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« Wonderful words of life | Main | Heretics Unite! »

April 26, 2007

Christian Martyrs in Turkey

Kristine, thanks for your post on the Wonderful Words of Life. I can't help but think about the three Christian men who worked at a Bible publishing house whose throats were slit in Turkey last Wednesday-- their only crime, selling Bibles. One of them was a student at Martin Bucer Theological Seminary's branch campus in Turkey. The president of MBS Turkey described how Necati Ayidin, one of the three martyrs, had distributed Bibles: "Beginning in 2006, the Malatya team of Zirve Publishing House, led by Aydin, has been able to make 10,000 Bibles available to interested Turks."  Konutgan hopes that now, after the tragic murder of three Christians, the word of the church father Tertullian will be fulfilled: “The death of martyrs is the seed of the church.”

A report from the seminary translated by Prof. Dr. Thomas K. Johnson, Director of the Comenius Institute, Prague, and Fellow of the International Institute for Christian Studies, described Ayidin as follows:

Necati Aydin was born into an Islamic family in the Izmir area and came to a living faith in Jesus Christ in 1994. For many years he openly and actively confessed his faith, and for this he was repeatedly condemned by Muslims. In 2000 he spent four weeks in jail for distributing Bibles from a booth on the street, even though this is completely legal in Turkey. He was released from jail because no one found that he had done anything wrong. He was not able to enjoy the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights, to which he had appealed his case. Necati also played the role of Jesus in a large theater production, which was repeatedly held in major Turkish cities.

A few years ago Necati moved to Malatya, where he became pastor of the local Kurtulus Congregation (part of an association of churches led by Pastor Ihsan Özbek). He also became a staff member of Zirve Publishing House, which is a Christian publisher based in Istanbul with distribution offices in various Turkish cities.

Last October he began his studies at the MBS study center in Ankara, to be equipped for his ongoing pastoral ministry. He is survived by his wife, Shemza, and their two children, Esther (age 5) and Elisha (age 7).

The seminary has established a trust fund for Ayidin's widow and children and to assist the other survivors, victims, and help protect the local church. All contributions will be directly sent to those in need, without any administrative fees being deducted. The bank information for this special support account is:

Institut für Weltmission und Gemeindebau e.V.
Kto.3 690 334
BLZ 520 604 10
Evangelische Kreditgenossenschaft Kassel eG
Verwendungsweck: Märtyrer Malatya
IBAN:  DE02520604100003690334

Or you can contact Dr. Johnson at prag@bucer.de or Johnson.thomas.k@gmail.com. Please pray for the Christians in Turkey. They continue to face fierce persecution.

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Robert Kachadourian

My heart goes out to the three un the above article. One and one-half million Armenians know what happened in the same area 92 years ago. Please take some time to look up the Armenian Genocide.


Here's the most up to date information on where to send your gifts. The above still works. This will just be easier for most American donors.

Martyrs’ Fund, Information for US supporters:

Grace Reformed Church in Omaha, Nebraska, a congregation of the Presbyterian Church in America, has agreed to represent Martin Bucer Seminary: European School of Theology and Research Institutes, in collecting gifts to support the survivors of the recent tragedy in Malatya, Turkey. Priority will be given to meeting the needs of the widow and children of our student, Necati Aydin, who was one of the martyrs. As needed and possible, funds will also be used to assist the other survivors, though it appears initially that the needs of the others may be less. Our Dean of International Programs, Titus Vogt, will assess the situation to keep supporters informed of the extent of the financial need. Grace Reformed Church will collect the gifts in the US and forward the funds to the Martyrs in Malatya fund of Martin Bucer Seminary in Germany or Turkey. According to a recent report of an accountant for Grace Reformed Church, the US IRS does not currently require receipts for charitable gifts below $600; to reduce paper work for the church, receipts will only be issued for gifts of $600 or above.

US checks should be written to “Grace Reformed Church” with a note mentioning the “Martyrs’ Fund” and sent to:

Grace Reformed Church
c/o Mary Nilson
4614 N. 79th St.
Omaha, NE 68134-3328

Communication between Grace Reformed Church and Martin Bucer Seminary will be facilitated by Thomas K. Johnson, Ph.D., who is an MBS professor, a pastor in the Presbyterian Church in America, and has a long association with both organizations. Email: Johnson.thomas.k@gmail.com or Thomas.johnson@bucer.de.

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