A SECOND CHANCE AT FAITH AND CAREER
When Gülsüm started working with a small TV channel in Turkey, she dreamed of moving on to bigger and better things. She had no idea that God would use the experience to completely transform her life.
“I heard about Jesus for the first time working at TÜRK-7,” Gülsüm remembers. “I wrote scripts for Christian TV shows and read the Bible, but my eyes were totally closed.”
“My teachers at college used to say that media and religion did not mix, and I believed it. I heard the Christian message, but I was too focused on my career.”
Gülsüm’s cousin, who had come to Christ years before, had helped her get a job at TÜRK-7, the precursor of SAT-7 TÜRK after her studies in Turkey and America. “It was either a big coincidence or a part of God’s plan!” Gülsüm exclaims.
After working with TÜRK-7 for nine months, Gülsüm decided to pursue her career with several other production companies. However, nothing seemed to go according to plan.
“I was dissatisfied,” she states. “I was entering my 30s and I felt things still weren’t working out the way I hoped. Despite having a master’s degree, I had no connections in the media industry, and I couldn’t get my dream job.”
Moreover, Gülsüm could not help comparing her experiences at TÜRK-7 with the competitive culture in secular media: “The way people in TÜRK-7 treated each other was so different! Everyone was working and serving together as one.”
A BURNING QUESTION
On a spontaneous trip to Cappadocia in Turkey, Gülsüm finally sensed God calling out to her once more.
“I had a vision, and I saw myself standing in a church” she describes. “I was praying and making the sign of the cross with my hand. At that moment I felt complete relief and peace. It was something I had never experienced before.”
Returning home, she decided to go to church with her cousin. “The day before I went to church, I asked God a question,” Gülsüm continues to explain. “I wanted to know, ‘Why does nothing go well in my life? Don’t you love me?’”
AN IMMEDIATE ANSWER
Keeping these burning questions to herself, she went to church and didn’t have to wait long for God to answer.
“The sermon started with the exact same question that I had asked God” she says, her eyes shining. “The preacher said that ‘Many times we ask God, “God, why don’t you love me?”’ and he explained that God forms us like a potter forms clay pots, shaping us. Sometimes it is painful, but the result is a unique and useful pot.”
As the preacher began to read the passage from Jeremiah 18, in which the prophet is told to visit the potter’s house and see him shape the clay, Gülsüm was gripped: “I knew that God was trying to communicate with me.”
Since then, she started to read the Bible again, “but this time with a changed heart”. Soon afterwards, she committed her life to Christ and, following the merger of TÜRK-7 with SAT-7 in 2009, she was asked to return to SAT-7 and start working as a Program Manager.
Gülsüm has been producing Christian children programs, documentaries, women’s and youth shows for SAT-7’s Turkish language channel. No longer a tiny channel producing a few hours’ output a day, it is available 24/7 on the country’s national satellite TV platform.
Through her experiences, Gülsüm says God has equipped her with the empathy and vision for her work at SAT-7. After years of seeking, she has found fulfilment with SAT-7 TÜRK, a channel that is in a unique position to share the Christian message in her culture.
“I think it is fair to say that for Turkish-speaking people, living in Turkey and abroad, SAT-7 TÜRK is one of the main resources through which they can hear the Gospel. I am thrilled to be part of it!”