Izmir, Turkey

It was 8pm at night when I was leaving the apartment that I had lived in for the last year, focused on the trip ahead and not the emotion of leaving (as I tend to do with every trip).  I stopped in to the Playstation salon that I had frequented, kind of like an arcade but with comfortable chairs and video game consoles, to give the owner my favorite game that he always asked me about; and to speak the last Turkish I would speak in my former home.  ‘’Bir hediye, senin için’’, a gift for you.  I walked down to the shuttle station with 2/5th of my former team, said goodbye, and got on the shuttle on my way to the bus station, on my way to the airport, on my way to America.

 Turkey is the kind of place that you can leave, return to 10 years later, and it would be as if you never left.  While there, I learned about hospitality, conversation, and relaxation.  I learned how to coach, speak Turkish, and share the gospel with people in a relatable way.  I spent a lot of time there with a Turk named oğuz (pronounced oh-uz).  He became a Christian after he had a dream about Jesus.  At the time, he wanted to learn how to play football and I trained him.  We ended up really getting along and we hung out a lot.  We shared a lot of what we were going through at any given time.  I heard him share the gospel and I helped him understand the Bible more.  He is definitely like my younger brother.  I feel blessed to have a best friend like him.  Living in Izmir, Turkey was an amazing experience.  I gave up my life here in the states to go there; it wasn’t just a trip, it was a full transition that I was blessed to experience. 

When Jesus told us to go and make disciples of all nations, He didn’t say exactly how.  It’s been a couple thousand years since He’s given the commission and the methods of how to do it have changed over the years.  Nowadays, we have the ability and the opportunity to discover what we’re made of.  What skills do we have, what do we like/dislike, how do we affect the most change?  These are the questions that we can ask ourselves today.  And how much more awesome is it that we can filter these questions through the great commission?  I believe that when you put your entire being into something, you come to love it – even more so when that something gives back to you in rewarding feelings, visable results, and feelings of accomplishment.  I think that’s how many of us feel when we take the bold steps to share the gospel; no matter in how big or how small a scale.  I love sports and I love Jesus.  Both have allowed me to go to Turkey and feel accepted, to grow, to put forth passion and worthwhile effort.  I think people should take advantage of organizations like gocorps in order to make the great commission part of their life.