Bustling Istanbul

Today we had a mix of Greek Orthodox, Roman, Ottoman, and modern-day Islam. We started with a tour of the Archaeological Museum where we saw tons of artifacts, including mosaic remnants depicting times of King Nebuchadnezzar, the Idol of the Unknown God we read about in Acts 17 and tablets of the Treaty of Kadesh. This treaty is the oldest known peace treaty. We also went to the famed Blue Mosque where Muslims were praying, and we had to take off our shoes and women cover their heads out of respect. The day ended with St. Sophia church. It was a Christian church, then was overtaken by Muslims, and eventually turned into a museum. Crazy beautiful gold mosaic tiles and marble, more marble and yet more marble.

It’s interesting being around this many Muslims. On the long airplane trip here, during one of my many strolls down the plane aisles I ended up in two lengthy conversations with a young Muslim man named Abdul who was heading home to Ammon from Houston. I love how the Lord leads—the first time we talked was all surface but the second time we talked for 30 minutes with him asking some interesting questions. Questions like “so as a Christian if your children do not follow your faith like you think they should are they still your child?” And then another conversation that led me to telling him about the Holy Spirit and His role in our lives. Spiritual conversations that occur randomly and remind me that our openness to being alert to what’s going on around us can lead to seeds planted in others. Seeds planted; waiting for the Spirit to water and grow. So grateful for faith in Jesus that We can pray to Him whenever and however we want, and that He hears His children whenever and however we pray to Him.

Muslims in prayer. Men and women are always separated.
St Sophia
Beautiful tile mosaic of Jesus

Long Day Ahead

Today’s the day 9 of us from Des Moines will head out; spend 5 hours laying over in Houston; and then on to Istanbul. I’ve traveled plenty of times abroad but no matter how many tricks I learn, sleeping on the plane is elusive SO, I’ve got my Amazon movies downloaded, my headphones, two pillows, a couple of great books to read, Spotify playlist, and before you know it by 10 pm tomorrow night we should be landing in Istanbul. Love all the prayers – see you in Istanbul!

Thank You Google Translate

In most countries I’ve traveled I’ve had the pleasure of being able to travel with my daughter Nicole who knows enough foreign language, and of course, is fluent in Spanish, so I never have to worry about the language. Actually, I have gotten rather lazy! As I sat this morning and tried to focus on a couple of Turkish words I praise God for my brain, but I also realize that it is difficult for me to focus. They say that people who are musical off and pick up languages more quickly. I’m not sure that’s the case but I’m gonna go with that. So here goes, my goal is to learn at least 10 words over the next few days. And when all else fails, I praise God for Google Translate! No longer the need to carry a book in your backpack. Love it!

Study Time

Study Time

Love our homework time in preparation for the trip to Turkey and Athens. So much to learn, and hard to imagine what life was like in Paul’s time as he spent time in missionary trips to these areas. I’m praying God will open my eyes and give me fresh revelation by His Spirit as I walk the land where Paul taught with such zeal and conviction.

I wonder if Paul had doubts about his calling like I do? Did he question? Did he feel inadequate? When we read his writings in the NT we see such profound boldness and faith. Much of my life has been spent feeling inadequate, but the Lord is calling me into a new boldness in the season ahead. Parrhesia, the Greek word for bold means “A divine enablement that comes to ordinary and unprofessional people exceeding spiritual power and authority… it’s a result of being filled with the Spirit.”

I am walking in boldness into the season ahead, with a dependence on God’s Spirit to lead the way. I’m reminded of the song “Oceans”, “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the water, wherever you would call me.” Dependent on Him.

One Week and Counting

Last fall I wasn’t really looking for any sort of new adventure to add to my bucket list. Chuck and I had started making plans for what to do in 2019; and there were a few things we were looking at. When Pastor Tom from AdventureLife came into our church with the opportunity to take a study tour I was immediately intrigued. I’ve always loved his enthusiasm and passion; and as we started discussing it and praying about it, I decided to take a bold step and say yes. I was hopeful a friend or two would be able to join me. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen and although I’m an extrovert this trip is outside my comfort zone. Still, I know the Lord has much to teach me as I join eight others on this trip. Lots of studying the past two months. In the midst of my studying I was able to prepare a message for the Ridge that was timely and Spirit-led. And as someone who loves studying about Paul, I’m expectant of learning so much on this trip. Visiting many of the places Paul preached at will be such a memorable experience I have no doubt.

As the time ticks, I pray for the Spirit’s leading and the Lord’s protection against illness and crazy travel delays as we count down to leaving March 29. We’ll connect in Houston (with a five hour layover unfortunately), and then on to Istanbul, Turkey. My goal is to post photos and journal the trip here.