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September 1997 Final Expedition Report From John
Dear prayer partners and friends,
Thank you for your interest and prayers for the research this summer. Although the military would not grant us permission to continue our research on the mountain or for a helicopter flight, much else of significance was accomplished. In addition to the Lord's guidance, blessing and safety we are thankful for the following:
The opportunity to work with and develop a good friendship with Dr. Salih Bayraktutan - eastern Turkeys leading geologist and ark researcher.
Introductions to many friends of the doctors which included Turkish governors, mayors, influential businessman and even the President of Nahcivan University (formerly part of the Soviet Union).
Many old Turkish friendships were renewed and many new friendships made.
The opportunity to discuss and share scientific insights and gospel material with several English speaking visitors to eastern Turkey and to pray with one for salvation.
An interview with a Kurdish Turk that claimed to have first hand knowledge of the ark and to have visited it within the last year.
Participation in a research session with several Kurds that claim to know the location of the ark (one main piece and two smaller ones) and were willing to pinpoint their location - all in the Ahora Gorge.
Our research this summer also gave us greater insight into the role and influence of the military in running the Turkish government. It is becoming increasing evident that the military most likely knows about the remains of the ark on the mountain and it is not in their best interest to let it be documented.
We met one Kurdish man that was willing to take pictures of a rectangular structure partially buried in the Gorge that he believed to be part of the ark. He was supplied with three cameras, and after several days on the north face of the mountain reportedly took many pictures of the structure. Before he was able to return with the cameras and pictures, he was arrested by the military and the cameras confiscated.
We are praying that the Lord will soon make it possible to gain research access to the Gorge and to document the structures that are partially buried there.
Special thanks to all that responded to our urgent prayer request on August 10th. The team of three that we had heard about that were on the mountain without official permission came back safely the next day.
We are continuing to monitor the situation around the mountain. A picture of the ark might yet surface this year.
In Christ, Our Ark of Safety,
I talked with John on 8/30 about the 1997 expedition to Mount Ararat. They were in Turkey for approximately 5 weeks, 4 of which were near Mount Ararat. The Turkish government in Ankara would not give them permission to climb or fly around Mount Ararat. The government authorities "claimed" that they had received 100's of permit applications to climb Mount Ararat, and they believed most of them were bogus applications sent by the PKK. Most people believed this was a poor excuse to keep people off the mountain. But why? Is there a geniune concern for public safety? Tourism? Or does the Turkish government know something? Like where the ark is located?
John and Dick talked with many locals while in Dogubayasit (a small town south of Ararat) and after about 3 weeks there, several people confirmed that the ark was in the Ahora Gorge and was broken into several sections. They described one large section as almost being like a cave in the mountain. At least one person claimed to have been inside the structure.
The melt back of the Ararat ice cap was very good according to John. The best it has been in years! In his opinion, there was no threat of PKK activity on the mountain and that the Turkish soldiers were in control of the mountain and surrounding area. The local Turkish military seemed somewhat open to providing a few soldiers to accompany them on a trip into the Ahora Gorge, if Ankara would give them permission. It seemed clear that the government officials in Ankara did not want any foreigners on Ararat.
Though the frustration of not being allowed to search the mountain continues, the team was able to establish many good relationships that could be fruitful in future attempts to search Mount Ararat.
Another group led by Ken had permission (or so they thought) to fly a helicopter around Mount Ararat. According to John, about 5 hours before they were leaving Scotland for Turkey, they received a call denying permission. I still need to confirm that they did not fly.
John will be sending me his final Ararat 97 summary sometime in September.
Larry was also in the Ararat area this summer and has some interesting things to report.
John and team got back a few days ago, and are recovering from jet lag. John (and maybe others) will be putting together an update in the near future. I will post as soon as I receive information.
Email from Rick (a good friend of John's)
I called John in Turkey this morning (8/19/97) to get a current update. He still plans to be back around the 24th of August. I plan to pick him up at the airport then. His team as well as the one that I was on (Ken's), weren't able to get a permit for either a climbing team or helicopter flight.
John also said that this would have been a good year for a helicopter flight since that was a better meltback of the ice cap than in previous years.
The message on John 's answering machine states that he may be back from Turkey on August 18th or as late as August 24? John usually sends me a one or two page summary of his trip in September.
July 30th I'm leaving on a two week itinerary via Istanbul to the area around Mt Ararat, then by land north across the Aras River border to Erivan, Armenia and then back into Turkey, down the border a few more miles and across to Nakhichevan (Azerbaijan). In both Armenia (where the new ADRA director just getting there is my friend David) and in Azerbaijan, I hope to visit a few ADRA projects as well as ask and look around for ancient ruins, reliefs and particularly inscriptions that could tie in with some of the intriguing things I've been able to examine around Mt. Ararat in past years. For example, I've found inscriptions that have greatly interested Dr. Shea who's spent considerable time studying my pictures of them. Thus one objective of my trip is to try and find other clearer, more definitive such inscriptions.
John's - Prayer Request/Expedition Update (email from Larry)
Research for the remains of the Ark of Noah on and around Mt. Ararat in Eastern Turkey continues this July and August 1997. July 18, 1997 Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord, Your prayer support for the researchers and research this summer would be greatly appreciated. There are at least two Christian research teams heading to Ararat this summer. The winter in Turkey was mild this last year and new areas of the ice cap should be exposed. I am working with a Turkish-American team being headed up by a Turkish Professor, who is in charge of scientific research in Eastern Turkey, and the American researcher Richard. Our team consists of three American and possible four Turks. We have all the necessary permissions except for the military. The military situation in Eastern Turkey has improved greatly in the last two years. Lord willing, we should be able to get military permission. If we are able to get onto the mountain this summer, it will be the first time in seven years for this to happen. There are at least seven possible mountain burial sites to examine--some of these are in difficult and dangerous areas of the mountain. One of these sites is based on new information from a Turkish man that claims to have been in part of the Ark recently. It may be time for a larger witness of the Ark. Please pray for the Lord's guidance, blessing, protection, wisdom and the final military permission. In the realm of the spirit, we will probably be contending with the satanic prince of Persia--mentioned in the book of Daniel. The power of this being needs to be bound. We are departing on July 19th and plan to return around August 20th. Thanks for your prayers and support.
In Christ, Our Ark of Safety,