May 14, 2007

Turkish Christians Murdered

Perhaps by now you have heard of the muder of three Christians in Eastern Turkey. I was in the region in May and my sympathies and prayers go out to the families.

Turkish News coverage of the funeral. YouTube video
Family friends testimony. YouTube Video
Fox News about persecution in Turkey. YouTube Video

Here is a part of a newsletter I received.

"On April 19 two Turkish Christians and a German missionary, working for a Bible distribution house in Malatya, were brutally murdered by Islamic extremists. The incident shocked many in Turkey, Germany, and around the world, and reports, detailing what happened, circulated the web. Although these reports were generally correct, some of the specific claims were exaggerated.

There has been a large media storm in Turkey following the events. Many Turks sent letters to the newspapers to express their deep disgust. The widow of German missionary Tilman Geske, Susanne, earned tremendous admiration for her words in a TV interview the day after the massacre. She said she forgave the murderers of her husband, the way Christ forgave his murderers, citing Jesus' prayer, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." This is the reason why she wants to stay in Malatya with her children. According to one source, it seems that more Turks are now interested to read the New Testament, and even describe themselves as Christians.

Several years ago, Necati, one of the Turkish martyrs, played the role of Jesus in a passion play. As his hands and feet were tied to the cross, little did he know that his hands and feet would one day be tied again in the same way, to a chair, this time for real... At a house church seminar he attended two years ago, one participant had a prophecy. He said: "Some of us in this room will pay with their lives for this vision." Back then it sounded a bit dramatized, but it became reality.

In a press conference following the killings in Malatya, Ihsan, pastor of the Kurtulus church in Ankara, to which the Malatya church was linked, said: "We will stay our ground. We will stay where we are. We are citizens of the Republic of Turkey. We live here. And if we die, we die."

Let's remember that persecution happens right now in many places in the world. Thousands of our brothers and sisters are paying the highest price for following Christ. Let's pray that God's will be done in Turkey, and that the blood of the martyrs will once again be the seed of the church."

Perhaps God will once again bring good out of such evil.

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