Traveler Testimonies

Dr. Anthony L. Jordon, Executive Director, BGCO “Dr. Cathey is one of the most effective leaders and servants I know. He has a grasp of the people, culture, and language of Turkey. Dr. Cathey leads groups to visit the country where so much of the New Testament was lived including the churches of the Revelation. He has a tremendous way of leading groups to go where Paul went and do what Paul did!”

Dr. Keith Eitel, Cross-Cultural Specialist, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary “Dr. Cathey truly has a special calling to lead groups. Like the Apostle Paul he’s willing to meet people in the highways and byways. Traveling with him is a lesson in doing what Paul did, where Paul did it.”

Billie McDonald, Retired Teacher “Turkey, what a pleasant surprise to find such a beautiful country full of such warm, kind, and beautiful people. I had in mind that it would be like other Third World countries I had visited, but it is not. In eight days, I learned more history than I ever thought possible. The people won my heart and I will be going back in the spring and hopefully take another Team of tourists with me.”

Dorothy Solomon, Retired Teacher “Going to Turkey was a most incredible journey. There is so much history there. Dr. Cathey is very knowledgeable about the country and the people. I enjoyed hearing about it. Turkey is a beautiful place with a lot of mountains in the east where we traveled.

The people are very friendly. I didn’t know what to expect about the food. I found that I liked most everything. Having cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, and cheese for breakfast was a surprise, however it was very fresh and good. I loved the fresh bread, which we had every meal.

The ruins at Ephesus were the most interesting to me. I can see what a beautiful place it once was and imagine all the people that filled the city. I was interested to hear about the Muslim religion, I would love to go back and spend more time with the people and really get to know some of them.

I hope more people will be interested also in going. We need to build a bridge between our countries and our religions.”

Ricky Missildine, Cowboy/Ironworker “The thing I love most about my trip to Turkey was when we were traveling and stopped in and talked and drank tea with people. As a young boy I sat at the feet of my Grandfather, old ranchers, farmers, and fishermen and listened to their stories. Many places in Turkey reminded me of this.

One place we stopped at was a town square and all the old farmers and shepherds were sitting around drinking tea, telling stories, having a good time. As Americans we are busy and worried about much. Instead we should take time to sit at the feet of the Lord who might be sitting in a coffee shop, grocery store, old folks home or under two old elm trees in my yard.

I saw beautiful mosques and works of art. I also saw the ruins of great works. The most beautiful and best thing I saw was sitting at the feet of these loving Turkish people, which will never go to ruin in my memories.”

Dr. John Allen, DOM, Enon Baptist Association “I enjoyed visiting Turkey. It was hard because I was on a cane following knee surgery. I saw the great need for [people to go]. The country is beautiful, the ruins are something to see.”

Dan Chrestman, Pastor “Allow me to say how profitable our excursion to Turkey proved to be spiritually. The Turkish people extended a warm safe welcome as we visited many ancient sites. These sites brought the Bible to life for me and gave geographical context to the Apostle Paul’s life.

The Turks were kind, grateful, and receptive while we participated in helping them build a new structure. We got better acquainted with the Turks as we shared our mutual beliefs. The Turkish styled barbeque reminded me of home in the United States. We are looking forward to coming over again.”

Shirley Lott, School Superintendent: Special Ed “During a casual conversation I was invited to a lady’s home for tea. When we arrived the whole family came; sons, daughters, in-laws, and children. We talked about everything from Turkish cooking to child-rearing practices and religion.

They wanted to teach us Turkish cooking that evening. They were curious about the different Christian groups and why there were so many differing beliefs and practices. They were interested in eternal life and thought that someone believing they had eternal life was a form of arrogance. They are waiting for us to come back for a visit.

On another occasion, I ventured into an old secluded graveyard and found a man crying. Muslims have no assurance of eternal life, so they pray for God’s mercy to be shown to those who have passed to the other side. I could not speak Turkish but I came closer to this man and prayed for him. He was grieving the loss of his only son who died in an earthquake. He felt all hope for his future and family name was lost. The man was touched by my gesture of sympathy and invited us to his home for tea.

At his home we met his son’s widow and children along with his wife. They shared their sadness with us and gave us the pictures of their son from their living room wall. We refused, but they insisted. We explained how our faith in Jesus Christ was our only way to deal with life’s problems and our own sin problem. They gave their prayer beads as we prayed for them. We were adopted as their children and invited to come and stay anytime. They are also waiting for us to return for a visit.”

