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In Turkey, 20 evangelical
churches have received
threatening messages
from Islamic extremists.

About 20 evangelical churches in Turkey have recently received threatening messages from the Turkish branch of the self-proclaimed Islamic State. The messages, which have been sent via Facebook, text and email, often include upsetting videos and pictures. The militants responsible for sending these messages state that they are tired of waiting for Christians to return to Islam, adding cruel comments such as, "Quranic commandments... urge us to slay the apostate like you." While the church leaders have reported the threats to authorities, we ask that you join us in praying for the protection of these churches and for God's guidance to be granted to their leaders.

Although Turkey has been officially secular since 1924, nearly 97 percent of the overall population represents its Muslim majority. Religious minorities are often denied the right to provide religious education and maintain places of worship, despite a constitutional guarantee of religious freedom. In addition, Christians are frequently subjected to discrimination, slander, personal assault, and violent attacks against their churches. Although there has been great hostility demonstrated toward the followers of Christ in various areas of the Middle East, we are reminded through God's Word that He is able to transform the hearts and minds of the perpetrators...bringing them from the realm of darkness into His Kingdom of light and love. Information and reports addressing the persecution of Christians in Turkey are available at the Turkey Country Report.

As these Turkish Christians earnestly seek God's wisdom and direction, in response to the threatening messages and other forms of persecution they've endured, may they clearly sense and heed His Holy Spirit's promptings -- always endeavouring to speak the truth in love. Ask the Lord to protect them as they continue boldly gathering together for times of worship and fellowship, while also reaching out to the non-believing members of their communities with His compassion and blessing. Finally, please pray for an increase of religious freedom in Turkey, and the empowerment of Christians to embrace that freedom for the furtherance of the Gospel and God's glory.