Thomas Cosmades



A brief sketch of the Life of Hasan Unutmuş

By Thomas Cosmades


From Sailing the Seas to Seeking the Strays

            A brief sketch of the Life of Hasan Unutmuş  

Beloved servant of Christ

  Now with his Lord in Glory, which is ‘Far Better’


In August of 1968, Lila and I with our two girls, Debbie and Heather, moved to Siegen , Germany , to initiate the Gospel ministry to Turks. The Mission für Süd-Ost-Europa was heavily involved in evangelizing people of all nationality groups who were coming to Germany in vast numbers. These were simple workers from the Mediterranean countries and political refugees from Eastern Europe .  The most numerous were the Turks.  The mission needed evangelists to befriend these diverse people and to present the Good News of Jesus Christ to them.  The ministry was in its initial stages. Our initial years of service (1960-67) had been devoted primarily to Greece and Turkey .  During that time, I was taking periodic trips to Germany from Greece , where we were then living.  Now we were in Germany , a new country for all four of us. 


Upon our arrival we came face to face with an undeveloped ministry, calling for social involvement as well.  There was no Turkish literature other than the Scriptures.  One of the first tasks was to produce literature for the Turkish people. I immediately started writing, not having much skill in this area. We even produced a calendar with tear-off messages for each day. In due course, the Lord gave me the privilege of beginning the modern translation of the Turkish New Testament.  We were not going to wait until the whole New Testament was completed before printing Scripture portions.  Realizing the immediate need of the Turkish ‘guest workers’ (Gastarbeiter) we decided to print the Gospel of John in bilingual form – Turkish and German.  This found good reception. We also started producing cassettes and had daily short-wave radio programs, reaching to every part of Turkey . Realizing the importance of the English language, we decided to print the Gospel of John in Turkish-English.  As soon as people heard about it, demands came in from many English-speaking countries. “Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world” (Romans 10:18b). In the United States we supplied this bi-lingual Gospel particularly to missions ministering to seamen, both through social and evangelistic outreach.  One of the seamen’s missions in New York accepted this attractive Gospel gladly for the crews of ships who pulled into port there.   Our story begins here.


Several seamen who received this Gospel did write and we supplied them with more literature. “Some went down to the sea in ships, doing business on the great waters; they saw the deeds of the LORD, his wondrous works in the deep” (Psalm 107:23, 24).  One day, a very encouraging letter came from a Turk who introduced himself as Hasan Unutmuş.  The story he told stays in my mind until this day.  The Israeli ship on which he was a cook came into the port of New York .  As is customary, the ship agency delivered letters addressed to the seamen. Hasan related that he received a disturbing letter from his home in Erzincan in the east of Turkey .  Someone had wronged one of his close relatives.  The way the account was written set Hasan’s nerves on edge.  He immediately decided to go back to Turkey to kill that person.  But how to manage it?  The enemy of his soul put a scheme into his sinful mind which would astonish the ordinary person.  He contemplated in his unenlightened heart: “I know how to go back to Turkey and get revenge.   I will get drunk and create a brawl on the ship.  Finding me guilty, the company will fire me, pay my air fare and fly me back.”


In this desolate mood Hasan got off the ship to make his way to the nearest barroom. But his steps stopped short when he was encountered by a man of slight stature, who was out at the dock seeking to evangelize seamen coming in from all parts of the world.  In his bag was literature in many languages which he was offering to the sailors.  He immediately asked Hasan, “What nationality are you?”  When he replied “Turk”, the fellow told him to wait a minute while he proceeded to find the bi-lingual Turkish-English Gospel of John.  Hasan was amazed when this little book came into his hands free of charge. (Ed. For the benefit of the reader, this valuable portion of the Gospel is an ongoing evangelistic ministry. We just produced a new edition, following previous printings: ‘Su, Ekmek, Yaşam’ {Water, Bread, Life}. Anyone interested in obtaining it for his/her contacts with Turks can write to the address given here.) He read a few lines, then instead of going to find a bar, his footsteps took him back to the ship.  He immediately became engrossed in the message, eagerly reading the Gospel from start to finish.  He was struck with amazement when he read this verse: “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13 ).  He began thinking, “Here I am, deliberating on how to get revenge by killing someone, but I see here the clear message of Jesus Christ, who until this moment was a mere prophet to me.  I learn for the first time that he laid down his life for me.”  At that moment, Hasan was captivated by the message and said to himself: “Here and now I am giving up this devilish notion of getting drunk, creating a brawl and getting shipped back to Turkey to kill my enemy!”  “So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and prosper in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).  With the radical change in his attitude, Hasan set sail with his ship for their next destination.  “The voice of the LORD is upon the waters; the God of glory thunders, the LORD, upon many waters” (Psalm 29:3). 


