Tonight I had the great joy and privilege to zoom with the leadership team of the Evangelical Alliance youth network in Turkey. It is not just like any other youth network. This is Turkey!
When I was sixteen, I took part in a European wide conference called Love Europe, by OM which more than 6000 young people attended. Afterwards, all of us went on mission trips all around. I had prayed not to stay in Germany and neither did I want to work with Muslims. But as it happened, I was asked to work with a team among Turks in Southern Germany. And it was a time where my heart softened towards Muslims and God´s love for them.
Part of my intercultural studies at Cornerstone, Netherlands, I did my internship in Turkey and Bulgaria among the Turkish Gypsies, the Millets who experienced extraordinarily God. Hard to describe what happened in the early 90s but God was on the move in big waves. Thousands had Jesus encounters in Bulgaria over a period of 1,5 years and churches were planted. By that time the church in Turkey had no more than 1000 Jesus followers.
I never ended up in Turkey for ministry (I felt rather called to serve a young generation across Europe) but my commitment to pray for them continued. At one point I also served at a Turkish church in Hamburg. Through the years with Mission-Net I was able to sponsor some Turks to come and attend the conferences and through this I became friends with Yakup. Yakup shared with me last year that now there are more than 30.000 Jesus followers in this nation.
Long story short, having this conversation with my Turkish brothers and sisters tonight and sharing hearts about youth ministry in their nation, considering ways of serving them with LeadNow and the various networks I am involved in, blew me away.
This must be a God thing! So much looking forward exploring, connecting and developing friendships with these young leaders who next to their jobs and studies serve the young generation, organize conferences and equip the young leaders.