On Monday, February 6, 2023, Turkey (and several surrounding nations) were rocked by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake. Our prayers go out to the families of the victims, which has now reached over 50,000. Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced both in Turkey and Northern Syria.
HHI is providing funds for local churches to assist with food supplies, hygiene items, housing, and transportation. In addition, we are partnering with a local Christian relief and development organization which is providing medical care and sanitation care to victims. We are in contact with local Christians and are working with them to develop our long term response as we plan to be involved until at least 2025. We ask you to continue to pray.
Some of the specific prayer requests we have gotten from our partners include:
Read an update from one of our partners
He has requested his name not be shared for security purposes.
“Blessings to everyone reading this update. For the past week, a couple of other men and I from our church were in Adıyaman, Turkey. In this update, I want to briefly share about some of the work that we are doing there.
Acts 4: 34-35: “So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.” In this passage ,we have Peter going to visit the centurion, Cornelius’ house. Before this time most people just thought that the message of Jesus was merely for the Jews. However, this event in history was monumental because it demonstrated that the message of salvation which Jesus Christ brought through His death and resurrection for us was not only for the Jew, but for everyone including you and me. We live in a world where racism is happening daily and where there is much class divide. Sadly, both things are seen in Eastern Turkey. However, Jesus’ grace is not just for the few. The message of Jesus and His grace is for everyone. This message is one of hope, of redemption and most importantly of love and forgiveness. Jesus loves us and died on the cross for us. As we have received this gift it is important that we go out and share these wonderful gifts with others; including those who are different than us. God calls us to go to all the world.
Right now, showing Jesus’ love looks like going and helping with the earthquake relief in Eastern Turkey. Cities like Adıyaman and Hatay have been some of the hardest cities to share the Gospel in. However, during this time we are able to show the love of Jesus and His Gospel through our actions. We share by our actions and then by the conversations we have with people. We show these hurting people love, and through the power and infinite wisdom of our Lord
Jesus Christ we show them the power of the Gospel.
Father God, please be our hands and feet during this difficult time in Turkey. Please help us to serve others like your Son Jesus serves us. Please speak through us in our conversations with those who are hurting. Please give us energy, wisdom, and the financial capabilities to continue to help others in cities like Hatay, Adıyaman, Samandağ, Kahramanmaraş, Malatya and more.
Please continue to use the churches in these regions as well to show the hurting people that their neighbors are here with them and are helping them. Please guide us during this difficult time and please help us to remember that everything is in Your hands. God, we love You so much, we want to draw closer to You each and every day. We are so thankful that we get to serve such a wonderful and merciful God. Thank you for loving us and please help us to show this love to others. In Jesus’ wonderful name we pray, amen.
Why We Are Going to Adıyaman
Last Monday, two other men and I from our church went to Adıyaman. Normally, we would go for ten days, but this time we left Monday morning and returned late Saturday evening because we needed to be at the church Sunday morning to help prepare for upcoming Easter.
Out of the eleven major cities that had the most destruction, Hatay was affected the most and then Adıyaman was affected the second most. This means that most of the destroyed buildings and displaced people as of now are in these two cities. These are the main two cities our church is helping with as of today. We are helping with a soup kitchen in Hatay which serves 3,000- 4,000 meals a day. Then, in Adıyaman we are running a depo where we have food, water, clothes, hygiene products and more which we are distributing to minority groups in Adıyaman and in villages around Adıyaman.
The situation in Adıyaman is different because unlike many of the other cities most people are still in Adıyaman. Hatay is a city which before the earthquake was doing a bit better economically, therefore many of its citizens were able to leave. However, this is not the case for Adıyaman. In this city many of the citizens are poorer and a large majority of people in Adıyaman depend on the tobacco industry, and it is tobacco season, so they needed to stay in the city and work. This means that we are actually serving a larger population in Adıyaman than Hatay.
Right now the minister who is in charge of helping with earthquake relief at our church plans to go to Adıyaman every 3-4 weeks and stay there for about ten days at a time. While he is there, he works locally with a family from Adıyaman to get supplies needed and to distribute supplies. We have 3-4 ministers in rotation who come for 7-10 days at a time and serve as the leader of the depo there. These ministers come from cities like ours, Mardin, Diyarbakir, Ankara, and Istanbul.
