Friday, May 04, 2007

Missionaries killed in Turkey Part 2

I have read this article over 4 times since receiving it on Wednesday evening. God has moved my heart in a way that it has not been moved before. I don't fear for my life, I am free to speak about Christ with people but how often do I do it? I am so grateful for the things that God has given me, things that I take for granted.

God has given me a loving husband,(This man works so hard to take care of me and our children) 7 children (6 very healthy ones and a child that I was able to love for three months) I have 3 of the most adorable Grandchildren in the world (Bias) A Daughter-in-law who is just like a daughter to me. I have Godly parents who love me very much! A church family that I get to worship our Awesome Lord and Savior with each week. What more could a person ask for? Until I read this article I didn't see what I had.

Now on to the rest of the arcticle:

The men that did this horrible act were really just young boy's. 16 year old boy's are being used to carry out these religious murders. The reason for this is because public sympathy for youth is strong and they face lower penalties than an adult convicted of the same crime. Even the parents of these children are in favor of these acts of murder. The mother of the 16 year old boy mother looked at the cameras as her son was going to prison and said, "he will serve thime for Aliah."

I couldn't even imagine my 17 year old boy doing such an act and me thinking it was o.k.

The young men involved in the killings are currently in custody. Today news reported that they would be tried as terrorists, so their age would not affect the strict penalty. Assailant Emre Gunaydin is still in intesive care. The investigation centers around him and his contacts and they say will fall apart if he does no recover.

The Church in Turkey responded in a way that honored God as hundreds of believers and dozens of pastors flew in as fast as they could to stand by the small church of Malatya and encourage the believers, to take care of legal issues, and represent Christians to the media.

Susanne Tilman, this is the wife of the man that was stabbed 156 times. She expressed her wish to bury her husband in Malatya, the Governor tried to stop it, and when he realized he could not stop it, a rumor was spread that "it is a sin to dig a grave for a Christian." In the end, in an undertaking that should be remembered in Christian history forever, the men from the church in Adana (near Tarsus), grabbed shovels and dug a grave for their slain brother in an un-attended hundred year old Armenian graveyard.

Ugur was buried by his family in an Alevi Muslim ceremony in his hometown of Elazig, his believing fiance watching from the shadows as his family and friends refused to accept in death the faith Ugur had so long professed and died for.

Necati's funeral took place in his hometown of Izmir, the city where he came to faith. The darkness does not understand the light. Though the churches expressed their forgiveness for the event, Christians were not to be trusted. Before they would load the coffin onto the plane from Malatya, it went through two separate xray exams to to make sure it was not loaded with explosives. This is not a usual procedure for Muslim coffins.

Necati's funeral was a beautiful event. Like a glimpse of heaven, thousands of Turkish Christionas and missionaries came to show their love for Christ, and their honor for this man chosen to die for Christ.

Necati's wifes response:

Necati's wife Shemas told the world, "His death was full of meaning, because he died for Christ and he lived for Christ... Necati was a gift from God. I feel honored that he was in my life, I feel crowned with honor. I want to be worthy of that honor."
(This Godly response still brings tears to my eyes, I am so humbled by this woman)

Boldy the believers took their stand at Necati's funeral, facing the risks of being seen publicly and likewise becoming targets. As expected, the anti-terror police attended and videotaped everyone attending the funeral for their future use.

Susanne Tilmans response to her husband's murder:

In an act that hit front pages in the largest newspaper in Turkey, Susanne Tilman said this, "Oh God, forgive them for they know not what they do," She said, wholeheartedly areeing with the words of Christ on Calvary (Luke 23:24)

The missionaries in Malatya will most likely move out, their families and children have become publicly identified as targets to the hostile city. The remaining 10 belevers are in hiding. What will happen to the church, this light in the darkness? most likely it will go underground.

We need to pray for wisdom, that Turkish brothers from other cities will go to lead the leaderless church.

Pastor Fikret Bocek prayed this:

But we pray-and urge you to pray-that someday at least one of those five boys will come to faith because of the testimony in death of Tilman Geske, who gave his life as a missionary to his beloved Turks, and the testimonies in death of Necati Aydin and Ugur Yuksel, the first martyrs for Christ out of the Turkish Church.

Like I have said many times in these two post; I have been humbled by the lives of these missionaries and their families. I pray your lives has been changed as well.


e-Mom said...

This tragic story reminds me of the classic tale of Elisabeth Elliot and her husband, Jim. Jim was killed as a missionary to south America (in the 50's?) and Elisabeth and her daughter went back to minister to that brutal tribe. Ultimately many were saved. (A movie has been made of the book called "The Tip of the Spear.") I pray for a similar outcome in this situation. May God move you in new ways as a result of your concern.

Jim said...

Hi Lori -- I hadn't connected to the Elliots with this situation in Turkey, but they are similar.
It was Elizabeth Elliot on her radio program who convinced me that 'dogs do go to Heaven.'
I had been thinking more of the early churches in ACTS and how persecution of he early Christians helped spread Christianity so much.

Neva said...

These are such powerful words! They have touched my heart and impacted me in a way that is continuing.
Thank you for sharing this painful recounting.

lori said...

E-mom, Jim and Neva,

At the Wedding yesterday, I talked to the man that give me the article about the missionaries. He said, that this did not even make the news here. I can't believe that, all I have heard for the last few days here is about Paris Hilton and her going to jail, yet these missionaries lost their lives and nothing is said about them.

It is so unreal!



Anonymous said...

I went to Turkey twice before coming to know the Lord. After that I've longed to return to that beautiful land and to the precious people. But until then my "missionary efforts" will have to remained in the US until I can find my way back. By spreading the good news of salvation through the internet, email and web sites, I've endured hostile responses. This makes me wonder how I could ever go to a foreign land in the midst of opposition with little to no spiritual support. I knew people connected with the three who gave their lives for Christ in Malatya. I pray every night for the mission efforts in Turkey. The grace of God is definately upon them for the work is a long, slow, and hard. The wall is tall, thick and seemingly inpenatrable. Thanks be to the Lord Jesus Christ that He is bigger than anything that we come up against!