Turkish Christians hold large Christmas outreaches

By December 22, 2022

Turkey (MNN) — What does Christmas look like in Turkey?

Bruce Allen with FMI says it’s a very private observance for most Christians. “You’d have reading of the relevant scriptures in your congregation. You might do something in your home to observe the holiday. But it’s certainly not a large public event. People aren’t going out Christmas caroling.”

“There are no Christmas markets, with vendors selling their crafts as gifts or things like that.”

But this year, FMI church partners in Turkey are holding larger Christmas celebrations. One will take place in Ankara, Turkey’s capital, and one in Istanbul. Allen says, “In Istanbul, they are renting a hall that handles about 700 people. They will have food and crafts to share. There will be the singing of Christmas carols. Someone will explain the meaning of this holiday.” The first event in Ankara saw over 2,000 people attend.

Muslims believe in the Virgin Birth of Jesus. But they are less familiar with the Incarnation: the concept of God taking on human flesh.

In fact, many people in Turkey would be confused about the concept of a church. Allen says, “If you ask random people on the street for directions to a particular church, they would likely look at you very confused and say, ‘What is a church?’”

It’s a big cultural moment as well. Well-known choirs and even opera singers will perform at the final event, which takes place on December 24. Hundreds participated in a painting contest. Local churches hope to see barriers broken down between churches and broader society.

FMI partners in Turkey

It took FMI partners and churches working together to make these events happen. Allen says, “Here’s how we can do this event. It will require all of us. We all have to pitch in to pay for the rental of the property or prepare the food.”

As you celebrate Christmas this year, pray for the Churches in Turkey.

FMI recently began working in Turkey. In 2023, the ministry will identify the first 10 churches to plant in the country. Allen says, “We will need the sponsors here from the West to stand alongside them. Yes, they need financial assistance. But more specifically, the Turkish Christians are looking for prayer support.”

Ask God to sustain the remarkable unity between Turkish Christians.



The header photo shows the first event in Ankara. People are perusing the Christmas market, made up of 80 different booths. (Photo courtesy of FMI)

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