With our tour guide Emi

Oops, wrong language. How do you say “we need each other” in Turkish?

Mike and I have been traveling overseas for nearly a week now, and our preferences for recording this journey are clearly established.

Mike takes extensive notes using his Nikon Rebel XS. He finds great pleasure in recording faces and places, archaeological wonders and cultural treasures. He also initiates extended conversations, peppering our new guide, Mehmet, with questions about history and the socio-political climate of modern-day Turkey. Mehmet led us to the ancient sites of Pergamon and Asclepieion today, and he took pride in demonstrating his impressive grasp of thousands of years of Turkish history. Yet when it came to understanding the New Testament significance of these sites, Mehmet, a Muslim, listened intently as Mike explained our scriptures.


Our Izmir guide Mehmet

We were sitting under a fig tree in the heat of the early afternoon today when I commented on its wonderful shade and its role in a gospel story. Mehmet was puzzled, so Mike briefly related Jesus’ reference to the tree and His illustrations of faith that the tree represents.  I could see Mehmet making mental notes.

We have a two-night stay in Izmir (the ancient city of Smyrna, which Mehmet pronounces “Sa-mearna”), but our experience with Emi in Istanbul (formerly Constantinople) was similar. She knew her stuff when it came to history and geography, yet was genuinely interested in Mike’s comments about how the sites we visited relate to our Christian faith. Several times while observing my husband with our guides, I thought, “I wonder whom is teaching who here?”

As for me, I haven’t pulled out my little Canon Cool Pix once yet, but at night back in our hotel I have to get our experiences on paper. Words buzz in my brain like flies in a barn, and they won’t let me be until I swat them down.

So Mike clicks the shutter, exchanges knowledge with our guides, and stores all we are seeing in his heart and mind to share later with our congregation back home. I arrange the words on paper – my verbal scrapbook. 

 Each of us is recording this sabbatical journey in our own way, and we find joy in sharing it with you.