Published in  
March 13, 2024

Through The Lens: Türkiye

David and Monica moved with their family from the United States to Türkiye in 2012 with the call to establish a church that worships Jesus, loves its community, and lays a foundation for elders to rise up and lead the church long after their time comes. God has since grown that seed planted nearly twelve years ago in Fethiye, Türkiye, into a vibrant, multi-generational, multi-national community presence!

David & Monica's Church, Fethiye Halk Killisesi and FHK Coffee.

By His grace, they've been able to not only purchase a home for the church (Fethiye Halk Killisesi) to meet publicly but also to transform their downstairs space into a fully functioning coffee shop (FHK Coffee) where all profits are donated to helping those in need locally. Aside from helping the underprivileged in Fethiye, FHK coffee also provides a safe space for natural conversations about faith, life, and Jesus to sprout. The prayer is that out of these conversations, genuine, long-lasting relationships will begin to take form and flourish - resulting in a deep-rooted community of faithful believers eager and willing to serve their country through the teachings of Christ.

Top: FHK Coffee Bottom: "Dragon," member of Fethiye Halk Killisesi and employee at FHK Coffee alongside Josiah Ravish, Ride Nature Director of Missions, and author of this Trip Recap.

Türkiye is technically a "secular" country. However, approximately 82% are Muslim, and of the remaining population, roughly 2% are said to believe in the name of Jesus. Some estimates report the amount of Protestant Christians in Türkiye to be as low as 7,000 in a country with a population upwards of 85 million; that is a staggeringly small amount. To that point, only two other churches are located within a two-hour drive of David and Monica.

As David kept reminding us during our trip, "The harvest is plentiful, friends."

Kayaköy - Fethiye, Mǔgla Province, Türkiye.

In most Muslim countries, regardless of "secular" claims, it is deemed illegal to evangelize to minors; the story remains the same in Türkiye. Laws such as these create particular challenges when considering public ministry, especially skate ministry.

However, we have seen time after time that God uses simple things, such as a skateboard, to create meaningful bridges with others and avenues for the Gospel to be heard and understood.

Even through individuals who would not consider themselves skaters or even to a community that doesn't exactly have the culture. Like anything else, skating is a tool that God can use to do miraculous things.

Skatepark and Recreational Area in Fethiye. Pictured in center: David and his son Solomon.

We hope to return to Fethiye in the coming months with a team that will lock arms with the local church to train them in evangelism and support them in the work of reaching their community with the Good News of Jesus! This desire has never been more direr as David and Monica currently face the uncertainty of being able to stay in the country they've come to love due to ever tightening governmental policies.

Fethiye, Mǔgla Province, Türkiye.

However, God remains faithful through it all and continues to use their family and others to raise up localized leadership that will outlast any deterrents from the enemy or outside mission efforts in order to see the Turkish people won with the love of Jesus!

Walking through Old Fethiye.

What many people might not realize, especially in the West, is that modern-day Türkiye is only a veneer of its rich Christian history. Almost anywhere you look, there are remains dating back to 300 BCE and earlier of those who have gone before us in the faith. The Apostle Paul was born in Tarsus, located in modern-day south-central Türkiye. Antioch (now Antakya), located in southern Turkey, is where the followers of Jesus were first called "Christians." Ephesus, Colasse, Galatia, Laodecia, Mt. Ararat (speculated as being the final resting place of Noah's Ark), and many more ancient cities, ports, and churches find their home in modern-day Türkiye. While this may only be ancient history to many, we, as followers of Christ, remain steadfast in the belief that the He who began a good work will carry it to completion!

Kayaköy Ruins - an ancient Greek Orthodox Christian villiage located within the District of Fethiye.
The Kingdom is advancing, and the Gospel truth will not kneel or fade. Pray with us and believe it is so.

Photography by Michael Johnston.