Toronto in Turkey – that is what it felt and looked like. For the last couple of years the Lord has been showing that a great harvest is coming to this land, the largest unevangelized country in the world. A year ago, on his first visit to speak in Turkey, John Arnott told us that what enabled them to sustain revival for so many years was that before it started they had focused on getting the people in their church healed up – that is, inner healing, dealing with issues of the heart such as forgiveness, discovering God’s Father heart. Immediately I thought, “This is what God is speaking to us.” Before the great harvest starts he is giving us a short period of time to get ready, to get our own hearts in order.
Fast forward a year to November 2011: around 200 current and rising leaders came together from across Turkey for an ILSOM, led by a very strong team from Canada, the US, and the UK. Considering the size of the Turkish Church – there are only around 4,000 Muslim-background believers out of a population close to 80 million – this is a great turnout, with delegates from close to 20 cities and 25 churches. In fact we had to limit attendance, and our hotel was completely maxed out. Apart from the normal ILSOM schedule, which runs five full days, we had four evening meetings, and everyone received prophetic ministry as well. So this was a packed, intense, high-quality, first-of-its-kind gathering, at a critical time.
A Turkish pastor could not get around the idea of Jesus as the groom and himself as a bride. Intellectually, yes, of course . . but emotionally? Too difficult. That night he had a vivid dream, in which he was dressed in a wedding gown, complete with his beard, and Jesus came and took him dancing.
A veteran minister told our church last week: “I have been in love with Jesus for many years – but not with the Father, I was afraid of him. That has completely changed now!”
Mehmet somewhat incoherently tried to explain the staggering encounter he had just experienced – a chariot ride to heaven to meet with Jesus!
For the first time in her life Ayse fell down while receiving ministry. She was completely out, and I had to explain to her concerned friend that this was not a medical emergency, but a deep rest from the Holy Spirit. When she woke up we learned it was more than this: Ayse had gone to heaven, stood before the throne, and seen a river of light flowing from the throne.
Nejla’s testimony is less dramatic but also life-changing: “My anger is gone, I understand much more deeply the significance of the cross. I fell in love with God – and how! Now I cannot think of anything other than God.”
Figen, a young woman, described what changed in her: “I met the Holy Spirit. I started to live deeper in him, to feel his presence. Now I know him – he is so very sweet.”
And over on the side a bunch of people on the floor, laughing, laughing, overcome by joy . . and fire tunnels filled with fire . . . Yes, it felt and looked like Toronto had landed in Turkey.
There are many more stories, but I have heard only a few of them because the participants have scattered across Turkey, back to their cities and churches having seen and tasted that there is more. I think this was a gift from the Lord to his church in Turkey at just the right time.