Displaced Refugees Driven to Remote Wasteland
Some of the Syrian refugees were driven from their tents or slum dwellings by surly Turkish neighbors. Some saw the Turkish government bulldoze their tents. Some were jobless and couldn’t pay their rent.
For one reason or another, they were no longer welcome in the city in southern Turkey where they had lived for years since fleeing the atrocities of their war-ravaged country. They faced hostility from government officials eager to end the eyesore of tent camps and from Turks angry that they were taking jobs. They gave up on urban life and fled to a vacant wasteland.
“They are 50 kilometers [31 miles] away from the city, in the middle of nowhere,” said the director of an indigenous ministry who recently discovered their massive, unofficial tent camp. “The people there are really suffering. Some of these families had their tents destroyed, so they moved to this camp. Their situation is even worse than before.”
When the ministry team first visited the colony to bring used clothing, they were stunned to find more than 1,000 families there – at least 8,000 people. They began visiting tents and building trust in hopes of finding opportunities to share about Christ’s sacrificial love for them.
“People listened carefully, and after three hours of sharing God’s Word in the tent, we answered their questions,” the ministry director said. “They invited us to come again.”
Since then needs have increased, especially for newborns and other babies. Sanitary conditions are primitive to nonexistent, jeopardizing the health of 327 infants in the camp.
“The people are desperate and suffering – almost all of the children have had their hair cut short because of lice in their hair – and God has begun using us to preach the gospel to these families,” the director said.
One family that put their trust in Christ invited a relative to come to their tent to hear the native missionaries talk about Jesus (the director knows Arabic, and a team member knows Kurdish). Upon arrival the team was surprised to find nearly 20 Muslims, including some children, eager to hear about eternal salvation, the director said.
“People listened carefully, and after three hours of sharing God’s Word in the tent, we answered their questions,” he said. “They invited us to come again, since they had even more questions.”
In the ensuing weeks the team proclaimed the meaning of the life, death and resurrection of the Son of God to them.
“We have had a really good response from the refugees,” he said. “They are listening not only with their ears but also with their hearts. Please pray for us that we can reach many more families at the camp, and that God will open hearts to hear what He has done for them.”
Indigenous missionaries are providing aid in this way throughout the Middle East. As they labor long hours in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and other countries, they express deep gratitude for your help in providing aid to people longing for lives free of want and longing. Please consider a gift through Christian Aid Mission today.