Turkey (Part Five).
[Risks No. 780 - 787] As we walked back outside, Suat began bringing us a slew of needy people. He also began calling me “papa,” which means pope in Turkish. I’m far from the pope but it is amazing that Christ calls us ambassadors. Suat first brought me a young woman who seemed likely to be a crack addict (judging purely by her teeth anyway). Though we didn’t understand each other’s lips, I held her hand and began blessing her life, inviting Jesus to touch down on her and move in power. I’ll never forget her smile. She came alive, giggling to the funny sound of my English praying but her whole face radiated this one thing, “someone noticed me - for me, someone is loving me - for me.” Oh, Lord - would You redeem this life and draw her fully into Yours!
Halil was next to be brought my way. Several of my No Longer Music friends were with me during this time and it was so sweet to be able to experience God moving together. Suat strongly suggested (demanded may have been more like it) that we pray for Halil’s ears. Though we had no clue what was wrong, we began praying. Then it was his wrist. As we prayed, his eyes widened. He smiled - huge. We knew Jesus was moving.
I was clueless, but somewhere Suat found about 6 teenagers on motorcycles that he insisted needed prayer. One of them spoke a little English and so we asked about pain and began praying. Once again, Jesus. I gathered as many of the teenagers who were willing to circle up and hold hands, praying Jesus would draw each of them into His presence. Joy.
By this time, NLM had begun their second performance and hundreds more had gathered. Instead of the loud insurgent Suat had been, he was now encouraging people to sign-up to learn more about Jesus, telling people to quiet down, and kept pointing at himself and calling himself, “security.” It was crazy. He was like a different man. There wasn’t an ounce of me that thought he might be a threat. Whatever threat had once been in this man was now long gone.
We prayed for several others after this second concert, but I focused my energy on Halil as I just felt Jesus was making that clear to me. Halil had grown up as a Muslim but now claimed atheism - as did many of the youth we met. David, a faithful missionary from Iowa serving tirelessly for years in Turkey, helped me communicate the Gospel to Halil. His wrist had been 100% healed and we discovered that he was dealing with sinus issues affecting his eyes, head and ears. He was still feeling some pressure in his ears. We prayed again and he said he almost blacked out from the rush of oxygen. He apparently had not been able to breathe properly in quite some time. Again his face spelled the wonders of Jesus. Not minutes later and he asked Jesus to become his best friend and savior. Amazing.
Suat was sitting on a bench just quietly waiting for us. I knew he was next when I learned that it was time for us to leave. I wrestled with what to do. Sensed the Holy Spirit say, “go for him!” I did and as quickly as I asked if he wanted to experience the same love we carried that came from Jesus, the only Son of God, he nodded in agreement. Unreal. The Muslim man who had only two hours earlier threatened to kill us was now humbling himself before the King of glory. My heart melted for this man. He struck me as the kind of man desperate for attention, hungry for a touch. Jesus gave us grace to be His hands and feet this night. Before we turned to walk away, Safak offered Suat his flip-flops (as it was obvious Suat’s flip-flops had had better days). They didn’t fit and I offered mine only to discover the same problem. Marcel with NLM offered his new Vans and they did fit. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a man more excited and joyous. Jesus had just entered his life and he was experiencing the first touch of adoption into this incredible Kingdom family. God is all powerful and He is drawing men unto Himself. More, Lord. That all of Turkey and the Middle East would embrace you, not just as a prophet, but as Lord and friend.