One day we received a brief letter in Germany from Hasan Unutmuş.  He wrote that he had been given the Gospel of John in New York and wanted to have the whole New Testament.  He said, “Our ship sails from port to port.  Our destination next month is Mombasa , Kenya .”  The ship on which he was a cook was Israeli-registered, employing personnel from several nations. The captain happened to be a religio-nationalist Turk.  Hasan gave the address of the agency in Mombasa where he could receive the New Testament.  We sent him not only the New Testament but along with it other Christian reading material thinking that he had plenty of time on board ship to read.  The package weighed approximately two kilos. 


Time elapsed.  Another letter reached us, this time a very sad one.  He wrote, “I am Hasan Unutmuş, who requested a Turkish New Testament some time back.  I wish to thank you for sending it and the other material.  However, the sequel of my request turned out to be very sour.  Upon our arrival in Mombasa , the agency gave all the mail to the captain, as is customary.  A few hours later he called me to his cabin.  His attitude was extremely austere. He shouted: “Aren’t you a Turk?  Aren’t you a Muslim?” (Hasan was not a Sunni Muslim to which branch most Turks belong.  He came from the Alevi background. However, Alevis are designated ‘Muslim’ in strict terms by officialdom in Turkey .)  Hasan equivocally replied as Alevis would be obliged to do, with a “yes!”  At this response, the captain who had unscrupulously opened the package which didn’t belong to him started castigating Hasan: “Then what are these? Since you are a Muslim, we will throw these into the sea!”  Hasan revolted.  He said, “I can’t do it!  Don’t even Muslims believe that this is God’s word?   How can we throw it into the sea?”


The captain with deep exasperation threw the books at Hasan with a warning: “Mark my word, there will be consequences from this!” “Save me, O God!  For the waters have come up to my neck.  I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me… But as for me, my prayer is to you, O LORD.  At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me.  With your faithful help rescue me from sinking in the mire; let me be delivered from my enemies…” (Psalm 69:1, 2, 13).  With deep satisfaction Hasan received the New Testament and started reading it.  It is not quite clear if he came to a decision for Christ at this reading, or whether he later came to the realization of Christ as Savior of his soul.  “Your way was through the sea, your path through the great waters; yet your footprints were unseen” (Psalm 77:19).


Quite some time elapsed.  We didn’t hear anything from Hasan.  I could add that we may have even forgotten him, since there were so many who were writing in for Scriptures at that time.  One day a letter came from Turkey .  The writer introduced himself as the person who had read the bilingual Turkish-English Gospel of John and later asked for the New Testament.  In his letter he stated that the sequel of that request was extremely sad.  Then he recounted the story with the captain, just mentioned.  He went on telling us what happened afterward.  “On our arrival in Haifa , where our ship was registered, the company informed me that I was fired because of having a bad report from the captain.  It was not difficult to make the association.  I was paid the wages they owed me and sent back to Turkey .  Now I am unemployed, a person who needs a job in order to feed his family.” “Stretch forth your hand from on high, rescue me and deliver me from the many waters, from the hand of aliens, whose mouths speak lies, and whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood” (Psalm 144:7, 8).


