Ron and Lori have written today’s update. Enjoy!
When I was a boy, my brother and I read these really cool funny comics called Asterix and Obelix. They were fierce warriors of French origin known as Gauls. Little did I know that this was based on a truth and that there were these same Gauls in Turkey! And that the book of Galatians was written in the land of the ‘Gaulations’. See photo of the Galatian mountains and rich farmland.
In the last two days, we learned more about the Galatian problem which faced the apostle Paul: how do Gentiles (you and me) fit into the kingdom of God? The early church had to figure out how to determine God’s will. How does the good news message as displayed through Jesus apply to Gentiles as well as Jews? Today we unravelled this mystery through several powerful teachings which demonstrated that God’s plan required that Gentile believers be obedient to the law (the Torah including Ten Commandments etc) and not the “works of the law” (specific laws that made a Jew Jewish such as circumcision, rules for the Sabbath, kosher eating)
It’s been eye opening for me to make this connection here in Turkey, walking where the apostle Paul walked. How is it that we, way over in Canada, can call ourselves believers of God, the Jewish God, the one true God? Because of Jesus Christ, who taught that the good news is for all nations. The apostle Paul was a champion of Christ. He fought through floggings, prison, walked long ways through mountains and strange lands, challenged Imperial Rome, was stoned and left for dead, flogged three times, yet he never gave up in his mission in spreading the gospel to the Gentiles. What a powerful message and challenge to all of us!
As we sit here today in the Galatian hills, the Muslim call to prayer echoes eerily and strangely to our western ears over our heads at regular intervals, calling Muslims to prayer. It reminds me how much the world needs to know that the One True God reigns and wants all to know him. How do we do that? It starts with loving your neighbours and the marginalized in this world.
Phew, what a day! One more full day of teaching and hiking in this beautiful country and then we will start the journey home.
Thanks for your prayers. We feel them.
Ron and Lori