A Walk Into Church History

Istanbul used to be known as Constantinople. According to Wikipedia, “Constantinople (Greek: Κωνσταντινούπολις, Constantinopolis, or Πόλις, Polis) was the capital of the Roman Empire (330-395), the Byzantine/East Roman Empire (395-1204 and 1261-1453), the Latin Empire (1204-1261), and the Ottoman Empire (1453-1922). It was officially renamed to its modern Turkish name Istanbul in 1930.”

I told you in an earlier post that the city is literally full of mosques. It is also the home to Hagia Sophia. This beautiful church, constructed by the Emperor Justinian in 537 AD is one of the most important churches in the world. It was here that so much of what we affirm as church doctrine was debated. The early church fathers wrestled with key doctrines like the deity of Christ, Christ’s divine and human wills, and creeds at this very church. It was here that the Nicene Creed was reaffirmed after many sought to discredit it. It was here that the doctrine of the Trinity was upheld.

Jenny and I had a chance to take the tram to this beautiful area of the city tonight. We stood inside the outer court of the Blue Mosque that stands across the street from the Hagia Sophia. It was constructed to show that Islam could produce a mosque more beautiful than the Hagia Sophia. It was actually modelled after Hagia Sophia, but built more than 1000 years later. It’s larger and looks more impressive on the outside, but can’t compare to the beauty of Hagia Sophia on the inside. Justinian had the architects of Hagia Sophia fill it with beautiful mosaics. It was lit by thousands of candles at night. The mosaics were of famous stories from the Bible. It’s said that when you were in the church at night, it was as if the mosaics were moving when the candle light hit them. Hagia Sophia was captured by the Ottoman Turks and Sultan Mehmed II in 1453. He ordered that it be converted into a Mosque and that the mosaics be covered up. It remained a mosque until 1935.

So, why the history lesson on Hagia Sophia tonight? Well, as I get ready for bed, (it’s 12:05 AM here), I am struck by the fact that the same God that we have prayed to all week long for mom is the God to whom men and women have been praying to from the beginning of time. We are in a country which has only 3000 known believers in it. There are 72.6 million people in this country. We’re here for a reason. Many of you have shared that in your posts. If we could bring just one person closer to Jesus (He whose divinity was upheld by church councils in this very city) through Mom’s illness that would mean the world to us. We’ve become close with many people here. From the doctors and nurses to the families of other patients that we waited with together for days in the ICU waiting rooms, from the store owners whose businesses we frequent for bottled water, to the restaurant workers we see often at our favorite places, from the hotel staff to the people we see on the Metro, God has allowed us to rub elbows with so many who need his touch. Please pray that God will give us wisdom, and that he will give us courage to stand for Him in this wonderful country, no matter how tough things may be.

We continue to praise God for Mom’s health. She continues to long to hear from you. To all of my cousins, relatives, long lost friends, and those so close to Mom, thank you for writing. She prays for each one of you as I read your comments to her. She really does love all of you. And, your comments and e-mails have been like manna from heaven for us.

In His Love,


12 thoughts on “A Walk Into Church History

  1. It’s so interesting hearing about this part of Turkey; thanks so much for enlightening us. We are so thankful mom is getting better and is one more day closer to coming home. We are praying for the opportunity for you to continue to be a blessing and a witness over there. Love, Kevin and Melissa

  2. I have never been outside of the states, except for the time we went Toronto on a missions trip, so to hear about country on the other side of the world is very exciting.Ministry takes on so many forms, from the man in the street to the way we simply conduct ourselves in the presence of others and even the way we conduct ourselves with our wives (or husbands depending on who you are) and our children.I remember Brian, on a mission trip to FL you leaning out of the van along Sarasota beach in July and yelling at the top of your lungs, “MERRY CHRISTMAS BEDFORD FALLS!!!”. Your energy and constant dedication to being a minister not only by title, but as an individual is something that I will always carry with me. I can only imagine how much of an impact 4 Schulenburgs can have in one place.May you all be safe, blessed and content in the Lord. I will be up late tonight so I will try to post a “Good morning” letter for Bea. Take care!Jonathan R. Clauson

  3. Thanks for the history lesson, Brian- it was fascinating and such cool photos to go along. I continue to pray for your family. Bea, this morning on the way to work God reminded me to turn off the radio and pray for you, so of course I did. Its always a change of pace, going from the Christian music or country radio, to turning off the radio and enjoying the quiet peace of Christ on my way to work. While you’re looking for something to pray about in the hospital, that’s my request that I will remember to turn off the radio. I don’t remember to do it as often as I’d like to and I enjoy it when God gives me the quiet reminders. On the homefront, Shawn and I have a new dog that Jenny may have told you about. Clover is such a fun 12 week old golden retriever. We’ve discovered that she doesn’t like thunder but continue to reassure her that its ok. I want to cuddle her but she squirms like a typical 2 year old! Last night I realized training her in the backyard was in vain-she was constantly distracted by the thunder! Oh well, another day :)Much love and prayers! Get well soon. Katie Tessmer

