Date: October 2, 2023
Turkiye (MNN) — This past summer, 50 children in Turkiye gave their lives to Christ at a kids’ summer camp ministry! Sadly, even at their tender age, many Christian children in Turkiye face mockery, ostracization, and even threats or attacks.
The summer camp outreach is held by FMI-supported Pastor Izzet and other Turkish believers. It provides a vital time of refreshment and safety for children in Turkiye from minority Christian families.
“Especially for kids who face any type of persecution or suffering or difficulty, [the camp allows] for them to be recharged [and] to be rebuilt in their faith,” Izzet says.
“Two months ago, a child in Turkiye was threatened with some scissors. One of his friends said to this person, ‘Why aren’t you coming to the obligatory religious classes?’ and lifted up the scissors and said, ‘I’m going to beat you over the head with a Koran or these scissors until you come back.’
“That problem was not solved, so the child had to leave that school and go to another school. So these summer camps are a great opportunity for kids like that to be encouraged in their faith.”
Everything they do at the camp is legal, and every child camper has a signed permission slip from their parents. However, Izzet says they still face scrutiny.
“A couple of years ago, the police actually came to our camp area and set up their own tents and stayed there the whole week in their tent. We aren’t doing anything hidden or secret. The police even come and are able to sit and watch what we do. Of course, if we didn’t get those written permissions from the parents, it would be pretty easy…to be penalized in some way.”
As they look to the future of the summer camp ministry, Izzet and his team are searching for a new location to host the camp. The location FMI was using for summer camp is now risky since the Christians who were part of that campground were kicked out of Turkiye.
Izzet says when they approach potential camp locations and ask about using their facilities, “They either ask for extra money or they simply say, ‘We don’t want to give our campground to be used for a Christian camp.’ So one of the things they’re thinking about, at least long-term, [is] if they can come up with a place that they could use regularly for camp.
“The camp that they have been using is actually a risky place now because the people who were part of that camp were kicked out of Turkiye. So next year, what they will do for campgrounds, they aren’t sure.”
Pray for these kids summer camps with FMI to continue in Turkiye, and bring glory to God by proclaiming the Gospel!
Header photo of Turkish child. (Photo courtesy of Hulki Okan Tabak/Unsplash)