I never tire of experiencing new cultures. The sights, sounds and smells pale in comparison to the significance of seeing people in a new way, of experiencing humanity through a different lens. For one week, I am walking the streets of what used to be Constantinople. It was the seat of the Roman Empire after Rome fell. It was home to the Byzantine Empire until it fell to the Ottomans in 1453.

In 2014, I read Lost to the West and wrote this on my Goodreads review:

Loved this book. Is been wanting to read history on how the Roman Empire relocated to Constantinople and survived to almost the 1400s. This was readable and whetted my appetite. A must-read for anyone interested in history or church history.

So it’s surreal to be walking the streets and seeing the Hagia Sophia first-hand. My love of history and my love of people and my mission in life all combine to impress upon me the deep and joyful responsibility I have to love people with the love of God.

Another friend who’s on the trip with me is Aaron, and you can read his post about the trip here.

Five times a day, the Muslim call to prayer rings out across this city of almost 20 million people. There are over 3000 mosques in the city, with more being built every day (we saw several under construction). With Turkey being 98% Muslim, it makes sense. It’s an open country today to ideas and worldviews, but that may change. So it’s appropriate to pray like the apostle Paul, who frequented sites in Turkey on his missionary journeys (2 Thessalonians 3:1).

In just two days, we’ve experienced so much. We’re on information, sensory and taste bud overload. (Yes, we’ve had Turkish delight!)

If you’d be interested in receiving email updates about the trip, drop me a line on Twitter or Facebook, and I’ll be glad to add you to the newsletter. In the meantime, güle güle.

On this day...