  4. Thought I’d leave a comment so that when it’s 3 am there, Bea will have a new message ;)…I haven’t had a chance to check the blog for a couple of days and am so happy to see that things are going so much better! God is amazing! Things are hot here in Geneva, and thunderstorms last night & tonight so your flower beds will be in bloom when you get home. Praise God for the private room, increased access & improvements. We’ll keep praying,Lori Tschetter

  5. Bea,Just a note to wish God’s best for you & your family. You & Gordon introduced us to the Sunday School class at Fox Valley when we first came to the church. Your sweet, sweet spirit is still with us. We are praying for you & the family whenever we go to bed, during the night & when we get up. God has His reasons for everything even tho we don’t understand & I pray that someday He will show you the fruit of this experience. So glad to hear that you are improving and the prospects of coming home might be sooner rather than later. I pray too for Gods peace to be your portion during this time. Gordon, Jen & Brian, I admire your steadfastness during this trial. May you be blessed by your love for the Lord and for your mother.In Christ’s Love,Rich/Millie ScottFox Valley Bible Church

  6. We just put the kids to bed and thought I would share our bed time experience with you. As you know each evening before bed we read a Bible story and pray with all the kids. After we were done praying, I said to the family, lets sing a song because we haven’t done that in some time. We sang “I love you Lord and I lift my voice to worship you oh my soul rejoice, take joy my King in what you hear, may it be a sweet, sweet sound in your ear.” Half way through the song Rebecca lifts up her 21 month old arms to the sky and leaves them up, promting the rest of us to raise our hands along with our voice to our King. What a mighty God we do serve. We love you and can’t wait to have you back home.Love, Kevin, Melissa, Christina, Luke, and Rebecca

  7. Good Morning, Bea!It’s 10 PM Tuesday evening here…but I think it is probably about 7 AM Wednesday in Turkey.At our Wheaton Academy Moms’ Prayer meeting this Tuesday morning, we prayed specifically for you, both for your physical and spiritual well being. We prayed that the Lord would be your refuge and shelter, that He would protect you “under His wings” from the enemy, and that He would remove all fear and give you peace. Barb Aulie praised the Lord for you, thanking the Lord for your “heart of gold” and the blessing you have been to her, ever since the first year her daughter came to WA and you were the Moms’ Prayer Leader.I am so encouraged to read Jenny and Brian’s reports that give evidence of our Great God’s answers to our prayers, all to HIS honor and glory!May the Lord bless you with renewed strength and restored health, and a safe journey home…All to the glory of HIS name!Blessings to all of you “shining lights” in a very dark world!Love and prayers,Nancy Walker

  8. Good morning my dear sweet precious Sis! (and brother!!)How great to have a NOTE FROM YOU, Bea, when Brian wrote: “My mom had a quick message she wanted me to publish on the blog. She is so eager to thank you all for your prayers in person. “Thank you, my dear prayer warriors. I’m getting ready to come home soon!” So thank YOU for the note! I got ticked when I read the part about you asking if there were any new “notes” and Gordon said it was the middle of the night in the USA, so no.! But I am up a lot in the middle of the night here, so I could send you some more notes then too so you’d have something new to read! ha (That’s when I “send a lot of messages to God on your behalf! But I don’t have to turn my computer on to do that!). I am reminded of the verse that says God is always awake! Psalm 121:4 “Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.” I used to rely on that verse many times such as cases when I was the only one awake in the middle of the night with sick babies crying with ear ache and I felt so helpless and alone. But I knew God was there in the middle of the night with me. And I praise Him that He is there with you night and day, no matter what time zone! I was so happy to learn that you could hear WMBI in your hospital room! Didn’t we have a blessing to grow up with a Mom who always had that station tuned in? That was in the days when there was only AM and WMBI would go off with the sunset. We always liked summer time because then we could hear “Candlelight and Silver” after supper and listen to “live” broadcasts of the services on the hill at Winona Lake. Remember the times we sat on the hill or in the Tabernacle at Winona Lake in person during YFC week when we’d go there? Often times when I am listening to our Christian radio station in Minnesota they will have a Moody program on and I know you and I have talked about a program that we were both listening to the same thing at the same time in Illinois and in Minnesota! Well, now you are listening to Songs in the Night in Instanbul! That was always one of my favorite programs way back when it was on with Bill Pierce. So calming to hear the music integrated with Scriptures! So glad you got to share Colossians with Jenny and then you read it aloud yourself and then you wanted to hear it on Brian’s i-tunes! God’s Word refreshes us as nothing else can. Psalm 119:103 “How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth”! And you got to listen to Randy sining in your room! I remember when Gordon forwarded the clip of the song that Randy’s quartette sang at his church and I SO enjoyed playing it over and over. And now you got to hear it there as Brian had it saved in his i-tunes! Wonderful little blessings God is supplying for you as you are in your private room with Gordon and the computer and our loving God right beside you and His Holy Spirit filling the room. I am praying for your physical therapy to go well and for you to gain new strength each day. I repeat what was written the other day by your friend (I too enjoy reading the blogs other people write each day!)as she wrote about Isaiah 40:31: (“Those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength.” Guided by your caregivers, Bea, I trust that you will indeed continue to “walk and not become weary,” but maybe you should hold off trying to test the promise about running. Best of all, you will soon “mount up with wings like eagles” when that plane takes all of you back home.”) I thought that was such a great thought! And I am claiming that promise for you also. We can’t wait to hear that you are all mounting up with wings like eagles literally on the airplane!(Probably not the exact meaning of the verse, ha! but it is our prayer for you all to come home soon and safely!) I am sure it will be hard for you to walk and not become weary, too! But you know, many days for me (and all of us) it seems hard to walk and not become weary. Yet God has promised that we WILL walk and not become weary. But He doesn’t stop there! “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Sometimes it the “waiting upon the Lord” that gets hard. You have been doing a lot of “waiting”. Psalm 37:7 “Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him.”Here is Is. 40:27-31 from THE MESSAGE: “Why would you ever complain, O Jacob, or, whine, Israel, saying, “God has lost track of me. He doesn’t care what happens to me”? Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening? God doesn’t come and go. God lasts. He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine. He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch his breath. And he knows everything, inside and out. He energizes those who get tired,gives fresh strength to dropouts.For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall. But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.They spread their wings and soar like eagles, They run and don’t get tired,they walk and don’t lag behind.” You know, the eagles “soar” on the wind currents…they don’t have to do it in their own strength! And God is our strength! “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”We continue to Praise God for answered prayer. We have been praising Him along with your family in the midst of the hard times as our prise then becomes a sacrifice and that is what we are told to do. Our God is worthy of praise at all times. Hebrews 13:15 “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” So….now you’ll have a long “thing” to read as you wake up! We pray you will have a wonderful day!I LOVE YOU. HUGS and KISSES from your sister…..Mar

  9. Hi again my dear friendsIt’s late here in Illinois, and I’m heading for bed. But I wanted a last update for the day, and found Brian’s wonderful history lesson. It was very interesting to read. Thanks.And this will be a good morning to you so you’ll have new things to read when you wake up. We have been to Laura’s house tonight for supper with her family. We have a praise and a prayer request. Their 11 year old daughter, Paige, dove into a friend’s swimming pool on Sunday, and hit her head on the bottom, injuring her neck. Our praise is that she has not suffered any paralysis, and our request is that the injury heal with the use of the neck brace and not have to have further more serious treatment. Our God is so awesome – such accidents and illnesses like yours serve to strengthen our faith – but also gives moms, grandmas, & friends more grey hairs!!! I’m just praising God tonight for His protection of Paige and for His touch on my friend’s body. THANK YOU LORD! I’ll check in again in the morning.Love, Louise

  10. Bea, Gordon, Jenny, and Brian: Though far from you these days my heart is still with you in prayer and thought. My life feels like a whirlwind these days but I am always glad and grateful to hear of our Father’s grace at work in you very present time of need. This saturday Rachel and I will be married and our choice of sermon text is Joshua 1:5-9. This command is as true for you as it is for the two of us starting out life together! So be strong and courageous, my brothers and sisters, then all will see and know that our God is with you wherever you go. Grace, peace, and joy in Him, Marcus

  11. Bea,It is good to know that you are feeling better. What a blessing Brian’s blog has been. Our God is an awesome God! He has been with you every step of the way. It is easy for me to picture the hospital since Dr. Pinar took us there last year. I remember how sweet the nurses were that we talked to. They treated us like an honored guest. I know that as you praised God with your singing and reading of the word, they were able to observe the peace and joy you have in your life. My prayer is that you will be able to come away with some contacts that you can stay in touch with by e-mail. It has made me want to go back to Turkey next year. There is so much work to do there and so few workers. I know that you have observed how sweet the people are and how evident their need for our Savior is. Thanks for being such a blessing to us as we are able to read how God is using your family there. We look forward to your home coming and will pray for an easy and safe return.Love and prayers,Maelynn

  12. It’s pretty cool how your family is able to touch so many lives in Turkey, even in the midst of your unfortunate situation. That was something I have been thinking and wondering about myself for the last several days. (how God was using you guys since your parents could no longer participate in the trip) but that’s just how our amazing God works, he uses you all in unlikely and unexpected ways and that is soo awsome! even though your family went over to Turkey with the expectations of one type of missions work, God had something else in mind, and while it was scary to see your mom in the hospital, it’s a pretty encouraging thought to know that God had a specific plan for your family over there. I’m glad that God is in complete control of your situation. You are all in my family’s prayers!In Him,elizabeth zahorsky

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