Dear friends and family of God,
Merhaba! That is Turkish language for Hello!
For those who aren’t sure where we are at present: Although we had spent the summer in the USA preparing for the jump to Cyprus, the door to Cyprus remained closed. Then unexpectedly a door opened for Roslyn to teach at private English learning center for business people here in Istanbul, the Republic of Turkey.
We were reminded of Paul whose path into Asia was blocked, but the Lord opened up Macedonia in Europe instead. Cyprus had looked like the best base of operations for us—and we felt a call to go there, but the Lord seemed to have other ideas at present. As I said above, we have not given up on Cyprus. We will seek the Lord over the next year and see what He has to say this time next year regarding our base location. Meanwhile, we see a strong correlation between this time in Turkey and its contested land in the nation of Cyprus, the half of it that is called the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
What you can pray.
Continue to pray for us in this transition. Maurice’s health is can get challenging in transitions, he needs to find a cardiologist and possibly adjust medication to reflect the new climate and diet. Roslyn is under a lot of stress as she learns new curriculum while working in the classroom with business folk until 10pm most nights. She has not gotten to spend much time in worship, and although people are friendly, we are in no physical danger, and things are relatively open, yet we are on contested ground.
We waited to update everyone until things had settled down here in Istanbul. Now we are done with the initial setup. We want to thank all those who have been praying for us as we traveled to Istanbul and arranged housing. Those prayers have made a great difference.
Initially it was looking like our cost of living was going to be significantly higher than expected. This would have crippled our ability to save for the next step and to explore the Middle East. But, Praise God! Thanks to your prayers, the language company is allowing us to stay this year in the their school’s simply-furnished apartment, near to the company, instead of having to pay 3 months rent upfront for an apartment of our own in this high-priced neighborhood. The school actually changed their policy and allowed a couple to share rent with a single male teacher—our share is $350, plus utilities. We are so thankful to God for their decision, a result of prayer!
This frees our resources for other things and simplifies our lives in many ways. It also means we will not have to touch the donations to the Cyprus account in order to live in Istanbul. We will continue to build up funding our possible transition to living Cyprus a year from now as well as for my strategic visits to Cyprus periodically this year.
Our life in Istanbul
Roslyn has now taught three classes of one business group at the school during the day hours this Saturday and Sunday, andMonday night, and things are working out well. She will teach two more business groups on alternate nights, Monday–Thursday until ten pm. The ten minute walk on this well-lit commercial street is safe at night. Friday will seem to be her day off.
Living in Istanbul will not be just marking time. Istanbul is a great place to learn to live in Islam. while being loose enough to survive missteps. The local stay-at-home women wear head scarves and long dark dresses or black pants. The working women dress in conservative western style; professional attire for both men and women is mostly dark suits. There is a mosque (camii) just one block from us and we hear the call to prayer five times a day. That call to prayer from the mosque is heard very clearly just before dawn each morning when there is no city noise yet. We saw almost all the men in this upscale area go to the mosque on Friday afternoon, their biggest worship day.
We realized that on Friday morning, the women and the men shop in a large neighborhood outdoor market, covering 4 tent-covered streets. The fresh fruits and vegetables are beautiful and very tasty, including a variety of fish, olives, cheeses, dates, figs, breads, nuts, and fresh herbs. And all kinds of household things and clothes are there too. So we enjoyed that shopping expedition much more than going to the huge superstore like SuperWal-mart, a mile of walking away from us. Yes, upscale urban malls are close by too. There are seagulls flying overhead at times, as we are only but about two kilometers from the sea.
However, a curious thing in this part of Istanbul is that there are many noisy flocks of large black crows in the trees, swooping down, screaming out, and walking the streets, but there are no pigeons in this whole neighborhood. I would much prefer to hear songbirds in the early morning, but no, we must endure the raucous crows to wake us for each new day. Strange.
There is a lovely wooded park in this urban neighborhood, with a man-made creek and garden pools and roses, and which families young and old often frequent and individuals exercise in. The park is just two blocks from our apartment! How refreshing! There is also an outdoor cafe as part of the park, for drinking hot tea or Turkish coffee and for making friends to discuss futball teams and other mainstays of life with each other.
I will have an opportunity to immerse myself in the Turkish language. Maybe even this old dog can learn the language if I am living with it every day. Knowing Turkish will be a great asset if we do make it to Cyprus, because the north side of that island is the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. And I will be able to use Turkish language to make trips to visit our North Cyprus friends.
Specific Relationships we have started
There are people that I have now met in Istanbul who are engaged in 24/7 prayer for this region and we will be joining as we can. Roslyn can join in prayer watches on Thursday afternoons, and maybe go with me on Monday afternoons. Today,Sunday, we worshiped by listening to the Prayer Room online from KC, which is a real blessing to have access to 24/7 by fast ADSL internet in this apartment.
God is so good to make these opportunities for us! Again, thank you for praying!
Our apartment mate Adam, the mid-twenties male teacher, is from America also. We get along well and he has answered some questions about life in Turkey. He is considering foreign diplomatic service eventually. We know God has a good future for him, so pray that we can speak prophetically into his life, even though he may not be on the same page with us about spiritual matters.
Last Friday, we rode the Metro subway, took the ferry boat to the Europe side of Istanbul—across the Bosphorus straits–and then rode an electric trolley car up to the oldest mosque from the Ottoman Empire, the Sultanamet Camii – which is dubbed Blue Mosque by foreign visitors. We also toured the old cathedral Hagia Sophia from the Byzentine empire, which has been made into a museum to honor the Christian period of Istanbul’s history.
We met a young Turk near to that historic area who showed us around and told us a bit of his life, in English. He took us to see his family’s Turkish carpet business and to see the weaving and learn about different patterns from different areas of Turkey. The wools and silks and dyes are certainly lovely and durable, so we were duly impressed with this old art. He connected with us, perhaps to first of all interest us in Turkish culture–and carpet—but he is interested to stay in touch, so we will go back to see him again by phone arrangement and through facebook. We hope also to engage SP even more deeply in talking about spiritual matters. Though he is knowledgeable of why he is in Islam, he himself is not a mosque attender. Prayers for our continued relationship with SP are requested.
Their response to our being here
Right now, we are watching a Turkish movie with English subtitles on youtube, learning a bit about their culture. By the way, the local people are quite friendly and helpful to us. They may tire of our faulting attempts at language later, but for now they are patient and kind to our tries.
The Turks are a proud culture and heritage; they have respect for others too. I Maurice fit in here with a bearded face. We don’t look different from them, except that we both have blue eyes!–a real giveaway—and then we open our mouths and of course sound American! They then know that we come from a Christian heritage, no matter what is happening these days in our homeland.
So, some Turks will become interested to watch us, to determine who we really are, and to see how we live our own faith. Please continue to pray for us, to show the Light of God and to love with His kindness in ways that draw them, not just to us, but to the One who loves them so much!
Your gifts, recurring or one-time, are still encouraged!
We are member representatives of CMM of Morningstar and all gifts are tax-free.
For checks by postal mail, mark for Darrs in memo line of the check:
PO Box 7705
Charlotte, NC 28241
Thank you—for gifts and for your prayers!! We can both feel and see God working here.
Maurice and Roslyn