Missions in Malatya Turkey through Tim and Sarah Stone
Dear Praying Friends and Family,
First of all, we want to say that we love and appreciate all of you so
much. We are fully aware that despite your very busy schedules you
make time to read these updates and to pray for us. That is such a huge
encouragement. Thank you and our prayer is that God will continually
bless you in every way.
Before we write our update we want to ask you all to please pray for the
Turkish pastor who is the head of our church association. His name is
Ihsan Ozbek and he has just undergone a sudden open heart surgery.
Please pray for a full and speedy recovery as he is a very important and
gifted brother here in Turkey and many, many ministries would suffer if
his health failed. Thank you.
Since our Christmas celebration, we have been trying to focus on meeting
with those who are serving in the church and trying to encourage them.
Because of the unstable situation here, it is our deep desire that our
believers learn to depend fully on the Lord so that the church can stand
strong no matter what storms lie ahead. And especially that they won't
be too shaken if we have to leave.
The state of emergency which was put in place after the coup attempt in
July has been extended for another 3 months. And during this time it
looks like BIG changes will happen with the Turkish constitution which
will grant the president even more powers.
Already this new year, there have been more violent events in Izmir and
Istanbul, the American pastor continues to remain in jail, and another
worker we know, who has had a very fruitful and public ministry, has
been told he has to leave Turkey. This is the background we live in,
but we try to focus on the Lord and live each day with gratitude and joy
because our security and hope are in Him.
We continue to be thankful to God for each day we are able to be here
with these precious brothers and sisters. We are thankful that our
church and office are open and that we have the freedom to share the
Gospel for now. We are thankful that each of our foreign friends in
this city were given two year residence permits. Please pray for
special blessings over those who work in the foreign affairs office as
they have been very helpful to us.
We praise God that home school is going well. Our oldest son Sam is
now a junior in high school and we need lots of wisdom and guidance
about his future college plans. Thankfully, he did very well on his
PSAT test which he took over the summer in the U.S. so he is being
sought by some colleges already (This is truly God's grace since we were
not really able to give him a consistent education at home).
Our local believers are growing, but often discipleship means we have to
be creative. Sarah, after 25 years of retirement, has started tae kwon
do classes again, because the 45 minute walk to the sports center
together is the only opportunity she has to encourage a young believer
who isn't able to attend our church meetings. During the class and
afterwards there is no time to talk. Our Anna Joy is also going to the
class with them. Please pray that we would feel the Lord walking with
us and that these times would truly spur on our Turkish sister to grow
in Christ. Please also pray that Sarah's nearly 50 year old body would
be able to handle the workouts. The instructors are members of the
Turkish national team so these are not light work outs. Sarah is too
timid and ashamed to wear her black belt so she is a yellow belt for
Much Love in Christ,
Tim and Sarah