At present, LDS missionaries are allowed in Turkey for three months at a time, on tourist visas. They are not allowed to actively proselyte but they can serve others and the can answer questions and teach people who seek them out and want to know about our doctrine. President Wilstead is hopeful that soon the Turkish government will allow missionaries to stay in country for longer periods and to teach more actively.
But there are two branches in Turkey, one here and one in Istanbul, and a number of other smaller groups and these fall under his leadership. Hence the visit. As when the Bowers visited, different families volunteered to provide various meals and facilitate other parts of the visit. We signed up for leading an excursion to Tarsus on Saturday morning.
We ran into a slight problem when the base was closed due to a planned anti-American protest in Adana but Colonel Bowen and his wife were planning on coming with us and Colonel Bowen was able to get permission for us to drive through Adana and on to Tarsus.
We stopped at Cleopatra's gate (see my previous Tarsus post for details about the gate.)
|Left to right, some Turkish guy photo-bombing, Col. Mark Bowen, Me, Geoff, President and Sister Wilstead|
Then we tried to find a site that even the Bowens hadn't seen on their many trips to Tarsus - the mosque where the prophet Daniel is supposed to be buried. There is another site in Iran that is also supposed to be the tomb of Daniel so who knows, but we wanted to try and find it. What we found was an old looking mosque completely under construction and inaccessible. By looking through a chain link fence we could see between two ground level arches into a lower room. Perhaps this is where the tomb is located?
|President and Sister Wilstead in front of the Mosque.|
Just outside the mosque was a small covered bazaar. Of course we had to stop and shop a bit. I found a melted glass evil eye pendant, two great tie-dyed scarves and two woven table toppers. Sister Wilstead bought several small pouch purses for all the sister missionaries to carry their phones in.
We had planned to eat lunch at the waterfall restaurant but the Bowens told us that the service was way to slow for our time frame. So we drove the hour + back to the base and stopped at the Turkish restaurant just inside the gate. But as luck would have it a huge group of Turkish soldiers had just ordered and we didn't have enough time to wait. So we ended up at the BX food court eating Taco Bell. It was a bit embarrassing as we had hoped to treat them to some great Turkish food. But then again its not like they can get Taco Bell everyday there in Bulgaria! And they were very gracious about it.
Geoffrey and I were able to hear President and his wife speak at some afternoon adult training meetings and then again in Sunday Sacrament Services. In addition, they did a youth evening meeting which all of my teenagers attended. They were wonderful teachers and speakers and really brought the Spirit to our meetings. And there were a lot of fun to go sight-seeing with! I hope they are able to visit again while we are stationed here.