I recently returned from visiting Pastor Ihsan in Ankara, Turkey. He and teh evangelical church in Turkey (which is primarily made up of converts) are doing an incredible work. They are serving the Iraqi and Syrian refugees fleeing ISIS. These refugees — Kurds, Yazidis, Turkmen, Christians — arrive in Turkey with nothing. The church has responded with care and teh Gospel. If you are interested in helping their work, you can make a gift to Beaverton Foursquare and indicate that it is for the refugees. We will insure that every dollar goes to the efforts of the church there.
The following is from Pray for Turkey and addresses the ongoing efforts of the church to bring peace and stability to the country. I met with Pastor Ihsan Ozbek when I was there. He is part of the leadership that is serving the refugees.
Pastor Ihsan’s Press Conference
12 leaders of the Protestant Churches in Turkey came to Diyarbakir to draw attention to the instances of terrorism and imposed curfews in the Sur district of the city. Ihsan Özbek, the head pastor of the Kurtuluş Churches, reported that they had come to beg our state to demonstrate its greatness by showing mercy and justice to all its children, and to beg those seeking a solution by “digging trenches” instead to choose to express themselves (their grievances) without weapons.
Pastor Ihsan Özbek came to Diyarbakir as the spiritual leader of the 12 protestant Churches in Turkey (sic). After first meeting with Governor Hüseyin Aksoy and visiting the Greater Municipality Mayor Gültan Kışanak he held a press conference. Speaking on behalf of the commission, Kurtuluş Churches Head pastor Ihsan Özbek said they had come to Diyarbakır as the leaders of the Protestant Churches in Turkey. Özbek said that they were here as followers and representatives of Jesus Christ who repeatedly said “love one another.”
“WE CAME TO PLEAD”
Özbek noted that they came under the weight of Almighty God who cannot remain a spectator as the people whom he created with his love are suffering so terribly and facing death. Özbek said
“It is obvious to all of us that hate, anger and conflict have not and will not bring peace. We came to beg all parties to take steps towards peace to escape from this terrible vortex. Between the tears being shed and the smoke of the battles our eyes can’t see and our minds can’t think. In this current atmosphere no steps can be taken for peace and goodness, we have come to plead ‘Stop, think again’. We came to beg our government to demonstrate its greatness by showing mercy and justice to all its children, and on the other hand, to plead with those of our citizens who are seeking solutions by ‘digging trenches’ to choose to express themselves without weapons.”
“WE HAVE HOPE OF LIVING IN BROTHERHOOD”
Özbek, who explained that he had hope that in Turkey we could live in peace and brotherhood, emphasized that those bodies that represent the will of the people, the parliament, the President, the government and local administrations, must work hand in hand. Özbek continued:
“Without looking at who is right and who is wrong, the moment we can say ‘fighting is not necessary, we will solve these problems with dialogue’ then the dark clouds will immediately lift from our country. No matter where you are, we plead with all our citizens to hold out your hand today to make tomorrow’s peace a reality today. We love our country and we pray blessings at all times for everyone, from the greatest to the least, both for our leaders and for all the people. And we don’t just pray; we will knock on every door until peace comes to our country.”
Özbek explained that they would make appointments to visit the President and the Prime Minister to bring these pleas to them as well.
Pray for Peace to come to Turkey and pray that the Christians will play a role in bringing this Peace to Turkey.