Thursday, May 29, 2008

Welcome to the show in Baltimore!


matti sirvio


paintings from Istanbul
in oil, acrylic and watercolor
June 19 – July 10, 2008
opening reception
June 19 6-8 pm

AN DIE MUSIK gallery
409 Charles Street
Baltimore, MD

"Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor." Psalm 39:5

behind the scenes

In our visually oriented age it’s so easy to lead
a superficial life.
The saying “many cakes are beautiful on the outside”
gives the right kind of a signal.
Don’t let the visible hide the invisible.
The world is not at all as it looks like, people are not.
Behind every face there is a person.
Behind every facade there is another picture.
Elisha’s servant was discouraged by the threat of the
enemies. He was serving a man of God, but he wasn’t
really spiritually oriented. II Kings 6:15-18.
The prophet asked God to open the servant's eyes. He was
shocked to see another reality. “The mountain was full
of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”
He was serving , but he didn’t know whom.
We are no better. It’s so easy to be distracted by the
pictures of this world and forget about the city that
is not made with hands. Hebrews 13:14
We don’t need more imagination to recognize the
presence of God. We need faith.
By faith we see God and his work.
Spiritual growth doesn’t mean that you become better in
doing something, better in prayer, better in evangelism,
better in your church behavior .
It means that you become more aware of the presence
of God.
God is present. That makes a huge difference in our
daily life.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Pray for Kyrgyzstan!

letter from Kyrgyzstan

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

We want to inform about latest disturbing news about a
conflict between a local evangelical Christian Baptist
community and a Muslim community.

On 17th of May 2008, in the village of Kulanak in Naryn
region of Kyrgyzstan a 14-year old boy died from cardiac
decompensation. He is a son of a believer Alymbek Isakov.
When his family was trying to bury him in the local
cemetery on the territory officially provided by the
government for the Baptist community, a group of 30
members of the village Muslim community led by a local
imam Kenjebek Imanov came to the funeral. According to
different sources, some of them were drunk and had spades
and other farm instruments with them. They prohibited the
burial and forced them to stop the burial claiming that
they will not allow to bury the deceased not only in this
territory but in the whole of Kulanak district area.

On the same day, together with a representative of the
village council (local government) approached the head of
the local district government with request to take
appropriate actions to resolve the conflict who in turn
handed over the task to his deputy. Together with the
local public prosecutor the deputy went to meet with the
conflicting groups. During the meeting, the Muslim
community restated their willingness to prevent the burial
unless the family members of the boy will denounce their
faith and accept Islam.

Unfortunately, the representatives of the local government
including the public persecutor instead of calling for
order and following the laws, supported the local Muslim
community saying, 'Yes. The Baptist have the right to
believe and the right to bury their son in this land. But
we are with people and cannot go against them'. Moreover,
they canceled their decision to allocate a separate
territory for believers to bury their dead which was
issued in April 2006.

It has been now four days since the boy died and there is
no end to this conflict. Yesterday on 21 of May the
protesters demanded other pastors, believers and leaders
who came to Kulanak to support the family and relatives of
the boy were asked to leave. They demanded that this issue
should be resolved within the village community. But the
Christians did not leave.

There has been slightly different accounts of this in
official media, most of which are biased against
Christians. According to the official media, this
situation is under the control of the governor of the
Naryn region Omurbek Suvanaliev. Unofficially, it has been
reported that he is not interested in supporting the
believers saying if there is violence or other outcome of
this conflict, the Christians are to be blamed.

The members of the Baptist church and some other churches
have officially addressed the President Kurmanbek Bakiev
to help them to bury the boy and protect our rights to
exercise our faith.

However, on the night from 22 to 23rd of May, the police
broke into the house of the family of the boy and they
took the body and buried it on the territory given to the
believers of the town of Naryn. As the result, the
boy’s body was buried not in his own village but
somewhere else.

Unfortunately, there have been different false reports on
media about this situation and the government did not
attempt to protect the rights of the believers to exercise
their religious practices and views in the places where
they live. Moreover, officially the believers are being
portrayed to be blamed for the initiating a religious
conflict or tension. This situation can set up a precedent
which may lead to further tensions when another Christian
dies making their relatives take them all the way to the
Naryn area from wherever they are residing. This is a
direct violation of our rights as citizens of this country
to practice our religious rituals, traditions in the areas
of residence.

The Christian community and key leaders are planning to
make a public statement on the situation and tell the true
side of this story through press conferences and other
media tools. They also want to start a legal investigation
the case with attempt to distinguish the level of
violation of our rights for freedom of religious views and

Dear friends, we ask you to pray for this situation for it
has a historic and national meaning since it is not the
first time when such tensions occurred. But it is probably
the first one that has been so publicly discussed and is
asking the President's attention. We also ask for your
prayers for necessary resources to proceed with public
press conferences and for legal investigations. We need to
find funds for lawyers and for organizational expenses
with making this issue more public. Please, pray for us
and for God’s providence for our plans.

We are afraid that the Kyrgyz government will violate our
rights given by the Constitution and that this case will
be used against Christian to accuse us of causing social
instability and religious tension. This is a wonderful
opportunity for the government to use this case to pass a
very restricting (one of the most restricting in the
region) law on religious freedom and religious
organization. Right after this situation occurred, the
head of the parliament announced that the parliament has
to urgently emend the existing laws on religious freedom
in order to toughen the control over different religious

Please, pray and tell about this difficult situation to as
many people as possible. We need to make this as public as
possible, especially outside of Kyrgyzstan. Maybe there
will be people who could help us with finances as well,
for a Press Conference, to take lawyers,
transportation expenses etc...

