Thursday, February 9, 2017

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 
now. :)
Much Love in Christ,

Tim and Sarah

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