Naturally this matter created deep distress in our hearts.  Immediately we put him in touch with believers in Turkey and particularly with two missionaries, Jim Romaine and David Winch. When they went to Hasan’s home they introduced themselves as friends of the people who had sent him the New Testament. Hasan responded enthusiastically, asking them to come every day and teach him the Bible. Hasan always held the Scriptures in great honor and had an immense love for reading and studying the Bible.   Jim and David became enduring friends of the family. Hasan made an open confession of his faith in Christ and started attending church.  At the time there were no more than two or three evangelical churches in Istanbul .  Today every section of the city has a church.   He lived way out on the Asiatic side of Istanbul where housing was cheaper at the time.  He had bought a basement apartment with money saved from his seafaring job. It cost money to travel from one side of the city to the other.  Jim Romaine and David Winch soon started a Bible study in his home, traveling from the European side to Küçükyalı to minister to him and the family.  As a result of these Bible studies, his wife Fatma and his mother received Christ as Savior.  Their two children, quite young at the time, were evangelized.  This meeting was among the first house gatherings in Turkey . Today there are house churches all over the country, contemptuously called ‘Apartment Churches’   by the Turkish officials.


Hasan and Fatma


With Hasan jobless, the family was living in poverty at this time.  The future was uncertain.  Food, heating and other basic needs pressed on him. Hasan desperately needed a job.  At the Berlin Congress of World Evangelism in 1966 I had met Torrey Mosvold, a Norwegian Christian ship owner.  He had told me then, “If you need to place someone in one of my ships, I will consider him.”  Since Hasan had been working on the high seas, I immediately made the connection and wrote a letter to Mr. Mosvold.  He quickly responded by offering Hasan a job as cook on one of his tankers, with very high pay.  So Hasan went to work with this shipping company.  “I believe that I shall see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living!  Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the LORD (Psalm 27:13, 14)!  The ship was moving very fast from port to port, at a time when there was a high demand for oil.  It was not possible for Hasan to have any time at the ports to look for Christian fellowship. He later told me that there was a Christian Portuguese sailor with whom he regularly studied the Bible, each in his own language.  But in spite of a number of advantages Hasan resigned from the ship prematurely, having accumulated considerable money.  It must have been at this time that he bought a house in Küçükyalı.  At last the time came for Hasan to be baptized.  He was baptized in the presence of many believers at Kilyos on the Black Sea coast by Pastor Misak Günay in the summer of 1974.



He didn’t want to work any longer on the high seas, as he desired to be near his wife and two children.  He looked into possibilities of starting some kind of work.  Temptation was on the way.  In his neighborhood he noticed a tea house was for sale.  He thought it would be nice to run that business so near to his home, little realizing that the hours he would be putting in there would be much longer than his working hours on the ship. Men sat around nondescript tables wiling away their time playing cards and backgammon while smoking and drinking tea. They wouldn’t leave the tea house until midnight , when Hasan would finally be able to return home exhausted.  This was the schedule, day after day, including Sundays. The work did bring good financial return, but Hasan’s church life lapsed which caused alarm among the Christians who knew him. “I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant, for I do not forget your commandments” (Psalm 119:176). Had he stayed in the tanker, he would have had substantial funds, ample vacation time and the possibility of building up a nice pension for his future.  But that was not to be. 

Thomas & pastor Deliyannides


At this time, the Lord prepared for a radical change in Hasan’s direction.  The pastor of the Piraeus Evangelical Church in Greece caught a vision for the country from which he hailed.  The Reverend Stavros Deliyannides was born in 1900 in the important city of Kotiora , today’s Ordu, in Pontus on the Black Sea coast.  At sixteen years of age, he left Ordu and traveling over the far reaches of eastern Russia he eventually made his way to Boston , Massachusetts in the U.S.A.   After receiving his theological training at Nyack Bible School in New York State , he moved to Greece . He started the Piraeus church for the Greek refugees from Asia Minor , painstakingly laboring to build much of it with his own hands. “For zeal for your house has consumed me…” (Psalm 69:9a).  Years later, the Lord laid the spiritual needs of Turkey on his heart.  Of course, he knew Turkish. After praying and raising some funds he decided to visit the land of his birth. There he met Jim Romaine who introduced him to Hasan.  Reverend Deliyannides came to love Hasan.  After talking with several Christian friends he offered to pay a salary to Hasan on condition that he give up the tea-house. This was not an easy decision for Hasan. Although he was not happy with the work he was doing it was profitable financially.  Eventually he did give up the tea-house.