Pastor Gani Mondoev

Monday, May 26, 2008

pray for Norbert, second on the right, who is recovering from a Hernia operation. His phone number is +905558446902

birds are not airplanes

It is good that Adam gave names to all the animals before his fall.
After the fall he started messing things up, calling things
by wrong names.
He started calling god that what is not god.
He called love that what is not love at all, marriage what is not
marriage, blessing what is not a blessing at all.
“Why do you spend money for what is not bread?” Is.55:2
We could go on with this list of the absurdities of the fallen man.
Giving names is a God given ability to man.
Man gives names, not numbers.
Numbers tell how many, names tell what kind.
Words bring a difference.
Living Christianity doesn’t mean just learning the vocabulary.
It’s all about the Word of Truth connecting with man’s life.
Jesus read from the book of Isaiah and all were amazed of
the gracious words that proceeded out of his mouth. Luke 4:22
Had they never read Isaiah before?
Yes, but for the first time they saw these words fit perfectly
in a man’s life.
From a distance all airplanes look like birds.
A closer look shows the critical difference between an airplane
and a bird.
The closer we get the more defined our words become.
This is a great need in every believer’s life, to grow from
generalities to specifics.
His name is wonderful, but just like a song says, he is even
more than amazing.
The closer we get , the more we agree with that.

Friday, May 23, 2008

more than seven churches

emptiness is not an option

“No, this is not empty. This all is full of purpose.”
I had to repeat this over and over again to a friend
whose ten years old son had just tried to commit a
suicide, whose wife was nagging endlessly and
whose salary is always fully used before he even
has worked for it.
He was strongly tempted to give up, let everything go.
Giving up looks like the only way out, when it
actually is not a way out at all.
It’s a lie about God’s inability to help us.
It’s a mockery against God’s revelation to man.
God speaks today.
He speaks light to our darkness.
He speaks purpose to our emptiness.
He does not depend on microphones nor internet
connections, and he is not hindered by traffic jams
and pollutions.
He can meet the least educated
non- attractive person and impart his glory to him.
This is what the church is.
It’s a collection of useless broken items found in
the compost of the world, bought for a price and
made to be the greatest instruments to manifest
God’s glory on this earth. Eph. 3:10

Thursday, May 22, 2008

art from Finland, "two birds drinking juice", Tuuli Kyro

commitments are beautiful

Commitments are beautiful.
They connect man’s value with God’s eternal purposes.
Sometimes people are afraid of commitments because they
overly protect their lives from potential failures and
disappointments. A person who hasn’t accepted any
commitments, besides the ones to himself, lives a very poor
life. All selfishness leads to the worst kind of poverty.
If you are not connected to any other person with anything
that depends on you, you miss a lot in life.
A commitment to a local church is an excellent
opportunity to pursue the call of God for our lives.
The church doesn’t need just helpers, but committed people,
who stick to it.
A church where nobody wants to take any responsibility
is a dying church.
May we have the spirit of Nehemiah, who built the wall of
Jerusalem amid a lot of trials and opposition.
He had heard from God and it caused him to say:
“Should such a man as I flee?” Nehemiah 6:11

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

this world will pass away

Sure, it's sometimes hard to be a believer
in this unbelieving world.
But, it's much more difficult to be an unbeliever.
Think about it.
Besides all your fears, insecurities and failures you
also have the unending love of God that is so
difficult to escape, avoid and to get rid of.
Jesus promised that we will have tribulation in this world.
He guaranteed a daily conflict. John 16:33
He didn't promise that believers in him would prosper,
success and become popular.
He encouraged us to rejoice when we see that we are loosing
our life. Matthew 16:25
What a scary thought , to be in this world, in these situations,
without God, without his grace.
It's biblical when a believer doesn't feel himself comfortable
in the world.
Immovable faith is based on recognizing the work of God.
Yes, God can save us out of trouble, but if he doesn't
we still continue trusting him. Daniel 3:16-18
His grace is better than life. Psalm 63:3

Monday, May 12, 2008

children in Mardin

bye-bye Yeshilkoy!

Our adventure to Yeshilkoy has ended.
From now on our Wednesday night services
will be again in Gumushsuyu.


"in Him we live and move and have our being..."

Acts 17:28

Friday, May 9, 2008

Monday, May 5, 2008

Istanbul dilemma


It seems like love is a decreasing resource in the world.
In Matthew 24:12 we read that the love of many will grow
cold in the end times. This is the result of lawlessness.
Love cannot exist without definition, without borders.
There’s no true love without sacrificial giving.
We live in a selfish world today. It’s a no-name culture.
People have more and more opportunities to influence
the world anonymously. Blowing up the world is no more
the privilege of the chosen few. Anyone can do it.
In Luke 7 a group of men got together to eat.
The host, Simon, had an agenda for the night.
Everything was changed by a weeping woman.
She interrupted the religious theater and recognized the
person of Jesus.
Why didn’t Simon have tears?
Why didn’t he wash Jesus’ feet, even with water?
It looks like Simon was one of those “nothing touches me”
persons. He had a lot of money and influence, but he
had no tears. What was the main difference between Simon
and this weeping woman?
She recognized her failure, he did not.
Emotional tears is one unique difference between men
and animals. Real men cry, animals don’t.
We cannot afford to loose the tears of compassion.
Jesus wept over Jerusalem (Luke 19:41).
He wept when he heard that Lazarus had died (John 11:35)
Out of all people he could have approached all these
situations rationally without any emotional reaction.
I’m comforted to know that my Savior has tears.