Mack Roller, Pastor “While traveling through Nicaea we came across a man taking his cow to the local doctor. We struck up a conversation and discovered the man’s cow was sick from eating green apples. The farmer was carrying a large knife to butcher the cow if she died.

As the farmer began to share his problem with us, we asked if we could pray for his cow. The man seemed delighted that we would care enough to pray for him. As we prayed God worked. The cow recovered from being foundered which was evidenced by her ears perking up, among other things.

The farmer was so excited that he ask us to stay the week with his family. We shared our beliefs with him and he gave us an open invitation to come and stay as long as we can. Hopefully this coming year I will return. It seems it is true that God “did make little green apples”.”

Justin Patrick, Salesman/Student “We were on our way to Pergamum, traveling through the beautiful countryside when we got stuck in a traffic jam of sheep and goats. A shepherd came out of the woods and was surprised we were willing to speak with him. He was so happy, friendly, and eager for us to visit with them. We told him we didn’t have time for a visit.

We were surprised when he said since we couldn’t visit then we should come for two or three hours and drink some tea. He was disappointed that we didn’t stay but was glad we shared our lives with him for the brief encounter that we had with him. I am sure he remembers us just as we remember him. I plan to return with another group this next year.”

Dwight Swindle, Telecommunications Planner “God reveals His greatness clearly at Assos (Acts 20:13,14) and in the mountains near Sardis (Revelation 30). These places overlook the Aegean Sea and picturesque valleys respectively. It was easy to point out to everyone that God had blessed this area just because of the beauty. Everyone would agree as we all shared our faith and testimonies about God’s grace. All of us were blessed beyond words as we tried to love people just as Jesus loves us.”

Sandy McLaughlin, Director of Bethany Christian Services/Social Worker “I have lived in Turkey and visited Turkey many times. Everytime I visit my Turkish friends we always hug and cry with joy to see each other again. Their faces always are glowing and they have delightful smiles. Some say they are neither Muslim nor Christian and that it is hard for them to sort out what is culture and what is belief.

The many conversations about faith, beliefs, and life in general which I had in Turkey with my friends were some of the most honest and open conversations I have had with anyone. They say, “God brought you here to be our friend. God bless you.” I am planning to take a group to Turkey soon to join up with Dr. Cathey and immediately go visit my dear friends.”

Dickie Hill, Rancher “We were planning to go to the mouth of the Euphrates River to visit a prominent Sufi leader’s camp in order to learn about Islam and share our Christian beliefs. The longer we traveled the less sure we were of going over to the Euphrates, so we headed south toward Antioch.

What a great reception we received from so many Turkish people. Everyone was so warm, open, and hospitable to us. The entire Tarsus – Antiochian region was one of the friendliest areas we visited. I was so glad we felt we should change directions and take our time, since we got to meet more people, plus see different ancient sites. Almost everyone we met was desirous to talk, learn, and share their lives and thoughts with us.

It was so different to the reception one may get in the United States. It was refreshing and a great blessing. We are planning to send numerous groups back to the very places where the Apostle Paul lived and walked. I plan to be in one of those groups. It is unusual that the hearts of the people of Turkey are so open and hospitable.”

Jean Ann Tidrow, Beautician “We traveled through the ancient Bithynian capitol now named Bursa, as we went toward Ephesus. It was difficult to imagine this was the end of the silk route that originated in China. The old silk market’s silk worms, mulberry trees, and merchants are still active in old Bursa.

We admired the silken wares and spoke openly about our beliefs as Christians on our way to Ephesus. We stopped everywhere and looked at antiques, visited with families, toured rug shops, and even stopped at a mine which was special for me since my husband works at a mine. Everyone was so generous and hospitable, the Turks are truly a precious people. The entire trip was one of sharing thoughts, beliefs, feelings, and meals. I especially liked the small country roads where we were led to travel.”

Melissa McPherson, Court Stenographer ” We traveled to small villages and immediately developed good relationships with people. I celebrated my birthday in a small town near to Ephesus. People I barely knew gave me gifts and celebrated as if it were their own birthday. Some of these people I had never met personally treated me with great affection. That’s just the way they love you in Turkey. I still remember my Muslim friends and pray for them. I will never forget my trip to Turkey and I must say the entire journey was a wonder in of all places-Ephesus.”

