Istanbul Report

Justin Spencer on September 23, 2007

Istanbul Coworkers Istanbul Coworkers

Part 1 My time in Istanbul
When I first arrived in Istanbul I was greeted by Shepherd Point & his bible student Nikolay. They introduced themselves & asked me what I expected out of the trip. Then they took my bags & led me to Starbucks where they asked me about myself & how long I had been in UBF. I told them I was a student at the university of Cincinnati & had been at Cincinnati UBF for four years. After this we talked about various things & then rested for a few hours before seeing Shepherd Ian Kiar off to Athens. He had been in Istanbul for a contemporary art exhibition & was on his way to another one in Athens. When we met we prayed together, took some pictures, & then parted company.

After this Shepherd Point & Brother Nikolay led me to a train station & we left for Shepherd Points apartment. It took 1 train & two busses to get from the airport to Shepherd Points apartment. I remember thinking that it would be nice if S. Point had a car but I found out later that owning a car in Istanbul is very expensive due to high gas prices. As we traveled through the city I was impressed with how large a city Istanbul is. It is Turkey?s largest city with a population somewhere around 13 million. I was also impressed with the look & feel of the city. Its advertisements & architecture looked like a combination between east & western cultures. Later I discovered that this is because Istanbul is a transcontinental city with half of itself located in Europe & the other half located in Asia.

Once we arrived at Sh. Points apartments I met Sh. Rebekah(his wife), his two children Lydia & Veera, & Maria Joy Peace. Maria Joy had come from Kiev to attend Boazici university just a few days before I arrived. Altogether there were seven people including myself living in their two bedroom apartment. At first things felt a little cramped but it wasn?t long before it felt like home. That night we had a prayer meeting the following day we had a Sunday worship service on 1 Thessalonians chapter 5. The main point was Be joyful always for that is God?s will for you in Jesus Christ. S. Point later told me that this was his secret in dealing with the Muslims in Istanbul. He found out that they were not impressed with getting up to do daily bread every morning or having a prayer meeting every night. But they were impressed with rejoicing at all times, something that can only be done when you know Jesus.

Part 2 Istanbul UBF & Boazici university

The following week went by very fast & consisted of doing daily bread & then going to see different parts of Istanbul. The part that I saw the most of was Boazici university, the university being pioneered by S. Point. This University was established on the campus of the first American school outside of the United States. What this means is that Boazici university is taught in enlgish & is considered one of the most prestigious schools in Turkey. It has an extremely beautiful campus which overlooks the Boshporus canal the canal that connects the black sea to the Marmara sea. It has about 10,000 students most of which are Turkish. During my visits to the campus we ran into several sheep who had studied with Shepherd Point & Shepherdess Rebekah. They were very friendly with Sh. Point & his family but not very interested in studying the bible or attending worship service. I was told that this was partly because Muslims in Turkey believe that that the bible has been edited to leave out parts that speaks of Mohammed & partly because they view missionaries as people who want to impose western culture them. Still it was encouraging to see that despite all of these things Sh. Point was able to maintain good relations with his classmates & former sheep.

It was also encouraging to see the faith of Brother Nikolay. Nikolay came from a from a former soviet union country to study in Istanbul but had no clear direction in his life. After two years he met Sh. Point & began to faithfully attend worship service. Now he lives with Sh Point & helps to translate the daily bread into Turkish. Even though he does not know what he is going to do with his life he has decided to follow Jesus no matter what. He is the first fruit of the Istanbul UBF ministry.

Shepherd Points main prayer topics for his ministry was 12 Turkish disciples to be raised & a separate apartment to be found for the center with a large table & many chairs. I thank God for helping me to travel to Istanbul & see the gospel work that is going on in Istanbul. I pray that I may return & co-work with Shepherd point sometime in the future. I pray in Jesus name, Amen.

One word: Rejoice Always

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