“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.” – 1 Peter 4:12-13
On May 11, 2021, Marta Shimoni Church in Turkey’s village of Mehr was attacked and desecrated by unknown persons. This is the same village where the elderly parents of a Chaldean Catholic priest were kidnapped last year. Simoni Diril was later found dead. Her husband, Hormoz Diril, remains missing.
Marta Shimoni Church is a cave church built into the mountains. It cannot be destroyed in the same way as other churches. Crosses, pictures of Jesus, and rosaries were strewn across the path leading away from the mountain church’s entrance.
The village of Mehr had been primarily Chaldean Christian before conflict forced its evacuation in the early 1990s. Eleven years ago, the Diril couple had returned to the village, despite the dangers, in an attempt to rebuild the Christian community. They were the first to return and often celebrated mass at Marta Shimoni. The church, which is named after a local Christian martyred for her faith, stands as a historic reminder of the village’s Christian troubled past.
The pain and suffering of this world should not come as a surprise. But know that we will be overcome by the joy of seeing Jesus in Heaven. Today in prayer, praise the Lord that our suffering is temporary and Jesus has overcome the world to give us eternity with Him.
"We are always in the forge, or on the anvil; by trials, God is shaping us for higher things." - Henry Ward Beecher
God’s Word: “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” – Romans 5:3-5