with those affected by the earthquake in south-eastern Turkey.
Salt and Light to the World
The spiritual fellowship in Bible studies, services and in small groups had the theme "Everyone has something to share - let's be salt and light for the world!" It became clear: The gospel can be experienced where people use their gifts profitably and helpfully for others in their environment.
New missionaries, new strategic goals
Margrit and Micha Soppa were blessed for their future ministry. They are traveling to Malawi with their four children this summer. Micha will work as a theological teacher in Lilongwe; Margrit will contribute as a nurse.
The Mission Council also approved the new strategic goals for the years 2022 to 2027. Among other things, they describe the next steps to be taken by the partner countries in terms of more financial and content-related responsibility. This underlines the great value of partnership at eye level.
Joined as the body of Christ
In the personal conversations, but also in prayer times and in the exchange in the plenary sessions, the guests shared suffering and blessings: The brothers and sisters from Cuba told impressively how the house churches are growing - despite economic challenges and many people who are leaving the country. Fletcher Kaiya, Regional Representative for Southern Africa, thanked for the international aid following the flooding caused by Tropical Storm Freddy in the spring. Dr Judson Pothuraju, Regional Representative for India, reported on the tense situation of Christians in some states. In everything, it became clear: Despite all our differences, we belong together. As the one body of Christ, we live unity in diversity and together follow Jesus' commission to be salt and light for the world!