16 Dec Open Doors in Turkey
Jeff Bleijerveld, Director of Global Ministries
Previously, I talked about the idea of starting United Brethren ministry in a Muslim country, and why Turkey would be a good place to start.
Targeting a specific country is one aspect. Another is asking, “Who do we begin with? Who has some effective approaches and models?”
For me and for some members of the Global Ministries Leadership Team, we’re not interested in merely going to another American agency that is doing Muslim ministry. We’d prefer to learn directly from nationals in a Middle Eastern country, gaining their insights into what’s going on.
For that, we had a connection through Emmanuel UB church of Fort Wayne, Ind.
For several years, Emmanuel has been supporting one of its former members, Ladoyt “Rody” Rodeheaver, president and CEO of IN Network. IN Network connects churches and individuals in the United States with Christians in areas of the world where there is great need and the gospel is not widely known. That connection brought us in contact with Benan.
In early October, I traveled to Turkey with Kurt Uhen, a member of Emmanuel and a member of the Global Ministries Leadership Team. Benan took us around the country.
Benan is Turkish. I don’t know how many languages he speaks, but Kurt and I observed him functioning well in 9 different languages. He’s responsible for translating the Kurdish New Testament. He worked with the Bible society in Turkey to do the French, German, English, Arabic, Syriac (a dead language), Greek, Hebrew, and Kurdish translations. His ministry spans Turkey and the region, and he works to encourage, train and motivate pastors, church planters, and leaders.
Kurt and I found that there are a lot of opportunities for getting involved. I’ll talk about them in my next post.