Wednesday, October 23
The earthquake in Van, Turkey, on October 23, 2011, and subsequent small earthquakes resulted in the deaths of about 700 people and left around 60,000 homeless. The scope of the disaster was overwhelming, and the cold winter weather added to the suffering of the people.
Though the Protestant church of Turkey is small in number, God placed it on the hearts of the Alliance of Turkish Evangelical Churches (TEK) to assist in the relief efforts. They set up a coordination center in cooperation with the church of Van and organized several teams to address needs.
In the first month, hundreds of people received blankets, food, clothing, a listening ear, and prayers. A soup kitchen was organized out of the Van church with the help of its members, Iranian refugees, and others. During the most difficult period, they were feeding about 700 people per day.
In assessing the situation, stable shelter was determined to be one of the greatest needs. A group from India experienced in making inexpensive tents partnered with TEK to put together hundreds of winterized tent shelters.
To oversee this shelter project, TEK contacted a member of one of the churches in western Turkey, because of his gifts in administration. In a conversation, he expressed these thoughts: “I felt God’s call to go and assist. I have been coordinating teams of people, made up both of locals sent by the mayor’s office and of believing volunteers coming from cities across Turkey. We have provided shelters for numerous families, and I have had the privilege of making good friendships with various government officials in the offices I visit daily. The Van church has become a known and respected entity. This cooperation between TEK, the church of Van, and the city has been important in meeting needs of the community, and it has been a powerful testimony of Christ’s love.”
Let us join in prayer for:
Let us pray
God of solidarity, thank you that your arms stretch across this broken world. We are grateful for the work and witness of TEK. Encourage them. Bless them so that your word may be spread far and wide. In Jesus’ name. Amen.