The Earthquake From the Believer’s Viewpoint
The world knows that on Monday, February 6, one earthquake followed by another, along with multiple aftershocks hit southern Turkey. You may not know that our ministry started several churches in the area long ago, all of which have disappeared over the years and, hopefully, dispersed to other areas, as has our Church on Straight Street in Damascus. Still, our main concentration of work is just across the border in Syria.
On that day, we lost our primary leader. He and his wife were crushed as they slept in their tiny, third-floor apartment. One floor above, another great pastor, his wife, and three children also perished.
We have thirty-three families in one town alone who now have no home. They escaped with only the night clothes they were wearing. Seventeen other families in another location, a few miles away, are now surviving on the street as their homes were also destroyed. And at least a dozen others in their general area have also perished. Many have also been lost, including an unknown number of the refugees we relocated last year and for whom many of you gave to provide food. As a result, we now have over 4,000 souls unaccounted for.
Scores of buildings collapsed during the quakes in a nearby seaport city. Though well-built, they have become weakened during the nearly two-decade civil war. This loss of life among our church members has resulted in 114 orphans we must now care for. Sixty-eight of them are between the ages of three and six. The others are ages seven to fourteen. (Think about that for a moment. These are the orphans of our Church Family. If we do not care for them, who will? They lost their extended families when their parents accepted Christ. Now their parents are gone.)
If we don’t care for these children, all of whom are from parents that converted from Islam to Christ, their families will take them from us and raise them as Muslims. We cannot allow the parents, now in Heaven, to see their children raised to despise Jesus and lose them for eternity.
We need your help to care for the orphans and families still whole. And not for one boy or 114 newly orphaned children, but for nearly 4,000 people — our people, our Family in Christ.
We can get the funds to them and bypass the corruption. We have been doing this for nearly two decades, and our supply chain is firm and reliable. Our problem is not the supply chain but the lack of supply. For that, we pray to God and appeal to you to be the channel of His blessing. We will care for our people’s needs first, then share with unbelievers.
Our immediate goal was to raise $130,000. You quickly and generously provided more than $140,000 to allow us to provide for the survival needs of our people, to give them warm places to live, food, medicine, and clothing. We are investigating the possibility of starting an orphanage.
Though the immediate need was met, a continuing need still exists, month by month as we take care of these people. For now, this need may be up to $70,000 a month. I know this is a lot. The disciples were also overwhelmed as 5,000 men plus women and children sat before them (about one hundred miles south of our location). Their logic then was the same as ours now. How can we feed this crowd; we don’t have enough money. And, how can we feed this crowd if we only have one basket of food (which for us is $32.50 per person)? Still, a few moments later, the limit of their resources was overcome by the limitlessness of His power. Everyone was fed with an abundance left over. By faith, we expect the same, so we are looking for the boy with the basket.
I would rather distribute His abundance than doubt His ability. Now, will you please help us pass out these baskets? The people are hungry.
I am sometimes asked if there is no end to us having to help the brethren in the Middle East, binding their wounds, strengthening their spirits, feeding them, and caring for their widows and orphans. I am sure there is an end, but it is not in sight. That end may finally come only when the trumpet blows. Recall that the trauma and events of the last days will occur primarily in this region. That being the case, how can we ignore them? How can we forget them?