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Easter in Antakya

View of Antakya

Antakya

We were invited to go to the Bible weekend in Turkey at Easter. We prepared for the trip with a certain amount of apprehension because of comments such as "It's a lovely country, the people are friendly - but take care!" However all our fears proved groundless, and the people we met were very warm and welcoming.

Our destination was Antakya, the modern name for the Antioch of the Bible, where "believers were first called Christians". First we flew to Istanbul, and then to Adana, where we stopped overnight. After a good breakfast - Turkish bread, cheese, eggs, tomatoes, cucumber, some interesting pastries, and our first taste of chi (very strong tea) - we set off for Antakya in a minibus, an interesting two-hour ride through the mountains and then beside the Mediterranean Sea. Along the roadside there were shepherds with crooks and flocks of long-eared sheep and goats, exactly like in Bible times.

The room where we held our Bible weekend was up a flight of stone steps and along a paved balcony. We had a wonderful person called Filiz who translated for us as Nic Neate and Don Morley presented their studies and answered questions. The sessions were attended by a number of Turkish members, contacts, and children.

The first session described the founding of the church in Antioch, causing one visitor to say, "I’m glad I was born in Antakya, because of the part it played in the development of Christianity." The children were kept busy with work sheets and games.

Other sessions were about Creation, how God forgives sins and the kingdom of God, and discipleship today.

We said our farewells to everyone feeling that it had been a very worthwhile visit. God had been watching over us.

Anne Morley

Information about Turkey