Turkey & Greece

Apr 26 - May 7, 2019

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Idols we carry

“Blessed are the flexible for they shall be bent but not broken” is a good motto to live by when you travel. This morning a majority of us woke up early (way to early) to catch a hot air balloon ride over Cappadocia at sunrise. The bummer was due to weather it was delayed and then eventually canceled. This didn’t get us down as we had a great day still seeing and experiencing this beautiful area. Craig taught us about the early Christian movements and how this region was famous for monastic communities and people who desired to really focus on some of the bigger questions of the Christian faith. We had the opportunity to visit some of these locations and see a few chapels carved into caves where people have worshiped God for centuries. We walked away with gratitude for the rich history of Christianity and the many brothers and sisters that have gone before us.

Later we went to an art museum that is fully built into a cave. This place was amazing and gave us a chance to see ancient pottery as well as other archeological finds from the region. Craig stopped us by a display that was full of little carved idols. He explained that these were images of the mother goddess that people would carry around with them for good luck. We read scripture from Paul talking to the Colossians about their idols that were no longer needed as God was in control. The question was given to us today to evaluate what idols we carry around rather than trusting in God.

Lunch today was special. We started the morning by visiting an older man and his wife and they showed us their old-style brick oven and told us how it worked by putting different food into clay jars and then placing them in the oven for 3 hours. The best part was that after explaining it to us they invited us back for lunch later in the day to experience this type of Turkish cooking. The meal was fantastic and with full stomachs we left Cappadocia and started driving toward the town of Konya. Along the way we stop at Sultan Han Caravanserai. A caravanserai basically was a rest point along the different trade routes where travelers could stop for food, shelter and water. This also gave them a chance to rest and learn from other travelers as they would pass news of events in other parts of the empire. This particular one happens to be the largest in Turkey and was a reminder of how important the trade routes were as everything and everyone passed by via these road networks. The apostle Paul would have journeyed on these roads from town to town on his missionary journeys and the spread of the gospel was possible because of these well traveled roads.

A highlight of the day was our teaching time on the bus as Craig walked us all through the first missionary journey of Paul. It is amazing to see the Bible come alive as we read through these different passages and see them in context with our own eyes.

Our day finished with some more local culture as we had dinner at a Whirling Dervish show. This is a famous dance and just like it sounds the Dervish dancers do a lot of spinning in circles. The show was definitely something unique and we all agree It has been great to learn the Bible but also experience the local food and customs of Turkey.

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