With the suggestion of Reverend Deliyannides, he opened a grocery shop near his home where he also sold Scriptures.  When fanatics from the neighborhood saw what he was doing, they became very agitated.  The grocery shop work was not very profitable, but it was a place opened for a purpose. Hasan started receiving threats, but he didn’t pay much attention to them at first.  One day while he standing behind the counter in his shop, a drive-by shooting took place.  The car was traveling at high speed, and the bullet just missed Hasan’s head.  “…you will not fear the arrow that flies by day…it will not come near you” (Psalm 91:5b, 7c). Hasan testified to the goodness of the Lord in protecting him at that very dangerous moment.  All his family and friends thanked the Lord for sparing his life.  No one could imagine that the same aggression would be repeated.  A while later another car targeted the shop in the same way. After this attack, the decision was made to terminate this ministry in Küçükyalı. Hasan closed the shop.



Hasan and Fatma



At this time, the Turkish short-wave radio programs were generating much response from all over Turkey.  I was responsible for the broadcasts, which were aired each morning and evening, seven days a week.  We were sending literature from Germany to everyone who wrote in and Jim Romaine was trying to visit those who had shown an interest in the programs.  The task was becoming impossible because of the huge volume of letters.  Jim needed someone to help him with the visits.  Hasan indicated his interest in visiting and ministering to people on a personal level.  He was an ideal fellow-worker in this ministry, as he could enter into people’s hearts.  Since Brother Deliyannides was sending a certain amount of money each month, Hasan could travel around by bus and establish contact with seekers.  He was very effective and his contacts were bringing fruit.  His parents-in-law lived in Buca, Izmir , where his widow Fatma now resides.  So Hasan could make Izmir his base for visits in the Aegean region.


When Lila and I visited Izmir on two or three occasions we stayed with Hasan’s parents-in-law, Haydar and Ayshe.  Haydar was a chain-smoker and was also bound to alcohol. We spoke many times to him about the Lord, but he remained a superficial Alevi.  Finally he died of lung cancer.  Fatma’s mother Ayshe listened very attentively to the word of God and was ultimately converted to Christ.  On one of our visits, after an all-night trip, Hasan was at the bus terminal to take us to Buca.  Ayshe wanted to give Lila a thorough bath, which is a custom of respect.  Of course, Lila did not accept it. In the meantime, Hasan was preparing a beautiful Turkish breakfast of tea, black olives, bread and scrambled eggs with fried tomatoes, which he then lovingly served.  During the course of our breakfast conversation he related a happening of the next-door neighbors. The day before the son, a student, had tried to kill himself by jumping off the balcony of the family’s upstairs flat because of a problem he was facing at the university.  Hasan was right there at the time.  He immediately lifted the boy up from the ground, and carried him upstairs on his back.  Hasan asked if we would like to visit the parents, which we did.  The dear mother was deeply shaken and we comforted her from God’s word.  Both parents listened attentively and expressed their profound appreciation of our visit. We left Scripture portions with them. The young fellow was also there, stretched out on a couch and listening to our testimony.  We all rejoiced that he wasn’t seriously injured.  The family was very grateful for Hasan’s compassionate and back-breaking help in their hour of crisis. 

Hasan, Haydar and kids at picnic.


The visits to radio listeners became very encouraging, but Satan was going to attack.  One day Hasan received a cordial invitation to visit some radio listeners in Nazilli, so he immediately took off by bus to visit them. One evening the inquirer invited some friends to his home. They gathered in his house and listened to the message of salvation from Hasan. But unbeknown to the rest there was one fanatic who appeared under the guise of a seeker, but in reality had come to stir up trouble. 


