Christ Revealed amid Disaster in Turkey

Opportunities in Turkey to share Christ with both Syrian refugees and Turks are emerging even apart from gospel talks taking place with victims of February’s devastating earthquakes.

The two earthquakes that struck Turkey on Feb. 6 – the deadliest since 526 A.D. within what is now the country’s borders – were followed by others that destroyed more buildings and lives on Feb. 20 and 27. The quakes left hundreds of thousands of Turks living like refugees in their own country and compounded the suffering of refugees from Syria.

Native workers stepped up with food, water and blankets for Turks left homeless while tending to Syrian refugees suddenly deprived of electricity, providing blankets, socks and other warm clothing. They also provided spiritual warmth as they came alongside victims to pray for them.

Those efforts have led to gospel opportunities, but ministry workers were seeing such openings grow even apart from the disasters. A Syrian refugee who received help, accepted Christ and began working with a native ministry distributing aid recently received a call at 10 p.m. from one of his countrymen – a refugee who had taken his sick child to a hospital emergency room.

“Hundreds have heard the gospel. Scores have believed and now, due to your help, even Turks are encountering Jesus Christ.”

“He wanted me to come to the hospital too,” said the worker, adding that he assumed the refugee needed him to translate. “He said that the doctor wanted to meet with me. I was surprised and a little worried why the doctor would call me.”

When the worker went to the hospital, he was surprised that the doctor greeted him so respectfully, as many Turks have come to despise Syrians amid the refugee influx, he said.

The doctor told him, “You had distributed clean water for these Syrian children, but the water has gone, and now they are drinking well water. Because of this well water, many children are becoming ill. Please bring more clean water for them.”

The worker’s fears faded, and he assured the doctor that he would bring more water, he said.

“When I was about to leave the room,” he said, “the doctor said to me, ‘Christians are providing this support, isn’t that right?’”

The worker replied to him, “Yes, and I am a Christian as well,” and explained why he had become a Christian and why Christians helped refugees.

As their conversation drew to an end and the worker was leaving, the doctor asked him in a quiet voice, “Do you have a Turkish New Testament with you?’”

He was carrying one with him, and he told the doctor, “Let me give it to you.”

The leader of the native ministry said this incident greatly encouraged him.

“For years you have supported us, and through your support, thousands have seen the incredible love of the Lord Jesus,” he wrote to Christian Aid Mission. “Hundreds have heard the gospel explained clearly and taken and read the Bible. Scores have believed and now, due to your help, even Turks are encountering Jesus Christ.”

Matchless Love

While refugee children have long welcomed aid workers, their attitudes toward Christ have not always been so warm, but that is changing.

“The children here are meeting the Lord Jesus with more love and respect,” the ministry leader said. “They are coming to Him with pure hearts full of love for Him. At the same time, when we please the children, the families are happy as well.”

Refugee families were especially grateful for relief items when the first bitter cold of winter hit. Mothers were crying as they begged for blankets, clothing, baby formula and clean water, while the elderly asked for pain relievers, the ministry leader said.

“Through your support, God is blessing and providing for all of their needs,” he said.

For those who show interest, the aid comes with Arabic-language Bibles and other gospel resources, and workers also pray for those willing to receive it.

“Through your support, we are helping the refugees, finding opportunities to introduce them to the matchless love of Christ, and praying that the gospel will be heard and accepted,” the leader said. “Your support is helping the witness and evangelism of the church. We are eternally grateful for you all.”

Please consider a donation today to help workers bring Christ’s love to hurting people in Turkey.

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