“Evangelical pastor Jinwook Kim, he was stabbed…just while walking down the street in southeastern Turkey. He began serving as a pastor in this area just earlier this year, although he’s lived in Turkey for five years already. He died from his wounds after he was taken to the hospital,” Allen says.
“In a sad twist to this story, his wife is expecting to deliver their second child [last] week.”
Attack on Pastor is Suspicious
Local authorities claim the pastor was the random victim of a thief trying to steal a phone. A 16-year-old has been arrested as a suspect for the murder. However, Allen and others familiar with the case suspect foul play. Allen suggests the incident may have been a targeted assassination.
“From other ministry colleagues who work in that region, I have been informed that underage perpetrators, like the 16-year-old who [was] arrested, they’ve been used in a number of assassination attempts against Christians in Turkey recently, to lessen legal liability,” Allen says.
If minors are caught, their sentencing is typically less severe than sentencing for adults. Allen says another Turkish evangelist received a death threat the day after Kim was attacked, adding to the suspicion that Kim was not a random target for petty theft.
Officially, Turkey is a secular state. However, over the past few years, political sentiment that to be Turkish is to be Muslim has been on the rise, as has violence against non-Muslims. Turkey is also ranked as the 26th most difficult country to live on Christian by Open Doors USA’s World Watch List.
Pray for Turkey
Still, Allen urges believers not to lose hope for Turkey, but to instead pray. First, pray for Pastor Kim’s widow and their children. Pray for her endurance and faith as she lives in the contrast of welcoming a new child into her family while grieving the loss of her husband.
“Pray for the other evangelists. Turkish, as well as foreign workers in the country who are still there under their current visas, pray for them. Pray for their courage, for their perseverance, for their ability even though they may be scattered across the country, to network well with each other and help encourage one another as iron would sharpen iron,” Allen says.
FMI is in the process of expanding its work to Turkey with local Christian leaders. To learn more about this expansion, click here.
Header image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.