ChristCentral Web
Earthquake Relief Update

We share an update regarding the emergency relief fund which was established by Newfrontiers to help our churches respond to the earthquake in Türkiye and Syria last month. The fund is being managed by the Catalyst network of Newfrontiers churches and is being overseen by Newfrontiers churches working with the Unreached Network who are committed to engaging unreached people groups world wide.

Here is a report from a local pastor who is working on the ground. You can watch and read the edited report below. 

Hello, dear brothers and sisters, I would like to share what God is doing through the Lighthouse Earthquake Relief Ministry in Turkey and Syria, which our Newfrontiers family and others have been supporting and first of all, I want to thank you for your trust and for all your contributions. They have enabled us to serve the people who are currently in a great need.

On the second day following the earthquake, teams from Antalya and various other locations went straight to areas affected by the earthquake in Istanbul and immediately began to set up things to help. They didn't go empty handed, they had a lot of things with them, like blankets and tents. We are currently serving in four different places in Turkey. One is Gaziantep, where our Syrian pastor from Istanbul went and he is working together with the Arabic speaking church there. Their building wasn't damaged and has become a kind of a base from where they go to different locations and villages where there is nothing. He reported about a place where they put Syrian refugees together and you can’t get access to without military support. They allowed him to go in and so we have official permission to serve in the earthquake area as a church, and he went there and served his fellow Syrians. He's not stopping there, many blankets, many tents, food, milk and nappies are being distributed through this ministry to the Arabic speaking refugees, both Syrian and Iraqis, and they are working in a wonderful way together. Many doors and especially many hearts are opening.

Another ministry happened when our church leader from another location, who has lost five close relatives to the earthquake. We went there to be with the family, to support them and after the funeral he went to visit a local hospital and he saw that the there was no food available because the kitchen had collapsed. He offered help and they gave him the cafeteria and he started to cook food, hot meals, a tea service and we gathered a team around him. The head of the hospital is so thankful that he has even given access to the hospital cars, so that they can bring staff when they aren't needed. The kitchen staff are now directed to him and the hospital management have handed over the whole logistics of feeding both the sick people in the hospital, the people who work in the hospital and the visitors to the hospital. It's amazing and they are serving around 2000 hot meals per day.

Another team from Yalova went also to Adiyaman. They had been involved in the aftermath of the earthquake 12 years ago and had experience building shelters, strong shelters, better than tents, which are also easy to make and cheaper than tents. They are helping people in Adiyaman especially and they go to the villages where government help hasn't reached yet. They are building these tents there and they are also providing other places where we are serving with tents. This has meant that we have been able to send teams to various locations to erect hundreds of tents.

Let me move on now to tell you about Antakya, probably one of the areas most devastated by the earthquake. A team from Antalya went there with tents set up a really good location with beds and tents, because there is no electricity there is no running water, there is no heating, there is nothing. So, you have to bring everything in from outside. They have set up a wonderful open air kitchen area, where they are able to feed around 5,000 people per day. The Ismir church also joined them with really good people and the pastor there is doing a great job organising everything and they had they made a great impact! Both people who lost everything but also security officials, the local military eats with them, including the police. They are not just eating the food provided but they are also starting to help them to prepare food. This work became so well known that the governor came to visit; he is responsible for all the feeding stations in this area and he came by to see the ‘priest’ there. He saw Ali with dirty clothes and he said, are you the priest? He saw what real Christianity looks like, that if you are the leader, you are the lowest, the servant of all. The governor was so impressed that he said whatever you need, you can use our trucks, we will send you food, we will make sure that your ministry will continue. This is despite the fact that we are from the church, this is a big, big testimony, I can't state this enough what a big impact this has had! There are about 30 people serving there from various churches across the region because there is such a big need and many, many good things are happening and we are going to set up tents in this area as well.

Last but not least, we have the ministry in Syria that is taking longer because it's much more difficult to get into the country and to make sure that the supplies which we are sending are really reaching the people in need because of the unsolved security issues there. So, we were able to send money there and 13 believing families in one location were able to distributed food packages, tents, medicine and milk to people in need. Andy Mccullough's friends from Lebanon, were able to get into Aleppo and they are serving people there in similar ways.

Overall, I can say that this help has really impacted the people. We are continuing to have amazing opportunities to speak about Jesus and the reasons we are serving people following this disaster. The people are amazed and they say they haven't seen such an attitude before, so thank you so much!

Please continue to pray for us, the people are really tired. Some have been here for almost two weeks and they are ready to go home. Initially people were just sleeping in their cars or transport overnight and that is of course not a good way to get sleep, they really gave everything!

Your contribution has enabled us to do this and to make the name of Jesus known and this is a special time because the church is now exactly at the place where it should be. It's, where the people are and where there is need and where we can show who we are and who our Lord is! So, thank you for your support and your continuous prayer. God bless you.

The video above was originally posted to the Unreached Network blog on 25/02/2023. You can see the original post here. The blog post has been written using a transcript of the video.