We are there to help organize the depo, see which supplies are needed, pass out the supplies, have conversations with people and share the Gospel when the opportunity arises.
What We Did in Adıyaman
The original depo in Adıyaman was in a tobacco warehouse. This was set up a couple of weeks after the earthquake but had to be moved due to the floods Adıyaman had two weeks ago. A lot of the supplies got waterlogged and were not usable. By the time we got there the new depo was set up inside a funeral home.
The pros with the new depo were that it was two stories so we were able to set up beds inside. At the old depo we would have had to sleep outside in the cold, but in this new depo we could sleep inside. We spent most of our mornings cleaning up this new space which had not been cleaned in a month. In the middle of the day we would either be loading items into the depo which came from outside suppliers, passing items out to those who came to the depo, or be out in villages delivering supplies to people in need. At night we would go to tent villages to see what people’s needs were, spend time with people hearing their stories, or singing and worshipping together.
In Adıyaman unfortunately there is a lot of racism and groups get neglected. There is a high Kurdish population in Adıyaman that the government is not taking care of. When I worked in the camp in Hatay there was constantly government vehicles refilling water and checking in. In Adıyaman we saw tent villages where people had sustainable toilets, adequate food and water supplies and a place to wash clothes. However, unfortunately this was not the case in Kurdish and certain Syrian tent camps, as they have often been overlooked. We as followers of Jesus are here to help everyone. We are specifically in Adıyaman at this time to help those who cannot receive help from anywhere else. We face scrutiny because of this but as long as we can continue to help these people, we will.
During this time, we were able to send out a washing machine truck and portable soup kitchen to help three different Kurdish camps. These three camps consisted of over 140 families that have not been able to really wash their clothes in over a month. They desperately needed dish washing detergent and soap. In addition, there was not any good canalization for the bathrooms and sewage systems for these camps. The bathrooms were filthy and there was one bathroom for approximately sixty people. During our time there we were able to order more bathrooms and hire a crane operator to help with this process and we are in order of working with them to help with their sewage system. Praise God we were able to help them. Furthermore, a lot of our time was spent delivering food and supplies and checking in at Syrian camps. Please continue to pray that these people can get the basic necessities that they need to survive through this time. Luckily summer is coming soon so items like blankets and clothing will not be as much of an issue for these people. However, cleaning supplies and food and water are always in demand.
Current and Future Needs in Adıyaman
The minister at our church plans to go back to Adıyaman the third week of April. Easter time is a time of major outreach at our church so we will go immediately after that. I am not sure if I will be able to go, but if I am able to I definitely will. Currently at the depo we always need food and water supplies. When I was there, we had barely any supplies of water and people were constantly asking for it. We had a lot of hygiene products coming in, but we are always in need of food supplies. Praise God we have a lot of clothing and bedding items there, but we always will need hygiene items for babies like diapers and baby wipes, dry food supply kits, and eventually we will need more hygiene kits. I am in weekly contact with our minister about what is needed here.
Unfortunately, we are expecting the reconstruction of these cities to take about two years. Most of these families are staying in tents but these will not be adequate for the wintertime in Eastern Turkey. We are trying to get containers for these people to sleep in. Each container will have two rooms which will act as a bed and living room area, a small kitchen and another room with a bathroom and shower. We are trying to raise funds for this project and hope that this will be a viable solution over the tents for people’s protection and comfort during the harsh winter season in Eastern Turkey. We are raising money early because it is a large and expensive project. Please pray that we as a church will be able to continue to help with this project.
We are hoping that by the end of the summer that we will no longer need to go to Adıyaman anymore. We hope that churches closer to Adıyaman will be able to help more with the warehouse and that many stores will be up and running and that people will be able to get supplies easier. We hope as a church that instead of going we can simply help to provide financial needs. We typically are not wanting items shipped into the country because they are more expensive than the prices here plus the tax fee that is associated with them is exorbitant. In addition, we are not buying and bringing the items for the warehouse located in Adıyaman from our city because prices in Western Turkey are more expensive than Eastern Turkey. What we are doing is we are electronically sending money to supply companies out there in the east to bring products to the warehouse. This is the most cost-effective way of getting the supplies to the warehouse.
We pray that God continue to use us here.”