Worthy Christian News » Christian » Bible Distribution In Turkey Reaches New Heights
By Michael Ireland
ISTANBUL, TURKEY (January 9, 2001) -- In 10 months of the year 2000, over 18,000 people have phoned, written, or e-mailed in for a free 2000 Turkish New Testament, according to a Bible distributor in Turkey, "the largest unreached nation in the world."
A spokesman for the Meshur Distribution Company said they have an advertisement offering a free Millennium New Testament in seven different national newspapers. This is being done in conjunction with co-workers and Turkish fellowships from five different cities in Turkey.
"Thirteen people from different parts of the country have given their lives to the Lord!" the spokesman said.
"Dr. Hanife, a widow from Antalya, has been faithfully attending the fellowship there. She received her Millennium NT from the advertisement, and came to faith at the local fellowship. Pray for her, and Gokhan, her 11 year old son," the spokesman said.
One recent letter came from Van, a city close to the Iranian border, saying, "If you had not been doing this advertisement, I probably wouldn't be able to get a NT. Due to this campaign, I thank you."
Meshur Distribution LTD., founded in 1996, is one of 3 Turkish New Testament Distribution companies in Istanbul. The company name, Meshur, means "famous." Turkey is known as "the forgotten land" of world evangelization. Another company, Sevinc Distribution LTD., was started in Ankara, the capital of Turkey, in 1998.
"The team here has a great emphasis on praying and is taking risks to get the Word out," said the spokesman.
The third company, Kayra Distribution LTD., in Mersin, next to Tarsus, was started in 1999 and is managed by Martin. "He is faithfully distributing New Testaments to cities in Southern Turkey, e.g. Antioch, Gaziantep, Adana., etc. In Izmir (Smyrna) and area, Edwin and some faithful brothers are distributing New Testaments there," he said.
These companies, all non-profit, were developed to see maximum distribution of the Turkish New Testament in "the largest unreached nation in the world," the spokesman said.
"This is being accomplished through workers who are also training and mobilizing local believers to reach out. Since 1989, we have traveled around Turkey, and distributed New Testaments with both foreign and local brothers and sisters! We are very thankful to our co-laborers, as we see the Word go out and bear fruit. This last year has brought significant change in our work in that we are seeing people turn to the Lord!" he said.
The spokesman stated: "Thirteen years ago, only about 30 New Testaments were going out every year by our team. The Book was legal, but distribution was very limited due to persecution and arrests. Desperation and prayer enables us in spite of fear of police, and fear of being deported.
"After we saw New Testaments move out in Ankara, the Lord began to burden us to go to other cities. We distributed New Testaments in about 20 of the larger cities. There have been up to 20 harassments, arrests, and acquittals. Little by little, the Lord began to gather like-minded soldiers to get the Word out, both foreign and local," he said.
"We are now training Engin, who first received one of our New Testaments five years ago, and became a believer. Now the NT is available in many cities, and we have seen more than 168,000 Testaments placed in the hands of those who have never heard of God's love. Now, recently this year, we are seeing conversions to Christ and are helping these people find local believers' meetings," the spokesman said.
The purpose of the New Testament distributors is to open new doors through which Turks can be reached with the Gospel and linked up with local fellowships, including open, free distribution, advertising free Testaments and Bibles, and to visit universities, prisons, bookstands, bookstores, and libraries.
"Through using the distribution of God's Word, newspaper advertising, phone, e-mail, and 'snail-mail,' we are finding Turks who are open. (We hope to) follow up those who are hungry and link them up with local fellowships," said the spokesman.
The spokesman gave several examples of strategies used in New Testament distribution.
"We travel all over Turkey to stock bookstores, visit prisons, libraries, and universities with New Testaments," he said.
"On our last trip to Iconium, one store took 50 New Testaments. In Samsun, the detectives guarding the Chief Prosecutor were saying that the New Testament is illegal, and minutes later, the Chief Prosecutor accepted 30 copies as a donation to their local prison.
He continued: "At Haci Bektas village, four foreign and three local believers gave out 2,250 New Testaments in open free distribution over two days. The second day, five of us were arrested and sent to another city, threatened, and then finally released. Over Christmas and New Year's Eve, we gave out 5,700 New Testaments, one by one, in the center of Istanbul."
The spokesman said: "From as long as 10 years ago, we have wanted to advertise for free New Testaments. A man phoned to ask if he could stop by to get his New Testament. He turned out to be a policeman, and explained that he and his five police friends who patrol the area all wanted New Testaments."
He added: "The 'largest unreached nation in the world' will finally have a complete Bible by June 2001. The current Old Testament is in 70-year-old Turkish and is hardly usable today, (and) has just been newly translated. We want to be ready for this tremendous opportunity.
"The cost for the complete Bible will be about $5.00 each, and we believe the Lord to be able to distribute 50,000 copies. So far in 2000, in conjunction with other workers, we have distributed 50,000 New Testaments. This could represent a significant challenge for all of our prayer goals," he said.