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Caleb and Elizabeth working together

Photo of the Week – 28 November 2017

This week was a pretty quiet week. No real adventures out of the house. Just a week of school and admin work and living life in the beautiful place.

This week’s photo is Caleb and Elizabeth doing Caleb’s handwriting together.

Several years ago, we found this great handwriting curriculum called A Reason for Handwriting. Each workbook is a different Bible theme, but the work pattern is basically the same. Each day is different words or letters, and the last day is a coloring page where the student writes out the Bible verse they learned that week and colors a border around it. The kids really enjoy these books.

Caleb and Elizabeth working together

Caleb and Elizabeth working together

Photo of the Week – 24 November 2016

Last week we had to make a trip up to Izmir to the US Consulate to renew some of our family’s passports. This journey involved a dolmus (a minibus), a train, and a few kilometers of walking. Thankfully, a dear friend of ours was also in Izmir for the day, and meet us at the train station walked through the process with us and drove us home when it was all said and done.

After our appointment with the Consular Agent, we met back up with our friend at a coffee shop. As we left the coffee shop to head back to his car, we passed a building that looked like a church. There was a wall with a gate around the building, but the gate was open. We noticed a security guard standing there, and asked if we might be able to go in and take a look around. We were told we could.

We learned that we had stumbled upon the Cathedral of St. John the Apostle and Evangelist. This beautiful cathedral is the seat of the Archdiocese of Izmir. It was an amazingly beautiful building and an oasis of peace in the midst of a loud and busy city.

On a day of meeting with ambassadors of a government, entering this chuch reminded me of Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth. It reminded me of how we are ambassadors of the King of Kings. How the church is called to be outposts of the Kingdom in the midst of foreign territory. How we are to proclaim the Gospel (Good News) of the Kingdom in every place and time.

Cathedral of St. John the Apostle and Evangelist, Izmir, Turkey

Cathedral of St. John the Apostle and Evangelist, Izmir, Turkey

 

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

2 Corinthians 5:17-21 (ESV)

 

Photo of the Week – 16 May

We've been remiss for the past several months as we've travelled around the US at keeping up with the Photo of the Week. So, throughout the month of October, we will be catching up with a post each day. Enjoy the look into our lives!

This week was the Turkish Süper Lig (the primary soccer league) championship game. The game ended about 930pm and it would seem that most of the town flooded into the streets afterwards. People were cheering and driving around honking their horns. The kids woke up, and struggled to get back to sleep.

The good news is that Caleb and my team, Beşiktaş, won! We picked this team in the winter of 2014, when some friends gave Caleb a Beşiktaş scarf.

When I took my walk the next morning, this huge banner had been hung from one of the buildings on the main road.

Beşiktaş banner

Beşiktaş!

 

Photo of the Week – 9 May

We’ve been remiss for the past several months as we’ve travelled around the US at keeping up with the Photo of the Week. So, throughout the month of October, we will be catching up with a post each day. Enjoy the look into our lives!

On Sunday, 8 May, we joined the local church in Kuşadası for “Church at the Beach.” This event happens a few times throughout the summer, and includes worship, teaching, lunch, swimming, and Baptisms!

This particular Sunday seven individuals were baptized! It was an amazing day of welcoming new brothers and sisters into the Kingdom. And, God, had a special welcome for them as well.

Even though there had been no rain and there were no clouds in the sky, when the first new believer went under the water a rainbow appeared as a perfect ring around the sun. It remained in place until the last of those being baptized came up out of the water!!

Rainbow around the Sun

A baptism rainbow around the sun.

 

 

Photo of the Week – 2 May

We’ve been remiss for the past several months as we’ve travelled around the US at keeping up with the Photo of the Week. So, throughout the month of October, we will be catching up with a post each day. Enjoy the look into our lives!

This first photo is of a fun vending machine in a park in Kuşadası where the kids like to play, and I like to grab a cup of çay.

Popcorn Vending Machine

A popcorn vending machine!

 

At the Park

Photo of the Week – 4 April

Our photo this week takes us to the park that is near our house. We are blessed to have a nice park about a block away from us. It’s heavily shaded, and has been a great spot for Emily and Caleb to play and meet new friends.

In addition to our formal language lessons, both kids are learning playground Turkish as only one of their friends speaks any English.

Stephanie has also benefited in her Turkish by watching the kids at the park. Just last Saturday they were invited by a mother of a young girl (not in the photo) to come to their home for tea. Stephanie was able to spend about an hour with her carrying the conversation completely in Turkish. She was also able to pray for healing for the lady’s back.

Please pray that as Emily and Caleb play with their friends they will have opportunities to share in both word and deed how much Jesus loves them.

At the Park

POTWEmily, Caleb, and their friends at the park.

Photo of the Week – 28 March

This week, we introduce a new weekly feature on the blog–the photo of the week. We will be taking one picture from the previous week, and using it to tell a bit of our story.

We didn't take very many photos this week, but the one we selected for this week is one in a series of photos that Stephanie took of Caleb and Elizabeth goofing around after dinner. This little girl LOVES her big brother!

Caleb and Elizabeth goofing around after dinner.

Caleb and Elizabeth goofing around after dinner.

In Turkish culture, younger siblings don't call their older siblings by their names. Instead, they call their older sisters Abla and their older bothers Ağabey (pronounced abi). Incidentally, we use these same terms for fellow believers as well.

 

 

Kuş14 – Photo Journal 4 (Food)

One of questions that we're most frequently asked in the States is: “What do you eat when you travel?” Over the course of this trip, we've taken quite a few photos of food. So, we thought for this edition of the Kuş14 Photo Journal it would be fun to talk about food.

