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A couple of weeks ago, I was staying in this place called Sakintepe with friends and I heard the calls of a Cuckoo for the first time in 2013. What is unusual about that you may ask? Nothing really, Sakintepe is set in countryside set in mountains and forests, you would expect to hear cuckoos!

What got me thinking when I heard the call was actually about adoption? The Cuckoo is not a good parent because, although it produces an egg, it actually lays the egg in another birds nest. The other bird has no idea that the egg belongs to the Cuckoo, but once the egg is hatched it adopts the bird, feeding it and attending to its needs until it’s fledged and flies away.

Our father God; is in a way like the adopting bird of the Cuckoo egg. After the world has ‘dumped us’ and left us in a mess, it is our father God who rescues us, and when we ask Him to come into our lives, he adopts us into his family.  In fact if you read Ephesians 1 and 2, it tells us that God chose us before the world began and that we are not just adopted, but considered as heirs of God’s riches. I think this is amazing! That God would want to take a wretch like me, going to such lengths to save me from the horror of eternal separation from the creator God.

To think that the living God considers me worth saving, and not only that, but making available to me his riches, which are beyond measure to me as a son, and not just an adopted son, but a son; a full member of his family.

This may appear to be like an offer that is too good to be true. But that is exactly what our father creator God does for us.  That’s why he sent Jesus to die for my sin, your sin, for everyone’s sin. But it doesn’t stop there, because He is also seeking relationship with us.

And this is the idea we are trying to get across to Turkish Muslims through the Bible Correspondence Course.  That this loving, living father God is seeking relationship with them and that it is not about ritual, (Dinin Ötesınde, this means ‘Beyond Religion’, and is one of the books offered as part of the course).

So please continue to pray for the Turkish people, that they would discover the wonder of this relationship and enter into it, wholeheartedly.    

The Bible Correspondence Course (BCC) based in Istanbul Turkey has been going for 50 years now, a lot has happened in the time since it was set up in 1962. From its beginnings of sending out letters to addresses listed in the Istanbul telephone directory asking Muslims, "Have you ever read the Incil?" To the years following and up until the present day.  A wide range of Incils,  literature and DVDs are made available to enquirers seeking answers to questions they have about Jesus, faith and God.  Muslims cannot understand the mystery of believers having  a relationship with the 'living God,' as their faith is based on ritual.

This way of reaching Muslims in Turkey has worked very well for most of the 50 years the BCC has existed, but it is very much a ‘print based culture’. Over the last couple of years it has become more and more obvious that there is a real need to change the emphasis more towards a digital culture which aims to engage people through pictures and video, some people would say this is an agnostic responsive method of moving forward!

In layman’s terms, photos and video that aim to get a response to the questions the subject is asking. Today the BCC’s Turkish websites and it’s Facebook page which has something in excess of 31,000 ‘likes or followers!'  They have reached these figures, which will hopefully continue to grow by producing material which questions how and what people think about faith in God.  

In 2012 the BCC ran an advertising campaign which did just that, it asked Muslims the question about their beliefs “Ya yanlış Biliyorsak” (“What if what we believe is false?”) and through it the BCC certainly got a response! It wasn’t always the response we were looking for, but it certainly challenged Turkish people and what they believe.

Now with the advances in technology we are able to reach not just people using “Facebook and Twitter”, but mobile phones, Ipads in fact a full range electronic receiving devices where we can ‘tailor’ the content and size of the message which is sent out. I suppose it is a bit like being measured for a suit, its custom built to each individual user.

So in the coming years the BCC will continue to move away from print based projects, and instead develop the online correspondence course, while also producing more thought provoking photos and short video clips which will impact Muslims, not just in Turkey but across the world, who are seeking to know more about Jesus, the Saviour who was born to them and died to save them.

http://bccturkey.org/index.php/about/2012-annual-report/59-2012-bcc-annual-report-02

http://bccturkey.org/index.php/about/2012-annual-report/71-2012-bcc-annual-report-08

Pray that God will provide the right people, webpage and graphic designers along with translators to work on these projects.

Pray that God will give wisdom and insight to staff at the BCC as they seek to reach out to Muslims across the globe.

Pray that God will provide funding for the various programmes being developed.

Pray that God will continue to pour out “dreams and visions” on the people of Turkey.

 

Have you ever thought why the growth in the number of Turkish believers in Christ is so slow? In the last 50 years the number of known Muslim Background Believers (MBBs) has gone from 2 in the early 1960’s to around 4000 in 2012.

The population of Turkey is currently around 75 million, so 4000 believers does not seem like a great amount, especially when you look at the growth in Iran or even Kazakhstan where over the last 20 years growth has gone from a few thousand to about 100.000 yet the population of Kazakhstan is only 17 million. 

So what is it that is stopping Turks coming into relationship with our Father God? Is it really just that Turkish people see Christianity solely as a western religion? There is the famous saying “To be a Turk is to be a Muslim, to be a Muslim is to be a Turk”. So maybe they are happy following Islam and we should let them get on with? But if we do that we would not be following Christ’s command of going out and making disciples!!

Or maybe there is another reason? I have heard people say that when they have travelled overland through Turkey on their way to maybe Syria, or Iran and beyond, they shared that while they were in Turkey they sensed oppressiveness over the country and yet as soon as they left that oppressiveness disappeared. Another reason for the slow growth could be that people have not heard or understood?

During the time I have been in Turkey I have met with many Turkish believers and have come to recognise those who have really grasped the message of salvation, because it is obvious in their faces. I am not saying they walk round with a “holier than thou look”, but their faces glow because they have found rich treasure!!

So what do we do or what needs to happen? Over the last 50 years so many seeds have been sown and yet it appears few have taken root and grown. Maybe God isn’t interested in Turkey and its people because they are so stubborn and will not listen to his voice? I don’t believe that line of thought, but in the world of today where we look for instant solutions, we want it to happen now!

I firmly believe that there will be a great harvest amongst Turkish people; it will not be through my efforts or yours, but through the giver of life, our Father God! All we can do is continue to petition the Father to pour out his Holy Spirit on the land and lift this oppressiveness that hangs over the country, open the eyes hearts and minds of the people.

We still need to play our part of the “great commission” and get out there in the cities, towns and villages. Praying for people, proclaiming the message of salvation together with Turkish believers, showing the people that a Saviour has been born to them.

Ultimately it is only our Father God who can nurture the seeds to grow and become “oaks of righteousness.”  When it happens it will be in His time and not ours!