Ongoing Work - Weeks 6 and Beyond
In the past four weeks we have continued the earthquake relief.
We have an ongoing presence in Adiyaman, while some members of our church continue to serve in Antakya and the surrounding locations in Hatay.
We have continued to work hard to help those who are suffering in Turkey because of the earthquakes. The official number of earthquake causalities is somewhere between 50,000-60,000. However, many experts believe this is a very conservative estimate and that in reality the numbers are much higher. A devastating amount of buildings were destroyed completely and many more were left uninhabitable. Thousands of people are currently living in tents and container houses. Unfortunately, because of the degree of destruction, it may take several years to rebuild these cities.
Because of your generous response to help our church with relief efforts, we have been able to provide thousands of people with assistance such as food, water, clothing, and container houses. Up to this point we have spent $180,000 of gifts of support. This is amazing! This has only been possible through the generosity of you and your churches! And we stay committed to this project. As a church, we have focused on helping the displaced people that have relocated to Antalya during this time. Currently we have 18 people living at the church building. We provide meals for them and support their basic needs. Additionally, we continue to help support the work going on in the city of Hatay and Adiyaman. For these two cities, which have been left in shambles from the earthquakes, we have joined forces with other Turkish Christians and churches to bring assistance. We are providing food, water, clothing, and toiletries to the people in these areas. One of our goals is to provide more container houses for people to have better temporary housing.
Every three weeks, representatives from our church go to the city of Adiyaman to help hands on with the earthquake victims, and we have been building special relationships with the people there. Adiyaman appears (at first glance) a difficult place to reach for Christ, yet we have found the people there to be very open to us. There has been no Christian church in the city, and as we have been working there, it has occurred to us that this is the ideal time to start a church in Adiyaman. We have begun to discuss this plan with several other Turkish churches in nearby cities. Our goal is to partner with them to plant this church if the Lord allows.
As you can see, it has been a fruitful time for the Turkish church to be able to use earthquake relief as a way to be a light to many unreached people in Turkey. It has allowed us to have a presence in cities and areas that we would really struggle to get into otherwise. It has also been a tool which has helped to unify the countrywide Turkish church as we come together to serve and help those in need.
One of the families that we have helped stay and now return is in regular communication with us. They are beginning to work their garden and living in their shed while they wait for the container space to be cleared and the container to be delivered. They are looking to the future with hope and have witnessed the love of Christ shown through the members of the church in Antalya, and soon in Hatay too. Thank you for praying and giving to make this ministry of God's love possible.
Antalya Evangelical Church Leadership
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