Hello Family and Friends!
It’s been a LONG time since we’ve last blogged and a lot has happened that we want to catch you up on! But for fear of you falling asleep, there is one particular thing that happened in *Turkey* we wanted to share with you; the rest of what he’s been doing in that country wouldn’t fit into one blog post! In that though, we look forward to coming home and having many coffee dates with each of you to share all the details of what God has done and is doing!
As most of you know *Turkey* is a closed country, which means you can have a different religion/belief system than Islam, but you cannot share, evangelize or attempt to convert anyone in the country to your religion. If you’re caught doing any of the above you could be beaten, jailed and/or be kicked out of the country permanently. In saying that though, the Turkish people are patient, amazing and very hospitable. (Especially the workers we were able to meet and work with!) Every year, about 60,000+ Turkish people make a journey to one of the islands (Princess) off the coast of *Istanbul* for many different reasons; the two biggest being an emptiness or void they’re seeking to fill with something, and the want/need of obtaining favor or more luck in life through superstitions. So for the workers, this is the perfect opportunity to share the Love of Jesus with his people that are seeking something that only he can give.
Our team, along with workers from various cities within *Turkey*, and believers from other countries, headed out to Princess Island with many of the Turkish seekers. It’s hard to describe the feeling when you step foot off of the ferry. There were vendors everywhere selling anything from string and charms for good luck, to flowers, candles, and sugar cube vendors giving stuff away so they might be blessed more. Everyone was seeking to appease or gain the approval of something or someone but had no idea who that someone was. We Did! Our entire crew and fellow believers within *Turkey* and the surrounding countries were there with several areas set up along a long path up to the top of the island. We handed out tracts, “good luck” scripture cards, Bibles, and had a worship team on hand and an area for anyone who was seeking prayer for any and everything! I could spend hours telling you all the amazing ways God moved that day, but I think the thing that encouraged me the most was seeing 10,000 Bibles not just handed out, but taken off the tables before we even had a chance to refill it! When we finished up for the day, it was encouraging to see not one Bible left on the ground or thrown in the trash and to make it even better, while riding the ferry back to the mainland, people were reading the Bibles openly! God moved in amazing ways that day! I know left out so many details, but I want to get you caught up on what’s been going on in Italy without you falling asleep at the computer so… PLEASE let’s go have coffee together when we get back home!
On our final approach into Roma, I remember just sitting in awe of God and how good and faithful He is to wretched sinners like me. The city is so beautiful, and the weather… well I won’t talk about the weather because I think it’s still raining quite a bit back home in Washington State. The night we got in a few of us walked down to the Coliseum to check it out and it was truly stunning. I remember sitting there and thinking, “Wow God, man built this, but it was you who allowed it to be built and first put this passion and knowledge into someone to build something this large.” Then I felt God answer me and say, “In a city with so much rich history and structures that reach to the sky Josh, remember to remain in awe of me and not of man.” It was so true. Roma is as beautiful as I imagined and so are the Roman people, but it can be really easy to focus on the enormity of it all and the fashion, the glitz and the glamorous side of the city. It reminds me of Colossians 3:1-2 and it’s something I try to focus on daily.
Ministry times have been stretching but so good. We’re doing Prayer Walks and Prayer Mapping areas and points of interest all around Central Roma, and have been privileged to work with a local church and a refugees ministry. In the refugee ministry we’ve met so many amazing people; from Somali and Afghan refugees to 5 fellow workers from a Quebec base teaching English and basic math and reading to the refugees. We’ve also spent nights at some of the busiest piazzas here in Roma doing various types of ministry work from playing hacky-sack with locals, to talking to vendors selling trinkets from Bangladesh. It’s cool the way God works when you’re open to everything and you don’t limit him and what he can do! Growth Happens. The growth as individuals and as a couple has been amazing. It’s been such a privilege to stand along side Kassi and watch her grow in Christ and being able to watch as He starts revealing new bits and pieces of His future plans and ministry(ies) He is calling her to. To top it off, the growth God has brought to our marriage in such a short time cannot be expressed by simple words. God is Good…
I know i’ve compacted A LOT in just a small space, but hopefully we’ll be able to update regularly! We will try to blog again before this Tuesday as we leave Roma for Bari to live with an Italian Family for 2 weeks. Hopefully when we get there we’ll be able to access wi-fi to keep you all updated!
Love You All and God Bless,
Josh and Kassi