SEVEN TIMES TO TURKEY
When he said, “If I had to go to prison, or something like that, when I’m over there, well I wouldn’t mind that so much, I think”, I glanced in Daryl Richman’s direction to make sure I was hearing him correctly. He was sitting across the table from me at the Pacific Diner where several of us men meet for breakfast, devotions, discussions and prayer early Wednesday mornings. What he was referring to was his upcoming and much anticipated missions trip to Turkey, where he would meet with several contacts to follow up with them regarding their walk with the Lord or to continue his evangelistic efforts on their behalf. I decided then that I would try to meet one on one with Daryl at a later time to hear him speak from his heart.
This day, Daryl and I met for lunch at CoCo’s Restaurant for a last-minute chat and prayer for his trip the next day. I wanted to do what little I could to encourage him and thank him for his service. He, in turn, was anxious to get together and share his thoughts.
This trip to Turkey, planned for the first week in June, 2010, would be his 7th. Except for having the Lord on his side, he otherwise would be going alone. Each time he prepares to depart for his mission, there is this obvious urgency and compelling sense about him to leave, to begin his journey. For one thing, he talks about it with his friends on a regular basis, getting their assurance for prayer. He also spends a great deal of time gathering enough materials to hand out. He says he’ll take a suitcase full of Josh McDowell’s book, “More Than a Carpenter” in a language that the Turks can understand, assuming he can clear them as he enters the country.
Daryl Richman is the quintessential evangelist. He is a former pastor and is seminary trained with a graduate degree in Divinity. Now a widower of about five years, he is not acting in the official capacity of a church pastor. Still he is driven with an urgency that cannot be explained, except for his love for the Lord and the Lord’s mandate to go and be his witness. Besides his statement that he “looks forward to the challenge”, Daryl says he has four basic reasons for being anxious to leave for Turkey. One is his general burden for the lost. Anyone who knows Daryl is aware of his immediate interest in strangers with the ultimate goal of directly sharing Christ with them. When he is not on a foreign mission field or serving somewhere like Thailand after a level eight earthquake, he can be found locally in a coffee shop in San Pedro, California reaching out to casual - workers or anyone who will accept a Gospel Track.
Secondly, Daryl says: “I want to see the Spirit of God set the people free from darkness” in referring to the spiritual condition there in Turkey. He says there is a small percentage of the people who live there who would call themselves Christians or followers of Jesus. Otherwise, there is what he feels, a fertile ground, made up of candidates for the Kingdom of Christ.
Third, Daryl said he wanted to be obedient to the Great Commission. I already knew that about Daryl. We had many discussions prior to this and talking about seeking the lost to give them the Gospel Truth was usually in the discussion. We both knew it was a command and not a suggestion. Also, that to serve God, one had to take it, The Great Commission, seriously and act on it in some capacity. Of course, we both knew it did not necessarily mean a trip to Turkey.
Lastly, Daryl told me in a way of an admission, that he was excited to see the way the Hand of God, would work on his behalf in changing the hearts of any Turks he would encounter. He gave me the impression that he experienced the providence of God on the mission field like no -where else. Daryl would feel the Lord’s pleasure there like no other place.
We parted in haste. He was off to another squeezed in appointment to get in one more last minute discussion with someone else he could count on for prayer, before his long and arduous journey to what was once called Asia Minor and, where he might follow in the foot- steps of the Paul the Apostle, The Prisoner of Christ.