It is easy to forget the God is at work in the world, and that our job is merely to join in that work. Our Turkish ministry leader explains: “We sometimes put God in a box. We say that God works here or God works there, or God works in these parameters. But it’s not true. He is so incomprehensible.”
The city of Samsun, Turkey, sits on the coast of the Black Sea. With a population of 750,000 people and only one church, being a Christian leader can bring the kind of challenges that give perspective to the squabbles of North American churches. For example, on one occasion, the church’s pastor was kidnapped. Another time, the pastor’s son was kidnapped by local people, antagonistic to the church. Someone even tried to burn down the church—during a church service! Not an easy place to be a Christian.
In 2015, Words of Hope helped place a radio station that broadcast across the region. The goal and power of radio is to be able to reach people where they live. The Turkish team knew that there was a need to sow seeds of faith in Samsun, but no one could have predicted which seeds would grow.
Our ministry leader shares: “In a little town very close to Samsun, there is a prison. One prisoner had a small radio with him in his prison cell and was going through the dial. He hit our broadcasting frequency and started to listen to our radio programs. He was able to hear all about the love of Christ. On the programs we tell people that if you want to know more about Christianity, you can get in touch with that church. So he wrote this beautiful handwritten letter to the pastor.”
The letter was simple but straightforward and captured the mystery of the faith.
I’ve heard about the Jesus that you’re talking about [in the programs]. The thing that was so difficult for me to put my head around is how that this man would pray for those that put him on the cross. And the things that he went through! Here I am sitting in this prison cell because I couldn’t control my anger and killed someone. I certainly deserve what I have right now. But this man Jesus, how was he able to contain himself and not respond in the way that I did?
Upon receiving this letter, the pastor knew he needed to visit the prison. After going through the necessary protocols, he talked with the prisoner, prayed with him, and ultimately lead him to Jesus. This is why Words of Hope Turkey continues to invest in radio and strategic broadcast partners.
“That’s the power of radio; it’s accessible to anyone,” says the ministry leader. “There’s social media, there’s websites, there’s lots of different things, and God uses every medium of communication to bring his word to people. I think this just teaches us that we should use every means possible to proclaim the gospel. People will hear the good news and God will work in their hearts.”