Turkey (MNN) — After three long years, the trial for the murders of three young Christian men is finally drawing to an end.
On trial are Salih Guler, Cuma Ozdemir, Hamit Ceker, and Abuzer Yildirim, and alleged ring-leader Emre Gunaydin who stabbed, tortured and killed Christians Tilmann Geske, Necati Ayden and Ugur Yüksel. The murders took place in Malatya, Turkey on April 18, 2007. Three years later on April 15, 2010, the sentences of these men will finally be decided.
Rody Rodeheaver of I.N. Network says that despite the horrors of persecution displayed through these murders, the church in Turkey has been strengthened.
"All of us in the Christian church are praying that not only will justice be served here, but that, in the course of this, these young men who perpetrated these crimes will find the hope and the forgiveness that comes through the Gospel of Jesus Christ," says Rodeheaver.
The Turkish church has called on people everywhere to join with them in prayer.
"One of the things that has emerged from this is a global day of prayer for Turkey, which was started a year ago to commemorate the deaths of these young men. But it has been broadened to call attention to the fact that God is at work in Turkey through His church."
Rodeheaver says Turkey is a launching pad for the spread of the Gospel. Its geographical location makes it an intersection for several countries hostile to the message of Christ. It has naturally become a peaceful harbor and meeting place for Christians due to its republic form of government. Turkey has become extremely important to the mission field in the Middle East in general.
However, persecution still frequents Christians in Turkey. Although conditions are not usually as severe as with these three murders, Turkish Christians are daily challenged for their faith.
The global day of prayer for Turkey will be on April 18, 2010. Rodeheaver encourages churches everywhere to get involved.
"Pray that God would bring a revival in the land of Turkey, that God would also protect the church there, and that God would give believers in Turkey the courage to share their faith and to stand firm for the Gospel in that place."
For more information on how to best pray for Turkey on April 18 and every other day, visit prayforturkey.com.
I.N. Network has programs throughout Turkey to strengthen believers, from school children to Iraqi refugees, and to reach out to non-believers. This summer, I.N. Network will host summer camps for children to get them connected with other young believers. If you'd like to help I.N. Network continue programs like these, click here.