Hello dear brothers and sisters,
Thank you so much again for your prayers and gifts. We know we are on your hearts, and that you often think of, and pray for our ministries. Thank you again that you have shown such effort in supporting our ministries. We thank each one of you and your group, because we know that if God had not touched your hearts to support us as you do, if God did not send funds through you, we could never have done the things that we have done. Our ministry would be nothing like what it is through Him!
Of course, we know that this is not our own good works, and not yours either, but this is God’s handiwork. God is using people in His Church, moving them to act, and He is doing Wonderful things!
I praise the Lord when I look at the exciting ministry He has given us here. My heart rejoices when I look at the ministry here in Antakya. You may not know that I am 50 years old. I think you are much older than me and perhaps you have seen this sort of thing, but I have never seen God do so many wonderful things as He is doing here in Turkey, using a Muslim woman’s life. God is working in the children’s lives in marvelous ways. He is working in the ladies’ lives. I praise God!!
Who are these women to whom we are ministering? They are Turkish citizens, living in Turkey, but by blood, they are of Arab origin. Their home situations are not good, sometimes bad. Praise the Lord, living in the same neighborhood, we have had a good relationship with them. We have lived here for about 13 years now. After about a year getting to know us, they trusted us, and we have had good relations with all of them. If they have a problem, they come to us. They often come and seek advice from us. I praise the Lord that God has laid a solid foundation of trust between us and them.
From the beginning, God worked in the children’s lives. First it was little Atif, three years old, who began coming to church with me. Then a 2-3 years later his little brother began coming. Regarding the women, of course, we were just showing normal neighborliness and trying to show God’s love to them all the time.
About four years ago we began a ministry to the children who lived around the church building, and in our home neighborhood. Because the families knew us and trusted us, they allowed the children to come to the church building for the Saturday activities. Many children came and numbers increased up to about 50 children. Praise the Lord, God was/is working in the hearts of the children.
Then five or six mothers of these children came to the children’s activities on Saturdays. They later also attended church on Sundays for about six months, until COVID-19 happened. Then, as with the entire world, everything had to stop and take a break! However, during this COVID time, God worked even more in the women’s hearts. Our relationships with the women deepened, and praise the Lord, we could do many things with/for the children - at a distance.
I hope you have heard about the children memorizing dozens of verses, whole passages of scripture. (translator’s note: in the two months before Christmas, Elmas gave the children passages to memorize from the Old Testament foretelling Jesus’ birth; and passages from the New Testament showing the fulfillment of Jesus’ birth.) The mothers are helping the children memorize and filming them on their phones as they recited the verses to send to me to check, so they hear the words many times over.
Then we wondered, “Why not the mums, too?” The children were copying out the book of Luke from the New Testament, and so we challenged the mothers to copy out the book of John before Easter. Because we cannot meet at the church in our normal Easter outreach, we thought this would help them understand what Easter was all about. (They knew nothing about Easter other than the Orthodox custom of painting eggs.)
We started with 19 or 20 ladies and about the same number of children who agreed to do this project. I had thought we would have 30 ladies copying John, but now we have 33 ladies and 25 children involved! Most of the ladies have finished, and many of the children have finished as well. God is working in their lives.
Two of the mothers have come and told me they want to copy out the entire New Testament. They both began yesterday (9 March). I suggested they now copy Luke and then move on to Acts because they’ve already done John. Then they will carry on from Acts. We praise and thank God for this blessing!
We are so thankful to you and to God for helping us in this ministry! Please don’t forget these ladies. Please pray often for Döneh and Sevilay, who are planning to write out the entire New Testament. We pray God will write His Word in their hearts.
Thank you, and we pray for God to continue to bless you.
Hamdullah and Elmas
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