Turkey is the country that Paul had spread the Gospel with great power, 2000 years ago.
Although locations where Apostle Paul shouted the Gospel still exists and there are traces of the early churches, the whole country had been blanketed with Islam and no clues of the Gospel could be found. However, even Turkey is inside of the promise of God that says, ‘the nations for you inheritance’.
It was known two weeks ago that Pastor Ock Soo Park would be stopping at Istanbul on the way to Benin.
Despite the ten hours being a short time, when he enters Africa and Korea, it is that he is actually touching Turkish land twice. Then, the next day, news came that six members of the Gracias Choir were also going to Benin via Turkey from New York and coincidently, the time waiting in Turkey was similar to the time of Pastor Park.
Because it would be such a shame to let the world’s best choir just pass through, we began to look for a place where the Gracias Choir could perform and Pastor Ock Soo Park could deliver his Mind Lecture. Soon after, a way had been opened to perform in the stage of an arts high school in front of the students and the teachers.
As we saw everything being organised so quickly, as if Turkey had been waiting for Pastor, we could clearly see the heart of God that wanted to gain the people of Turkey in this way, and we were overwhelmed. Moreover, hope overflowed in our hearts as we think of how God will work through the door He had now opened.
On the 9th of March, at 5am, Pastor Park arrived in Istanbul and the Choir arrived two hours later. Hurriedly, without anything to eat, the choir raced to the school, in order to get there in time for the performance which started at 10am. Pastor had arrived first at the school and was speaking to the Head Teacher and finally invited him to the World Camp in Korea this summer.
10am, in a hall that was filled with 250 students, teachers and outside guests, the performance of the Gracias Choir began. In a place where it would not be exaggerating to say that classical music had disappeared due to the influence of Islam, the music of Gracias Choir was an amazing and refreshing experience. Because of the flight schedule, the performance could not be very long, but even so, all the people who had participated were able to experience a new taste of music. Especially, when Sopranos, Hyemi Choi and Jinyoung Park and Tenor, Paul Oh began to sing ‘Memleketim’, which means, ‘My Country’, and is a song that most Turkish people love, everyone began to cheer and when the song ended, the audience gave a standing ovation to expressed their touched hearts.
Afterwards, during the time for Mind Lecture, Pastor Ock Soo Park spoke about how people should share their hearts with one another. Moreover, he expressed his wanting to return often, sharing hearts with the Turkish people. He also spoke about the Turkish involvement in the Korean War, and thanked them, saying that the Turkish soldiers who gave their lives were the reason why South Korea was able to become so well-off.
After the performance, Pastor Ock Soo Park and the Gracias Choir hurriedly moved to the airport to get on the plane for Benin. When we think of how preciously the ten hours had been used, we felt so grateful. Even the Choir said, ‘It was just a coincidence that we were using a Turkish airline in this journey and it was only after purchasing the flights when we heard that Pastor was also coming through a Turkish airline. As we see the weather, time and schedule of Pastor that had all been perfect, we are certain that God had prepared this performance.’ They were also very joyful. It is difficult to match Pastor’s schedule as it is but through the coincidence that allowed them to be in Turkey at the same time, God had allowed us such a precious time.
Although a truly dream-like time has passed, our hearts were more filled with great happiness than regret. That was because we knew that this was merely the beginning and we were absolutely sure that God would work in this land in ways that we cannot even imagine. It is planned that rather than just leaving on the 19th when Pastor returns via Turkey to Korea, he would receive a day’s extension to have a meeting with the ministers from Bulgaria in Istanbul.