One of our ministry leaders in Turkey shared this week some good news on the growth of the churches in Turkey. He also highlighted the need for great wisdom and discernment as the churches are being closely watched.
“We’d like to open by reminding you what a difference your support through Partners International makes to our ministry. We are now in the third legislative period of the current Turkish government (its tenth year), and as time advances the Islamic influences in the government grow. In general, on the other hand, more people are coming to Turkish churches than before. Whereas the average baptismal rate in our churches used to be 6 or 7 people per year, this year the average will be around 15.
"In one city, however, the church is going through serious difficulties. A young student who converted three years ago just confessed this year that at the beginning she was a police plant in the church. She also knows that there is another plant in the church among the 7 or 8 converts of the church, but she doesn’t know who this plant is. (The recently published 800-page file on the 2007 Malatya martyrdoms divulges for the first time that in a 15-person church in Turkey, three of the people were police plants.) Together with the anonymous threats to harm the children of our pastor in the area, there is a mounting and severe pressure on the believers in this area.
"We are also receiving anonymous threats in another city as well. A Turkish columnist recently published an accusation that this church is part of a conspiracy by the U.S. government to Christianize the Turks through deception. The church has denounced this columnist for defamation, but now a young married convert is receiving specific anonymous threats. There have even been calls to his military commanders accusing this young believer of proselytizing and spying against Turkey. In spite of this very strong pressure, this believer decided to speak with his commander and testify of his faith. When he arrived, praise God, the commander seemed uninterested in the accusations and stated he didn’t know how they were relevant.
"In spite of all this, it is a huge joy to us to see how the new believers in our churches are standing firm in the Lord. Instead of letting these threats throw them back, they cling more tightly to the Lord.”
Please continue to pray for the churches in Turkey, particularly for the church leaders that they will have wisdom and protection from the Lord.
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