God is more than I can say. This trip was more than I can say. But I know His words are alive and are in me. A couple of words that spoke to me throughout our stay in Turkey: “It’s not ability, but availability,” (Phil. 3:7-11) and “It’s not independence, but dependence.” (Col. 1:29) For me this mission trip was God revealing Himself to me. He showed me His heart for me, his child, and for the Turkey, his people. I thank God for His grace to consider me worthy.
For those who weren’t with us, I want to share exactly WHO Turkey is. This comes straight from studying Genesis (Chapter 16 and 21) Turkey comes from a long line of descendents of Hagar, Abraham’s slave wife, and her son Ishmael. In a sermon by one of the M’s, he said to think about a woman who was born a slave, mistreated her entire life, and as soon as she conceived a son she ran away from her mistress; and later kicked out by her mistress. Now she’s wandering in the desert without food or water and with a boy to feed-all hope seemed to be lost. Although it may have been Hagar’s fault for showing her mistress contempt, she still wanted to be loved and belong. At that time God himself reached out to her. And as I meditated on this that day, God opened my ears. The obnoxiously loud noise the speakers carried 5 times a day like clockwork suddenly sounded like a wailing woman one morning. As if Hagar were mourning over her baby boy, I could hear the grief and sorrow and pain and feelings of abandonment of the generations after generations flow out of the speakers. When praying for the descendents of Ishmael, God gave me His tears for the people of Turkey. When walking up a hill, God gave me His eyes to see the word ‘lonely’ spray-painted on a side of a wall. I think that it is our turn, the descendents of Abraham by faith and the hands of feet of Jesus, to reach out to the descendents of Ishmael. God is living, moving and breathing; His words cannot be chained!
The first two quotes I shared earlier go hand in hand with each other. If I’m available then I can be dependent on the power of the Almighty God. Being completely dependent on God is letting go and surrendering to God, allowing Him to be the Immanuel God in my life. I think the point of utter disappointment, failure and the suffering that we prayed for was so that we can realize that we don’t have to be strong enough, but that Jesus Christ is. And once that happens we can expect great things from God by using us as instruments we were made to be. And once we understand who we’re made to be, we can joyfully fulfill our duties, pray and read Scripture all day, every day. Staying plugged into the word of God 24/7 is the same thing as training with a sword—skillfully mastering techniques, memorizing its weight and deftly maneuvering it with precision and accuracy. Then we are ready for spiritual battle. This is what we did in Turkey.
There are 4 things that I will take away from this trip—they came in the form of 4 men of God. Yosep’s life testimony and how he got into college is an amazing handiwork of God itself. His words and actions testify to the love he has received and has inspired all of our hearts. He is the man whose heart I cherish and adore. Then there’s Han Na Ra. He’s been to Jordan with his family. And that’s who he is, a family man. I seek to model my family, the one I would lead as a dad, after his own, especially his son Joo Yeong. He has great faith and I believe that God has big plans for him and his household. He is the man whose family I wish to bring up. Teacher Lee (Lee Dong Ook) is not someone who is dashing or witty or exciting, but after hearing that his wife is struggling with cancer in Korea I began to appreciate his work behind the scenes. He is the man whose humility and sincerity I wish to copy. Lastly, there is Enoch Ko. Although he is not yet a man, he is the one whose repentance and reconciliation answered my prayers and proved that God listens to me.
I understand that every person, including me, is a mission field. And maybe, I jest, that is why it takes these Turkish people so long to come to faith. I know we have a history, we all have a past, but in the name of Jesus I will be a make history; raising a generation 1 disciple at a time.