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Are you Christians?

It is difficult to describe the Cappadocian landscape and the atmosphere there to people who have not been there. Here you will find fresco-covered cave churches, underground cities and church-filled valleys. Thousands of years ago, volcanic eruptions spread a thick layer of ash and mud over this area. The volcanic ash hardened into a soft porous rock. Over time wind and rain eroded the soft rock cover into a variety of geological formations.

When we arrived there in July 1995 there was no Christian witness left in the region. The ruins of the old cave churches was the only reminder of the citizens of Cappadocia who first put their faith in Jesus Christ on the day of Pentecost in Jerusalem (Acts 2:9) and then returned to their homes and villages forming the early Cappadocian churches. When the Turks invaded the region (A.D. 1205) the Christians left Cappadocia and abandoned their church buildings.


We decided to explore the main town area looking to connect with one or more local people. We walked past a few small leather and Turkish Kelim shops, when we saw a man standing in the door of his small shop waiving at us. It was a Tailor business and the man, in his late twenties, invited us in. It is quite common to find male tailors in Turkey and this man had a sewing machine, a desk and a few chairs in the small shop full of colorful material and unfinished garments.


He introduced himself as Etam and he managed a few English words and phrases that he must have learnt from the many tourists frequenting the streets of Cappadocia. We were offered Turkish tea as the custom prescribes and then the man asked "Are you Christians". This was a very unexpected question in the circumstances! We were surprised. We asked him why he wanted to know. In very broken English he told us that he had a dream three days before. In the dream he saw a man with a white robe and glowing eyes telling him that Christians will visit His shop and that he must ask them about Jesus. Since then, he was asking every foreigner if they were the Christians that will visit him.


We had finished our tea and two of our group members decided to go back to our hotel to pray and intercede for this man. I stayed with our group leader who could speak some Turkish. We had an English-Turkish dictionary with us and in the next two hours we told Etam about Jesus. It was the longest Gospel presentation I have ever been part of! Etam accepted Christ and we left him with a Turkish New Testament which he eagerly started reading when we left his shop.


We were overwhelmed with joy and awe after the experience with Etam. We took his contact details to give it to the Bible Correspondence Course staff in Istanbul to follow up on Etam. To our knowledge he was now the only Turkish Christian in that region!


Until today, it remains a sign of God's love that He would bring a group of South Africans to Cappadocia to share the Gospel with a Turkish man that had a dream about Jesus!

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