The following morning police rang the doorbell of Hasan’s hosts and asked him to come to the police station.  A very harsh inquiry ensued: Who was he?  Why did he visit that house?  Why was he doing that work?  What was his goal? Etc., etc….  The severe inquiry gave way to manhandling and went on to excruciating torture: “They surround me like a flood all day long; they close in upon me together” (Psalm 88:17).   His body became the target of the police’s brutality.  The climax came when he was tied to a piece of wood, typifying the cross, and the police forced torrents of cold water on his body, causing him to tremble violently. Finally, they told him to hold out his hands.  They placed tacks in the palms of both hands and demanded, “Now, swallow these tacks!”  At that moment, he cried to them for mercy, saying he couldn’t bring himself to do it. He was thinking of his family and that they needed him.  The tactic of the police was to compel him to take that radical step which would cause his death and then they would issue a statement that he had committed suicide.


Torture was the ordinary routine utilized by police in Turkey up to the end of the twentieth century and continues to be a lamentable practice up to our time. Following such savage police investigations, it was the common procedure to send off the maltreated person with an air of hostility and failure to bring any legal charges against him.  People of all kinds were being tortured – leftists, Kurds, writers, etc.  Hasan as a Christian evangelist also became victim of this vicious practice.  After the merciless torture the police warned him never to set foot in that city again.  They sent him off, a bruised and broken man.  In pain he traveled back to Izmir where he needed to rest and recuperate for some days. This cruel infliction shook all of us.  However, Hasan said, “I will not give up the ministry.” 


A short time had elapsed when a group of seekers in Bingöl in the eastern region of Turkey wrote a letter that they were being blessed from listening to the radio programs and would appreciate a visit to learn more about the Christian faith.  The populace of this city are mostly Kurds and considered suspect by the authorities.  Hasan traveled there by bus where he met these people and taught them God’s word for a couple days.  He returned home and joyfully related his heart-warming experiences.

Hasan and Jim Romaine


The folks in Bingöl wanted him to visit them again so this time he took Jim and David with him. After meeting with them just once, Hasan was apprehended by the local police.  The police ordered the two foreigners to leave the city immediately.  Hasan, left alone, was then subjected to unbearable torture.  They said that he had trespassed the laws of the country by visiting these people and teaching them his religion.  They kept hammering a question at him while beating him: “You, a Turk; why did you choose Christianity and become its propagandist?”  They threw him to the floor and several policemen started violently kicking him around.  There was no end to their frenzy. “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax, it is melted within my breast; my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue cleaves to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death” (Psalm 22:14, 15).  Finally they saw that his very life was endangered.  Just as in the previous horrendous ordeal, Hasan was unceremoniously dispatched without any judicial case brought against him.  They put him in a police car, drove him out of the city and dumped him on the side of the road in a remote place.  No one was around.  After waiting a while, a passing car picked him up and brought him to the nearest town from where he caught a bus to his home in Istanbul . He later heard that his hosts had also encountered great problems.  In consequence of his injuries, he hobbled along with a cane for a while.  It became increasingly evident that back surgery was imperative.  Through all his suffering and pain Hasan never gave up the ministry or weakened in his faith.


Those were disturbing times when Turkish police had become infamous for their notorious practice of torture. A young policeman, who loathed their cruel methods and left their ranks, later related what he had learned during his training: “When we were drafted, we were told that in this profession we have to leave our conscience behind.” “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute” (Proverbs 31:8).  It happened that Lila and I were spending the summer at my brother-in-law’s home in Heybeliada on the Marmara Sea .  Suddenly one morning, Hasan appeared at the door.  With a grieved heart and his beaten body still in pain, he related the whole Bingöl episode to us.  Deep sympathy gripped our hearts.  We knew that torture in all its ugly dimensions was being carried out the length and breadth of the land.  Maltreatment administered to those considered to be enemies of the state was in this case inflicted on a harmless witness for the Lord Jesus Christ, the Man acquainted with grief.  With sadness of heart Hasan related what had happened.  “They kicked me around like a football and repeatedly interrogated me,” he said.  This was the lamentable termination of Hasan’s contacting people for the Lord in the heartland of Asia Minor .  It was the sad conclusion to an effective ministry of a zealous servant of God.  “My eyes shed streams of tears, because men do not keep your law” (Psalm 119:136).  Later, Hasan had to undergo back surgery in England to try to bring relief to his chronic pain.


