Ken and Betty Frank - Turkey This question came up during one of our many talks to congregations of the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the USA. As we traveled around, speaking in different churches, we grew accustomed to the questions people usually asked. But this one made us stop and think. A church member wanted to know: "What inspires you to do the work you're doing in Turkey?"
This question came up during one of our many talks to congregations of the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the USA. As we traveled around, speaking in different churches, we grew accustomed to the questions people usually asked. But this one made us stop and think. A church member wanted to know: "What inspires you to do the work you're doing in Turkey?"
We've been serving with Global Ministries in Turkey since 1982. We are fascinated with what we see and learn in Turkey, and the Turkish friends we've made, and the people we work with. It's not always easy, but we are convinced that what we do is important. You can read the details in one of our previous pieces, "What Do We Do?" But what inspires us to do this work?
One source of our inspiration is the congregations of the Disciples of Christ and United Church of Christ. Whenever we tell the story of our service in Turkey, church members respond by saying how glad they are that we are representing them. The way we work in Turkey, and the kind of presence we have, resonates with them. This positive feedback strengthens us.
Another source of inspiration is our Turkish friends and colleagues. Before we left Turkey for our last Home Assignment, we were continually asked whether we would return. People did not want to see us leave. It's not only that we have formed trusting friendships over the years. One person put it like this: "What you're doing here isn't as important to me as the fact that you're here, living with us. Of course, you're doing good things here, but that's obvious. What we really need is the outside perspective that you bring. Otherwise we just get caught up in our own small world." We wonder how many American groups would want someone from another country, someone from a different cultural and religious background, to work and live with them, to keep them globally minded.
A third source of inspiration is the kind of example we are able to set. We can do what we do only because the path has been blazed by our predecessors, both Turkish and American, both Muslim and Christian. We work together, side-by-side to realize our mutual ideals of service to the nation of Turkey in health and education. This reality is a beacon of light in a world that seemingly reports only conflicts in the Middle East. In these days of go-it-alone American efforts to direct the rest of the world, it's inspiring to know that our churches live out what they preach by having us work in Turkey under the advice and guidance of Turkish colleagues and friends.
We give thanks to God our Creator for the many ways we are inspired through others.
Ken & Betty Frank
Ken & Betty Frank serve as missionaries with the American Board in Istanbul, Turkey. They share the job of General Secretary of the American Board. They also serve on the board of the Istanbul Interparish Migrant Program (IIMP).