Turkey: Handicap Accessible Van

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Our brother Ali* lost his leg 5 years ago in an accident. Sadly, historical cities like Istanbul are not very accessible, and it’s difficult for Ali to leave his house or attend church with his family. Instead, he spends most days at home, feeling depressed and isolated from the world around him. Does anyone realize he’s stuck? Does anyone care?

In April 2022, we started a disability ministry to help people like Ali. Under the leadership of the local church, we care deeply for our brothers and sisters like Ali whose limitations have prevented them from living in community with the body of Christ. Ali was one of the first people we helped. A few of us at the church befriended him and started to drive him to church, doctor appointments, and to tea meetings.

This ministry was possible because of our special van which allows us to transport people in wheelchairs.

The van was originally purchased in Albania and a wheelchair ramp was installed. When we brought the van back to Istanbul, our church discovered a high demand for a handicap-accessible van in our community. There are many others like Ali that we have since ministered to and shared the love of Christ in word and deed.

However, new regulations have forced us to give up the van. Turkey now prevents foreign cars from staying in Turkey, being sold, or transferred.

We don’t want to abandon this effective ministry. Without an accessible van, people must be manually lifted out of their wheelchair and into the car. This is really hard for someone like Ali, and further restricts his ability to participate in life. It also means fewer gospel conversations during the drive and a reduced witness to the broader community.

Turkish vehicles are now also much more expensive than other countries. This has made it impossible for us to purchase a big enough van on our own.

Now, we are looking to buy a handicap-accessible van not only for Ali, but for many others like him who have been cut off from the body of Christ.

Every person, regardless of background or ability, matters in the body of Christ. Each part needs each other to be whole and healthy the way that God intended.

In the parable of the Banquet, Jesus said “But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous” (Luke 14:13-14).

This is the vision we are cultivating in Istanbul. We want to intentionally include people of all abilities into the body of Christ and create a genuine sense of belonging as the family of God.

This ministry also has a ripple effect. The majority of churches in Turkey are not serving the disabled population. We hope to continue this ministry and inspire many other churches to open the door in a similar way.

An appropriate used van costs $25,000 USD. This includes the cost of making it handicap accessible. We expect $5,000 from the sale of our first van. But, we still need $20,000.

Will you help us open the door for more people like Ali to be welcomed into the body of Christ

The longer we go without a van, the more we are losing out on vital gospel opportunities. Would you help us keep this ministry going by giving something today?

Your help is crucial to making this vision a reality. You can help us reach believers and unbelievers by partnering with us to make this kingdom purchase.

The “M” family, serving in Istanbul, Turkey

Link to the Turkey Handicap Accessible Van fund: