Turkey outreach with OM Building Bridges

OM International | Austria

OM Austria’s Building Bridges team has the vision to mobilise the Austrian church to build relationships with Muslims. The different projects in partnership with local churches are meant to help Christians to share their lives and Christ with their neighbours and help Muslim migrants better integrate in society.

At OM Building Bridges, training and equipping Christians for ministry with immigrants and refugees lays heavily on the hearts of the team. From their perspective, the best way to gain experience in this is to take part in a short-term outreach. From 20-29 of April, a group of ten believers set off from Austria (six of them from Linz) to Turkey.

Seeking something greater

The team spent the first five days in Istanbul, and the 23rd April was an absolute highlight. Literally thousands of Muslims made a pilgrimage to the Orthodox Church on the largest of the Princes’ Islands, off the coast of Istanbul. By carrying out many religious rites, the people hope their wishes will be granted. Market stalls line a stretch of around two kilometres, offering everything possible to make money from these seekers.

A few years ago, Christian believers discovered that this day offers a unique opportunity for Christians to present the gospel to Muslims. Groups can preach, present dramas, sing, give out New Testaments, films, books and tracts, and offer to pray for individuals.

Every year, thousands of New Testaments are distributed. The organisers of this outreach (200-350 Christians from all around the world now take part) tell of people who were healed of cancer and other diseases, and as a result have come to faith in Jesus and have joined a local church. A couple of workers had the privilege of leading two Turkish women to Jesus.

Hospitable conversations

From Istanbul, the group flew to the south west of Turkey, where they spent another five days working alongside a church planting team. A highlight was the international evening, to which friends and acquaintances of the team, and people in the town were invited.

The encounters of those ten days were an unforgettable experience for all the participants. They noticed it was easy to get into conversation with Turks. Unlike with many Europeans, God is a theme over which one can naturally talk.

The team was happy to come home safely, but they don’t want to forget this beautiful land, with its hospitable people, and will remember them in prayer.

Many Turks are unhappy about their present situation. Pray that they would come to know Jesus, the one who can bring real peace to Turkey and its people.

Published: Wednesday, 15 June 2016
Credit: OM International
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