Have you heard the expression “Boots on the Ground?” Well our Live Dead Missionaries are the boots on the Silk Road. Here we’d like to take a moment and allow one of them to share a snapshot of their life with you. Some names and details have been changed, but this is a true story from this colorful, vibrant, and sometimes surprising region.
I crossed the city with a believing friend on our team. The goal for the day was three-fold: spend time together, sow seed, and go to the dentist. We were enjoying our time together even though sowing the gospel was proving rather challenging.
My friend was very soon in the dentist’s chair while I waited in the lobby.
Two women were working behind the reception desk and a cleaning woman was making tea for those who wanted it. But I couldn’t seem to turn any conversation toward my sweet Savior. I could sense God’s Presence so strongly, but felt helpless to share the hope I had burning inside. Slowly the peace of God came, reminding me that He is the One to draw people. He is the One to open hearts.
Not Who I was Expecting
An old man walked in with his wife. She was called to her appointment and the man sat down across the room from me. Perhaps he was in his mid 70’s. He looked up and asked me where I was from. I answered. “He just wants to speak English”, I thought. But he was so kind and so persistent. Finally it was as if the Holy Spirit was screaming, “HELLO! Can I get any clearer! Talk to this man!”
So I did. I told him where I grew up. That my father taught me to love God and know him. That I loved this land of Turkey. That, no, I had no children, but that I trusted God’s ways. I told him that I am not good, but I live in joy because my sin is gone through the blood of Jesus. I told him that when I was five years old I knew there was a barrier between God and I. That when I asked my mother about it, she told me it was sin and she helped me kneel down and pray. I told him I believed that Jesus took away my sin and that now I walk close to God.
Introducing the Word
Throughout this conversation I would speak in simple English but could tell he understood so little. It was always a relief to break into Turkish to explain, even though he kept answering in English. He had been a teacher at a university but had been retired for the last 15 years. I told him that I thought being a teacher is very important, and that the most important teacher is Jesus. When I told him about “Isa”, he said in English, “Je-sus?”
I felt so awed by his sweet hunger and openness.
No walls came up. No Koran was quoted. No secularism. Only raw openness.
I asked him if he had a Bible. He said no. I asked if he wanted one. He answered with an emphatic “Yes!” At this point I said, “This morning as I was leaving my house I felt God wanted me to carry a Bible with me to give to someone. If you really want one I have one in my purse. Do you really want one?” He asked me, “Is it in Turkish?” I was happy to say that it was. I brought it out and showed him the first four books of the New Testament, explaining that they were written by four students of Jesus who saw Him and heard him daily.
Then, I showed him one of my favorite verses from Romans 5:8,
“But God demonstrates His own love for us in this; while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
He was very thoughtful. By this time my friend had exited the dentist’s chair. I felt it was time to leave and we exchanged information. He kept saying, “Thank you” as he held up the Bible and smiled.
When I walked out the door my last glimpse was of an 70 something year old man leafing through his very first Bible.
I cannot express how dear it is to see hunger and openness in this city! My heart is reminded again of the call of the Spirit to “go and find them”.