Life on the MDT Caravan

OM’s Mission Discipleship Training (MDT) in Turkey, Caravan, is based in the Mediterranean city of Antalya. Why Antalya? It’s a place where many foreigners live, so participants won’t stand out. “It’s also a place where we have the freedom to make mistakes,” explained MDT Director Bill*.

“We are not a ‘gap year programme’; it’s more of a preparation,” Bill said. “We look at different areas of our personal and inner transformation, working on cross-cultural teams, equipping people with skills and knowledge to work and serve amongst Muslims peoples.”

The programme exists for people like David*. Born to parents who were workers, David (21) spent the first ten years of his life in Kazakhstan before his family returned to Switzerland. He joined MDT Caravan in the ‘pandemic year’ of 2020, participating in the training from February to July and then continuing with MDT Caravan Plus until October.

MDT Caravan Plus follows the initial five months of training. “Now we are giving those people a chance to start applying some of those things and give them more of an idea of what it’s like to ‘live on the field,’” Bill described. “There’s less supervision, more initiative taking and developing [their] own relationships.”

“Ultimately I believe God is calling me to the North Caucasus,” David shared. MDT Caravan, he decided, “would equip me, it would build me up and it would be like a springboard to a long-term ministry.”

During his time in Turkey, David and other MDT Caravan participants met Rinat*, a Tatar from Turkmenistan. David and his teammates shared their life stories with Ruslan and spent time talking about life and God.

Once Rinat told the MDT Caravan group: “I have not seen you in a week, but I realise that when I don’t see you, I am missing something inside.”

“Rinat has opened up a lot and shared things he doesn’t normally tell people and he has spent more time discovering more about God through His Word,” David said. The two became friends, meeting two or three times a week.

“Rinat is also helping me with my Turkish language learning in preparation for going to the North Caucasus,” David explained. Rinat has also opened up his community to David. They, too, are now hearing more about Jesus through both Rinat and David.

Since MDT Caravan is communal, Bill has had ample opportunity to interact with David during his nine months in Turkey. “We do life together,” Bill shared. “I have seen David as he has embraced more challenges and his desire for the Lord has increased through time. There was a high point and a low point, and he pushed through that and hung onto Jesus, and his walk with the Lord has been inspiring to me.”

*Name changed

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