Our Turkey team has two major aims: church planting and ministry training. It is the desire of the team to see new fellowships emerge in cities where there is currently no church. The team have been specifically praying for a province in the north-east of the country and hope to have a family living there soon.
World Horizons is committed to leading and supporting the work of a ministry training programme called Filipus (www.filipus.org) which runs in cities in Turkey as well as in three Central Asian countries. Every year, new groups of local believers gather to live in a prayer-based community setting and receive applied training for ministry. In the afternoons the trainees give assistance to compassion projects, such as serving refugees or the homeless. Equipping participants to discover their part in mission, the training builds towards a cross-cultural ministry placement in another country. The vision is to see local believers equipped to share the gospel in their own countries as well as in other nations.
The programme also includes a business element: in Turkey, this is within the context of a speciality coffee company. The business exists to give training and experience, the goal being to enable participants to support themselves in future ministry. The coffee company roasts speciality coffee for the Turkish market and has a coffee shop in the centre of Ankara. Local believers and refugees are also trained to work in the coffee industry (www.coffeehaus.com.tr).
Working in close partnership with local believers, our team have established several compassion ministries and social enterprises in Ankara. There are more than 50,000 refugees from Syria, Iraq, and Iran in Ankara. This partnership serves more than 5,000 people with regular food distribution, clothing, medical services, children’s ministries, language courses, and spiritual support (www.ankara-refugees.com). They have also developed a sewing project which teaches refugee women to make handmade bags, wallets, and tablet covers from upcycled Turkish flat-weave carpets and selling the goods on their behalf.
Every week the team, with local believers, make a big pot of soup at a church in Ankara and invite those passing by to join them for lunch. Dozens of neighbours come to the church to have a bowl of soup and hear about the gospel. ‘Soup day’ has become the most effective evangelistic outreach this church has ever seen! They also make a big pot of rice, chicken and chickpeas and take it to the bus station where over a hundred homeless people find shelter. Our workers engage in conversations about life and faith with those they give a bowl of food to. These days the back row of services in the local church is full of people who currently reside at the bus station!
In February 2017 we began a new ministry in Northern Cyprus – a programme to train believers from around the region and beyond for ministry in the Muslim world. The programme, which is called Exile Ministry Training, is a three-month intensive course in the context of community at a small organic farm and hotel in the rural Karpaz region of Northern Cyprus. You can find details of the programme at www.exilecyprus.com. Closely linked to this programme, we have also started a coffee business and a natural wine production business. Students gain training and experience, equipping them with skills to support themselves in future ministry.