Since (on this trip) we have our own kitchen, we don't eat out very often. This means that every Tuesday we head to the local street market (Salı Pazar) and stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables. We average 16.4 kilos (36.1 pounds) of fruits and vegetables each week at a cost of about $14.50!

Our Kitchen

Our Kitchen

A typical Salı Pazar haul

A typical Salı Pazar haul

All these fruits and vegetables are supplemented by a steady supply of rice, lentils (green and red), olives (Michael and the kids have eaten over 7 kilos (15 pounds) worth), and bread.

Kırmızı Mercimek

Kırmızı Mercim

Steph has learned to make all our favorite Turkish dishes: Mercımek Çorba (Red Lentil Soup), Gözleme (thin flat bread (Lavaş) stuffed with potatoes and cheese and grilled), İmam Bayıldı (“Fainting” Imam — eggplant covered with tomato), Ezo Gelin (a red lentil soup with bulgur and mint), Fakes (a Greek green lentil soup), Kuru Fasulye (white beans boiled in a tomato base and served over rice), and Pilav (rice cooked with small pasta).

İmam Bayıldı

İmam Bayıldı

Every meal that we eat at home is served with a side of red pepper, tomato, and cucumber. Caleb would eat his weight in tomato and cucumber if we'd let him, and Emily loves the peppers.

Side dish

Side dish

We've also discovered an unique fruit called Dağ Çilek. The literal translation is Mountain Strawberry. They taste a bit like a super soft peach, but have a spiky texture that pokes your mouth as you eat them.

Dağ Çilek

Dağ Çilek

We eat out on most Sunday's. There is a great restaurant near the hotel where the church meets called Saray (pronounced Suh-rye and means Palace). They have great Pide (think boat shaped pizza without red sauce), and Adana Kebap (lamb). They also serve a great Turkish dessert called Künefe. It's cheese rolled in wheat and then baked and covered with honey water and ground pistachio.

Künefe

Künefe

Finally, Caleb discovered the Köfte Ekmek. Köfte is a flattened and grilled meatball that is one of my favorite dishes in Turkey.

Caleb and his Köfte

Caleb and his Köfte

 

 

Kuş14 – Photo Journal 3

A couple of weeks ago, we took a day to visit some friends who are staying up in İzmir. While it was a very long day, it was a very fun day.

We began the day early with a train ride from Selçuk to İzmir. The train wound through villages and valleys and olive groves and mandarin orchards. We saw villagers huddled around a fire drinking çay before heading into the orchards to pick mandarins. The train was quite crowded, and we stood for most of the hour journey. Well, all of us stood except Caleb who ended up on the lap of a Turkish grandmother.

The Train Station at Selçuk

After spending the morning in prayer and worship and then having lunch with a group of friends, we took the Metro to Ancient Smyrna. Ancient Smyrna is the location of one of the seven churches to which John addresses a letter in the Revelation (Revelation 2:8-11). While excavations are ongoing, most of the city is not yet uncovered. In fact, most of the ancient city lies beneath the bustling modern city of İzmir. Nevertheless, what is uncovered is fun to walk through. Here are a couple of photos from our time exploring.

Emily and Caleb with an ancient lion.
Emily in Smyrna
The family at Smyrna

 

Kuş14 – Photo Journal 2

Well, it's been a couple of weeks since our last photo journal. We've explored more of our city. We've walked an average of 1.8 miles each day (with some days as much as 5 miles). We've ridden in dolmuş (a public transportation method) and autos–some even driven by me.

As we work our way through our days and through our city, we find ourselves looking for places where we can see the Kingdom of a God already present in the culture as well as the landscape. So, many places we look and see evidence that imbedded within the DNA of everyone–even those who don't yet walk out life in the Kingdom–is parts of the Kingdom. All mankind is created in the image (mirrors of His character and nature) of God.

So, here are some of the images we've captured in the past couple of weeks. Let them spark you in prayer and celebration of the beauty of God's creation. Join us in prayer as we seek to live out our lives incarnationally.

This is the Mosque at the top of the hill about two blocks from our Villa. Five times each day, we hear the Call to Prayer from this minaret. While it is intended to call our Muslim neighbors to prayer, it reminds us to pray for them.

When we packed for this trip, we forgot to pack Hot Wheels cars for Caleb. Fortunately, his friend here loaned him a few.

Sometimes, you just need a touch of home. I'm grateful for the ability to stream a little Arkansas Razorback football to Turkey.

The majority of the food that we eat comes from the local Pazar (weekly street market). While walking through the Pazar it is not unusual to see the merchants cutting fresh fruit and offering it to you as you walk by. The other day as we walked through I was struck with the thought that the Kingdom of God is like the merchant in the Pazar who sells you 1.1 kilograms of fruit for the price of 1 kilogram.

The sunsets here on the Aegean Coast never cease to amaze me. The Psalmist writes (and Eugene Peterson interprets), “That's how God's Word vaults across the skies from sunrise to sunset, melting ice, scorching deserts, warming hearts to faith.” (Psalm 19:6, The Message)

One day last week, I went out for coffee with a friend here in Kuşadası. What a blessing it was to sit for a couple of hours with him and hear the dreams that God has placed within him. Our view from the table on the deck at Starbucks was a phenomenal view of the island in the harbor.

Finally, yesterday evening we were at our friends house here watching their kids as they went out of town to celebrate their 19th wedding anniversary. As I walked out of their Sitesi (housing complex) to run to the store, I snapped this photo of their common area. What a beautiful reminder that God in His creativity loves us so much that He provided such detail and color for us to be inspired–and reminded of His faithfulness–by.

 

 

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