A brief overview:
We are from Izmir (Smyrna), Turkey. The population of Izmir is around six million, and there are only one thousand Christians in the city. I (Cagdas) was sent by my local church, Izmir Protestan Kilisesi (the Protestant Church of Smyrna), to receive an MDiv degree at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary (PRTS) in Grand Rapids, MI in 2018. The MDiv was successfully completed on February 28, 2022 and graduated on May 6, 2022. Shortly after, I was called and ordained by Walker United Reformed Church to be a missionary minister in my home city of Izmir. On July 4, 2022, our family returned to Turkey.
Before we came to Grand Rapids, I was serving/working in different capacities (youth leader, evangelist, deacon, and pastor’s assistant) for ten years. For ten years, my wife Gulden worked with Campus Crusade for Christ (CCC). After we married, she left CCC and served under the local church for another eight years. She will continue to serve as an evangelist and a Christian counselor in our church here in Turkey.
What happens next:
Having returned to Turkey, I serve in Izmir as an assistant pastor. My duties are preaching, teaching, visiting, counseling, discipleship, and evangelizing. We want to be a church that plants churches. So, our long-term goal is to plant Reformed churches in Izmir, and Lord willing, we will attempt to plant the first one in five to seven years. However, different factors may cause to delay or cancel our plans. The Middle East is a very unstable area. Wars and natural disasters are almost part of our daily lives. On top of this, we live under persecution in a Muslim country. We are still making plans for the future and trusting the Lord; however, we don’t have control over many things.
· I serve as an assistant pastor and do preaching, teaching, visiting, counseling, discipleship, and evangelizing.
· We are tentatively planning to plant a church in five to seven years.
· I will work with a local Christian to start a YouTube channel to promote Reformed teachings for the Turkish people. This requires us to set up a small studio inside the church building.
· I will start a new website consisting of essays, sermons, and articles written by only Turkish people with a seminary degree. I will try to make theology more relevant for Turkish Christians.
· As a local church, we will continue to work towards starting the first Turkish Reformed Seminary. We work together with Third Millennium Ministries and translate their materials into Turkish.
· We have been translating Reformed books for ten years, and we will continue to translate Reformed materials.
· Gulden is a Russian teacher, and Russian is the second most important foreign language in Turkey. She is planning to start a Russian club to evangelize non-Christians.
· Gulden will organize Bible studies and offer Christian women counseling.
If you have any questions, you can reach me (Cagdas) at firstname.lastname@example.org or +90555-498-4049. If you would like to hear more, or your church congregation would like to partner with Walker URC in supporting The Ministry of Coskun Family in Turkey, please contact Paul Daverman (Daverman.email@example.com) or Jeff Caspers (firstname.lastname@example.org) to discuss further.