I have been asked several times through the years the questions "is it safe?" or "is it dangerous?". I wrote something up for one group and then sent it out several times as a standard reply. You can find the general letter below.
I was asked to send something to the leaders of a group who came several years ago concerning the safety in Turkey at the time. It was soon after the Iraqi war began around 2002 or possibly early 2003. I would say everything I've written is still valid at this point in time:
I presently perceive that it is no more dangerous than it's been at any time in recent memory. At the same time we are in a spirtual warfare and there are casualities when we truly sign up in the Lord's service. Thus I would never make any %100 guarantees that nothing will ever happen. At the same time if I felt there was imminent danger I would be honest in telling you so.
I remember a couple who came on a tour a few years ago. The wife did not want to come at all and was trying to talk her husband (the drummer in a band) out of it also. Turkey conjured up all types of images in her mind. The end of the story is, finally in faith, they both decided to take the step and come. By the end of the tour they had fallen so in love with Turkey they were talking about how much apartment rents were and what the cost of living was in Istanbul and seriously were thinking about moving here!
That was my first premise. My second is this: what if it were dangerous? Should that make any difference? What kind of Christians are we? If all our faith is worth is to live for Jesus when everything is nice, everything is convienent and within our comfort zone... is that all our faith is worth? If the parents, relatives and friends of some of the people coming are not believers I can totally understand their reaction. Why should they react any differently? They are of the world and acting the part. The question for those coming with such parents is who comes first in our lives as believers? But the real issue is with the Christian parents. They supposedly have their feet firmly planted in the Kingdom of God and should count it the greatest privilege in the world to have a son or daughter giving their all to live in the centre of God's will and going to the end's of the earth to give their lives for God whether that means years of fruitful service or even dying for HIS sake.
Sorry for preaching but it gets a bit old when people who hold the name of Christ ask the question, “Is it dangerous?” If we are sure we are doing what we feel is God's will, "Is it dangerous?" is not even a question that should be asked!
Just to add a little weight to my ramblings here are a few quotations to help sweeten the pot (or maybe sour the pot depending on how you look at it!)
"Remember the suffering of one man is the suffering of all. Distances are irrelavant to injustice. If not stopped soon enough, evil eventually reaches out to engulf all men, whether they have opposed it or ignored it."
"You and I are born for battle. The responsibility of believers and the condition of mankind make this so."
"Many of the Lord's eagles have been influenced by the mood of the world, and have assumed the character of doves"
"The basis of panic is always cowardice. Our Lord teaches us to look things full int the face. He says, 'When you hear of wars don't be scared.'It is the most natural thing in the world to be scared and the clearest evidence that God's grace is at work in our hearts is when we don't get into panics."
"The world has always been afraid of people in their right minds. We don't like extremes. We don't like people that are different. We prefer the safe, sane, comfortable center."
Herman Hesse - Steppenwolfe
"Oh yes, we believe in being dedicated, committed, consecrated to a lovely Jesus - to a beautiful, well-behaved life - but to war? Never! We are men of peace at any price. And what a price! The men of Ephriam being armed and carrying bows, armed to the teeth, turned back in the day of battle (Psa 78:9). How like them we are! Never had we a better trained, a better equipped number of Christian young people - and never less militancy. Ours is an anaemic faith. Ours is that fatal inertia on the eve of battle - the crucial moment when most wars are won or lost."
If the second part is too much, let's just say that it is not dangerous!