Hasan and David Winch


After the gruesome episodes he had suffered for the sake of Christ, Hasan no longer had the vitality to travel around and visit contacts in Anatolia. At this time, David and Anne Winch, who had already moved to England , thought it would be very helpful if Hasan received some theological training.  Through their efforts, he was offered a scholarship by the European Missionary Fellowship to attend their School of Theology for one academic year (1989-1990).  Throughout the years of working with Jim Romaine and David Winch, he had developed a working knowledge of English.  Even though his age was somewhat advanced, he was delighted to sit in classes again. Actually, this was the only time that Hasan had any academic experience following his elementary school education.  He attended all the classes with great interest.  But the consequences of two dreadful tortures along with troubling occurrences regarding his wayward son had left painful scars in his whole being. “…I bear in my body the marks of Jesus” (Galatians 6:17b). He often attended lectures while enduring physical agony. 


Following the period of his training, Hasan returned to Turkey and continued to serve with Jim Romaine at the small fellowship in Kadiköy on the Asiatic side of Istanbul .  In the meantime, Brother Deliyannides had gone to the presence of the Lord at the age of ninety-one.  David Winch had left for England by then. It was necessary to find some financial support to sustain Hasan and his family.  Both David and Jim secured monetary assistance through their respective societies. Now Satan, who incessantly targeted him,  began attacking the Unutmuş couple from right within the family circle.  We should have mentioned before that Hasan had four children:  the eldest, a son, Erjan, the second, a girl, Gülsabah, the the third, a girl, Esra, and the fourth a boy, Jem. The last two were born after Hasan’s conversion.

Erjan, even though he grew up in a home where Jesus Christ was known and confessed, never took an interest in the Christian faith.  From his early youth, he was very opstreperous. “...a man’s foes will be those of his own household” (Matthew 10:36).  The believers in England at one point bought a car for Hasan’s ministry.  One day Erjan took the car and caused a serious accident.  The car was totalled and for some days he was hanging between life and death. He lost his spleen, but amazingly, recovered from the ordeal.  How we wish he had taken this deliverance as a merciful act of the loving God whom his father served.  Conversely, he went on mingling with the wrong crowd.  In the meantime he married and acquired a child. Finally, this depressing episode was concluded with his being murdered at thirty years of age.  This part of the story is a very sad chapter which brought untold grief to both Hasan and Fatma.  “...O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom!  Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!” (II Samuel 18:33b).  Any Christian parent can imagine how desperately sorrowful Hasan and his wife were to bury their own son as a lost boy.


In the meantime, a young Turk who was in Germany wrote to Gülsabah that he was interested in marrying her.  Many thought they would make a good match since Yusuf (the young man) had a testimony of his conversion.  In due time they were married at the International Church in Istanbul, where I gave the message at their wedding.  Gülsabah moved to Germany, with all of us anticipating that she and Yusuf would become an effective Turkish Christian couple.  Alas, once again Satan contrived another vicious scheme.  After some time, with a little son having been born to them, Yusuf showed signs of mental disturbance. This little family began shaking.  Eventually, Yusuf took off and the marriage disintegrated. 


