Murder in Turkey
Yesterday (Wednesday, April 18) at 1:30 PM, three Christian workers had their throats slit by radical Muslims in the east Turkish city of Malatya. I just got off the phone with our friend and coworker MN, who gives these insights and details:
The three men worked for a book store publishing house connected with Campus Crusade for Christ. One man was of German background, 46 years of age with 4 children. The second was a single man of Turkish background. The third, Necati Aydan, the leader of the group and of the local church, was Turkish as well, married with two young daughters.
A group of 6 or 7 Muslim students entered into their building, tied them up, interrogated them for two hours and then slit their throats. Another worker had arrived at the building and became suspicious that the door was locked. He called the police. Ten suspects have been arrested, one jumped from the window and is in the hospital, still alive.
Malatya is located in southeastern Turkey and is a strategic city for spiritual reasons. Malatya was the seat of the Assyrian church for 500 years. It was also the center of the Armenian community before the infamous Armenian genocide of 1914-1915 in which 1.5 million Armenians were killed. (The U. S. Congress is due to vote on a bill next week, on April 24, recognizing the Armenian tragedy as a genocide.)
The Turkish evangelicals are particularly asking for prayer for a display of solidarity at the funeral which is to take place on Saturday at 2:00 PM in Ismir (ancient Smyrna). Christians from around the country are expected to arrive. Ismir is in the western part of the country, and there is found much support for the Christians from the "secular" Turks.
We are asked to pray for turning the hearts of the Turkish people away from the lies of Islam, to pray that the Muslim radicals will be weakened by the reaction to this murder and not emboldened to do more, and to pray for the Christians there to be strong and united and not give in to the terrorist threats.
The local church in Malatya, where Necati was the pastor, was a small but thriving group of 35. Pray for the fellowship to overcome this attack, and for grace to Semshe (the wife and mother).
We understand these attacks as reflective of greater spiritual warfare concerning a breakthrough for revival and evangelism in Turkey. Isaiah 19 predicts a spiritual "highway" extending from Assyria through Israel to Egypt. Malatya represents the northern pillar of that prophecy.
This is another wake-up call, a trumpet blowing, a warning that the battles of the end times are at hand. Let us rise to fight the good fight of faith and to speak the truth in love.
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