Thomas Cosmades

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WILL SHINE LIKE THE STARS FOREVER

CHAPTER 8

HOUSE MEETINGS

There were weekly meetings at the home of Dr. Kirkor Tekian in Gedikpasha.  Believers in the neighborhood gathered together to study the Bible, listen to teaching, sing hymns, share testimonies and pray.  Starting at around seven o'clock in the evening, these meetings usually didn't disperse until ten or eleven.  People attending tremendously appreciated these gatherings.  They drank deeply at the inexhaustible fountain, and the more they drank the thirstier they became.  The more they feasted on the bread of life, the hungrier they became.  Some outside the family of God who dropped in would be deeply convicted of sin through the Holy Spirit.  They would repent with tears and believe in Jesus Christ.

Dr. Tekian's house could no longer hold the crowds.  People had started coming from as far away as Topkapi, Edirnekapi, Yedikule and Beyoglu.  House meetings needed to be started in other sections of the city.  Many had become believers in Christ and were looking for meetings to attend.  The Sunday morning services in the few churches did not meet people's needs.  In any case, wasn't it the practice of the early Christians to meet in homes?  (Romans 16:5, Colossians 4:15, Philemon 2).  Hadn't God in His sovereign will first called Vahram from Sungurlu to Istanbul where he had saved him? Then hadnít he moved him from tailoring to colporteurship?  Hadn't God given him the knowledge of the Word and competence to speak?  Could it be that conducting house meetings was his new calling? 

One of the first house gatherings was in the home of Sister Aygul.  Two sisters in the faith joined Aygul and Vahram in earnest prayer that young people might come to Christ.  Aygul's home became a house of prayer every morning between seven and eight.  The meeting gradually expanded.  God answered those prayers and many young people believed in Jesus Christ.   Among the young men were Hagop, Aris, Nazar and Magaros.  Up until that time there had been very few young people who had come to Christ.  But after constant prayer, morning by morning, young people began to take an interest and were converted.  They too joined in praying for the salvation of other young people.

The meetings begun in Dr. Tekian's home spread to every section of the entire city: Topkapi, Edirnekapi, Yedikule, Balat, Haskoy, Beyoglu and Uskudar.  In those days before the now heavily-travelled Bosphorus bridges had even been thought of, there were only infrequent boats crossing from one side of the Bosphorus to the other.  In traversing the large city Vahram wore out a lot of shoes.  He would hurry from one place to another, dressed in seasonal wear, smart and clean, hat on head, heavy case in one hand and violin in the other ó and always a pleasant expression on his face.  At this time newcomers were brought to an understanding of the true nature of Jesus Christ.  They repented of their sins and believed on Him as Savior.  A spiritual fire kindled by the Holy Spirit was enveloping Istanbul, but only a limited number of people could see it.  Men, women, young and old, were coming to the house meetings and following Christ.  Christ was transforming sinners into saints.

Before long, evening meetings were not enough.  Under Vahram's guidance, day-time meetings for women began in various homes.  When there were too many women for one house, another meeting was started in another house.  Joy and peace were becoming a reality to countless women.

Around this time Aleksan Batmazian was conducting Sunday afternoon Bible classes in the Gedikpasha church.  This gentle figure who resembled an Old Testament prophet taught with deep affection and displayed fatherly love to everyone.  As a young man in Aksaray in the province of Konya, he had been awakened spiritually.  He became a deeply committed Christian with the gift of teaching which he used very effectively.  For years he had been praying for a spiritual awakening in Istanbul and when it came he started a Bible class.

The core elements of his teaching were the Saviorhood of Christ, justification by faith, living a holy life and the premillennial return of Christ as stated in I John 3:2, 3: "Beloved, we are God's children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.  And everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure."  Those who had gained spiritual understanding in Vahram's house meetings were more deeply instructed as they followed the Bible studies and benefited from Aleksan's convincing grasp of eschatology.  The Holy Spirit had raised up the right person for each task and the knowledge of God was being proclaimed far and wide.

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