God is at work on Turkey’s Black Sea coast

God is at work on Turkey’s Black Sea coast

A worker in Turkey - August 11, 2017

On a Sunday morning in June, 25 new Christian believers were baptized in a nearby river in Turkey’s Black Sea region. In addition to seven Turkish believers, refugees from Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan were among those baptized.

For the past four months, one Turkish woman, Betul, has traveled nearly two hours each way on a crowded bus to gather with the church in Samsun every Sunday. Two years ago, she received a New Testament while living in another city. Recently, she reached out to the church in Samsun through social media and has been gathering with them ever since. At first she was quiet and reserved, but over time she has become part of their family. She was one of those baptized.

Unlike many who come to faith in Turkey, her family has been warm and supportive of her newfound faith — even though they make it clear they themselves have no interest at this point. Her first cousin and dearest friend baked her a cake in the shape of a cross to celebrate her upcoming baptism. They shared the cake with the whole family, and only one person refused to eat from it. Others have a different experience, facing ostracism from family, friends, and their community.

God is at work on Turkey’s Black Sea coast. In addition to all those who have begun professing faith recently, pastor Orhan Pıçaklar and others serving the church in Samsun have been ministering to prison inmates, serving refugees, and training church leaders. One young man in particular, Tansel, has been serving faithfully alongside the church. In addition to Tansel’s ministry responsibilities, he has been receiving theological training locally through leaders in the church. He is preparing to take a more active role in the church planting the Samsun church is involved with in the nearby city of Ordu.

Finally, the church is preparing to complete a building project that will give the 15 year old congregation a more permanent meeting place in Samsun. The prayers and support of European Baptists have been a great blessing to this congregation as they’ve embarked on this project. Pray for this church, its pastor, and his family; for continued faithfulness and boldness in the mission God has given them in Turkey’s Black Sea coastal region. Pray for the new believers in the region; that God would grow them in the knowledge of his grace. Pray for the refugees; that both their physical and spiritual needs would be met. Finally, pray for the training of new leaders and the planting of new churches across this region.

Photos are sent by the church in Samsun and are blurred for safety reason.