Amazing how quickly new years seem to come and go these days.‑ I was just getting accustomed to living in the 21st century when all of a sudden I’m halfway through its first decade.‑‑ Maybe this is because the first half of the first decade has been very eventful.‑ The world has changed so much in so many ways with 9-11 as its defining moment.‑ The presidential election last year dominated the news and the minds of many people.‑ Here in Istanbul Muslims watched the outcome of the election with great curiosity and to be honest, much disappointment, given the level of bad vibes they still feel because of the Iraqi war.‑ Surely there will be some soul-searching through the Muslim world after the successful Iraqi elections, but things don’t change very quickly here.
Back home in Waynedale life carries on, bringing air guardsmen back and forth from the Middle East, geese back and forth in their annual migrations and the hope of springtime to thaw out from a cold winter.‑ Wars, floods and winter storms slow everyone down but never bring everything to a complete stop.‑ No matter what, we continue to move ahead.
This shouldn’t be so surprising, though it isn’t always easy to do.‑ The world spins around, the planets orbit the sun and the constellations do their predictable dance throughout the heavens.‑ The regularity and consistency of the cosmos have on more than one occasion caused people throughout the ages to recognize an order, even a purpose behind it all that suggests something, or someone behind it all.
Without having to worry about all these heady things, we recognize that power of having a purpose in our own lives.‑ It moves us ahead, keeps our chin up and our face forward…caring for our children, loving our spouses, washing the dishes, taking the trash out, living the life we must lead.‑ The years march on and we march with them.‑ When we recognize that the momentum for life is in our favor, we can more easily take up the task of moving ahead and celebrate the progress we make.
Understanding the vast and complex Muslim world has held Ron and Jean Coody’s attention for fifteen years. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 gave them an unprecedented open door to move into the newly formed Central Asian country of Kazakstan. For the first half of the decade they worked alongside Kazaks seeking to address the many problems left behind by Soviet rule. After serving five years in Kazakstan, the Coody’s relocated to Cyprus. There they studied the Muslim context and helped produce media materials in the Arabic language. In 2002 they began working in Istanbul, Turkey.
After leaving Kazakstan in 1998 Ron wrote a book about their years among the Kazaks to help Westerners better understand the Muslim world. Even in the age of electronic communication Ron considers written material to be one of the most powerful means of communication. While in Turkey Ron will continue to write with the purpose of providing glimpses into the Muslim world.
Ron and Jean have four boys, John, Elliot, Judah Paul, and Isaiah. Ron grew up in north Louisiana and Jean near Taylor University-Fort Wayne. Ron is currently studying for a Ph.D. from Concordia Theological Seminary and Jean graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University in nursing. They belong to Avalon Missionary Church and consider the Waynedale area one of their home communities.
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