Local church sponsors Turkey mission trip | Arts & Culture
Ridgeway Baptist Church, located in East Memphis, sent a Mission Team to Istanbul, Turkey. The team arrived in Turkey on Friday, September 21st and was there until Saturday the 29th. One of the team members, Renee Shackelford, shared her experiences and photos on the Ridgeway facebook page. Here, in her words, is what the team participated during their time in Turkey. Later in October the mission team will be traveling to India. More information about Ridgeway Baptist Church can be found here.
Friday, Sept. 21
We are here!! The flights went like clockwork and we even arrived early! We spent the afternoon exploring a bit of the city and eating good Turkish food. We are hoping to get a good night's sleep (we are pretty tired) and are looking forward to the week ahead. I will be posting updates and pictures when possible. Pray for us and the people we hope to impact.
Saturday, Sept. 22
Today we spent the day exploring the streets of Istanbul, meeting people and trying to share God's love with them. We traveled by tram, boat, and subway. We visited 2 continents- Europe and Asia. After we returned to our hotel, some surprise guests showed up. We are looking forward to worshipping at an international church tomorrow.
Sunday, Sept. 23
Usually on Sunday morning I get in my car and drive the 3 miles to church in about 5 minutes. And usually on Sunday morning I am rushing and running late. This morning we started out in Europe, rode a tram, boat and bus to church and ended up in Asia. AND we got there early!! We were early even after getting off of the boat 1 stop too soon and having to walk about 1/2 mile to catch the bus. Maybe I should rethink my usual Sunday morning routine. :-).
This church doesn't have a paid pastor. The men in the church who have seminary training take turns preaching. They are going through the book of 1 Corinthians and whoever is speaking uses the next passage to preach from.
After the service, we went to the home of a couple in the church for lunch. It was yummy and the view from their apartment was amazing!!
It was another good day. The weather couldn't be better. We are all doing well (if you don't count the sore calf muscles from tons of walking and the extra pounds we are carrying from the good Turkish food) Tomorrow we are going to an island for an experience that I have never had before. Please pray for us to reach people tomorrow for Christ and get the Word of God into the hands of lost people. There are 17,000,000 people in this city. 4,100 are Christians. Do the math. This city needs Jesus!!
Monday, Sept. 24
Today was an amazing day. We took a boat to one of the Princes' Islands in the Marmara Sea. Today was Pilgrimage Day for several thousand Muslims from the city. This happens twice a year- in spring and fall. On this day people come to have wishes granted. They purchase wishes (or trinkets representing wishes), candles, and colored string. There is a monastery at the top of the island. It is a VERY steep walk to the top. A person will tie one end of their string to a tree and walk up the incline letting the string out as they go. They do this in silence. The purpose in doing this is so that the blessing they receive at the top will travel back down the string with them. At the top of the hill they will enter the monastery and pray, light their candles, and leave their wishes there. It really broke my heart to see people earnestly praying in a building filled with pictures of Jesus and crosses and yet they are not praying to the one who can really make their wish for eternal life come true. They are so close and yet so far. On the way back down the hill they will pass out sugar cubes to ensure that they get their wishes granted by blessing others. Today we collected many sugar cubes and returned the blessing by giving them the Word of God. We gave away 90 Bibles, 60 DVDs of the Jesus film, and hundreds of tracts. Please pray that these resources will make their way into the hearts of the people who read and watch them.
Tuesday, Sept. 25
Today we visited a community on the Asian side of Istanbul. We first drove to the highest point of that community and prayed for the people there. Then we went walking. We met several women who were going about their daily chores. The thing that struck me was that women everywhere are much alike. Our daily chores may be quite different as you will see from the pictures but our lives are much the same; taking care of our families, enjoying our friends, and being hospitable to others. Everyone we stopped and talked to were very friendly and welcomed us warmly. We were able to leave them with the Word of God and a Jesus DVD. Pray that they will come to a saving relationship with Jesus. Tonight we ate dinner with my favorite residents of this city. It was fun seeing their new apartment and visiting. We had Iranian food for dinner and it was Yummy!! Thanks guys!!
Wednesday, Sept. 26
Today we got to have tea with an Iranian believer and his Turkish wife in their new apartment. He crossed the border from Iran to Turkey about 12 years ago to escape religious persecution. For the first 6 years he lived - in his words-"like a dog". He worked pretty much as a slave in a shop here. But as the years passed, like Joseph in Potifer's house, he proved his ability and trustworthiness and ended up running the business. We prayed over them, their son, and their new apartment. They are delightful people with a commitment to Jesus Christ that is amazing.
We then went to a community center run by believers and met some lovely people. One lady was in almost full burka (her face was showing). She was a delight to talk to.
Thursday, Sept. 27
Today started out early. We took a 6:45 am flight to Izmir and from there rode with a tour guide to Ephesus. It was a very interesting day of walking the path that Paul walked over a thousand years ago.
Saturday, Sept. 29
Yesterday was the last day for the team in Istanbul. We made our way to several local sights. We went to the Hagia Sophia, a church built in the 6th century. It is beyond imagination how they were able to construct such a beautiful, massive structure without modern machinery and technology and yet it still stands nearly 1,600 years later. We also toured the Hippodrome and the Blue Mosque. We visited a carpet shop and, of course, had to get Turkish carpets. After that we went to the Grand Bazaar for more shopping. It was a fun way to end a very special week. I hope this is the first of many trips for Ridgeway to Istanbul, and I hope that more people will come to meet the wonderful people who live here and develop a burden for their souls.