Here we are in the very heart of Tarsus walking over ruins around 7000 years old now covered with buildings. The “new” buildings also scream history as they reveal previous inhabitants such as Greeks, Armenians, Ottomans, and Syriacs. It feels like a rough neighborhood, something like a ghetto. These “tough girls” were greeted by the local fellows in a tea shop. We honored them by sipping tea and playing “rummy” at their hangout. I’m sure no other tourists frequented their haunt.
After preliminary greetings, a few jokes, and a quick comment about their predecessor the Apostle Paul, we explained the Gospel. Each man had a wildly different personal history but we all had one thing in common, the need for redemption.
Every lady told what The Lord Jesus did and is doing in their daily lives. Some of the men, who did not appear so interested, surprised us with unique insight. We became very much aware that these guys were following intently. One man was a farmer, another was fresh out of prison, one who seemed dull in appearance showed more enlightenment than most, one man was reared on this street, another worked most of his life in Germany, there was a drunk, one was associated with a business near the US Air Force base nearby, and the fellow at the door served tea for a living.
After sharing, they understood the need for a Savior since they noted how religion could not save anyone but sometimes made them worse. When we told them how we prayed giving our lives to Jesus Christ, they opened their hands in typical Muslim fashion before we even tried to persuade them. We can only say Holy Spirit brought the truth of Jesus to them revealing their need and His provision through His atoning death on the Cross. During that eternal day I hope you will meet Ergun, Mehmet, Arif, Ali, and Abdul and ask them about those “wild women” who brought the party to the “other side of the tracks” where most people fail to take time to visit.
It would be easy to associate this dark place with evil and the devil, but it must be said that the whole world is under the power of the evil one, not one particular place. If you will, we need to be breaking folks out of this prison called the world, flesh, and devil. This unholy trinity is bound to fail just because it is ridiculously selfish, prideful, and showy. Let’s declare the righteousness of God as revealed in Jesus Christ from the housetops irregardless of the neighborhood. At the end of the day all
the houses of this world will fall down even the ones in which we dwell.
The foundation built on the chief cornerstone, Jesus Christ, is the only possible means capable to carry us through the eroding waves of time, culture, and history as Paul must have proclaimed in his hometown.