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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Rest in the Peace of Christ: German Missionary Martyr Tilmann Geske

This link describes the funeral and life of martyred German Missionary Tilmann Geske. Two other local Christians converts were killed as well in the name of "protecting" Islam according to their attackers.

Susanne and Tilmann Geske met at a church in Lindau, Germany, when he was working mornings as a pastor at a Protestant church and afternoons as a forklift operator, and she was looking for a job. They first came to Turkey in 1992 on their honeymoon.

The next year they returned, spending three weeks in Turkey's undeveloped east, the setting for fighting between Kurdish guerrillas and Turkish government forces. The Geskes were undeterred, and a few years later decided to settle permanently in Adana, near the Mediterranean coast. They learned to speak Turkish and raised their two girls and a boy there: Michal Janina, 13, Lukas, 10 and Miriam, 8.

A letter to Christians around the world was released from the Protestant Church of Smyrna.

Though the whole letter deserves your attention, I end with this quote:

In an act that hit front pages in the largest newspapers in Turkey, Susanne Tilman in a television interview expressed her forgiveness. She did not want revenge, she told reporters. "Oh God, forgive them for they know not what they do," she said, wholeheartedly agreeing with the words of Christ on Calvary (Luke 23:34).

In a country where blood-for-blood revenge is as normal as breathing, many many reports have come to the attention of the church of how this comment of Susanne Tilman has changed lives. One columnist wrote of her comment, "She said in one sentence what 1000 missionaries in 1000 years could never do."

The 5 murderers surrendered at the scene and are in custody.