● 我們能夠瞥見上帝在土耳其和其他國家的工作。 歷史仍然是“祂的故事”，即上帝的故事。
● 最後，如果沒有我的妻子在任何情況下繼續照顧我，我就無法到達土耳其並返回。我真的很蒙恩。 原本她很猶豫要不要去土耳其，但回來後她滿懷激動，現在甚至對做土耳其菜產生了興趣！
My “Half” Turkiye* Trip
After receiving my doctor’s firm approval regarding my planned travel abroad to Turkiye, my wife and I arrived in Istanbul on March 24th. Our long awaited “Seven Churches of Revelation” tour began early the next morning! We enjoyed the company of 23 other tour members and very quickly warmed up to one another. Every day brought us amazing sights and wonderful experiences…
Every day, that is, until Day 5 (3/29) when the “sudden terror” returned (See my posting dated March 17th). While we were in the city of Ephesus, blood clots again appeared when I went to the “WC” (restroom), but this time I was far away from home. I informed our tour leader and we prayed for the improvement of my condition. I was able to make it through the remainder of the day’s tour, but on the way back to the hotel, the condition seemed to be getting worse. Fortunately, there was a hospital directly on the way, and only a five-minute walk, to the hotel, so the local Turkish tour guide accompanied my wife and me to the hospital ER. I felt like I was in a dream; here I was in the ER of a foreign country, the language of which I did not know at all!
What the ER staff could do for me was limited, so our tour leader suggested that we go to Izmir, the country’s 3rd largest city, which could provide better medical care and also which was the home of dear co-workers who were fluent in the language and who could take care of us. Suddenly my wife and I needed to pack up and leave our tour group.
With great kindness, our tour leader went with us an hour’s drive away by taxi to Izmir, and the co-workers made an appointment for me to see a medical specialist first thing in the morning. In my mind it was one of the longest rides I had ever taken in my life, but thankfully on the way the bleeding stopped. We went to the co-workers’ apartment where a lovely guest room had been prepared for us. Due to the kindness and care we received, I was able to get much needed rest after the drama of the day.
The next morning (3/30) we decided it would be best to return to NY as soon as possible. (Since the bleeding had stopped, I would wait to be checked by my doctor at home.) We needed to book an airline ticket from Izmir to Istanbul, change the date of our original flight from Istanbul to NYC, and also take a required PCR test to re-enter the U.S. Home seemed so sweet and so precious, and at the same time, so very far away, with many obstacles blocking our return to it.
Yet all came together: the following morning, the co-workers took us to Izmir Airport by taxi and accompanied us to secure the tickets needed to return to NYC. For the very first time I was given wheelchair service and found it so helpful. On the evening of March 31 my wife and I finally arrived safely back at our home in NY. The last three days still felt like they had been a dream but now we were actually home! Thanks be to God for His grace.
If I had known ahead of time that this would happen, then of course I wouldn’t have gone abroad, but for a number of reasons I had felt the peace to go, most importantly due to the doctor’s encouragement to me to go which was a BIG green light to me. However, if and when a “sudden terror” still does come upon us in the course of our lives, we can always find evidence of God’s grace in the midst of our difficulties!
I personally experienced the truth of God’s promise that “for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans8:28) I would like to share the following specific “good” things that I have gained from this “half” trip:
● We were still able to step foot on and see some of the land of Turkiye, making it worthwhile to have flown there. I have found that physically being in a place makes all the difference in one’s understanding and appreciation of it.
● The biblical significance of Turkiye is not simply due to the “Seven Churches of Revelation”; in actuality, an amazing two-thirds of the New Testament were either written to or from Asia Minor, the western peninsula of Asia that now makes up most of modern Turkiye! Abraham lived in this land, and according to some scholars (and in alignment with tradition), he was born there as well.
● Our tour group was among the first of the Chinese-speaking groups to visit the country after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic! Every place we went, people welcomed us with big smiles and were clearly very excited to see us. In this sense, we were frontrunners that God used to bless the nation of Turkiye.
● Due to my illness, we had the privilege of staying in the home of co-workers living in Turkiye and had the opportunity to get to know them and to learn about their work. They are not just God’s angels to have taken care of us but are also God’s agents to carry out His mission!
● We had the chance to get to know many dear brothers and sisters from different states of America and even from different countries – New Zealand, Taiwan, Israel, and, of course, Turkiye! We were encouraged and inspired by each of their life stories.
● We were able to get a glance into God’s work in Turkiye and in other nations. History is still “His Story”, i.e., God’s Story.
● Finally, I wouldn’t have been able to make it to Turkiye and back without my wife who continues to care for me in all situations. I am truly blessed. Originally she was very hesitant to go abroad to Turkiye, but she came back full of excitement and has now even taken an interest in making Turkish food!
Unending thanks to Grace Tours which arranges such excellent tours and whose staff cared for me in my time of physical weakness. “…for those who love God, ALL things [do] work together for good”!
One day “I shall return”…to finish the other “half” of the tour!
* Turkiye is the official name of the country of Turkey