Hamza & Fehriya Ozant - Turkey
News From Hamza and Fehriye!!!
November 15, 2018
After we sent you our last news letter, the Lord added 6 new prisons and 10 new disciples to the prisons we write letters to. Tokat, Antalya, Bolu, Ankara, Mugla Center and Diyarbakir. We wrote letters to the new prisoners in these 6 cities and sent them Bibles and basic lessons for the first time. We are currently in correspondence with 30 people from 18 prisons. Five of them are multiplying disciples and these students have groups of disciples in three different prisons.
With the permission of the prosecutor, I (Hamza) met two of our inmate disciples in different cities for the first time, whom we were following up for a long time.
I visited Erhan in the Karabuk prison. (We wrote you extensively in our May and July letters about Erhan). He is 35 years old and has been in prison for 12 years.
Karabuk is five hours away by car from Istanbul. When I arrived in Karabuk, first, I went to the courthouse in the city center to get permission to visit him from the prosecutor's office. I got a 30 minute phone call permission and I went to the prison where Erhan was staying. I talked with Erhan on the phone behind the glass wall for 30 minutes. While in prison, he lost his father from brain cancer and then his mother after six months from a heart attack. Later, his sister, her husband and their only child were killed in a car accident. So nobody has come to visit him for the last three years. I was the first person who visited him in the last three years, and he was very touched and he rejoiced. After my visit, I got another letter from him, writing that my visit honored him and gave him a sense of how valuable he was, and that he has now applied for his religion to be changed to Christian on his identity card.
I flew to meet Mahmut in the southern part of Turkey. In the same way, I went to the courthouse in the city center to get permission to visit him for 30 minutes from the prosecutor's office. Mahmut didn't know that I would visit him so it was a surprise. I met him for the first time and he was very happy.
Mahmut is a very good disciple like Mehmet “Paul”. 6 people in his ward have believed as a result of his sharing. Mahmut gave these 6 disciples my address, and I received letters from five of his students last week. I wanted to share one of the letters, Taner's letter, with you:
Hello Mr. Hamza,
First of all, I give you my deep respect and wish you success in the way of faith. I would like to tell you about both myself and my thoughts because this is the first letter I am writing to you. I'm 40 and I'm from Sivas. I've been in prison for six years and I've got five more years. I lost my parents when I was a kid. I have a sister and she lives with her two children. I got your contact details from my friends Mehmet (this is a different Mehmet, not Paul) and Mahmut. We sat down and talked with Mehmet and Mahmut about faith. We know that God is the Creator Lord, whom we all believe in. In other faith and prayer subjects, the basic issues related to sin and goodness are the same in Islam and Christianity. Example: many things like adultery, stealing and killing are the same. But I've been believing the thing that has been imposed on me for my 40 years of life, and I've been following what I haven't questioned without investigating whether it's true. When I got older and had more time for myself in the penitentiary, I started to question things. I like reading and researching. I read the Bible and Martin Luther's books here. As a result of my research and conversations with Christian brothers here, I observed that Christians value people and faith more than Muslims. The most recent example of this: the day you visited brother Mahmut and sent us greetings and respect even though you did not know us very deeply affected me.
Your behavior today added a new point of view to my view of Christianity. I would be very happy if you accepted me as a brother from today. I will do my best to act as a brother, and I will share with my friends what you have taught me about faith. This is all I am going to write for now, I wish to see you again. Best Regards, Taner Kamer.
Updates from our disciple Mehmet “Paul” As you know,some of his fellow inmates have slandered him by saying he was swearing at the president and cursing Islam (illegal in Turkey). None of these claims are true. Mehmet, was going to have the first trial scheduled on May 17,but this trial did not take place until last month. Last month, Mehmet's first hearing was held. The person who witnessed the hearing said that Mehmet's first statement was not true and he did not insult Islam. Mehmet shared the Gospel in his defense. The female judge of the court was very impressed by the testimony of Mehmet and said he did not have to attend the hearings. Mehmet said he wanted to participate in the hearings. While defending himself during the trial, he does not want to miss the opportunity to share the Gospel.
Our children have successfully completed the first quarter of their school and spent the last week together with family for their fall break.
A couple, loyal members of our church got married last month and will live abroad for the next 2 years for education.
The newborn baby of the Kach family, members of our church, was hospitalized again for two weeks due to a problem with his kidneys. And the father, the only one in the family who was working, has lost his job. Please pray for this family and for the baby to heal.
Pray for our safety.
Pray for Taner and Suleyman who wish to become multiplying disciples.
The Bible and the books that we send sometimes are not given to inmates. Pray that they would be passed on.
Ridvan (we wrote about in our letter in September) was transferred to another prison for treatment for liver disease. He continues to write letters to me from the new prison where he went to and shares the gospel with the people there. May the Lord heal our brother and bless him when he is sharing the Gospel.
We are very thankful for your faithful prayers and ministry partnership.
Hamza and Fehriye