A few hours after Christoph Haus returned from his overseas trip to Turkey, he was already back at work in his office in Elstal and writing his travel report. “It is impressive how faithfully our Turkish Baptist Alliance co-workers do their work: they hold on despite all the difficulties and setbacks. I would be desperate for a long time, but they see people baptised time and time again,” he says in a personal conversation with Matthias Dichristin.
The general secretary of EBM INTERNATIONAL returned from his first trip since the outbreak of the corona pandemic, encouraged. In the same way, he also brought a lot of encouragement to our partners in Turkey. Unfortunately, the mission council planned for autumn 2021 had to be cancelled for the third time. This reality was met with a great deal of understanding, but also disappointment. “Our brethren in Turkey urgently need encouragement and so it was important for me to at least be there myself again and to have fellowship with the people.” Christoph Haus not only met the pastors from Istanbul, Izmir, Adana and Menemen, but also consciously sought community with brethren from the congregations: “The hospitality of our friends and their heart to engage with people is just exemplary.”
In Gaziantep – just before the Syrian border – there once was a small church that is now being brought back to life. Together with Ertan Cevik, we were able to visit an old man from the church who became a Christian just by reading the Bible. Christoph and Ertan have encouraged him that Pastor Abdullah from Istanbul can support the congregation from time to time. Abdullah himself has the vision of starting work in his hometown of Türkoglu. The city is just over an hour’s drive from Gaziantep. With the help of EBM INTERNATIONAL and the disaster relief fund of the BEFG, he was able to provide emergency aid in May. This generated good press in the city. Christoph was also able to meet the people who helped forming the church from the start.
In Adana, Pastor Sükrü is still trying to find a plot of land for the congregation to build their own church. Although a small group, the members have already saved 15,000 euros for this themselves. This is an important prayer request. The faithful elders of the church were very happy about the visit from Germany and the solidarity with EBM INTERNATIONAL. In the north of Adana, in the house of a church member, one of the elders is already gathering some believers – in addition to the existing congregation in the centre of the village. It is hoped that this group will become a sister church.
In Menemen we have been supporting Pastor Onur for some time. It is close to his heart to keep the doors of the church open every day. He regularly shares about how people come by, start a conversation, and ask questions about the Christian faith. A small group of women meet at the church for needlework. In Menemen, there is a good neighbourly connection to those around the Church.
Church work in Turkey is a branch of EBM INTERNATIONAL that we are promoting as part of Thanksgiving 2021. Donations will help further church development work in Turkey, Latin America and Africa.
Matthias Dichristin after a conversation with Christoph Haus