CLAIRE BROCKLEBANK (OM Turkey, Antalya)
Like millions of others around the world I find myself in a strange new reality caused by COVID 19. This is made more complicated by my unknown visa situation. Since mid-March anyone over 65 has not been allowed to leave their homes. When the curfew is lifted, I then have to try and work on ways to stay in Turkey as the visa laws have changed for South Africans in Turkey. I have no idea how to plan for anything. With 140,000 cases and 3,800 deaths so far, Turkey is hurting.
However, as I adapt to a world where I now have to depend on others to do things like shopping for me, I have come to realise the value of community. My team-mates have been awesome and my life group and friends from home have been unbelievably supportive in calling me and keeping my spirits up – as I live alone and cannot go out. I miss the contacts with my friends and neighbours. It also makes me wonder how I can do “mission” in this space. A few days ago, the man from my complex, who does shopping for me every day, asked me if I had a printer and if so, could I print his children’s school assignments for him to help the children during lockdown. This brought me into contact with his wife Zehra, whom I never see or connect with. I now have a connection that I can build on when the time comes that I otherwise would not have had. So, God continues to work even in these strange times.
Please pray for the country of Turkey too. Like other countries, it is an economy that depends largely on tourism, especially in Antalya and also other cities like Istanbul and Izmir. Many people are out of work. That, tied together with a currency that is devaluing, is not helpful. The Covid-19 pandemic also makes it harder to physically support local believers who have very limited Christian fellowship.
THANK YOU FOR PRAYING.
BRYAN & SHARON TELFORD (OM Turkey, Antalya)
In Mid-March, as flights started to get cancelled in Turkey due to the coronavirus, we gave the choice to our participants to stay or return to their home countries. 1 participant chose to go home but remains involved in our online training from the Netherlands.
We have moved our training online and are amazed how the participants have continued to lean in. In their spare time they are sharing the gospel on social media, with those they met earlier in the program. One led an Iranian to faith, and then another. Now a small group has formed that studies the Bible over the phone. Another participant is regularly praying for healing and doing Discovery Bible studies with seekers. Others are real intercessors and spend time praying for the Muslim world.
We have found the online training so good but it’s incredibly tiring. So this week we planned a few days without any training to allow both the participants and ourselves to rest. Please pray for God to use these participants powerfully and for us all to have energy for the rather tiring online training.
The lockdown has opened doors for new things – as a couple we meet online with a local young couple in another city to talk about parenting. Bryan is doing a DBS study with a new believer and another study with a seeker from an area of Turkey where there are no known believers. We are grateful for these opportunities and also that the Jesus film was shown in April on some secular Turkish TV channels.
At the same time our training program moved online, our girls schools closed and anyone under the age of 20 was not allowed to leave their home. Since we live in a flat, the girls haven’t been outside for 2 months! We are so grateful for balconies, for exercise videos on the internet and the additional grace that God has given them daily.
Kaitlyn and Amy’s teachers moved to online schooling and Zoe watches class on TV for an hour a day and gets sent homework by her teacher. The girls are generally doing well, though these last days have got harder and the death of our kitten added an extra sorrow. Yesterday the girls got to go outside for the first time in almost two months. We all thoroughly enjoyed that.
We have made the decision to not come to SA as planned this year – due to finances, many workers not being allowed re-entry into TR and also the coronavirus may make travel difficult. Instead we have extended our training program for those who want to stay, to give them opportunities for outreach. Please pray for creativity as we develop new plans in an uncertain timeline.
If you have Prayer Requests, please take note of our prayer chains below:
Emergency Prayer Chain
For needs of a critical nature – such as hospitalisation / illness.
Email email@example.com or phone 021 713 4080 (feedback is appreciated).
General Prayer Chain
Glenn Withey coordinates the ministry prayer chain and she can be contacted on 021 715 0878
Claudine Grinker coordinates the ministry prayer chain and she can be contacted on 079 225 5819