CGM: Cross Cultural Minis

April 11, 2022  |  Mark Burns

Salih is a woodworker. He has a small booth that he sets up and sells his handmade wood creations outside of the Mouth of Hell Caves – this is the only bit of ancient Christian history that the city of Ereğli, where Salih lives, is willing to put on display.  Salih is also a high school teacher, and everyday after class, he heads to his booth full of tools and a wood lath where he spends most of his time.

Salih has an eye for his craft. Where some may see just a cut tree branch, a scrap of wood, or an unwanted log, Salih sees a potential bowl, candle holder, or other decoration. He crafts wooden rings out of cherry tree limbs, decorative bowls out of beautiful black walnut, and candle holders out of olive tree logs. The creativity, care, patience, diligence, and wisdom that Salih puts into woodworking reflects the image of God. However, Salih’s acceptance of pieces of wood is contrasted with his skepticism of the people who pass by his booth.

As people pass by on their way to the first of three caves, they are evaluated. Are they buyers or lookers? Are they “cultured” or closed-minded? Are they someone to give time to or a waste of time? Salih is a dear friend to those deemed worthy but to those who don’t make the grade, they are brushed aside. 

Salih is made in the image of God and it shows. At the same time, the need for the transforming power of the Holy Spirit is evident. He is overflowing with a gift to create, and yet out of the same man, judgment, hate, and jealousy flow. In receiving the love of Jesus, through faith, Salih will be able to love those who pass by his booth on their way to the Mouth of Hell Caves, whether they intend to make a purchase or not.  

Please pray for Salih to be transformed. Pray that he would come to faith in Jesus. May the beauty that he sees in God’s creation be shared in how Salih sees people. May the diligence and care that Salih places in his craft be shared in his love and appreciation of people.

May these prayers for Salih also be for us. God gives us the eyes to see creation, work, and people rightly; may He continue.