Travels in Eastern Turkey

At a church service in eastern Turkey

Jeff Bleijerveld and Kurt Uhen, from Emmanuel UB (Fort Wayne, Ind.), are currently traveling in Turkey. Jeff writes:

99% of the people in this eastern Turkish city are ethnic Kurds of Syrian, Armenian, and Iraqi origin. However, the official language is Turkish, so Kurdish is only spoken in the home and among friends.

We had a very Mediterranean breakfast with lots of olives, melon, fresh cheeses, and breads. We headed for church at 11 am. This church has a police officer assigned for security 24 hours a day. However, things are quite tranquil at present as the PKK (Kurdish separatist organization) has declared a 30-day ceasefire with the Turkish government.

Facts I learned today:

There are 73 million people in Turkey.

  • Only 4000 evangelicals live in Turkey. Another 30,000 people are Christian, including Assyrian Orthodox and Chaldeans.
  • The country was nearly 100% Christian at one time.
  • Seven of the early churches’ councils took place in what is modern-day Turkey.
  • The Apostle Paul was born in Turkey, and all three of his missionary journeys included time in Turkey.
  • John wrote his gospel in Turkey and died here of natural causes.
  • Christian Turks consider Turkey part of the Holy Lands.
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