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Turkey: Youth Activities

Turkey: Youth Activities

A VOM supported youth program in Turkey has had to adjust its delivery due to COVID-19.

The program spiritually equips youth to remain faithful followers of Jesus through their teenage years by:

  • Encouraging them to be active in attending and serving in a local church
  • Connecting the small number of Christian youths across the city and country to develop friendships and be encouraged
  • Providing a fun and safe environment for the youth to spend time with other believers away from their often lonely and intense high-school environments.
  • Regularly organising social events and yearly camps for the youth.
  • Empowering the youth to begin serving the Turkish church by providing opportunities to serve on the children’s Summer camps.

COVID-19 restrictions include Turk nationals aged under 20, along with those over 65, not being allowed to leave their homes since early March. This has meant face-to-face youth gatherings have not been possible for much of the year so far.

Meetings/events have been restricted to what can be achieved via video conference, with program organisers utilising games and other digital content to encourage participants.

At this stage it is unclear if planned Summer camps will be able to be run. Organisers are planning for both a normal style camp and an online style event.

The program team continues to pray for the youth, learning their spiritual and practical needs, bringing these before God weekly.

If you would like to financially support the work of Voice of the Martyrs, please go to: vom.com.au/donate

Voice of the Martyrs Australia is an endorsed deductible gift recipient (DGR) by the Australian government. This means you can claim tax deductions for all donations over $2 to Voice of the Martyrs Australia on your tax return.

TURKEY:  Deportation of Pastor’s Wife, A Mother-Of-Three

TURKEY: Deportation of Pastor’s Wife, A Mother-Of-Three

An American mother-of-three has been told she has to leave Turkey, one of the latest incidents in a series of expulsions of Christian expatriates from the country. There are reports stating how 35 Protestant Christian workers were refused entry to Turkey last year.

Joy Subasigüller, originally from Florida, USA, and her Turkish husband Lütfü Subasigüller were married seven years ago. They settled and started a family in Turkey. Lütfü works as a Protestant pastor in Ankara; Joy has been looking after the couple’s three children who were all born in Turkey.

Their settled, peaceful life as a family changed on 5 June when Joy was told by the Turkish migration department to prepare for deportation with apparently no reason given. “This decision makes me very sad, I love Turkey and the Turkish people, I have lived here for ten years, they were the best years of my life.”

For the couple, it is impossible to see how Joy could pose a security threat to the state of Turkey, which seems to be the reason for her deportation. She is a stay-at-home-mother with three children, the youngest an infant who still needs breastfeeding. Also, said her husband, “I am a Turkish citizen and so are my three children”. The couple is challenging the decision in court, in the hope they might find out the real reason for banning Joy from staying in Turkey.

Source: World Watch Monitor

  • Pray for God’s powerful intervention to keep their family together, and for their safety.
  • Commit the leaders of Turkey to the Lord in prayer, may all government leaders experience a personal revelation of Christ.
  • Pray that Christians will thrive in a difficult economic environment.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

Foundations Laid in Turkey

Foundations Laid in Turkey

Turkey is a diverse nation, made up of many ethnicities, but it is the recent refugee crisis that has been the biggest contributor to cultural and religious diversity.

The 2011 civil conflict in Syria has seen a rise in Syrian refugees and Turkey now houses over three million of them. Designated sites have not been adequate to hold the number of people seeking refuge in Turkey.

Many displaced refugees, particularly from Iraq and Syria, can be found throughout the country without the support they need to survive.

Initially the government welcomed refugees, but this has changed as public opinion has become increasingly negative. There have even been violent incidents between local Turkish people and the refugee community and now authorities have encouraged them to return home.

Adding to the increasing challenges, refugees do not have permission to work. Some work illegally but the majority live in extreme poverty with informal or low-paid work in deplorable conditions.

Turkey’s prominent religion is Islam to which more than 90% of the population adhere, and leaving the religion is seen as a betrayal of a person’s identity and a shame to their family. Muslim background believers experience the greatest persecution and pressure from their family, friends and community to return to Islam.

Muslim converts make up the majority of all Protestants in Turkey and are having significant difficulties exercising their religious freedom. For example, they face restrictions on their being allowed to build places of worship. Despite the apparent freedom of religion, Turkey is still considered to be a restricted nation.

Recently, a Voice of the Martyrs supported frontline worker made three visits to Turkey, to lay the groundwork to plant a church among refugees. Assisted by local Christians, the pastor visited refugees to donate food coupons.

Among the beneficiaries were Shia Iraqis and Kurdish Syrians; both groups are minorities in Turkey and the most discriminated against.

During these trips, he said the most incredible experience was seeing the Holy Spirit comforting those who were suffering, and he was able to lead four Muslims to the Lord.

There is great potential for church planting among refugee groups across Turkey and a local pastor has indicated his availability to undertake the dangerous but important task.

Local frontline workers continue to ask for prayer that God would provide the resources they need to begin the work that lies ahead.

If you would like to financially support the work of Voice of the Martyrs, please go to: vom.com.au/donate

Voice of the Martyrs Australia is an endorsed deductible gift recipient (DGR) by the Australian government. This means you can claim tax deductions for all donations over $2 to Voice of the Martyrs Australia on your tax return.

TURKEY: Iranian Christian Refugees Struggle to Feed Families

TURKEY: Iranian Christian Refugees Struggle to Feed Families

Christian workers in Turkey report that restrictions put in place due to the global pandemic have hit Iranian refugees hard.

Many of the refugees lost everything when they fled their country because of persecution for their Christian faith; and now, many have lost the low-paying jobs they had obtained in Turkey and are struggling to feed their families.

In addition, they have little access to health care because the basic medical care provided to refugees has been stopped. “Some of our students who are unwell have avoided seeking medical treatment and are now in a critical situation,” a Christian worker wrote. Pray for these Iranian believers, who are far from home and may feel desperate.

Source: The Voice of the Martyrs USA

  • Ask the Lord to provide for all their needs and strengthen their faith.
  • Pray they will receive much support, care and love from other believers in the community.
  • Pray for VOM Australia’s contacts in Turkey who are sharing the Gospel and ministering to Iranian refugees.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

TURKEY: Frontline Worker Encouraged by Church Growth

TURKEY: Frontline Worker Encouraged by Church Growth

A believer working to plant churches in each of Turkey’s 81 provinces reports that three years of work is bearing fruit. A third church began services recently in one of Turkey’s major cities, and the first church planted there has grown from 10 members to nearly 100 in less than three years.

The Christian worker also helped plant a church with a group of 20 people recently in a city of 500,000. “I’m really proud of them,” he said. “They are strong in their faith. They are ready to share and they are studying their Bible.”

As this frontline worker reaches out to the Turkish people, he meets many young people who have become disillusioned with Islam and are turning to deism, making them more open to the Gospel.

Source: The Voice of the Martyrs USA

  • Thank the Lord for the steady growth. Pray that many more will hear the Gospel and turn to the living God.
  • Pray that new believers will remain grounded in faith as they face pressure from Turkey’s Muslim society.
  • Pray the Lord will direct this Christian worker in Turkey and all those involved in frontline evangelism, throughout the nation.

Post your prayer in the comments below.