Last weekend, Team Olur and the football team went down to Mersin, Turkey to play the Mersin Mustangs in our last game of the season. I chose to play in this one. I had 3 scores (two touchdowns, one 2 point conversion) and over 100 yards – and I was so sore I moved like a cripple. We stayed at the house of my wife’s friend’s cousin who was really nice. She and her family are believers and are very hospitable. They took us to their church where we met their pastor, Victor.
Victor moved from Korea to Istanbul with his wife and two sons about 15 years ago. They were doing ministry and language learning there before Victor had a dream about moving to Mersin (formerly called İçel – pronounced ee-chel). He and his family moved down south to Mersin without a detailed plan about what they were going to do – as directed by the Holy Spirit. As Victor left Istanbul, he bought this set of plastic, field hockey shaped sticks and a whiffle ball; and stored them in this really nice Nike bag. He dreamed of playing this game called Floor Ball together with the congregation as one of the leaders of a church in Mersin. When he and his family got to Mersin, he connected with a local church. He was excited to have found the church and get connected. Unfortunately, the pastor of the church had no plans of him being part of the leadership team. So Victor waited, and waited, and waited – patiently trusting the Holy Spirit. This was 10 years ago. A few years later, things in the church started unraveling and the pastor and the majority of the leadership team disbanded. Everyone was worried and wondering about what was going to happen. That’s when God called Victor to pastor the church. The church grew slowly and new people came and went, all the while that nice bag with the sticks and whiffle ball was sitting in storage. After church, everyone would drink tea and eat food as Victor would offer to play Floor Ball and everyone declined. Then, 10 years later, five foreigners who came to town for an American Football game visited his church.
His face lit up as he asked us if we’d like to play Floor Ball as we finished drinking our tea. Finally, he got his yes. We walked down near the beach, rented out a field, and next thing you know – we’re all playing Floor Ball with the church congregation and having a good time. I was too sore to play the whole time, but I had fun cheering my wife on. This story exemplifies how God isn’t a quick fix/pizza delivery type of God. He gives us hopes and dreams and sometimes requires us to be extremely patient – but eventually, sometimes on a random day – we’re living them out. When that day comes we should praise the Lord.