Greetings Dear Friends!
As you may know, in 2005 we started a project to raise money to build a new church building in Antalya. In 2013, we bought land and in 2014 we began construction of the building itself. We were able to start using the building in 2016 and we had planned to have a grand opening celebration at that time. However, because of the political unrest in Turkey, we felt it necessary to postpone that grand opening celebration.
We praise God that after this long journey of fund-raising, building construction, and obtaining permission to use the church, in May we finally had our grand opening ceremony! Many individuals and representatives from the churches and organizations that supported this project came from different places around world to join us that day. Several key political leaders from the local government of Antalya attended and participated by giving speeches at the grand opening. These individuals come from Muslim and/or secular backgrounds, so you can imagine the significance of their support. They gave messages of unity and love. The believers who spoke at the ceremony praised God for His work and the gift of the building. They also gave clear messages of the gospel.
Many newspaper and media reporters also attended the grand opening. They published articles in the following days. Some of these reports were accurate and unbiased, well others were twisted and full of malice. We pray as we have prayed in the past that what these reporters intended for bad, the Lord will use for good. We pray that those who have read about the church will become curious and come visit us!
In effort to both celebrate the church opening and to make our presence known in the church neighborhood, we had a children’s carnival, a classical music concert, and a large yard sale to raise money for the less fortunate. Many of the people from the neighborhood around the church attended these events. There are 5 neighbors that are now attending our church services regularly. One couple has already put their faith in Jesus!
This summer, 6 new believers will be baptized. Please pray for these individuals to grow in their faith and be bold for Jesus. Pray for wisdom for those who disciple and encourage them. Pray that they would experience deep blessing of being a part of the Body of believers in Antalya.
We are currently in a phase of needing short term or mid term volunteers to help with our church café, childcare, and English conversation classes. We have been trying to recruit these types of individuals from within Turkey or from outside the country. Currently we have only been able to get one solid commitment for the coming fall. If you or someone you know may be interested in this type of volunteer work, please contact us for more information.
Our long term goal is that our churches and ministries would be financially self-operating. We aim to see this happen through the businesses our Lara church building is operating and through the tithes of church members. We are currently bringing in some income from our childcare business and hope to add to that when we open our café this year. Church members are generally very poor and tithes have always been small. However, we increasingly see a rise in tithes. Praise the Lord for that. At this point in time we are not self supporting and we still need outside financial support from the global church community. For this reason, I will be traveling to the USA and perhaps England this summer to fund-raise for our ministry. I will be organizing my preaching and presentation schedule this month. If you or your church would be interested in speaking with me and/or having me share with your congregation, please contact me.
Thank you all for your continued support and commitment to our ministry! We are grateful beyond measure!
Pastor of Antalya Evangelical Church