harvest is ready

Publisher Gökhan Talas recalls the early days of his Miras magazine when he took a finished issue of Turkey’s only Christian-based periodical to an advertiser to collect payment. One pastor had not only bought an advertisement, he had written a piece for the fledgling magazine.

“My associate and I visited him for the payment; but then we realized his article wasn’t in the magazine,” Gökhan said, a twinkle in his dark eyes. “The pastor said, ‘It’s okay; I can understand it happening, but can I see the advertisement?’”

Gökhan raised his eyebrows, looked at his companion and confessed, “The advertisement is not in the magazine. It was forgotten, too.”

The incident may be a light-hearted one but the work Gökhan, 39, and his wife, Ozge, 38, do is deadly serious. A former adherent of Islam, Gökhan became a believer while doing his mandatory military service. He had a nominal understanding of Jesus, the man of history. But then he read a Bible and found Christ the Savior.

He used his training as a graphic artist, knowledge he gained from Kurtulus churches in Ankara, and training at Filipus theological school, and founded Miras Publishing Ministries with his wife in 2011.

Miras, which means inheritance, is still the only Turkish Christian magazine.

Gökhan first served as a speaker for Magazine Training International’s (MTI) Crisis Publishing Initiative conference in Hungary in 2017. These days, he writes an occasional guest blog post for MTI.

“MTI has rich resources and their training sessions are very beneficial,” Gökhan says. “Sharon Mumper and her team organize absolutely useful conferences and they gather people from the Christian publishing world.”

Gökhan’s publications are in Turkey and Iran, areas hostile to the evangelical message of the Gospel.

“Magazine Training International is a huge help for organizations like ours,” says Gökhan. “We are far from other countries where Christianity is more accepted and MTI gives us an opportunity to know more people from the same side as us.”

The work is not without hazards.

“The government regularly monitors every Christian organization and church,” Gökhan says. “They see us as potential enemies of the state and treat us as foreigners.”

Nonetheless, the publications and his broadcasts on social media and satellite are reaching an audience.

“Many people are seeking God and questioning their faith and traditions,” Gökhan says. “The opportunity in Turkey is huge and the harvest is ready to reap.”

Gökhan uses mass media to share ideas and current events of interest to believers.

“We need prayers from every brother and sister who hears our story,” Gökhan says. “Miras needs your support and unity.”

Gökhan, his wife, and Cinar Kaan, their 12-year-old son, conduct this ministry from gifts, mostly from overseas.

“I appreciate that Gökhan knows how to laugh and return to joy after wrestling with deep and difficult issues,” says Amy Ohler, director of Filipus Ministry Training.

What will their legacy be?

“Good news!” Gökhan said, his arms opened wide. “I want people to remember Miras as a strong evangelical ministry. Magazines and broadcasts are only tools of a main purpose. I dream people can say about us: ‘They served the Lord well.’”

By Dr. Michael Ray Smith

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Magazine Training International’s mission is to encourage, strengthen, and provide training and resources to Christian magazine publishers as they seek to build the church and reach their societies for Christ.