“Troubles are challenges to me. Even difficulty that comes my way is a perpetual source of wonder. I am so eager to see how the Lord will get me out of it.” -Woman in Lebanon, quoted by Mona Khauli
This year, an annual report released by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom designated a “country of particular concern” as one of the worst violators of religious freedoms, one of 8 recognized by the US State Department as such. Nina Shea writes in the National Review Online: “Turkey’s Christian minorities struggle to find places in which they can worship, are denied seminaries in which to train future leaders, are barred from wearing clerical garb in public, see the trials of the murderers of their prominent members end with impunity, and, above all, lack the legal right to be recognized as churches so that their members can be assured of their rights to gather freely in sacred spaces for religious marriages, funerals, and baptisms, and otherwise carry out the full practice of their respective religions. Turkey’ s laws, aimed at promoting extreme secular nationalism, also encourage a culture of animosity toward Christians, who are seen to undermine ‘Turkishness,’ despite Christianity’ s 2,000-year presence there. Even starting a discussion about the genocide of Christians that occurred 100 years ago is a criminal offense in Turkey.”
I want to end with some prayer suggestions from ICC and quote by Chuck Swindoll.
Pray for our brothers and sisters in Turkey to boldly witness to those who mistreat them. Pray for the Church in Turkey to grow, that more will come to Christ. Pray that those who persecute Christians in Turkey will come to repentance and will have their eyes and ears opened to knowing the Gospel. (and here’s one of my own) Pray that the hearts of Christians in the West would be opened to our brothers and sisters in less fortunate countries to pray for them and support them.
“The world needs more followers of Christ who embrace pain and hardship rather than deny them. How helpful for us to see all this as God’s plan to keep us humble. That can’t be taught in Bible colleges or seminaries. Those lessons are learned in the trenches of life. What people of prayer we would become! How often we would turn to Him. How fully we would lean on Him. And what insights we would glean.” –Charles Swindoll