All these sad episodes go to show how shrewd and determined the enemy is.  Shortly after the time that Hasan was first exposed to the Gospel in New York harbor, one trouble followed another, starting with his encounter with the fanatic captain of his ship in Mombasa. “...all this has come upon me...I loathe my life; I will give free utterance to my complaint; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.  I will say to God, Do not condemn me; let me know why you contend against me” (Genesis 42:36c; Job 10:1, 2). These sad developments can be a case study in the conversion of Turks, particularly of those who choose to minister the Gospel.   Hasan’s numerous problems came upon him and his wife like a flood.  He lost ground in the faith.  Knowing the painful chain of events, one can empathize with the sad climax of our dear brother’s life.  For a while, he was suffering depression which was also extremely difficult for Fatma.  Finally, Hasan was diagnosed as having cancer.  Fatma faithfully took care of him during his last days on earth, never wavering in her faith.  She kept attending the women’s Bible studies in Buca and attached herself to the newly-formed Baptist Church in that area which was established through the endeavors of Pastor Mesut Cevik with Hasan.


The acquisition of this church was nothing short of a miracle.  Originally it was an impressive Anglican Church with a wide yard and a historic cemetary on the grounds.  When the Anglicans left the place, the Turkish government took it over and removed the cross  from the top of the edifice.  They converted it to a Turkish cultural center.  Mesut and Hasan prayed that this church would be re-acquired for the glory of Christ.  The endeavor was long and arduous. Finally through divine intervention the Turks turned over the entire property to Mesut, who became the recognized pastor of the newly-formed Baptist Church of Buca


Hasan’s health gradually deteriorated and he went to meet his Lord on July 19, 2006. He had not known anything about Christ in his early life.  But appeciating the value of God’s grace, he developed into a very faithful servant of Jesus Christ, even bearing the marks of Christ in his body. His widow Fatma is a most faithful follower of Jesus Christ.  She has the realıty of her Lord in her life, which shows in her whole mien. . It should be mentioned that when Fatma came to Christ years before in Küçükyalı she was illiterate. When she believed in Christ, she was eager to read the Bible, so the missionaries’ wives opened the world of literacy to her. Fatma became very active in the Kadiköy church at the time it was functioning there. She served tea after church every week and also graciously hosted meetings in their home.


Hasan, Fatma, Esra and Jem


As for the remaining Unutmuş children, the younger daughter Esra finished university in Turkey, keeping a strong testimony for Jesus Christ during the years of her studies.  She is now married to Aaron Miller from Oregon, U.S.A., and together they work among university students in Istanbul.   The younger boy Jem is a follower of Christ.  He has finished his military service and is working with the Bible Correspondance Course in Turkey while seeking other avenues of serving the Lord.  It is not impossible for the Lord of the Harvest to lay his hand on him to lead him study God’s word and carry on the work left by his father. The Lord will make known the way he should take. Gülsabah, presently living in Germany with her two sons, is struggling with life and in need of prayer. 

The Lord did not promise a flowery life to those who put their trust in him, rather that his followers would suffer even as He suffered.  Hasan’s life is a vivid example of what a Turkish Christian can anticipate when he turns to Jesus Christ.  In all Hasan’s tribulations and testings His Lord was faithful to him.  Finally he was released from this world’s sufferings and taken into His glorious presence. 


Hasan’s remains were buried in a large Muslim cemetary in Istanbul with about one hundred fifty relatives and friends attending the graveside service. Several Christians gave testimony to Hasan’s life and faithfulness.  Others read from Psalm 23 and I Corinthians 15 and prayed.  When everything was concluded,  three young men came up and asked, “What is the book you were reading from? We have never heard anything like that before.”  We directed them to the Bible Society shop in Istanbul where they could  purchase a Bible. Hasan’s love for the Scriptures was honored even in his death.

“As for me, I shall behold thy face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with beholding thy likeness (Psalm 17:15).


Thomas Cosmades – 2008



God has not promised skies always blue

Flower-strewn pathways all our lives through.

God has not promised peace without pain

Joy without sorrow, sun without rain.

But God has promised strength for the day

Rest for the labor, light on our way

Grace for the trials, help from above

Unfailing kindness, undying love.

~~Annie Johnson Flint (1919)

~~Alfred Smith (music)





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