The rest of November was spend on many meetings discussing the experiences of the first ten months and the lessons we learnt from that.
One area that we felt we were not well supported in was emotional support in Turkey. Most of the foreign workers we knew, including South African workers were members of an on field agency or organization. They had a group in country that they belonged too and took care of their needs. It was there support structure away from home and at different times we really missed that kind of support, despite the best efforts of our support group in Halfway House congregation.
We also discussed the proposal by the Earthquake Relief Support Committee (ERSC) to “employ” me as Project Manager with the mandate to develop and manage projects on behalf of the International and Turkish churches in Ankara, in the earthquake affected area. By the end of November 1999, I accepted the invitation with the intent to return to Turkey in the beginning of 2000. The Halfway House church board accepted a proposal by the missions committee to provide prayer and financial support to us. The $300 offered by the ERSC was not enough and had to be supplemented monthly. For this purpose a fund was established and church members were mobilized to give to this project over and above the tithes they were offering. Other congregations that already implemented a Faith Promise Offering were consulted and with time a partnership were formed between the congregations of Halfway House, Verwoerdburg-stad (Now Church without Walls, Centurion), Dutch Reformed Churches in Cradock (3) and Port Elizabeth Hoogland to contribute to our financial support. This made us realize that our road to Turkey had to run through Halfway House congregation. The churches in Cradock would not have been strong enough to provide the financial support needed now.
It was also agreed that Magda and the children will stay behind and will visit congregations to share our vision and to mobilize support. They will do that in February and March 2000 before they will join me again. We worked hard during December and January to prepare leaflets and a exhibition set that Magda could use during her road trip and that the support group could use in our absence to continue the process of communication to the congregations.
It was a whole new situation. We had a firm purpose for our presence in Turkey and we had a partnership of support in South Africa. We knew that we had to work hard on both ends – to fulfill our purpose in Turkey and to communicate well to our support group in South Africa to help them mobilize support for this project. By the end of January 2000 a plan was in place and we were ready to embark on a two year stay in Turkey, before we will return for a time of rest and evaluation.