With Magda and the children back in South Africa I could focus all my attention to completing my responsibilities in Duzce and to prepare everything for a possible move to Istanbul when we return to Turkey after the break.

When Magda and the children arrived in South Africa they were met by one of our support group members. Magda was very weak and when our friend saw her she immediately arranged for an emergency appointment with a doctor. Magda wanted to protest but she knew she was in no condition to resist the inevitable. The doctor confirmed that Magda had to be admitted to a hospital immediately. Her liver was taking strain because of the blocked tube between the gal bladder and her liver. This was becoming life threatening and immediate action was needed.

We had no medical aid or hospital plan at that time. She could be treated in a government hospital as state patient, but that would take time and time was of the essence. The doctor recommended a surgeon at Clinton Clinic in Alberton. The support group took responsibility and took the decision to follow the doctors’ recommendation and the same afternoon of their arrival Magda was admitted to the hospital in Alberton. The surgeon started her treatment with intravenous antibiotics and her operation was scheduled for the next morning.

The partnership of supporting churches raised the money needed for her hospitalization and the operation. We were only made aware of all the facts after the event and we were extremely grateful for all the people who sacrificially donated money for this cause. In my absence the children were taken care of and Magda was supported throughout the whole ordeal. Her operation was done successfully and she experienced immediate relief of all the bad symptoms she was suffering from. When I arrived two weeks later she had almost fully recovered and she was ready to start doing our deputation work.

Our support group coordinated our travel plan and speaking engagements in different churches and communities all around South Africa. We wanted to share our experiences with as many people as possible and we had to raise enough funds to enable us to return to Turkey. This required us to adapt almost weekly to different beds, diets and hosts as we travelled. It was tiring too and at the end of our time in South Africa we were looking forward to return to Turkey to have a bit of rest!

One of the lessons we learned during our second term in Turkey was that we need a support system in Turkey. Most missionaries were send to Turkey by mission agencies and all the members of those agencies were meeting regularly to experience fellowship, emotional support, training and to discuss matters of mutual concern. We were all on our own and although we had friends from different nationalities and agencies we were excluded from the benefits of a similar support group in Turkey. We investigated a number of option and in the end we decided to associate with a group called Interserve in Turkey. They were focused on vocational ministry and many of the members of this agency were lecturers, teachers and even lawyers working full-time in Turkey. As associates they invited us to their monthly meetings and yearly conferences.

We also realized that we had to work specifically on our language competency when we return to Turkey. The best way was to attend a language school and Magda and I were both ready to focus on our language skills. We agreed on a budget for the next two-year term with our supporting partnership and when we returned to Turkey in September 2001 the budget income was about 70% of the monthly requirement.

It was agreed that we should move to Istanbul to continue our association with World Relief and the development work they were still doing in the Derince region outside Istanbul. Our furniture was in storage and we made arrangements to live with the director of World Relief and his family in Istanbul, until we could find an apartment of our own.

With all of this in place we returned to Turkey at the beginning of September 2011.