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As of October 2015, Lutheran Hour Ministries has begun work in the Republic of Turkey.

Situated north of Syria and Iraq and east of Greece and Bulgaria, Turkey is part of western Asia but has close ties to both Europe and the Middle East. In the first century, the apostle Paul took the Gospel to the region, which was then called Asia, or Asia Minor. In the fourth century, one of its cities, Byzantium, was dubbed the capital of the Roman Empire by the Christian emperor Constantine. In the fifteenth century, the country was annexed by the Islamic Ottoman Empire.

Today, although Islam is one of the dominant influences in Turkish culture, the country's society also reflects a strong tradition of secularism that was born when the republic was established in the early 20th century. While 99.8 percent of Turkey's 80 million people are registered as Muslims, just 10 to 15 percent actively practice Islam. An estimated 70 to 80 percent of Turkey's people are secular, non-religious.

"Some have characterized Turkey as the world's largest unreached people group," says Rev. Peter Kirby, LHM Area Director for Europe and Central Asia—"and now is a very good time to expand outreach in Turkey, because in addition to its large unreached population, there seems to be a spiritual craving there that will help set the stage for spiritual success."

Current conditions offer the prospect for getting a good foothold early on, says Kirby. "The SAT-7 Turk satellite network and two radio networks have expressed a willingness to work with us in creating Turkish-language programming. Also, the publisher of a Christian thought magazine called Miras (Heritage) has presented the possibility of partnering to educate Turks about the country's Christian roots. Finally, Lutheran congregations in Turkey's three largest cities could be a great help in promoting LHM materials and connecting the ministry to people in communities.

"One key to a strong start," Kirby says, "will be finding local staff that can catch a vision for what we are trying to do. We have contracted with a member of our team in Kazakhstan to spend a year recruiting and developing a work group and helping us get up and running.

"It's reasonable to anticipate some resistance," Kirby cautions. "For example, public witness is discouraged. But considering everything we've seen, along with the power and love of our God, we're optimistic—and excited—about this new opportunity."

Watch for more exciting news from LHM about Gospel outreach in Turkey—and join LHM in praying for the Holy Spirit's guidance and for the safety of believers who share the Good News wherever people need desperately to hear it.

Change Their World. Change Yours. This changes everything.

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