Discipleship School Turkey Trip Recap
This Friday, our Discipleship School returned from their 2-week long Mission Trip to Turkey. Our students spend half a month in a beautiful southern Turkish city, sharing the gospel, praying for the sick, enjoying Turkish culture and growing together.
Turkey, a predominantly Muslim country, is similar to America in that many Turks claim their religion in name but less in practice. So though very different from America, there were many similarities in the way our team shared. The focus of our time was to be lead by the Holy Spirit as we went throughout the city and to seek out spiritual conversations with the locals.
- (turksih) to wander with purpose
This Turkish word served as the handrails for our time. Often we didn't have a certain direction or vision for where we should go, but we just wandered and explored and asked the Holy Spirit to initiate powerful conversations. Part of this strategy was to use our phones for directions as little as possible. We always sought out locals to find the nearest coffee shop, figure out where to grab a bite or locate the nearest bus stop. This continually opened doors for spiritual conversations and prayer.
It was amazing to watch the Holy Spirit powerfully orchestrate encounters with hungry people. Below are just a few testimonies from our time in Turkey:
A Gift in Disguise
During some down time, some of our students went down to swimming cove near their hotel. One student, Gabe, stepped on a rock during the swim and got a nasty splinter in his foot. Though several people took turns, no one could get the splinter out and he had to go out to share with it still in his foot. At the beginning of their time, Daniel, one of the D-School staff members, felt God telling him to be on the look out for a girl with an open umbrella. The current weather was 80 degrees without a cloud in the sky, but Daniel had faith to meet the girl. Because of Gabe's splinter, the team had to take it slow during their time prayer walking through a neighborhood but after about an hour, the group turned the corner and soon after saw a girl walk past them with an open white umbrella! Gabe and another student, Jenny, sat down to wait while Daniel and Sarah chased the girl God had shown them as she power-walked down the street.
After following for a few minutes and praying for a natural way to start a conversation, the girl turned into a Starbucks and Daniel and Sarah followed her in. They started up a conversation and sat down to talk. Before leaving for Turkey, Sarah had felt God tell her that she would meet people passionate about empowering women in Turkey. After speaking to this girl for a minute, they discovered that she was a lawyer who was passionate about women's rights and fighting for women in her country! Sarah and Daniel shared both their prophetic words with the girl and she was amazed! They read a Bible story with her and Sarah drew a gospel illustration on a napkin. The girl was so amazed by what was being shared with her, she even told Daniel and Sarah that she never is in the part of town where they met and rarely drinks Starbucks but had felt something in her heart that morning telling her to come to the area. God had been preparing her heart! She exchanged numbers with Sarah and departed, grabbing the napkin illustration and saying, "I don't want to forget this!"
Meanwhile, Gabe and Jenny had been praying for Sarah and Daniel while waiting back. After about 10 minutes, an elderly Turkish lady walked by and stopped in front of them to say hello (in Turkey, its not culturally normal for strangers to just strike up conversations). After a few words, she began pointing at Gabe and Jenny saying, "Isa Mesih," which means Jesus Christ. Jenny and Gabe identified themselves as Christians and then so did this little Turkish lady! Through Google Translate, she shared that her friend had lad her and her son from Islam to Jesus! They had a sweet conversation with her and got the number of her son, who spoke English, to connect with later for a Bible study.
What is so amazing is that the timing of all of these encounters would have been totally impossible if the team had been moving at their normal pace. But because they had been slowed down by the splinter in Gabe's foot, they were able to have these awesome interactions! How great that our God can use even a splinter to further his kingdom!
Hair Salon Healings
While out praying in a neighborhood, some of our team members, Katie, Sloan and Joe, when Katie felt the Lord saying to be on the look out for the color pink. Shortly after, they saw a women with a pink towel and walked over to speak with her. As they did, Sloan felt God telling her that this woman had back pain. They introduced themselves and found out that she did in fact have back pain. She was amazed that they knew about her pain and the team was able to pray for her and she got healed! Immediately, she began to tell all her friends nearby at a hair salon that she had been healed and many of her friends began to ask for healing. One person they prayed for was a little girl who had broken her leg a few days before and had a cast on. They prayed for her and she told them that all the pain left and she felt totally better! One woman was also healed of elbow pain, hurting knees, neck, backs and a broken wrist! All of the women were so touched by the presence of God. The team pulled out their phones and read in Turkish to them the story of Jesus healing the woman with continual bleeding. They loved this story so much because Jesus had just healed them like he did the woman in the story!
A few days later, the team was at a festival in the city where the little girl with the broken leg saw them and ran up to them. She had no cast on her leg anymore and shared with our team about how she had gone to the doctor the day before and when they checked her foot, it was completely healed! So the doctor took off the cast and she had been walking and running on her leg ever since. God really does heal and touched this little girl with his presence!
These are just a few stories of what God did through our team while in Turkey. It was a powerful and holy time getting the privilege to minister to the beautiful people of Turkey. If you'd like to hear more, ask any of the D-School students about their time and they will be sure to share with you even more!