By Frank R. Parrish with Keith G. Balser
At least twenty people were saved and forty others filled with the Holy Spirit when World MAP Director Frank Parrish and other ministry team members from the United States held leadership training conferences last fall in Turkey. Several local pastors joined the ministry team as they preached and taught in the capital city of Ankara and the southern city of Adana (near the Apostle Paul’s birthplace in Tarsus).
Open And Responsive
The attendees were “very open and responsive,” Frank said following the conferences. The Turks, he noted, are “wide open to the Gospel.”
Prayer times following the day-long teaching sessions lasted up to two hours, during which many people were healed and some delivered from demonic bondage; others spoke in tongues for the very first time.
Who is Jesus?
Can I trust the Bible?
Is it true what the Imams (Muslim teachers) have told us about Christianity?
How can I talk to another Muslim about Christ?
What can I believe in?
What is real?
These are the kinds of questions people were asking. Frank and the ministry team answered them clearly and authoritatively, yet “with gentleness and respect” (1Pet 3:16 niv).
“Turkey is ripe for wholesale evangelism,” Frank observed, “but it has to be done carefully, since there is still a lot of antagonism against Christianity. But if it is done wisely, with good leadership, I think there could be a phenomenal growth in the number of Christians in Turkey virtually overnight.”
Clarity And Candor
In every message he preached, Frank included a bold Gospel message. “I presented it clearly so that there was no misunderstanding.”
Frank talked about three things (among others) Christianity offers that no other religion in the world has:
- Salvation is a gift from God. You don’t work for it; you can’t earn it. It is given as a gift.
- Believers have the presence of God – both within us when we receive Christ as Savior (Eph 3:17,19), and with us when two or more believers are gathered (Matt 18:20). No other religion has God’s abiding presence. This is unique to Christianity.
- Believers have the power of God available to us. He is willing to give His power to us, to touch and change our lives; and through us as we pray for others.
Frank also candidly acknowledged the historical failures of Christians through the centuries. “What God gave us in Christ is perfect,” he told the seminar attendees. “However, what we’ve done with it – how we’ve twisted it for selfish gain, ignored parts of it, not understood it – that’s our failure, not God’s.”
Approximately three thousand of Turkey’s estimated 63 million people are Bible-believing, evangelical, Spirit-filled Christians. The rest are either practicing Muslims, or else “nominal” Muslims who see Islam primarily as a cultural tradition and lack the religious fervor found in Iraq, Iran and the Arab world.
There is a huge population of educated 15 to 25-year-olds, who are westernized, secularized and agnostic – yet spiritually hungry. Millions in Turkey are yearning for something that neither Islam nor secularism can give them: salvation and the assurance of eternal life.