Read Susanna's resume
Today I am embarking on the journey to accumulate all my joys into the website honoring my grandfather, S. Ralph Harlow. I believe this is my story and my song the Lord has given me. Through this memoir I will be able to share who I am in an historical and significant way.
My mother used to fancy visiting graveyards. With my little hand tucked in her fine Harlow-Stafford stock she would tug me close to her side. With a squeeze of my little fingers her voice would trail off…from stone to stone. The stories of the once living and their hidden lives were revived and retold.
I always wondered as Mom would read the indentations on the tombstones, how this related to her own epoch. Little did I know her story would one day immortalize and affect my whole life’s calling.
Now I am wondering in the confines of the American Board Foreign Mission Research library. Books stand in memorial form like old soldiers in rows. They sit shouldered together resting on the shelves in ancient Constantinople, which is present day Istanbul. Each book lays down a life with a host of seeds sown in service. Each chapter lights the path called the journey of Jesus in Asia Minor. Smothered by the awe of it all, I trembled at the cost.
I could only recapture my childhood curiousity as to the impact of these lives and the lives of their children and children’s children. For woven throughout the shelves is my mother’s family story. It is the story of my maternal grandfather, S. Ralph Harlow, and his call to the Mission Field in Turkey just over 100 years ago. This is the same Smyrna in Revelations 2 where my mother played and traveled through.
These are stories stamped into history to be read by all of us who are visiting and care. Immortalized. It reminds me of 1 Corinthians 15:55,
“O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory?”
Each book takes you on a journey in what was then called Asia Minor under the Ottoman Empire. You could go by barges that crossed the Ocean. Then you could proceed by train, horse, donkey or even camel but you would get to some one to share your love.
So I am calling all heirs to rise from your silence and unite under the cloud of descendants whose relatives gave their spiritual, emotional and sometimes physical lives for the love of the Gospel here in Turkey.
And I beseech all who are aware of the power of providential history to enlighten yourselves to the tremendous work of the ministry done here on this land and sea.
I also call those who are weary to the fountain. There are seeds prolifically sown and roots deeply dug into the soil harboring the seven candlesticks where Jesus walked and spoke of these times. We are returning to our first love and the Holy Spirit is being poured out throughout the land. “With God nothing shall be impossible,” are the re-spoken words to my soul.
Join me as we take a look into the miraculous, confounding and often-ominous lives of the souls touched by the thousands of missionaries to Turkey during the Ottoman Empire. Let us not abandon the research library that rests on the shore of the Bosporus in Istanbul with its pieces of the puzzle, the loom that has woven the history that lays the foundation of the work of the saints that have gone before us. God has not.
“For God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you showed for His name when you served the saints--and you continue to serve them." Hebrews:6.1
Ruth, my mother, is the little girl in front with her family
John, baby Elizabeth, Mother Mariam and Father, S. Ralph Harlow
At the International Collage in Smyrna, Asia Minor, 1918
With my hand in yours we will walk through and rekindle the old paths that were lit by our forefathers. Lo, the paths! Lo, the seeds sown! Today we cannot dare believe it was in vain. The stories that have been captured and buried on the shelves of the research libraries of the missionaries to Turkey a century ago cannot be abandoned. Instead let them be opened,reread, revived and relived.
This is my extended hand. My name is Susanna Omaç.
I have been living here in Turkey with Ismail, my Turkish husband, for the past 24 years.
I will be your guide through the discovery of my own grandfather’s treasured life and his colleges. My goal is to inspire you to ‘come and see’ what significance one life can be. The purpose and meaning of your life can be gleaned from others that have gone before you. I would like to introduce you to those who have heeded the call and denied themselves in order to live and thus making all the difference.
Susanna Harlow Omaç with her Turkish husband Ismail Omaç in Smyra, Turkey, 2017