Ever since the rise of the Ottoman Empire in 1299, Islam has dominated Turkish culture. Although modern times have seen the rise of a more secular form of government, one where freedom of religion is technically a constitutional right, Christians, including SMI’s partners, are sometimes treated with suspicion by their neighbors. At times, state and local authorities turn a blind eye to mistreatment, withholding police protection and due process of law.
However, Turkish believers – a tiny minority – are faithful to Christ. Nor have they forgotten His command to “Go and make disciples.” We especially thank Him for calling and equipping our partner Erkan to teach and disciple some of the country’s youngest inhabitants. Young believers need fellowship and discipleship too!
Following Jesus comes with a price: ostracism from classmates at school, mockery from teachers, parental scorn, and spiritual loneliness. Erkan, along with the staff of his ministry, focuses on strengthening the faith of Christian kids in Turkey. Every year, he facilitates a summer camp to build relationships with dozens of children. Camp provides a joyful and safe environment to share Jesus with children and teens. The faith of those who already believe is refreshed, and those who do not know God or His Son hear the Good News. Last summer, out of about 157 children, 23 put their trust in Christ for the first time!
During the rest of the year, Erkan continues his ministry to kids by publishing a Christ-honoring children’s magazine, as well as other books to help Turkish parents bring up their children in the Lord. He is also waiting on the Lord’s provision to open a children’s center as a point of outreach to Muslim children.
Remember Erkan and his staff in your prayers. Ask our heavenly Father to …
- Fully equip Erkan and his staff with wisdom and love. Make them jars of clay, full of the truth. (2 Cor. 4:7)
- Provide resources to build a children’s center.
- Give Erkan many opportunities to share the God’s love with Turkish children; Turkey is home to 19 million kids under the age of 14.
- Bring many Turkish children, and their parents, into the living hope we have in Jesus Christ! (1 Pet. 1:3)