An email from Mary (7-14):
Mary here…all is well in Turkey! We are enjoying spending time at the English language school two nights a week. We engage in conversation with six students ranging from ages 17-41. Sometimes, it’s difficult to carry conversation, but at our last class, one student really began to open up and it was so much fun. When we realize a miscommunication, we all laugh, and then it’s as if we all speak the same language and understand each other. We have class tonight and afterward, we are all going to a soup restaurant. One student shared that his father owns a famous “soap restaurant,” which we eventually deciphered as a “soup restaurant.” The Turks say cow stomach soup is there favorite, so we’ll see what we end up tasting. We are excited to spend time with the Turkish people in a casual setting.
Last weekend, we had the privilege of touring Ephesus and a few other ancient cities. It was incredible. We walked on the same streets as Paul! Also, we saw the tomb of St. John. Learning all the history of these ruins is so captivating to me. I am grateful for the experience.
We received a timely email of encouragement from Art Beals. He wrote, “Remember, the most important part of your summer will be…just being you! As Americans, we always want to figure out what we can “do.” This is exactly what we have been struggling with. Sometimes, we doubt whether we’re impacting anyone, but we have been encouraged through these feelings. Lydia has assured us that we have “blessed their socks off.” She said they don’t know how they would have made the transition into life as parents and business owners without us, and doubt whether the store would have opened as planned . We are confident that we have made a difference for the VanDyk family. Our main prayer in preparing to come to Turkey was to be an encouragement to the long-term missionaries here. In that aspect, our trip has thus far been a success. Ben and Verna remind us that if we did nothing but live here and pray, that would be enough. We’re spending time with God and learning to trust him… trusting that he is working through us even when we can’t see it. As team Chile observed, serving God is not what you expect.