On 17th February 2023 he writes about the situation in Turkey:
Marhuba brothers and sisters
After Iskenderun, we went to Antakya former old city know as Antioch. It is impossible to find appropriate words to describe the situation in Antakya. The horrible things we have seen in Antakya one can only see in the movies. From the moment we saw the Hatay 20 km sign on the road, almost every building is either destroyed or unusable. The view when you enter the city is truly terrifying.
Our brothers and sisters such as Isa* are serving with incredible dedication. Their churches are destroyed, their houses are badly damaged, they are on their own, however full of love and compassion they serve the earthquake victims, the soldiers, policemen and search and rescue workers on duty, as well as day-trippers like us. May the Lord bless them!
Adam* our brother from Diyarbakir is also in Hatay. He is managing the coordination service from there.
There are not many people left there. When we asked why, we are told that the people were either killed by the earthquakes or have gone to other cities. There is still no electricity, water, internet. There is work going on for repair and restoration.
The most important need right now is shelter. People are still staying in vehicles and tents if there are any available. They spend time in small groups on the streets with plastic chairs, gathered around the fire in the center. Meeting even basic needs like toilets and showers is a luxury. They try to wash their hands and pots with purchased water. There are food stations every 500 meters or 1 kilometer. People take turns trying to get their share.
It will take a very long time for this place to be physically reorganized. Maybe 2-3 or even 5 years. But it will take generations for people to get used to the 'new normal'. Many people have lost their lives. Perhaps no one will ever know the exact number of people who are in pain, who have lost their families and loved ones. It seems that everyone will start from scratch. This includes the church.
The Church in Turkey has a lot of work to do in both the short and long term: First and foremost, we need prayer, prayer, prayer. People need a boost to their morale, encouragement, courage, spiritual strength to keep going, the Holy Spirit. This must come from God. Let us pray for it day and night, dear brothers and sisters.
Secondly, the love of the Church. We must love as we pray. We must show closeness, care, tenderness, compassion, mercy as brothers and sisters, as partners, as human beings. We must support and stand by people, physically meeting their needs and spiritually.
And not only to the family of faith, but to everyone affected by this crisis.
God is truly great. The Word is full of examples of those who almost perished and then rose from the ashes. God will in the same way do in this region what He has done throughout history.
Yesterday we also had the opportunity to go to Altinozu and meet Sadiq* and the other brothers there. Their situation is much better thank God. They seemed to us as if they will return to a 'normal' faster and easier.
For today, with the grace of God, we will stay in the region and see other brothers. Lord willing tomorrow we will be able to update you on them.
Peace be with you.
If you would like to donate to these affected brothers and sisters who are already suffering hardship, we will be happy to pass this on through CM.
Bank: IIRF-D / CM
Evangelische Bank Kassel
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