As I write this, it is afternoon at Istanbul airport on Friday March 8. I am back from the middle of Turkey after a 7 hour trip through the night by bus with S who also had a flight to catch. Let me first tell you about yesterday.
It was another amazing day with the believers I had met the day before in Central Turkey. S. and I were invited for the day to one of the families – a mother with eight children who are now young adults. A decade ago while living in the old country, she and her children became believers; as a result, her husband threw both her and the children out of the house and abandoned them… simply because they got baptized and believed in Jesus! They ended up destitute and became refugees in Turkey… but now the UNHCR has allowed them to resettle in a North European country, so they are awaiting marching orders. Two of the sons have gone ahead. As a family they have suffered a lot. A few of their friends were invited, so we were together in fellowship, eating, sharing testimonies, laughing, crying singing… and what delicious Mid-Eastern food! So many of their stories are heartbreaking, but the joy in their lives of having been rescued from abuse, prostitution, witchcraft, imprisonments and other horrible situations into a relationship with the Living God was like a banner over them… our hearts bonded together!
Back to today in Istanbul. Being a regional national, S knows the history and culture of this part of the world, so it was a special adventure to walk with him in the old city and have him recall Turkey’s history from a Biblical, Eastern mindset instead of seeing it traditionally through our Western eyes. We walked through the famous bazaar (flea market) and he took me to some of the well known sites which echo the grandeur of the Ottoman and Byzantine Empires. I learned a lot I did not know before! We had a delicious Turkish meal, and off I went to the airport.To my great relief, I learned that the airlines had found my suitcase… losing it caused me to wear the same clothes for three days. In spite of that little wrinkle, losing it was sort of a blessing in disguise. It contained all my stuff for Africa – airports do not have luggage storage any more, so it would have been complicated to lug it with me half around Turkey by the cars, air, and buses I took.Have just picked it up… everything is there! On my way to catch the plane to Cairo. I’ll connect again when I arrive at the hotel there!