My husband and I started attending our church here in Austin in October 2009. One of the things that I noticed immediately was that they talked a lot about Turkey. They talked about people serving there, special prayer times specifically for Turkey, short term trips to Turkey, and a wide variety of other Turkey-related ‘stuff.’
After the first few times of hearing some of this Turkey talk, I found myself thinking, “Who cares? I mean, why is Turkey such a big deal?” Then one day I heard the phrase, “Turkey is the cradle of civilization.” It got me thinking about the location of Turkey itself, and (not being a whiz at geography) I started to understand that many of the places talked about in the Bible where the first Christians lived, traveled to, and wrote letters to where in modern-day Turkey.
I realized that God cared a lot about Turkey, enough to make the people living in that land the first to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I also realized that I had a very uncaring heart toward Turkey. I wanted God to change that. So I prayed.
I didn’t pray in a way that I would describe as fervent or persistent, but just whenever it came to my mind. And it was a simple prayer of, “Lord, please give me a heart for Turkey.”
So, one day in November 2010, just over a year after we started attending, there was an announcement in the bulletin about a short-term team going to Turkey to pray and lay what you might call “Spiritual groundwork” for a long-term team that would be going in the summer. As the man in charge was giving the announcement, I leaned over to my husband and said, “I’m going to Turkey.”
My husband was as surprised at my words as I was, but when I read that announcement, I just knew that God was calling me to be a part of that short-term team.
God had given me a heart for a Turkey and a clear call for what to do about it.