Note to Parents: Help your family embrace God’s love for the world. Read this story together to learn about and pray for the Turks, a people group in Turkey.
Come with me to Istanbul, where chants stream from the towers of a thousand mosques, calling Muslim families to prayer. Most children here in Turkey have never heard the good news of Jesus. See the sparkling blue water beneath that bridge? That’s the Bosporus Strait that not only divides this city in half, but also separates the continent of Europe from Asia. Straight ahead, inside the Grand Bazaar, is the shop owned by the family of Yaren (yah-REHN), the girl walking beneath that massive arched gate …
Hi, I’m Yaren. I’m meeting my best friend, Kayra (kih-RAH), inside the Grand Bazaar. Imagine a gigantic mall with a maze of more than 60 covered streets lined with 3,000 shops. There are four main entrances and it’s important to remember which one you came in. Accidentally exit through the wrong gate and you’ll end up in a completely different area of the city. My family’s stall is on Copper Street, clustered near the other merchants selling copper items – cooking pots, serving dishes, pitchers, and a long-handled Turkish coffee pot called a cezve (JEHZ-veh).
Kayra, still in her blue school uniform, smiles at me and holds out a small bag of Turkish Delights, our favorite candy. I select a yellow cube covered in powdered sugar and pop it into my mouth. As I bite into the chewy candy, the sour taste of lemon makes my jaw zing. Still licking white powder off our fingers, we head for my family’s shop. Kayra and I love straightening the shelves and overhearing my brothers lure potential buyers into our stall and barter with customers hoping to purchase the best shiny pot in the Grand Bazaar for the least amount of lira!
After my brothers close the shop, we all walk home where Kayra’s whole family joins us for a dinner. We feast on grilled lamb shish kebabs, roasted eggplant, and yogurt sauce. Afterwards, Mother brings out a platter of baklava and pours thick Turkish coffee, foaming and steaming hot. The adults drink Turkish coffee plain, but Kayra and I add sugar and spices that give ours a sweet, cinnamon-y flavor.
As Mother clears the table, Grandfather sets out twelve teacups, upside down. I run to retrieve a very important item for this game – a ring. We divide into two teams and begin the first round of this guessing game. It could be a long night.
- Antioch, the city where early followers of Jesus were first called Christians, is in Turkey. (Acts 11:26) Although many Turks were Christians long ago, most are Muslims today. Pray that the gospel will spread throughout Turkey and that many Turks will come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
- Persecution against Christians is increasing in Turkey. Pray that God will soften the hearts of government leaders so that every Turk family will have the opportunity to hear about Jesus.
Coming up next: Watch for a game that Turk families enjoy. Have fun playing it with your own family.