Sharon Wendel, Housewife “We were near the Aegean Sea when a Turk said a freak snowstorm was coming and we had to leave. We all laughed knowing he was joking since it rarely snows near the sea. Two days later as we passed through the old region of Galatia we were not allowed to enter Bithynia because of an ice storm. We were forced to stay in an old hot springs resort which was inhabited in ancient times by Phyrgians.

We enjoyed the evening around a fireplace in the Galatian mountains. Our hosts were gracious and since there were few customers we enjoyed each other’s company and learned a lot about everyone’s religious beliefs. Our Muslim hosts were interested to know what we thought about Jesus the Prophet and about heaven. The Apostle Paul was not allowed to enter Bithynia because of God’s providence, just as we weren’t. I am planning to return in the next few months to see what other roads will open or close.”

Dr. Rick Garner, Pastor “Fortified city walls, ancient monuments, Greek and Roman architecture, and the remains of many civilizations are seen everywhere in Turkey. For someone who loves history, this is as impressive a place as you will ever see. It is so easy to speak about our Christian heritage and to point to the very place where the Early Church Councils were held, such as Nicaea.”

Thomas Harlow, Teacher/School Counselor “We went to Perge (Acts 13:13,14), Tarsus and Antioch (Acts 13:1-4). While touring the ruins, we had many providential encounters with the Turkish people. Our visits with the people slowed us down in regards to touring but we were delighted to live with and learn about the people. In all we did I can say we were divinely directed. After having traveled in Turkey, I can now say that even the maps in the Bible are inspired.”

Judy Daniel, Retired Pharmacist “We admired the beauty of the countryside as we traveled in the region of ancient Lydia on our way to Laodecia. We had a great time engaging Turkish ladies in conversation. There was such a sense of curiosity and interest between us.

We learned much about rural life and religious customs in the villages. We had such precious visits with these country folks. We were given beautiful scarves and copies of the Quran as gifts. We also shared special gifts with our dear hosts. I expect to see some of these dear folks again someday, that is how wonderful our visits were.”

Bobby “Pops” Bonner, Retired Businessman “I really liked the beauty of the landscape and terrain in Turkey, the rivers, the seas, and the mountains. I enjoyed the fact that the people received my greetings completely. Out of the few weeks that I was in Turkey, not one person rebuffed me in any way.

I found that when I broke the ice with each Turk they responded with warmth and smiles. Few people spoke English, but the body language of everyone came through as warm and friendly. Since this is the first time that I left the United States, I am thrilled that I went to Turkey and had such a pleasant experience.

My wife an I plan to spend 4 months in Turkey in 2006. While being with Dr. Cathey, I enjoyed learning about history, but I enjoyed sharing and learning with the Turkish people much more.”

Roy Comeaux, Jr., Maintenance Man/Bivocational Pastor “Going to out of the way places where the Apostle Paul traveled was an experience beyond my imagination. Swimming in the Mediterranean with snowcapped mountains in the distance near to Antioch where people were first called Christians is one of the highlights of my entire life.

Going to ancient Hittite sites where few tourists go and to think that the earliest civilizations began here was mind boggling. I had no problems of any kind, except I couldn’t lose weight since the food was so good. I was surprised by the beauty of the mountains, valleys, and seas and consider this the most beautiful place I have ever seen.

The Turkish people are very friendly and observe everything that goes on around them. It made me uncomfortable by the way they stared, but I learned it was out of curiosity and interest. In my opinion Istanbul must be the greatest city in the world for history and beauty and I hope to return as soon as I can.”

Doris Bell, Great Grandmother/Retired Civil Servant “I was warned in the United States that I would be in danger, but never once did I feel any danger. Our hosts were very protective and helpful.

I was moved by walking where the Apostles Paul and John walked. I was impressed to visit ancient cities such as Ephesus, Pergamum, and Nicaea. When I saw the goddess statue Diana I imagined the riot Demetrius started against Paul. I never thought you could visit such well preserved historical places.

The amphitheater of Ephesus is something I will always remember. I loved Nicaea’s old walls, lake, and people. The people everywhere were so friendly and showed great respect because of my age.

I think the whole of Turkey was so interested in my fasting as a Christian during Ramazan. I never dreamed so many people would be so open to sharing and gift giving. I am humbled by the hospitality of women to accept absolute strangers in their homes and prepare meals for us. I truly had a wonderful time and learned a great deal of history also.”