OUTREACH AROUND ADANA
The new thrust led
Haralambos to every conceivable place where people gathered. Men from many
areas converged in Adana for business or work. During their spare time they
would sit in coffee houses, slowly savor pungent coffee or strong tea, play
cards or backgammon and discuss a wide variety of subjects. Some would
slowly smoke a water-pipe, known as the “hubble-bubble.” Such settings are
the ordinary hangouts for men with time on their hands and would have been
ideal places for evangelism and colportage work, except for certain
Coffee houses were
always points of attraction for Haralambos, particularly those frequented by
Armenian men. People of common background usually congregated in the same
place. A young Armenian boy was working around the coffee hearth
meticulously filling the orders of customers. Each had specific requirements
of no, little, or much sugar, heavy or medium, and numerous other
variations. Those in the business talk about forty different ways of
preparing Turkish coffee.
strong-voiced man entered the place, in an instant captivating everyone’s
attention. Holding a book in his hand he talked about the Day of Judgment.
He invited people to repent and believe in Jesus Christ. All games stopped.
Work halted. People nodded their heads in approval. The young boy at the
counter stepped forward and listened to the message. Right then and there he
met the Savior. No one had anticipated the unusual stranger, whose brief
talk broke through the din of conversation and games in the smoked-filled
room, creating a different atmosphere. The young boy converted that day
later became an evangelist in Iraq. He later related his conversion
experience to Aneta.
During this time,
Haralambos had a vision of a young girl in Osmaniye, Adana, who had recently
been converted and needed someone to instruct her. He understood the
guidance of the Holy Spirit and traveled to Osmaniye to meet her. After
inquiring at the local Armenian Church he located her. He spent several days
catechizing the young convert, Sema Gül.
She was greatly
profited and grew to become an ardent follower of Jesus Christ. Throughout
the anguishing years of the massacres she held firmly to her faith. Endued
with the prophetic gift, her ministry was invaluable in the church. Later,
her son Bedros Nasanian became an able evangelist. He worked for his own
support as a businessman in Beirut, Lebanon.
Stylianos Ayanoglou was a Greek from Adana, a fellow alumnus of St. Paul’s
College in Tarsus. He was a dedicated Christian involved in wide-ranging
colportage work for the Bible Society. This man of short stature was a
familiar figure around Adana. Everywhere he went he would read poems which
he had written in Turkish about God’s Word, after which he would sell large
numbers of Bibles and Scripture portions.
approached his good friend Haralambos about joining him on a very important
venture to sell Bibles in a predominantly Muslim section in Seleucia (Silifke).
Haralambos was only too happy to link up with his courageous friend. Against
great odds, Stylianos was able to secure official permission to sell
Scriptures in this area. The two hired a horse-drawn cart to carry the
books. Reuben, the young Armenian cart driver, guided them around the area.
Haralambos and Stylianos would sing hymns in public places, after which
Stylianos would recite his flowing poems while Haralambos played his violin.
They drew large crowds who readily purchased Scriptures and listened to the
spoken message. Stylianos having an official colporteur’s certificate in his
hand, signed by the local pasha, could carry on without hindrance.
By the end of the
outreach, they had sold nearly every Bible. The time came to pay Reuben his
wages and dismiss him, but the young man would not go. He insisted on
staying with them, as he wanted to hear more, and to lead them to the other
places where he knew people. Haralambos and Stylianos had no choice but to
comply. Reuben’s greatest wish was for a large Bible which Stylianos gave
him. He was thrilled with his attractively bound Armenian Bible.
One Sunday morning
Reuben knocked at their door. He was under the conviction of the Holy Spirit
and wanted help. He said he didn’t even know how to pray. On that Lord’s Day
morning the two men prayed with him, and he was gloriously saved. He took
them home where he told his story. He had been a drunkard, a blasphemer and
a wife-beater. Now he was completely transformed. Reuben was left behind as
a fervent witness for Jesus Christ. There were many more stories emanating
from the evangelistic efforts of the two friends, but we will forgo the
telling of them and move on with our narration.
One note of interest will be
that Stylianos and his family moved to Egypt after the war where he became a
very effective Bible colporteur, again ministering to Christians and